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2019 GMC Acadia Review

The 2019 GMC Acadia doesn’t stand out but is a solid choice for those who only need a third row occasionally

The 2019 GMC Acadia seats up to seven passengers and is a solid, straight-shooting crossover SUV with families in mind.

Though not a standout, the 2019 Acadia lineup is very good at a wide range of SUV activities, and as such, we’ve rated it at 6.0 out of 10. 

Those familiar with the previous generation Acadia should note that the 2019 model is significantly smaller than the 2016 and earlier versions. If you’re looking for something as big as the old Acadia without opting for a truck-based SUV, check out the Chevrolet Traverse.

For the 2019 model year, the Acadia sees minor updates, including the Black Edition appearance package. Available on the SLT trim, it includes 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with black accents, black grille, headlamp and taillamp details, mirror caps, roof rails, and more. The Acadia All Terrain also gets new 17-inch wheels, and the 2019 Acadia features four new exterior colors: Dark Sky Metallic, Pepperdust Metallic, Red Quartz Metallic, and Smokey Quartz Metallic.

The Acadia is available in SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali trims, with the All Terrain package an option on SLE and SLT vehicles. A 2.5-liter four cylinder is standard on most trims, but we recommend opting for the optional 3.6-liter V-6, which packs much more power and capability. Acadias come in either front- or all-wheel drive, though don’t expect rock-crawling off-road chops with the latter, as it’s more geared for inclement weather situations.

While hardly engaging, the Acadia rides and handles like you’d want a competent family SUV to do, meaning it’s comfortable, composed, and bordering on spry.

A standout of the Acadia experience is its interior, which has good room for four adults and can fit up to seven passengers in a pinch despite its somewhat narrow footprint. The available third row won’t be suitable for most adults, but kids should find themselves plenty comfortable.

One area the Acadia could stand to improve in is safety technology, as customers must opt for the SLT or Denali trims to even have automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. While other manufacturers start to make these features standard equipment on all of their vehicles—namely big competitors like Toyota and Nissan—it would benefit GMC to play along too.

Fuel economy is middle of the pack as well, scoring 20 mpg combined with the optional V-6 equipped with all-wheel drive.

With mature, attractive design elements outside, the 2019 GMC Acadia is slightly let down by its bland interior.

We’re big fans of the curvaceous design of the 2019 GMC Acadia, which manages to incorporate masculine cues without being too brash. The All-Terrain appearance package adds an extra level of ruggedness for those looking to go off the beaten path. Inside is a different story, however, as the Acadia’s cabin is clean-cut but nothing special. Accordingly, we’ve given this crossover 6 out of 10 points. 

The 2019 Acadia features a utilitarian two-box design that features a number of interesting curves. Typical of other GMCs, the squared-off wheel arches make for a more truck-like look, and a chrome strip that loops around the front two rows is an interesting design feature.

Out back, the Acadia sports large taillights with a chrome piece connecting them. Acadias equipped with the All-Terrain or new Black Edition packages dial back the glitz significantly, while the Denali trim turns chrome up to 11.
Interior trimmings are pleasing enough and available in several different fabrics and colors, but the symmetrical design already feels dated despite being only a few years old.

Like a good family crossover SUV should be, the 2019 GMC Acadia is comfortable and capable.

The 2019 GMC Acadia is available with one of two engines and either front- or all-wheel drive, making for a frugal, capable ride around town, on the highway, and in inclement weather. The 2019 Acadia wins a point from us for its good ride quality and is close to a second for the power and performance of the optional V-6. Overall, we’ve given it a 6 out of 10 on our scale.

The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline-4 which makes 193 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. Unlike some competitors, this engine doesn’t make use of a turbocharger, but it likely doesn’t need one, especially mated to a slick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission.

The optional powertrain is a strong, quiet 3.6-liter V-6, which makes a respectable 310 hp and 271 pound-feet of torque. It’s available on all but the base SL trim and is standard on the Acadia Denali. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic as well and can be had with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard across the range except on Denali. Those who do opt for all-wheel drive get a mode select knob that engages sport, towing, and off-road modes, as well as the ability to switch between two- and four-wheel drive to save fuel on days with nice weather. Just remember to switch it back to all-wheel drive on wintry days.

The Acadia features nicely-weighted steering through its thick four-spoke steering wheel, and while V-6 models are a bit heavier out front, overall, it handles nicely in everyday situations. The standout for the Acadia’s driving experience is its independent suspension, which absorbs road imperfections with ease, despite riding on wheels as large as 18 or 20 inches on higher trim levels. One thing to note: the Acadia All Terrain is more about style than off-road chops. It receives only a slightly revised traction control mode for off-road driving.

Comfort & Quality
A tight third row seat nearly spoils a comfortable first and second row in the 2019 GMC Acadia.

Our tests have found the 2019 GMC Acadia to be comfortable in general, but not in all situations. The smaller footprint of the redesigned model makes for a tighter interior with every seat filled. We’ve doled out points for solid build quality and comfortable front seats, but the tight third row and limited cargo capacity with all seats in place were enough to warrant docking a point, for a total of 6 out of 10. 

Most trim levels have optional dual captains’ chairs in the second row, reducing total occupancy to 6 people, and the All Terrain package deletes the third row seat but adds a bench seat in the middle for up to five passengers.

Frontward visibility is good and the forward seats are comfortable and adjustable in a myriad of ways. The second row is easily accessible and has decent room all around for the outboard seats, but the middle seat is a tight squeeze. Speaking of tight squeezes, the third row is best suited for children, as adults of most sizes will find it pretty snug.

With the third row intact, the Acadia only manages 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space, barely half that of its predecessor. However, a maximum cargo capacity of 79 cubic feet helps assuage the disappointment.

The cabin makes use of soft-touch materials well, but the pricey SLT and Denali trims don’t feel quite as posh as their price points would suggest, though all Acadias we’ve tested have a quality-built feel.

The 2019 GMC Acadia saves its best safety features for high-spec models, which is a shame.

The 2019 GMC Acadia should receive the same solid reviews as the 2018 model in the crash-test department seeing as it’s largely unchanged, but we still would prefer that GMC offer advanced safety tech on all trim levels.

As such, we’ve given the Acadia 5 out of 10 points for safety asyou’d be wise to carefully parse through the options list if safety is of importance. It gets a point above average for a five-star rating in the NHTSA’s testing but then loses that for pricey active-safety tech standard on some rivals. 

Every version of the 2019 Acadia gets 7 airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and a backup camera. The Driver Alert Package 1 is optional on SLE-2s and standard on SLT-1s and itincludes blind-spot monitors, rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Those looking for the whole shebang will have to step up to SLT-2 or Denali for the Driver Alert Package 2. This includes low-speed automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, front parking sensors, and active lane control, features standard on many rivals

Standard across the range, a rear-seat detection system is a neat feature that reminds you if a child or pet might be in the back seat but be wary of placing bags or other heavy items there because you’ll get a warning every time you exit the vehicle.

The 2019 Acadia hasn’t yet been crash tested, but the IIHS gave the 2018 model a “Good” score in every category other than headlights for the sub-par performance of the base halogen lamps, keeping it from Top Safety Pick consideration.

The NHTSA scored all-wheel-drive versions of the Acadia at five stars overall, but the front-drive version curiously received a four-star overall rating due to a slightly higher risk of rollover in the government’s calculations.

An updated infotainment system and a wide variety of trim levels makes the 2019 GMC Acadia a feature-packed crossover SUV.

The 2019 GMC Acadia is available in six different trim levels, from budget-minded to near-luxury vehicle specification. We’ve given it extra points for standard features, customization options includinghigh-end Denali trim, and large infotainment screen for a total of 8 out of 10.

The base SL trim is the entry to the Acadia lineup, and is available only with a 4-cylinder engine. However, all SL models get a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 17-inch alloy wheels, three-zone automatic climate control, and seven passenger occupancy. The four-way manual driver’s seat is less than desirable, though, and no major options are available.

The real base trim for most buyers will likely be the SLE, which comes with either engine option available and front- or all-wheel drive. The SLE trim is split into SLE-1 and SLE-2 in terms of options, and the SLE-1 packs satellite radio, floor mats, and not much else. Stepping up to the SLE-2 gets you an eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and remote start capability. The SLE-2 maintains its optional All Terrain trim package, which adds off-road mode but removes the third row of seats.

That very same package is available on the SLT-1 trim, but with 20-inch alloy wheels. Other SLT-1 Acadias get leather seats,  Bose audio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, blind spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

The near-fully-loaded SLT-2 package receives only the V-6 engine and includes front and rear parking sensors, heated rear seats, and more.

At the top of the range, the Acadia Denali is almost a luxury vehicle, as you can tell by its chrome visual cues, ventilated front seats, and glitzy 20-inch wheels. The Denali and SLT-2 are the only trims that offer automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, and active lane control as standard, with both audible warnings and a buzzing driver’s seat.

Fuel Economy
The 2019 GMC Acadia is no mileage superstar, but it’s reasonably efficient for a family crossover.

Let’s face it, the 2019 GMC Acadia was never going to be a fuel miser, but both power and drivetrain options score well enough to earn a 4 out of 10.

The base four-cylinder is the leanest of the group, with the fuel economy star coming in the form of a front-wheel drive, 4-cylinder Acadia, which manages 21 mpg in the city, 26 on the highway, and 23 combined according to EPA testing. All-wheel drive drops those numbers slightly to 21/25/23.

The V-6 is thirstier, predictably, but both engines run on regular fuel, and front-wheel drive V-6s manage 18/25/21 mpg while all-wheel drive brings those numbers down to 17/25/20 mpg. Acadias with the 4-cylinder also feature stop/start technology that kills the engine while at idle to save fuel.

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