$9,481 - $14,515

2011 GMC Acadia Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 GMC Acadia was new.


Performance: 7.5

The 2011 Acadia offers predictable handling and adequate power, but its 5,200-pound towing capacity falls below expectations for a GMC vehicle. Of course, that may not matter to families who don't need to tow trailers or boats.

  • "Front-drive versions are impressively stable and agile for a vehicle this size. AWD models -- even with the optional 19-inch tires -- feel a bit less nimble but benefit from added traction on slick surfaces. Acadia is difficult to maneuver in tight spaces due to its long, wide body." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Shoppers should get to know GMC for its first crossover SUV, the Acadia. It looks great, is a surprisingly competent handler, despite its weight, and can carry up to eight people comfortably." -- MSN
  • "The…GMC Acadia is pleasant enough to drive, but it feels big -- and it is big, with a curb weight not too far south of 5,000 pounds. However, most people will probably forgive the Acadia's somewhat ponderous handling given its capacious interior." -- Edmunds
  • "Handling is good with precise steering response, controlled body lean and plenty of traction during cornering." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The Acadia comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Though the Acadia is large and heavy, test drivers say the engine has more than enough power to move it along. The engine is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that some reviewers say is slow to react.

Front-wheel drive Acadia models get 17/24 mpg city/highway, and all-wheel drive models get 16/23 mpg. While these figures are about average for the Acadia’s class, most SUVs with three rows of seats do about the same or worse.

  •  “The six-speed automatic transmission maximizes engine performance and helps the Acadia achieve excellent fuel economy for a vehicle of its size. However, the transmission can be slow to react to throttle inputs, resulting in delayed downshifts when trying to accelerate to pass other vehicles." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Acadia offers better-than-expected acceleration both around town and on the highway, but front-drive models are slightly quicker from a stop. The transmission shifts smoothly but is often caught in too high a gear. A prod of the throttle sometimes results in slow downshifts for passing power." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that can dole out 288hp using a six-speed automatic transmission which is enough to pull this vehicle along quite satisfyingly on the highway or around town." -- Automobile.com
  • “We have no complaints about the smooth and powerful 3.6-liter V6." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Test drivers like the Acadia’s car-like handling and the available all-wheel drive system, which makes it ideal for inclement weather. Base models come with 18-inch wheels, which provide a comfortable ride. But be careful about upgrading to the SLT1, SLT2 and Denali models, which come with 19-inch or 20-inch wheels. Reviewers say the larger wheels may look cool, but they can make the ride uncomfortable.

  • "The optional 19- and 20-inch wheels look great (well, except for the chrome ones), but they hurt the Acadia's otherwise comfortable ride." -- Edmunds
  • "With the standard 18-inch tires, Acadia is comfortably composed and controlled. The optional 19s make the ride noticeably stiffer, though not unbearably so." -- Consumer Guide

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