After being refreshed last year, the 2021 GMC Acadia enters the new model year with minor changes. The crossover SUV now comes with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard. There’s a new Elevation Package on SLE and SLT trims that brings 20-inch wheels and black exterior trim.
While nice, the changes don’t help the Acadia stand out as a go-to option in the crowded midsize segment. While it has some upscale tech features, its cabin doesn’t look as nice as some rivals, the third row is cramped, and cargo space isn’t as generous as other options.
Choosing Your GMC Acadia
There are five available trim levels for the Acadia: SL, SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali. Prices start at $30,995 including destination for the base SL trim and go up to $47,495 for the Denali.
GMC offers three different engines for the Acadia. The SL and SLE come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, while the SLT comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. A 3.6-liter V6 is standard on the AT4 and Denali, and available on the SLE for $1,495 or 495 on the SLT trim.
|Fuel Economy (Combined)
|2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder
All three motors are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on all but the AT4, which gets all-wheel drive from the jump. AWD costs $3,200 on the SLE, $2,000 on the SLT and Denali, and is unavailable on the SL.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The Acadia is available in multiple seating arrangements that include five-, six-, or seven-passenger configurations. The SL has seating for up to seven, while the SLE, SLT, and Denali are fitted with second-row captain’s chairs that drop capacity to six. The AT4 is offered with five seats.
Second-row captain’s chairs are available on the SLE trim for free. The SLT and Denali trims are offered with a second-row bench seat at no additional cost. The AT4 can be had with a seven-passenger layout for free.
Cargo capacity for the Acadia is below average for the segment. It offers just 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Folding the rear seats down opens the cargo space up to 41.7 cubic feet, while total cargo capacity measures in at 79 cubic feet of cargo space with both back rows folded down.
Rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera, lane change alert, and rear parking sensors are standard on every Acadia. The base SL trim isn’t available with any optional safety features.
The SLE is available with the GMC Pro Safety Plus Package for no additional cost, but it's only available with the V6 engine. That adds automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, pedestrian detection, front parking sensors, lane departure warning, and automatic headlights. The SLT and above come with these features standard.
A surround-view camera and adaptive cruise control are available on the Denali trim as part of the $5,045 Denali Ultimate Package.
GMC offers an intuitive infotainment system that features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which aren’t found on a lot of other competitors in the class. Other standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker audio system, wi-fi hot spot, five USB ports (two front, two second row, and one third row), and Bluetooth.
The SLT trim adds navigation, satellite radio, HD radio, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system. The range-topping Denali adds a head-up display, wireless charging, and an 8-inch digital gauge cluster into the mix.
Standard features on the SL trim include cloth upholstery, 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, tri-zone automatic climate control, manually adjustable front seats, keyless entry, and push button start.
The SLE trim comes with a lot of the same features as the entry-level SL, but adds 18-inch wheels, a roadside emergency kit, and it brings a host of available features.
The new Elevation Edition is available for $1,495. The Driver Convenience Package ($1,750) brings remote start, heated front seats, an eight-way driver’s seat, a hands-free liftgate, and roof rails.
The SLT brings the turbo four-cylinder engine as standard. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, LED fog lights, remote start, roof rails, a universal garage door opener, an eight-way power driver’s seat, and a hands-free liftgate are standard. This is also the trim that gets navigation and the extra safety features.
Buyers can equip the head-up display and a surround-view camera through the $1,000 Technology Package.
The most rugged trim in the lineup, the AT4 is the first to come with the V6 engine as standard. Beyond the engine, it also comes with unique 17-inch wheels, standard all-wheel drive, all-terrain tires, black exterior accents, and special AT4 badges.
The Denali trim stands out from the class with a host of upscale features. A head-up display, wireless charger, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, an eight-way power passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, perforated leather upholstery, and 20-inch wheels are standard.
The Denali Ultimate Package costs $5,045 and brings a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, an adaptive suspension, and a rear camera mirror.
With the 2021 GMC Acadia, the most important upgrade is to get one of the more powerful engines. The SLT is the first to come with the more powerful turbocharged engine and is the sweet spot in the lineup when it comes to features.