Car Buyer Labs

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A man in a suit is shown opening the door of a black 2021 GMC Acadia Denali.

The Complete Buyer’s Guide to the 2021 GMC Acadia

Don’t waste your time driving all over town from dealer-to-dealer looking for your next new SUV because the 2021 GMC Acadia already has everything you need. Trust us. From its stalwart yet elegant truck-like styling to an impressive range of capabilities, this newest Acadia delivers; and don’t even get us started on interior comfort and convenience. Starting at a very affordable MSRP of $33,600, the 2021 GMC Acadia had us at hello.

GMC pares down the trim options to just a few, including the base SLE/SLT, the AT4, and the high-end Denali. This simplified lineup means buyers don’t get lost in a sea of options and packages. It also means the base model is equipped with plenty of standard features that buyers want. The Acadia also offers three rows of seating for up to seven that converts into an impressive cargo capacity of 79.0 cubic feet, a must for any busy, growing family.

GMC puts the focus on occupant safety with its GMC Pro Safety Plus suite of driver-assist systems, standard on every trim but the base SLE. Combined with an array of standard and available connectivity technology and interior enhancements, the Acadia proves itself as a viable competitor in the increasingly cluttered full-size SUV category. All that capability in a surprisingly affordable and elegant package makes the Acadia a must-test drive option. Let’s take a closer look at the Acadia’s features for 2021, and you’ll see why you don’t need to shop around for any other SUV.

A close up shows the black interior and center console on a 2021 GMC Acadia SLE.


SUV buyers are typically looking for people and cargo movers. The SUV market blossomed after busy families started demanding more space and a third row of seats without having to opt for a giant land yacht in the form of a minivan. Auto manufacturers answered the call, building affordable SUVs for buyers wanting something a little more nimble and easier to drive. However, even with a smaller profile, buyers demanded high levels of safety.

GMC Pro Safety Plus accomplishes this with a complete suite of safety technology systems that work to keep drivers and passengers safe by monitoring road conditions for potential hazards and helping to mitigate collisions and other dangerous occurrences while the vehicle is in motion. The system is standard on every trim except the base SLE, for which it’s available as an option. The GMC Pro Safety Plus system aims to provide a 360-degree bubble of safety around the Acadia.

It all starts with Rear Park Assist, a system that monitors the area behind the vehicle to avoid collisions at low speeds. Front Pedestrian Braking is also included and works by detecting pedestrians ahead and applying emergency braking at speeds below 50 MPH to avoid a devastating accident. Also, IntelliBeam headlights make switching between low and high-beam settings automatic, which is especially helpful in low visibility conditions.

Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert keeps an eye on the lanes on either side of the vehicle and alerts the driver when it senses a vehicle entering the blind spot. Meanwhile, Lane Keep Assist takes it a step further, alerting the driver and even providing gentle steering nudges when it senses the vehicle drifting out of its lane and the turn signal isn’t engaged. The Following Distance Indicator monitors the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead and alerts the driver when your vehicle is following too closely, virtually eliminating that pesky tailgating habit. Forward Collision Alert mitigates accidents by alerting the driver when a collision is likely. Finally, Automatic Emergency Braking helps drivers avoid or minimize the impact of a collision by automatically applying the brakes when it senses a hazard ahead.

Available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, the 2021 GMC Acadia is built to handle every driving condition, from the carpool line to a backroads dirt trail. The National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Acadia with an overall 5-star safety rating, meaning that this vehicle is safe for you and your family. With a suite of driving features to back you up, you’ll have no problems staying safe wherever you travel.


The 2021 GMC Acadia is equipped with three different engines, depending on the trim and selected packages. The base SLE comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that delivers 193 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque. It’s surprisingly fuel-efficient, with a fuel economy rating of 21 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway. The engine includes start-stop technology for added fuel efficiency.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine adds some spice, upping performance to 230 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Paired with the same nine-speed automatic transmission, this turbocharged motor delivers an impressive 22 MPG city and 29 MPG highway and stop-start technology. The 2.0-liter turbo engine is available as an option on the SLE and comes standard on the SLT.

The Acadia AT4 and Denali trims come standard with GMC’s larger 3.6-liter V6 engine. Delivering a heart-thumping 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque, this performance-oriented engine still goes easy on the fuel, with a 19 MPG city and 27 MPG highway fuel economy rating and the same money-saving stop-start technology. Acadia trims properly equipped with the V6 engine can tow up to 4,000 pounds.

The 2021 Acadia is also available with a Traction Select System that puts versatile capability in the hands of the driver. Four modes are available on front-wheel drive models – Normal, Snow, Sport, and Trailer/Tow – and five modes are on the all-wheel drive models, including FWD, AWD, Sport, Off-Road, and Trailer/Tow. All these settings have a specific purpose and give drivers an easy way to maximize traction for the specific road – or off-road – conditions they face.

A white 2021 GMC Acadia AT4 is shown parked next to a river with a kayak on the roof.


Working from the top of the trim line, the Acadia Denali is equipped with just about everything tech-savvy families need to stay connected and entertained while on the road. With this trim, you get a standard six-inch diagonal color head-up display for the driver, which includes tons of important information, including speed, navigation cues (when equipped), low fuel alert, and phone/audio settings. The Head-Up Display also works with safety systems – like the Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning – to display visual alerts that keep everyone safe.

The 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard on the Denali, SLT, and AT4 trims and will eventually be available on the base SLE. This touchscreen has it all, from compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto to downloadable apps and one-touch access to entertainment and vehicle diagnostic information. The touchscreen is centrally-mounted on the dash for easy access and interfacing.

GMC’s available High Definition Surround Vision equips the Acadia with a bird’s eye view of the vehicle and surrounding space for added visibility and to aid parking and maneuvering. The Surround Vision system also includes a rear vision camera and front views, which come in handy when parallel parking and traveling at low speeds. The HD Surround Vision system is currently available on the SLT and Denali.

The Acadia Is the SUV for You

Whichever 2021 GMC Acadia you choose, you’re getting a roomy, full-size SUV with the good looks normally only associated with far more expensive European imports. The Acadia is part of GMC’s rugged lineup of SUVs and trucks that are built tough. So even as you’re settling into the buttery soft leather seats and connecting your iPhone to stream the latest podcast, you’ll find comfort knowing you and your passengers are enveloped in one of the toughest, most durable vehicles in its category. It’s time for you to head to your local GMC dealer and check out this superior SUV for yourself.