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I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend

Illustration for article titled I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend
Image: Front Facia

Needing a little getaway, we headed to Vegas for the weekend. Wanting something with more room than the car, for some reason we were given an Acadia. I was on the fence about it at first. Having sold GMC in the past, the Acadia was ok first first gen. It wasn’t the best of the Lambda platformed 3 row GM crossovers though (that trophy IMO goes to the Buick Enclave). It was a comfortable vehicle. Likes, dislikes and nitpicks to follow.

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Redesigned for 2017 and receiving a facelift for 2020, the Acadia I think got smaller with the redesign. This 2nd gen rides on the C1XX platform. This platform underpins both the Cadillac XT5 and XT6, and the Chevy Blazer and Traverse and is a variation of the Epsilon platform. Keep in mind this platform is like 90% sedans. We had an SLT AWD model. With a base price of $42,895 to start, its pretty pricey. (Although right now GMC is offering $5,250 in cash allowances).

Engine & Power

There was a lot of space in this engine bay
There was a lot of space in this engine bay
Image: Me
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Power for this trim of the Acadia comes from a 2.0L 230 horse turbo 4 routed to a 9 speed auto. The engine pulls surprisingly good and doesn’t sound like a 4 cylinder at all. Gets decent gas mileage though it could be better. We averaged just under 22 mpg on our trip. Gas tank is weirdly small for a vehicle this size. Filled up, the range on this thing was just over 400 miles, and at one fill up only maxing out at 340. It was equipped with Start/Stop which thankfully could be turned off. I personally don’t care for most start/systems I’ve encountered. But I do have to say this was one of the better ones as it actually only stopped the engine in certain conditions. Most other systems stopped the engine literally every single time the vehicle came to a stop. However it is rough to start, making the vehicle shutter to life.

While the engine pulls nicely and doesn’t sound like a 4 cylinder, throttle tip in needs to be calibrated or something as I found no smooth way to take off as even the gentlest touch of the gas gave the Acadia a lurch. Driving you can feel its heft, especially loaded. I took care to not go into a curve fast in this thing. Steering feel thankfully isn’t numb and the ride is comfortable and smooth, but its boring, which is kind of a given.

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Features

The Acadia came nicely equipped. As it should for being nearly $43 large. As I mentioned before, this is the SLT trim, which sits between the not quite as base as an SL SLE, and the wanna be offroader AT4. So it came equipped with things like leather seating (actual leather, not that faux stuff that looks ok and is long lasting), an in vehicle hotspot, and heated power heated front seats. Though there were some weird or annoying things I found with the interior.

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Illustration for article titled I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend
Photo: Me

The infotainment system worked good. The Acadia comes standard with both Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, both of which make the standard in dash navigation system useless. However the system was laggy and prone to freezing. It always somehow seized up when I needed it most.

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Illustration for article titled I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend
Photo: Me

The system was also equipped with GM’s weird new but kinda cool in vehicle Marketplace. Here you can order food and look up gas stations and local stores. But it was a gimmick as both the in dash nav and both Andriod Auto & Apple CarPlay (along with your phone itself) could do these things better and most likely faster.

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Illustration for article titled I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend
Photo: Me

Another feature that was weirdly designed was the drive mode selector. On this trim there were 4: 2wd, 4wd (which then lit up a red AWD indicator on the rotary dial itself along with showing 4x4 in the Driver Info Center screen) Sport, and Off road. Non AWD equipped Acadia’s with this same engine only have 3 modes: Touring, Sport & Snow. In AWD mode, especially off road, the system could send up to 85% of engine power to whatever wheel is needed. I sadly didn’t get a chance to test this. Its weird though that any mode selected other than 2wd has the vehicle in AWD mode. Meaning that in Sport mode, the Acadia can only be in AWD.

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Illustration for article titled I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend
Photo: Me

I also couldn’t get used to the push button gear selector. I appreciated the fact that it frees up space for much needed storage, but it still takes some getting used to. Especially if you’re the type of person that likes to rest their hand on a gear selector while they drive like me. The buttons, mainly reverse and drive, also don’t engage a lot of time when they are first pushed. You have to push them with a little effort (I should clarify that both reverse and drive are pulled buttons.)

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And one thing me and my son both could appreciate was the second row climate controls and the 4 USB ports and one home style power outlet located in the second row ( One USB port was in the front console, 2 were below the second row climate controls and one was way back in the 3rd row).

Seating/Cargo Capacity

Illustration for article titled I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend
Photo: Me
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Legroom was good in the first and 2nd rows. The second row bench not only slides fore & aft, but also independently reclines. So each 60/40 half can recline.

Illustration for article titled I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend
Photo: Me
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The 3rd row was small of course, which seems to be par for the course with these midsize crossovers. Its small. With seating for 2 small to medium sized adults, I wouldn’t advise anyone over the height of 5’6 to sit in the 3rd row. A Dodge Challenger literally has more legroom in its back seat than the Acadia does in the 3rd row.

Illustration for article titled I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend
Photo: Me
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Cargo volume with the 3rd row up is as bad as the legroom. There’s just 12.8 cubic ft of cargo volume with the 3rd row up. So if you actually have to carry 7 people and their stuff, your almost SOL as the only way you can go with carrying things with the 3rd row up is up. And then you start to impede on rear window visibility. However it gets cavernous with both rows folded, growing to almost 42 cubic ft with the 3rd row folded and 79 cubic ft with both rows folded.

Design

Illustration for article titled I had a 2021 GMC Acadia for the weekend
Photo: Me
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The interior is...ok. It leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. To me its not that handsome, rather...its very GM. There are soft touch plastic and some nice stitching along the dash that matches the stitching on the seats, but it doesn’t wow you. It almost comes across as utilitarian and wouldn’t be out of place with a column shifter in a Sierra. I didn’t care for the exterior much either. It comes across as smaller than it really is and is too close in design to the smaller Terrain. Especially at first glance from both the side and the rear.

Overall, the Acadia is a nice package. At best though its merely a decent family hauler that’s not only superseded by its own GM corporate cousins ( I would say better money is spent on a Traverse or a Yukon) but by the competition as well. Awkwardly small styling, an almost useless 3rd row, a high starting price and being just plain boring to drive would have me looking elsewhere were I in the market for something like this.

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