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GMC has been around since the turn of the 20th century, and since then, it's become a household name amongst millions of different drivers. Over the years, GMC vehicles have impressed both fans and critics alike, and some legendary lineups have been produced by the manufacturer since its foundation in 1911. One of the most popular of these lineups is the Acadia. Keeping up with an evolving market, the Acadia was released back in 2006 and was an instant success, both with long-term fans and new ones as well. About a decade into its life, GMC would refresh the Acadia with a new design, one that boasted a smaller form-factor yet retained all of the versatility that it had become known for. To this day, this lineup remains one of the most prominent choices for a midsize SUV, and the 2021 GMC Acadia is no exception.
While shopping for your Acadia, it’ll become apparent how customizable the experience is, and this is best seen in the array of available trims. The base SL trim starts at an MSRP of $29,800. One of the most substantial highlights of the 2021 Acadia is all of the features that come standard, even on this base model. A majority of these features are found inside of the vehicle itself, namely connectivity features from the integrated infotainment center. The SLE and SLT are the next two available trims and are often categorized together because of a host of similarities.
Most notably between the SLE and SLT, the SLT features a plethora of luxurious enhancements such as a leather steering wheel, a much more pronounced audio system, and of course, a turbocharged engine that’s both more powerful and efficient than its standard counterpart. The next two trims, the AT4 and Denali, completely flip the script, with the former being best-suited for off-road adventures, and the Denali mixes luxury with performance thanks to its included V6 engine.
The 2021 GMC Acadia is versatile with three available powertrain configurations that include a V6, a turbocharged 4-cylinder, and a standard 4-cylinder engine. Coming standard on both the SL and SLE trims is a 2.5L 4-cylinder that produces 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque that comes paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, this 4-cylinder engine manages to be quite fuel-efficient, regardless that it’s not turbocharged. Acadias with this engine and front-wheel drive will achieve EPA-estimated ratings of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.
As previously mentioned, the Acadia lineup also offers a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that increases performance with 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This engine also comes paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission and achieves greater fuel-efficiency than the stock Acadia engine by achieving EPA-estimated ratings of 22 miles per gallon city and 29 miles per gallon highway with front-wheel drive. While the performance increase brought by this engine is noticeable, it’s thwarted by the available V6 engine.
Higher-tier trims of the Acadia, such as the AT4 and Denali, will come equipped with a 3.6L V6 engine, and much like the previous two offerings, this engine will come paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Comparing this V6 to both its traditional and turbocharged 4-cylinder variants, the V6 offers massive performance gains while retaining respectable fuel-efficiency. Equipping your Acadia with this engine means it’ll produce 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, towing becomes even more accessible with this engine as it allows the Acadia to tow a maximum of 4,000 lbs when properly equipped.
With the GMC Acadia, one of the highlights of its mass-appeal is its modernized interior coupled with its excellent value. It’s no secret that plenty of lineups today require relevancy to stand a chance in today’s market. GMC is noticeably better at this than plenty of other manufacturers, and this is especially the case with lineups such as the Acadia. In today’s market, purchasing a base model vehicle typically results in a rather minimalistic feature set. For the GMC Acadia, this is absolutely not the case, and even by purchasing a base Acadia, you’ll have plenty of state-of-the-art amenities.
Among the features that come standard with the Acadia, you’ll be treated to a robust and versatile infotainment center. This is an impressive infotainment system with its large 8-inch display with fully-integrated wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are highly requested features. Additionally, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot comes standard with the Acadia, meaning either you or any of your passengers can utilize a faster internet connection, even when in the mountains camping.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow you to combine the most crucial features of your phone, such as hands-free phone calls, changing music, and setting directions, with your vehicle’s infotainment center. Historically, these software suites were only viable by connecting your smartphone to the infotainment center through one of the integrated USB ports. While the Acadia does come standard with a staggering five ports for charging and syncing-related purposes, the Acadia’s implementation of these software suites means no cable is required whatsoever.
The 2021 GMC Acadia is a midsize SUV offering seating for up to seven, meaning you can fit the whole family. It has a very spacious interior, with 40-inches of headroom and 41-inches of legroom up in the front row. Additionally, the Acadia offers 39.6-inches of headroom and 39.7-inches of legroom in the second-row, and the third row receives 37.2-inches of headroom and 29.7-inches of legroom. Sitting inside the Acadia is a comfortable experience, especially if you include the additional 8-way power driver’s seat and or passenger’s seat as well.
The Acadia lends itself to luxurious enhancements that you may opt for depending on the trim level you’ve selected, such as leather seating. Impressively, the Acadia remains spacious enough for large amounts of cargo as it supports a maximum capacity of 79 cu.ft. when both rows are folded downwards. If you need some seating, you still get 41.7 cu.ft. with only the third-row folded down, and lastly, 12.8 cu.ft. of just trunk space when all the seats are in use.
The Acadia is equally as reliable as it’s performant and versatile. Opting for the three higher-tier trims, the SLT, AT4, and Denali, means you’ll be receiving the popular GMC Pro Safety Plus package at no extra charge. Should you choose the SLE trim, this package is available to add-on; however, it’s not available on the base SL trim. With GMC Pro Safety Plus, your Acadia will come equipped with features such as Automatic Emergency Braking, which works in tandem with other included features such as Front Pedestrian Braking and Forward Collision Alert. These features are designed to minimize the severity of any potential impact by alerting the driver beforehand to potential danger and applying additional braking pressure when needed.
Intellibeam Automatic Headlights are also part of this safety package and will shift your headlights on and off depending on current road visibility and if it senses other vehicles. Another included feature is Adaptive Cruise Control along with Rear Park Assist. Adaptive Cruise Control is also dynamic, much like the Intellibeam headlights. However, this safety feature will adjust the speed of the vehicle according to any surrounding vehicles and how far they are from the driver. If the vehicle in front of you slows down, Adaptive Cruise Control will match their speed; when the way ahead clears, the system will bring you back to your pre-assigned speed.
Rear Park Assist is helpful with assisting you in reversing into a parking space by warning you of any potential obstructions such as another vehicle, for example. Lastly, Lane Keep Assist is also included alongside Lane Departure Warning, the latter of which will alert you if you’re accidentally switching lanes. Lane Keep Assist will provide very slight input to your steering wheel to correct your vehicle’s placement in the correct lane.