Are you looking to buy a vehicle that has the look and feel of an SUV but is not as large? While a desirable component of the SUV is how spacious it is, not every family needs a car that big in their garage. For the past 15 years, the GMC Acadia has been providing the same comfort and safety features of a full-sized SUV but reducing it to a mid-size aesthetic. The Acadia is known for being one of the top-selling vehicles at GMC and continues to top the charts in mid size SUVs. From its capable engines to its good gas mileage, the Acadia presents four generations of well-equipped, yet affordable models.
When looking for an SUV, it can be tiresome to find a vehicle that is both spacious yet not bulky or drives comfortably but is still safe. With the GMC Acadia, you don’t have to compromise on comfort, affordability, or aesthetics. By understanding the four generations of Acadia models, you can determine what model is the right fit for you. Read to learn more about GMC’s generations of Acadias’, their sales history, high mileage stories, testimonials, and common problems.
How Did the Acadia Get Its Name?
According to an article by NewsWheel, they determined the meaning behind the Acadia name was a reference to the similarity between the previous colonial territory and the vehicles’ abilities. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Acadia region was known for their harsh winters and heavy snow. Today, this region is known as Canada and Maine. This interpretation highlights the Acadia’s durability through all weather terrain, especially snow. The Acadia’s bold exterior design visually represents its power and strong functionality. Overall, the interpretations of the Acadia only further reveal the many layers to its success in the SUV market. Since GMC has not officially stated their reasoning behind the Acadia name, what do you think it means?
1st Generation: 2007 – 2012
The 1st Generation of GMC Acadias’ unintentionally hit the markets at the right time with the financial crisis. With people looking for affordable vehicles with lower fuel consumption, the Acadia was able to provide just that and more. Being GMC’s first-ever front-wheel-drive, the 1st Generation of Acadia started its well-known SUV feel, but on a lighter scale. The vehicle can seat seven people with foldable rows, making it easy to travel. GMC installed each 1st Generation of Acadias with 3.6L V6 6AT engines with two options: 275 HP or AWD 275 HP.
2nd Generation: 2012 – 2016
While the 1st Generation of Acadias’ set the expectations high, the 2nd Generation returned with its same beloved features enhanced. Both the interior and exterior underwent slight cosmetic changes to elevate the aesthetic and functionality of the vehicle. With advancements like SmartSlide, the 2nd Generation of Acadias’ allowed each passenger to adjust their seat to their liking. The second and third-row folds completely flat to add additional space for storage. Features like the first front-center airbag made the 2nd Generation of Acadias’ a standout compared to other mid-sized SUVs. As for the exterior, GMC installed LED running lights and wrap around the rear glass. GMC installed two options of 3.6L V6 6AT into their 2nd Generation of Acadias’: AWD 288 HP or FWD 288 HP.
3rd Generation: 2016 – 2019
Despite the success in the first two generations of Acadias’, GMC decided to decrease the dimensions for the 3rd Generation. This was a major risk given that people had not complained about the previous size. Although the Acadia was smaller, it was still able to fit three-row seating thanks to the adopted C1XX platform. As for the engine, the Acadia was available in four variations: 2.4L 6AT AWD (193HP), 2.4L 6AT FWD (193HP), 3.6L V6 6AT AWD (310 HP), and 3.6L V6 6AT FWD 310HP. These engine variations give quicker acceleration and better fuel economy. Similar to the other two generations, the 3rd Generation of Acadias’ continued to update their tech features by installing Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. GMC took a risk with the 3rd Generation of Acadias’ but it paid off as sales reached an all-time high in 2017.
4th Generation: 2019 – Present
After the hit success from 2017 sales, GMC decided to change the overall look of the Acadia for the 4th Generation. With a new redesigned exterior and interior, this generation of Acadias looks different than all other previous generations. The redeveloped SUV shows the most change from the front end of the mid-size crossover. The interior is updated with a new center console and additional storage space. Since previous Acadia generations were reported to not have enough space, GMC made sure that the 4th Generation had additional storage space. With the new features, GMC installed five different engine variations: GMC Acadia 2.0L 9AT (230 HP), GMC Acadia 2.0L 9AT AWD (230 HP), GMC Acadia 2.5L VVT 9AT AWD (193 HP), GMC Acadia 3.6L V6 VVT 9AT (310 HP), and GMC Acadia 3.6L V6 VVT 9AT AWD (310 HP).
Since the GMC Acadia first hit the market in 2007, it has maintained its high position in the midsize SUV market. With steady U.S. sales starting at 72,765 for 1st Generation Acadias’, the number has only climbed with each new generation of Acadias’. While some believed the downsizing of the Acadia would hurt the sales, the numbers seem to differ. In Acadias’ best-selling year, 2017, the 2nd Generation of models, which were downsized, hit 111,276 in sales. Despite the bold move, the GMC Acadia managed to gain more popularity in its smaller size. Check out this YouTube video on why and how GMC sold that many Acadias’ that year. As for the sales after 2017, numbers remained consistently high until the 2020-2021 models. Since customer reviews are consistently decent on these models, the low numbers could be an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acadia in the Future
With the years of ongoing success from the Acadia, GMC plans to continue improving and enhancing the vehicle. The main element of the vehicle that seems to be a focal point and topic of discussion is the size. While the Acadia has been praised in the past for its mid-size ride, there has been talk of increasing the dimensions. This could be a positive change for those who feel that the back-row seats are too cramped. On the other hand, the vehicle is becoming less mid-sized which may disinterest some drivers. The Acadia should be lined up for success since their mid-sized SUV competitors like the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave continue to grow even with larger dimensions.
High Mileage Stories
What better way to show the durability and reliability of a vehicle than by looking at high mileage stories from other customers. Forums are a great resource for car enthusiasts to talk about their vehicles and ask questions to fellow owners. On the Acadia Forum, registered user, Blthurman, wrote how his 2008 Acadia SLT has approximately 267,000 miles on it. Other than his one transmission replacement, he states that the original engine itself runs smooth. Many of the users in the forum have exceeded 150,000 miles with their Acadias’ from all different generations.
If you are interested in reading more high mileage stories on the GMC Acadia, check out this forum linked here.
Common Acadia Problems
Even though the GMC Acadia is a consistently reliable midsize SUV, just like every other vehicle, there will be some problems. From minor technical issues to usability, the Acadia is by no means a flawless vehicle. It is important to not only know all the benefits to a vehicle but the potential problems that may cost you. Learn more about the common problems in the GMC Acadia listed below:
- Check Engine warning lights on.
- Transmission breakdown.
- Leaks in the timing train.
- Stretched timing chains.
- Oil leaks.
It is important to note that the majority of these common problems are found in the first two generations of Acadias’. If you are a visual learner, check out the YouTube video linked here to learn about the top 5 problems in the 1st Generation of Acadias’.
Review by Amy C. | 2017 Acadia
“I bought my GMC Acadia in 2017. I love that it was not a minivan but had the space and set up of a minivan. It accommodates my family of six and has high-tech and safety features such as WiFi and collision alerts. It is easy to drive and I feel comfortable and safe in it.”
Review from Edmunds | 2017 Acadia
“I’ve never owned a GM before — always Ford’s or Japanese cars. But this is a great car, just the right blend of size, versatility, fuel economy, and luxury. It is a pleasure to drive. The electronics are extremely well designed — responsive, intuitive, functional. We chose this over the Honda Pilot, Kia Sorrento, and Ford Explorer, mostly because we liked the styling and the use of space. We’re really happy with it.”
Review by Jon C. | 2020 Acadia
“This vehicle has the performance and ruggedness for off-road adventures and all the creature comforts of a 3rd row SUV for city or long-distance driving. The technology, accouterments, reliability, and accessories like the unique towing package, sound system, and safety features make me a proud owner to drive this beautiful and sporty vehicle.”
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