The GMC Acadia went through a substantial refresh in 2020 that brought in a new look, an updated transmission, a turbocharged engine, and more. With these nips and tucks entering only their second year, we expect the 2021 GMC Acadia to roll in as a carryover model.
The refreshed 2020 Acadia is such a striking contrast to the previous model that it’s easy to mistake it for a full redesign. Up front, it gained a revamped grille, squared-off headlights, and a new bumper, which come together to create a bolder look to better match its pickup siblings. In the rear, the new-look Acadia gained C-shaped taillights with longer upper sections and a new bumper. We expect this new look and the new-for-2020 AT4 trim to carry on unchanged in the 2021 Acadia.
Inside, the revised GMC Acadia’s updates are a little more subtle, but they are still easy to spot. The most significant visual change was replacing the traditional shifter with a rotary unit, which allowed the automaker to place the front cup holders side by side instead of in tandem. GMC also added a new infotainment system with improved navigation and fast-charging USB-C ports. We expect this updated interior to continue unchanged in the 2021 GMC Acadia.
Along with its new look, the Acadia gained an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 230 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This engine sits between the base 193-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder and the range-topping 310-hp 3.6-liter V6. A new-for-2020 nine-speed automatic transmission ships power to the front wheels or all four wheels with optional all-wheel drive. We expect all the powertrain details to remain the same in the 2021 Acadia.
The GMC Acadia has been through most of the IIHS’ bang-up tests and performed well structurally with “Good” crash-test scores. It also received a “Superior” rating in the forward-crash prevention test, but only with the enhanced automatic emergency braking system included with the Technology Package. With the less-advanced AEB system, the Acadia received just an “Advanced” rating. Making matters worse, this less-advanced AEB system is standard only on the Denali trim and available as a part of the Driver Alert Package II in other trims. We expect the 2021 Acadia to have the same standard safety equipment and ratings.