The 2021 GMC Acadia Balances the Good with the Bad

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The 2021 GMC Acadia has some stiff competition in the third-row midsized SUV came, like the popular Kia Telluride and Ford Expedition, but it does well to hold its own. The Acadia is well priced among options in its segment, and it does well to balance modern touches with simplicity in both good and bad ways. For the right buyer, the new GMC Acadia offers sought-after safety features, a high expectation of reliability, and a modern touch.

GMC Acadia | Raymond Boyd, Getty Images

The 2021 GMC Acadia has a lot going for it

There is a lot of high points when it comes to the 2021 GMC Acadia. While you wouldn’t consider it a luxury SUV by any means, it still offers a rather smooth and refined ride quality for a modest price, at least in comparison to much more expensive high-end luxury cars. The MSRP for the new Acadia starts at $30,995 and goes up significantly among the various trim level options.

Among the five trim level options, the Acadia offers smooth acceleration and ample handling for such a large vehicle, and combined with a rather quiet cabin space and gentle ride quality, it does well to provide drivers and passengers with a high-quality driving and riding experience.

GMC Acadia fisheye display
GMC Acadia | JEWEL SAMAD, AFP, Getty Images

But, it has some downsides, too

Of course, no vehicle is perfect, and really it’s all about balancing out the bad with the good. For the 2021 GMC Acadia, there are a few areas where the vehicle is lacking, but they aren’t necessarily a deal-breaker. From the outside, the new Acadia looks modern and aggressive, giving buyers a much-needed upgrade over previous generations without making the car look too crazy or unrecognizable. From the inside, however, the Acadia is rather plain.

In fact, according to Edmunds, the interior is one area that the 2021 GMC Acadia lacks in the most, skimping on luxuries like soft-touch surfaces or stylish trim. For the right buyer, this simplicity might be appealing, as it is designed to be a versatile vehicle but also a family-focused one. With a more basic interior, you may not be as worried about small messes and a little chaos here and then, and the overall layout of the backseats still makes it a great option for many families.

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The overall picture and best trim level option

The 2021 GMC Acadia is still a great option for a large SUV that offers plenty of space and a third row of seating. Whether it is enough to compete against competitors that offer a bit more luxury for the same price is up to buyers, but the refined driving quality of the Acadia is certainly enough to make it stand out.

According to Edmunds, the best bang for your buck is the SLT trim. It’s selected for its turbocharged engine option that gives the SUV a bit more power, making it more enjoyable to drive. Besides that, there are more available options at this trim level that makes the car more customizable to the needs and wants of different drivers. It also offers quite a bit of a step up in driving aids and safety features than the lower trim levels.

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The 2021 GMC Acadia might not sit in the spotlight that the popular 2021 Kia Telluride does, but perhaps that is also part of the appeal. After all, most large SUVs have to balance out the good with the bad, and buyers have to decide what is most important to them as individuals. For many drivers and families, the new Acadia is still a great option, even if it isn’t perfect.

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