Crossover & Midsize

Is the GMC Acadia Starting to Turn Things Around?

GMC is primarily known for its trucks and SUVs. The GMC Sierra 1500, GMC’s full-size pickup offering, is currently one of the most popular trucks in the U.S. It boasts a powerful engine, impressive technology inside, and high towing capacity. Heavy-duty versions of this truck are also available.

GMC’s SUV line isn’t as popular, especially the midsize model. Despite good fuel economy and plenty of infotainment features, the GMC Acadia always seems to fall short of its rivals. It has also consistently been awarded low reliability scores by Consumer Reports. Is there any improvement in the 2020 model?

The history of the GMC Acadia

The GMC Acadia on display at the North American International Auto Show
The GMC Acadia | Todd Korol/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Despite the low reliability scores, the GMC Acadia has gotten decent reviews from critics. The 2016 Acadia, the last model before the redesign, was praised for having a smooth ride and above-average cargo capacity. It also had great technology for its time, like a standard Wi-Fi hotspot and Bluetooth.

Still, several drivers had to have their SUVs repaired multiple times. The 2016 Acadia also had a weak engine and an excessive appetite for fuel. It’s currently one of the most affordable SUVs on the used market, and J.D. Power gave it a four out of five for reliability.

With the redesign, the 2017 model got a lot of improvements. It had better driving manners, good gas mileage, and scored better on safety tests. Consumer Reports was impressed with the Acadia’s handling and quiet interior. However, they noted that the engine was average at best. They also weren’t thrilled at the lack of extra features in pricier trims.

All of the most advanced safety features, like blind spot monitors and pre-collision braking, are also reserved for higher trims. The standard trim only includes a rearview camera. Still, Consumer Reports rated the Acadia five-out-of-five in terms of reliability in last year’s model.

What Consumer Reports thought about the 2020 GMC Acadia

While not a complete redesign, the GMC Acadia was refreshed for 2020 with a few useful additions. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is now standard on the Denali and SLT trims. A nine-speed transmission is also standard for each model – a nice upgrade from the previous six-speed transmission. 

In general, Consumer Reports had good things to say about the 2020 Acadia. They found that the ride was still smooth, especially with the available V6 engine. It can produce up to 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque.

They liked that the infotainment screen was updated with better graphics and a new interface. CR also noted that the interior was comfortable and roomy enough for multiple car seats. 

While they liked the performance of the V6 engine, they weren’t impressed with its fuel economy. It only scored a combined 19 MPG, 4 MPG less than the trim with the standard engine. Consumer Reports was also annoyed at the new electronic gear selector.

What other critics are saying

Like CR, Edmunds also appreciated the nice ride quality and the speed of the V6 engine. However, they weren’t as impressed with the interior. They noted that the driver’s console was too high and the third row was very cramped. They also didn’t like the subpar cargo capacity.

Car and Driver were big fans of the redesign. They found the electronic gear selector and infotainment system easy to use. However, they also agreed that the third row was very cramped compared to other SUVs. C&D was also put off by the Acadia’s low gas mileage.

Thanks to these flaws, the GMC Acadia has earned just an average reputation among consumers. Only time will tell if better reliability scores are enough to truly turn things around for this SUV.