$12,056 - $17,406

2012 GMC Acadia Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 GMC Acadia was new.


Performance: 7.5

Reviewers say the 2012 GMC Acadia performs pretty well for a family-oriented SUV. They say its V6 engine is plenty powerful, its ride is smooth and it gets better-than-average gas mileage. However, they warn that its transmission can be finicky.

  • "Acadia's quiet, refined engine growls pleasantly under brisk acceleration.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Thanks to unit-body construction and street-focused suspension, the … GMC Acadia drives more like a car than an SUV. Handling is good with precise steering response, controlled body lean and plenty of traction during cornering.” -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

Reviewers note that the Acadia’s 288-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine performs decently in most tasks. But the six-speed automatic transmission gets the most comments. Reviewers say that the same techniques GMC engineers used to minimize fuel consumption make the Acadia reluctant to downshift and route more power to the wheels when passing or driving uphill. The Acadia can tow up to 5,200 pounds, which is about in line with most other three-row crossovers.

The front-wheel drive GMC Acadia gets 17/24 mpg city/highway and all-wheel drive models get 16/23 mpg city/highway, both of which are average for a three-row SUV.

  • "More importantly, the once skittish transmission that would hunt and peck its way around the gear box seems to have found its groove and provides smooth shifts from first through sixth, even when under aggressive acceleration.” -- The Detroit News
  • "We have no complaints about the 288-hp V6, as it provides willing acceleration in almost all situations and achieves pretty good fuel economy.” -- Edmunds
  • "The Acadia offers better-than-expected acceleration both around town and on the highway. Front-drive models are slightly quicker than their heavier AWD counterparts. The transmission shifts smoothly. In what is little doubt a nod toward improving fuel economy, the transmission can sometimes get caught into a gear at low speeds. As such, it sometimes takes a deep stab of the throttle in order to coax more power out of the engine.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “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

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say the GMC Acadia handles fairly well. It’s smooth and controlled, which is what most drivers want. Though all-wheel drive may give buyers more peace of mind in bad weather, some reviewers say that these heavy systems may cut down on the Acadia’s agility on twisty roads. Also, the automotive press notes that opting for larger wheels will detract from the crossover’s ride quality.

  • "Furthermore, the ride remains extremely smooth. The nice high riding position provides that SUV feel and commanding view over traffic, but the body doesn't rock through curves or exaggerate bumps. Even the hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering is nicely weighted, shying toward the lighter resistance.” -- The Detroit News
  • "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.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Like the other large crossovers from General Motors, the 2012 GMC Acadia delivers a nice balance between secure handling and a comfortable ride. Even so, you're always reminded that this is a large, heavy vehicle (it weighs nearly 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive), and it feels a little more cumbersome than other large crossovers on the market. Still, compared to the truck-based GMC Yukon, the Acadia is a much nicer and easier vehicle to drive.” -- Edmunds
  • "Its superior handling puts it near the top of its class for performance." -- Automobile.com

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