A top trim SUV can be quite expensive for most people. When buying one, it would be easy to assume that lots of common features would automatically be included. It turns out this isn’t the case with the 2021 GMC Acadia, even in the highest trim level. Along with lower predicted reliability ratings, its interior finish and missing features keep the 2021 GMC Acadia from finishing at the top of its class. It’s still a practical SUV, though, with other qualities to recommend it.
What’s missing from the 2021 model?
Consumer Reports notes that several common features are not available in the 2021 GMC Acadia. That includes a four-way lumbar adjustment, a power sunshade, and auto-up for all windows. The starting price of the top Denali trim is almost $50,000, but that still doesn’t provide access to these features, which Consumer Reports says are common “even on $30,000 cars.”
The Denali trim does provide other added comfort features like a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel.
There also aren’t many standard advanced safety features. Blind-spot warning is a standard feature, but forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are both optional. The hard-plastic materials and the finish also don’t make the Acadia seem more luxurious. Soft-touch materials are only in some spots. Consumer Reports even disliked the carpeting and the fake wood trim.
The quiet interior of the 2021 GMC Acadia
The interior of the GMC Acadia is very quiet, and the top Denali trim is extra quiet since it has additional noise insulation. The Acadia can seat five to seven people, depending on how the seats are configured. Buyers can select captain’s chairs for the second row. The third row has plenty of headroom, although the legroom is limited.
The interior has some nice features for families, including a pull-out drawer under the center console. It’s also possible to fold down the second-row seats for third-row entry without removing a LATCH-installed, forward-facing child seat. There is a reminder feature to make sure children haven’t been forgotten in the SUV.
The cargo space is smaller than in competing SUVs, according to U.S. News. It has 12.8 cubic feet behind the third row, which increases to 41.7 cubic feet with the third row folded down. With both rows folded down, it has 79 cubic feet of cargo room, which is about average.
Engine options in the 2021 GMC Acadia
The GMC Acadia has a standard 193-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine along with front-wheel drive, although this engine isn’t very impressive, according to U.S. News. The other two engines are “more energetic.” There is a 230-hp turbocharged four-cylinder and a 310-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine. All three engines are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Consumer Reports finds the Acadia’s ride to be “firm, yet steady and controlled.” Its handling is “responsive and very secure,” especially considering it’s a large, three-row SUV. It has all-wheel drive and is able to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 6.8 seconds. The EPA estimate for fuel efficiency is 19 MPG combined, but that still isn’t as good as some of its competitors. The Acadia can tow up to 4,000 pounds, less than either the Ford Explorer or Toyota Highlander. It also isn’t meant for off-road driving, aside from the AT4 trim.
Technology and safety features in the 2021 GMC Acadia
The infotainment system is easy to use and is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All trims have an 8-inch touchscreen plus a six-speaker audio system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and five USB ports. Available options include “wireless device charging, navigation, an eight-speaker Bose audio system, HD Radio, and a rear-seat entertainment system,” according to U.S. News.
The 2021 GMC Acadia comes standard with several advanced safety features: a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring with lane change alert, rear-seat reminder, and teen driver settings. More advanced safety features are available options, including rear camera mirror, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, surround-view parking camera system, front parking sensors, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and a safety alert driver’s seat.
Redesigned for 2017, the second-generation Acadia is smaller, lighter, and more fuel-efficient. Consumer Report calls it “a competitive, practical, and pleasant family hauler.” The 2021 GMC Acadia is a quiet SUV that’s nice to drive, even if it doesn’t have all the features buyers want for the price.