The redesigned 2017 GMC Acadia is now the prototypical midsize crossover vehicle. Its slightly smaller size pits it against all the top five-passenger contenders in the segment, yet it's still a sizable vehicle that's capable of functioning as the sole family hauler thanks to three rows of seats.
Most Acadias you'll see on dealer lots will be equipped with a V6 engine. The V6 is now an option because the base engine is a four-cylinder that offers better mileage. Both engines come standard with an excellent six-speed automatic transmission and are available with either front- or all-wheel drive. Along with its standard electronic traction aids, the Acadia is a solid all-weather vehicle, but limited ground clearance keeps drivers from venturing too far off-road.
The interior design mimics that of GMC's truck lineup, with simple controls and comfortable seats. A low dashboard makes the Acadia feel more carlike from behind the wheel, although outward visibility isn't any better than in competitors. There's a very long list of features available, but even in top-of-the-line Denali trim the Acadia never feels like a true luxury vehicle.
If you desire maximum passenger capacity and can do without some of the latest features offered on Acadia, the base SL trim has plenty of room and plenty of basic amenities. For a more full-featured vehicle, the SLE2 trim with the optional V6 engine and the Driver Alert package is a good place to start. Available options abound, but realize that when equipped, the price will quickly get into luxury SUV territory.
trim levels & features
The 2017 GMC Acadia is a midsize SUV with seating for five, six or seven passengers and is offered in SL, SLE, SLT and Denali trim levels. The SL trim is a basic but still well-equipped base model. There are two levels of the midgrade SLE trim (SLE1, SLE2). The SLE1 is only a minor upgrade over the SL, while the SLE2 adds a more substantial level of upgrades. A well-equipped SLT trim is the next step up, and it, too, is split between SLT1 and SLT2 levels, both with long lists of upgrades. The Denali trim rounds out the lineup with several exclusive high-end features.
The seven-passenger base SL trim is only available with a middle bench seat and comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (193 horsepower, 188 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, a driver information display, tri-zone automatic climate control, a four-way manually adjustable driver seat (two-way-adjustable front passenger seat), a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app integration, a rearview camera, OnStar (includes 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot) and a six-speaker stereo with a USB-auxiliary audio input.
The SLE1 trim adds only LED running lights and satellite radio, but the SLE2 steps it up with 18-inch wheels, foglights, a power liftgate with programmable height stops, roof rails, remote ignition, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat and heated front seats. The SLE2 and above trims come standard with middle-row captain's chairs that reduce passenger capacity to six, but the second-row bench is available.
Opting for the SLT1 trim adds an auto-dimming driver-side and rearview mirror, an upgraded color driver information display, a 120-volt power outlet, a universal garage door opener, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with lumbar adjustments, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system with a subwoofer. Also included is the Driver Alert I package that comes with blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors.
The SLT2 trim adds 20-inch wheels, a 3.6-liter V6 engine (310 hp, 271 lb-ft of torque), a trailering package, driver-seat memory functions and heated outboard middle-row seats. Also included is the Driver Alert II package that has all of the supporting Driver Alert I features plus lane keeping assist, low-speed forward collision mitigation, automatic high beams, front parking sensors, and a safety-alert driver seat that buzzes when alerts are triggered.
The top-of-the-line Denali rounds out the lineup with polished wheels, xenon headlights, a unique grille, a hands-free power liftgate, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, a configurable virtual gauge display, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated and power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The Denali is also eligible for the optional Technology package that adds a surround-view camera system and adaptive cruise control with automatic collision preparation.
You can get all-wheel drive on all Acadias except the base SL. A two-panel sunroof is available on SLE2 trims and above. An All Terrain package is also available on SLE1 and SLT1 trims and adds distinct exterior treatments, rear air vents, a cargo management system, 20-inch wheels, hill descent control and a more advanced all-wheel-drive system. It also removes the third row of seats, reducing capacity to five passengers. Finally, a special suspension with adaptive dampers is optional for the SLT2 and Denali.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 GMC Acadia SLT1 (3.6L V6 | 6-speed automatic | AWD) and the 2017 GMC Acadia Denali (3.6L V6 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.