2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia Review

It's a versatile midsize SUV with top-notch features and enough room for the whole family.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Ed Hellwig
Edmunds Editor

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.



what's new

After nine years of production, GMC has finally given its popular Acadia SUV a full redesign. The 2017 GMC Acadia is smaller than its predecessor. Compared to the last Acadia, the 2017 model is 7.2 inches shorter in overall length, 3.5 inches narrower and 6.6 inches shorter in height. These changes translate to a reduction in passenger and cargo space, but it still remains competitive with other midsize SUVs, and what it loses in size it makes up for with improvements elsewhere. The 2017 Acadia is also some 700 pounds lighter, which, along with a newly available four-cylinder engine, helps to improve fuel economy. With the smaller footprint and weight reduction, it's easier to maneuver and drive around turns with confidence, too. A V6 engine is still available, along with all-wheel drive. Also new for 2017 is an All Terrain model. Contrary to its name, though, it is limited to light off-roading. It also does away with the third row of seats for added cargo capacity.

we recommend

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.

trim tested

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).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

4.5 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking4.0 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling4.0 / 5.0
Drivability5.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort5.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration5.0 / 5.0
Climate control4.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.5 / 5.0
Driving position3.5 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality3.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage2.5 / 5.0
Cargo space4.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation4.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration5.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
A strong all-around performer, the Acadia is well suited to its mission as a comfortable, easy-to-drive family hauler. There is never a lack of power with the V6 engine, and the ride quality is well controlled over most roads. Strong, easy-to-modulate brakes round out its impressive capabilities.

acceleration

edmunds rating
When equipped with the V6 engine, the Acadia is never at a loss for power. It takes off from a stop quickly and pulls up hills with ease. We measured a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds, which is impressive for a vehicle of this size.

braking

edmunds rating
The Acadia has a well-tuned braking system that drivers of all types will find accommodating. An easy-to-modulate pedal and plenty of stopping power. Our testing showed that, even after multiple aggressive stops, there was no loss of stopping power.

steering

edmunds rating
Lightly weighted steering makes it easy to maneuver in parking lots and at speed on the highway. The drawback, however, is limited road feel when you're driving around turns.

handling

edmunds rating
It tends to want to push wide in turns, which is typical in a vehicle like this, but overall it handles its considerable weight quite well.

drivability

edmunds rating
Overall feel from the steering, the brakes, the pedal and suspension is excellent. It's very well tuned for this kind of vehicle. The V6 is strong at all speeds, and the transmission is responsive to your gas pedal inputs.

comfort

edmunds rating
The Acadia is a very comfortable vehicle for road trips or daily errands. The Acadia has soft, forgiving seats and a compliant suspension that smooths out most road imperfections. Road and wind noise is also kept well in check.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The front seats don't have aggressive bolstering but are comfortable over several hours. The rear seats have short cushions but are well contoured. The third row is tighter than in the previous Acadia. There's enough room for carpool duty, but longer trips would be uncomfortable even for kids.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The Acadia gets high marks. It soaks up rough roads very well and with very little cabin noise intrusion. It's not too soft and always feels in control. The All Terrain model is surprisingly supple for a vehicle with 20-inch wheels and tires.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Very quiet on the road. There's minimal wind or road noise when you're driving on the highway, and engine noise rarely intrudes. High marks.

climate control

edmunds rating
There's a dual automatic climate control up front along with additional controls for the rear. The layout is simple with minimal buttons. There are eight fan speeds, and the lowest speed is acceptably low. Dual seat heaters (back/cushion) and ventilation are available depending on trim.

interior

edmunds rating
The overall design of the interior is straightforward with easy-to-use controls. It feels more like a car from behind the wheel compared to some of its competitors, but outward visibility is about the same. Shorter drivers will appreciate its relatively low step-in height.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The Acadia uses the same overall layout as the GMC Sierra pickup, which is good. A minimal number of knobs and buttons makes it easy to figure things out. But it's not very luxurious looking.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
A low step-in height makes it very easy to get in and out. An average-size adult will fall slightly when getting in, so there's no climbing up into the Acadia. The doors are light, and they open wide. We're not fans of the door handle design, however, because the handles can pinch fingers easily.

driving position

edmunds rating
Feels more carlike than the Honda Pilot. The windshield angle is steep, but the base of the windshield sits low. You can rest your elbows easily on the door and the center console.

roominess

edmunds rating
With the seat all the way back, you can barely reach the pedals. And your head is nowhere near the ceiling. The high console makes it feel a little tight up front. The second row is about average, but the third row is very tight.

visibility

edmunds rating
The steep windshield angle reduces the overall view forward. The windshield pillars are average-size. The rearmost pillars are thick with smallish back windows. The mirrors are average size. The rearview camera has good coverage but not the clearest picture.

quality

edmunds rating
Inside, the parking button is off center. The quarter panels at the front roof pillar don't line up on the inside or outside. Other interior areas look and feel fine.

utility

edmunds rating
There's a decent amount of space with the second row folded, but the 2017 Acadia isn't outstanding in any other areas. There's not an abundance of storage space up front, and the limited area behind the third row means you need to pack light.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
The center console is deep but square, so it doesn't fit anything longer than a pen. There is a small bin in front of the shifter for things such as keys. The shallow door bins don't hold anything very sizable. There's an average-sized glovebox and a place for sunglasses in the overhead console.

cargo space

edmunds rating
Open the liftgate and you've got a wide, unobstructed cargo floor (with the third-row seat folded) to work with. Remote-release handles make it easy to fold the second row. Note, however, that with the optional third row in place, there's only enough space for a couple duffle bags.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
We like the easy-to-find LATCH attachment anchor points. The raised center seat on models with the second-row bench makes it more awkward to fit a child seat in the middle.

technology

edmunds rating
The touchscreen technology interface used in the Acadia is one of the easier systems to use at a glance. It favors the features you use most often, which is a plus. Bluetooth pairing is quick and easy.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The standard GM touchscreen interface is generally good thanks to simple menus and large, easy-to-read icons. There are knobs for tuning and volume, which are always a plus. The rest of the controls are kept to a minimum to reduce clutter.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available. Bluetooth pairing is simple and quick.

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.