By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.1
Sharing the same platform as the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave, the 2015 GMC Acadia 8-passenger SUV diverges from its cousins with a more rugged exterior appearance and near-Cadillac-like luxury, especially in Denali trim. Inside, the Acadia offers plenty of room for adults, including in the rear-most seat. Moreover, unlike competitors such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota Highlander, the Acadia provides a good deal of cargo space with the 3rd-row in place. The Acadia offers better technology and more luxury than a Honda Pilot, and more ground clearance and towing ability than the Ford Flex. Available all-wheel drive allows the Acadia to tackle winter's worst and, although not designed for off-road use, GMC's midsize SUV is capable of towing up to 5,200 pounds.
If you need a vehicle that can haul loads of cargo or carry up to eight passengers (or some combination of the two), but you don't want to sacrifice comfort, safety or economy, the 2015 GMC Acadia SUV makes an excellent choice.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2015, the GMC Acadia gains a heated steering wheel on SLT-2 and Denali trims, a new 20-inch wheel design, and a revised color palate.
Driving Impressions If you're more comfortable behind the wheel of a car than a big truck, you'll find yourself feeling right at home inside the 2015 GMC Acadia. When it...... comes to ride, handling, steering and braking, the Acadia feels very car-like and demonstrates good stability in turns. GMC's engineers have gone out of their way to quiet the Acadia's cabin, and the effort has paid off in spades. The Acadia's luxurious cabin coddles every occupant, and even those in the 3rd-row will find the seats supportive and comfortable. The standard 3.6-liter V6 engine offers plenty of pep when needed, but can feel a bit dragged down with more than four passengers on board. If we have one gripe, it has to do with the Acadia's poor rearward visibility. Although the standard rear backup camera helps, the SUV's high beltline limits vision on either side of the rear quarter panels.
Most 3rd-row seats feel like little more than an afterthought, but not in the 2015 GMC Acadia SUV. Roomy and comfortable, the Acadia's 3rd-row seat can actually fit two adults with easy access provided by the one-touch slide and fold 2nd-row seating.
3.6-LITER V6 ENGINE
The 2015 Acadia's 3.6-liter V6 is one of the best 6-cylinder engines on the market. Smooth, powerful and efficient, only those towing or hauling maximum loads will find it lacking.
With seating for up to eight people, including a 3rd-row seat that can accommodate adults, the 2015 GMC Acadia crossover SUV is about as people-friendly as a standard-size vehicle can get. A clever sliding 2nd-row seat permits easy access to the third row, as do the long rear-door openings. An unexpected benefit is the Acadia's surprisingly spacious cargo area. Even with the 3rd-row seat in place it really will hold eight people and a good percentage of their gear. Fold both rows flat and the Acadia offers up a whopping 116.9 cubic feet of cargo-hauling capacity.Exterior
We like the conservative yet rugged and purposeful styling of the 2015 GMC Acadia SUV. You won't find any tacked-on body cladding or garish add-ons. Even the Acadia Denali, with its big chrome mesh grille and larger-diameter wheels, resists the temptation to go overboard. Riding on standard 18-inch wheels, the Acadia has a purposeful, wide stance, while chrome and LED lighting add noticeable yet tasteful elegance. A subtle rear spoiler helps reduce aerodynamic drag and looks sharp, while the chrome exhaust tips and roof-rail accents help the Acadia shine.
The GMC Acadia SUV for 2015 is a well-equipped vehicle that includes GM's OnStar system with one year of complimentary service, color touch-screen stereo with six speakers and MP3 capability, satellite radio, 7-passenger seating, dual exhaust with chrome tips, rear spoiler, sliding 2nd-row seats, fog lights, rearview camera, rear park assist and 18-inch wheels. Government-required safety features include StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and seven airbags. The Denali trim adds a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, dual SkyScape sunroof, perforated leather seating surfaces, 20-inch wheels and more.
GMC offers a variety of convenience and luxury features for the 2015 Acadia. Dual sunroofs and a rear-entertainment system make the drive more enjoyable and, unlike with some vehicles, can be ordered together. The interior can be outfitted with a color touch-screen navigation system (standard on Denali), IntelliLink Bluetooth streaming of apps, tri-zone automatic air conditioning, heated and cooled front seats, premium audio with Surround Sound, a head-up display, cargo-area audio controls and 8-passenger seating. Exterior options include a power liftgate, High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights and an attractive 20-inch wheel package. Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning are standard on the Denali and optional on SLT1 and SLT2 trim levels.
The 2015 GMC Acadia SUV's capable 3.6-liter V6 has variable valve timing and direct fuel injection, both of which contribute to enhanced responsiveness and an appreciated output of 281 horsepower (288 in the Denali). The maximum rating of 5,200 pounds will allow the Acadia to deal with modest-sized trailers. The 6-speed automatic transmission maximizes engine performance and helps the Acadia achieve excellent fuel economy for a vehicle of its size. However, at times the transmission can be slow to react to quick throttle inputs, resulting in delayed downshifts when trying to accelerate to pass other vehicles. On balance, we think it's an entirely commendable and pleasurable drivetrain.
288 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (Denali)
270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
281 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (SLE, SLT)
266 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (front-wheel drive), 16/23 mpg (all-wheel drive)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2015 GMC Acadia SUV starts at around $35,000 for the front-wheel-drive SLE-1. That's more than the entry prices of the Ford Flex, Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot, although the price gap narrows when comparing similarly equipped models. A loaded GMC Acadia Denali with all-wheel drive can reach close to $55,000. While priced at the high end of the segment, the Acadia's generous standard equipment list must be taken into consideration. To compare the actual transaction prices that consumers are paying in your area, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price. Though higher priced than its competitors, the Acadia is expected to have excellent resale value, remaining slightly above the Ford Flex but not as high as the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.