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With seating for up to seven, up to 4,000 pounds of towing capacity, and refined looks, the GMC Acadia is an SUV that works well for professionals and families. Since most people are a little bit of both, it turns out to be a versatile choice with a lot of seating and cargo options.

In 2020, the GMC Acadia has a suite of features that makes it a real competitor in the crossover SUV market, and it’s a popular anti-minivan that gives you capability without compromising your cool. But, there’s one model year you should think twice about buying.

The GMC Acadia as a minivan alternative

The key factor that makes Acadia a popular choice among those who might have picked a minivan are the seating options. Seating for seven passengers seating is a must for many parents, and the Acadia delivers with a ton of seating flexibility.

There is a third row that seats two people and a second row that seats three. You can conveniently fold the second-row flat using levers that are in the rear cargo area. This means you can get an entirely flat load floor with 79 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, all without crawling around the vehicle or even having to go to the side doors. 

Another thing drivers like about the Acadia is the suite of technological features that keeps passengers fully in touch. The vehicle sets up a personal profile that tailors the infotainment system to their preference. That means climate settings, audio, and navigation systems can be separately programmed to each driver’s key fob, which means Acadia is instantly custom-tailored to whoever is behind the wheel. 

The worst year for the GMC Acadia

Although the new Acadia’s are impressive, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of the 2008 Acadia, according to customer complaints. That’s because transmission problems are nothing to be trifled with, and the ’08 model had a huge spike in reported transmission issues.

In fact, the 2008 transmission issue is number one of GMC Acadia’s problems in its entire production lifetime. The site also ranked 2008 Acadia’s worst year for additional problems including repair cost and average mileage when repairs were needed.

Other than the transmission and other complaints, that year’s GMC Acadia was an average crossover. In 2008, Acadia had standard features including GM’s OnStar system with one year of complimentary service, seven-passenger seating, sliding second-row seats, AM/FM/CD stereo, dual exhaust with chrome tips, rear spoiler, fog lamps, and 18-inch wheels.

Safety features included StabiliTrak with rollover mitigation, a tire pressure monitoring system, six airbags, and anti-lock brakes. Optional features included dual sunroofs, a touch screen navigation system, rear park assist, as well as an eight-passenger seating option. 

GMC Acadia transmission complaints 

Transmission failure is an expensive and frustrating problem, especially in an SUV that should have many more years of service. The 2008 GMC Acadia’s 4.6-liter engine was paired with the GMC 6T75 transmission, a six-speed, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive transaxle equipped with an electronically controlled torque converter clutch.

This transmission was fitted in both the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models. The transmission failure generally happened at around 84,000 miles and cost owners an average of $3,600 to fix. The most common solutions were replacing the transmission entirely, replacing the torque converter, or getting the transmission fixed under warranty. 

Even though generally speaking the Acadia’s transmission has very few reported problems, 2008 was another story entirely. It’s best for pre-owned buyers to avoid that year to avoid headaches, as previous and subsequent years had no such transmission issues.

In fact, that six-speed transmission has been replaced in 2020 with an all-new, electronically controlled, 9-speed automatic transmission that promises optimized efficiency and acceleration.