What do our experts think of the 2023 GMC Acadia? We look at powertrain, interior options, trim levels, and more. Find out our thoughts here.
After a mild refresh last year and an all-new model coming in 2024, the 2023 Acadia is unchanged compared to the 2022 model.
2023 GMC Acadia – gmc.com | Shop 2023 GMC Acadia on Carsforsale.com
Excellent Denali trim
Very limited features
Tiny infotainment screen
We’re holding out hope for better in 2024
The base Acadia powertrain consists of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It develops 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than enough to make the Acadia feel safe and comfortable to drive in everyday traffic. In fact, that’s probably where it’s best suited too because it’s smooth and quiet in such situations. The pedals and steering wheel offer solid feedback too.
A 310 horsepower V6 is also available or standard depending on the trim and it’s pretty spry. We especially like the way it makes merging on the highway easy. Both engines are paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on all but the AT4 trim but AWD is available on the other three for a $2,000 upcharge.
While we really enjoy the ride quality of the Acadia in normal situations we should point out that even with the adaptive suspension fitted to the Denali and available on the SLT, this isn’t an athletic SUV. Pushing it hard into corners will find its limits very quickly.
Still, the vast majority of folks considering the Acadia probably aren’t channeling their inner Ayrton Senna very often. On the other side of the coin, the AT4 trim offers a few different driving modes that we haven’t had the chance to test but they certainly won’t hurt in situations where more than normal traction is required.
Regardless of engine choice, the Acadia can tow up to 4,000 pounds when equipped with GMC’s trailering package. The option costs $650 but requires you to also get the Driver Convenience Package on the SLE trim which is another $1,750.
According to the EPA, the Acadia can get up to 22 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway in its FWD four-cylinder form. Add AWD and you’ll still get 22 mpg in the city but highway numbers drop to 27 mpg. The V6 takes a city hit with scores of 19 and 27 respectively.
Where the Acadia really shines is in the cabin. It’s spacious, comfortable, and provides easy ingress and egress. Even the third row isn’t hard to reach or needlessly cramped. Cargo space behind that third row is a little limited but those who need more can move up to the Yukon or another similarly-sized SUV.
From the driver’s seat, the steering wheel is especially nice with leather wrapping, nicely executed stitch work, and aluminum panels. Sadly, that’s where the high-quality content seems to stop in the Acadia. The dash design itself is fine but it along with the rest of the interior is full of cheap feeling and looking materials. The switchgear feels like it could’ve been taken straight out of a GMC product from 2006.
The seats don’t look much newer and they don’t offer the type of high-end comfort that we expect from a brand like GMC. The new Sierra Denali could teach this midsize SUV some tricks with regard to that and we’re very hopeful that the all-new Acadia in 2024 addresses our concerns here.
Another example of disappointing interior features is the 8-inch infotainment system which hasn’t been updated in years. In terms of its user interface, speed, and functionality we actually like it quite a bit. However, it would fit a lot better in something like the Chevrolet Bolt EUV which is a lot smaller. Of course, the Bolt EUV actually has a larger 10.2-inch infotainment screen than the mid-sized Acadia SUV. That’s not a great look and it makes using the small screen even harder for both driver and passenger.
Thankfully, GMC does include a bunch of standard features that are at least comparable to what other brands do. That includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot, and a bunch of USB ports. Sadly, many more advanced features are locked into the Denali trim only and even some of those will require buyers to check additional option boxes.
The NHTSA has awarded the Acadia five stars in its crash tests. The SUV didn’t win any awards with the IIHS though. Additionally, while we applaud GMC’s inclusion of advanced safety systems like lane-keep assist, forward collision mitigation, and automatic headlights, the Acadia is still short of the tech that many other brands offer as standard equipment like adaptive cruise control.
The base Acadia comes with manual cloth seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated mirrors, an 8-inch infotainment system, six speakers, keyless ignition, and five USB ports. Every Acadia has lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and parking sensors.
The SLT adds roof rails, fog lights, remote start, leather upholstery, a hands-free tailgate, a household-style power outlet, heated front seats, an integrated navigation system, a Bose eight-speaker sound system, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. A panoramic sunroof is optional.
The AT4 focuses on off-road capability and only comes with all-wheel drive and the V6. It also gets hill descent control, hill hold assist, 17-inch wheels, and black exterior trim.
The Denali starts out with 20-inch wheels and then adds a digital driver information screen, a heads-up display, driver’s seat memory, heated second-row seats, ventilated front seats, a wireless charging pad, and a power-adjustable passenger seat. Buyers can then add a technology package with enhanced automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system. If they go for that they have access to another package with a panoramic sunroof, a tow package, and adaptive suspension dampers.
Every Acadia comes with a three-year or 36,000-mile limited warranty in addition to a five-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty. That’s about as low as it gets in this class. GMC does offer a single complimentary maintenance visit.
2023 GMC Acadia – gmc.com | Shop 2023 GMC Acadia on Carsforsale.com
The Acadia serves its purpose in the GMC lineup but it’s not pushing any of the competition to be better. Rivals from Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, and others all offer a lot more luxury, technology, and warranty coverage for the money. Jeep, Ford, and even some luxury brands like BMW and Audi have offerings at this price range too. Thankfully, GMC is about to launch an all-new Acadia so it could very well address all of our concerns. In addition, the outgoing 2023 model might end up subject to some great incentives to get them off of dealer lots and into garages.