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2018 GMC Acadia Review

The 2018 GMC Acadia is a respectable midsize SUV, with a premium interior and smooth handling. However, this GMC ranks in the middle of the class, partly because many rivals have stronger base engines, larger cargo areas, and higher tow ratings.

Pros & Cons

  • Upscale interior
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Good gas mileage
  • Great safety score
  • Select ownership costs are above average
  • Less cargo space than many midsize SUVs
  • Below-average tow rating for the class

New for 2018

  • Automatic heated steering wheel became available
  • Some features shuffled between trims

Rankings & Research

The 2018 GMC Acadia's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the GMC Acadia has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 23 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.3
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 GMC Acadia Overview

Is the 2018 GMC Acadia a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the Acadia is a good midsize SUV. It drives more like a car than a hulking SUV, with good maneuverability in parking lots and a comfortable, quiet ride. The cabin feels upscale, and you won't need a specialized degree to grasp its entertainment and safety technology. In general, the Acadia is best thought of a two-row SUV with an occasional-use third row seat. Climbing in and traveling on the rearmost bench is not a task anyone older than about 12 will want to undergo on a regular basis, and there isn't much cargo room in the back when this seat is in place. It's worth noting that these limitation are typical for an SUV this size.

The 2018 Acadia has a handful of strengths:

  • Classy interior, made with quality materials
  • Infotainment system is feature-rich and easy to use
  • Good gas mileage with four-cylinder engine
  • Decent power with available V6
  • Very good safety score

And some weaknesses:

  • Select ownership costs are higher than almost every other rivals'
  • Very small cargo area behind the third-row seat
  • Lower tow rating than similar SUVs
Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the GMC Acadia in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with 23 professional GMC Acadia reviews.

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2018 GMC Acadia?

Based on listings for the 2018 GMC Acadia on our site, the average list price is $29,400, which is typical for the class. Prices range from $24,300 to $37,900 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 GMC Acadia Cost to Own?

The 2018 Acadia’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be around $27,800, or about $5,560 per year. That’s above average for a midsize SUV.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Acadia?

The 2019 Acadia sees no major changes from the 2018 model. For that reason, we recommend sticking with a used model, which will likely save you money. 

Read about the new GMC Acadia »

You could save even more money with a 2017 Acadia. For the Acadia, 2017 is the first model year of the current generation, and it's nearly identical to the 2018 model. Built from 2007 to 2016, the previous generation is a much different vehicle. It has a larger body – providing you with an additional seat to carry up to eight people – as well as more total cargo space. Acadia models from 2016 and earlier lack some of the technology in newer models. That means you won't be able to get niceties such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, or advanced safety systems such as pre-collision braking. These larger models will probably cost less than a 2017-and-newer Acadia, but you'll be missing out on some appealing tech features.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Acadia »

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How Reliable Is the 2018 GMC Acadia?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Acadia a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Acadia reliability »

2018 GMC Acadia Recalls

At the time of writing, there are two safety recalls for the 2018 GMC Acadia:

  • Fuel pump flange weld may fracture
  • Driveshaft may fracture and separate

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on GMC Acadia safety recalls »

Which Used GMC Acadia Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 GMC Acadia comes in four main trim levels: SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali. GMC splits the SLE trim into two sublevels: SLE-1 and SLE-2. There are slight differences in the mechanical components and option packages for each, and the second of the two has more standard features. The SLT trim is similarly split into the SLT-1 and SLT-2. Depending on the trim, the Acadia comes with either a four-cylinder or V6 engine, and either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The base Acadia SL presents a good value that budget-minded shoppers will appreciate. It comes with a respectable number of standard features, but it isn't quite as upscale as the higher trims, and it lacks some notable tech features. For a swankier set of comfort amenities and high-tech goodies, we recommend either of the SLT trims. These come with leather seats, a better sound system, and advanced safety features that are nice to have in a vehicle this size.

  • GMC Acadia SL: The base Acadia SL comes with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, five USB ports, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, push-button start, and tri-zone automatic climate control. This trim is only available with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive.
  • GMC Acadia SLE: The SLE-1 trim comes in a few more colors than the limited pallet of the SL, and it's the first trim to offer all-wheel drive. Additional standard features in the SLE-2 trim include satellite radio, a power liftgate, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Extra-cost packages include the Driver Alert I package, which adds rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change assist. The All Terrain package removes the third-row seat, and it adds some styling upgrades and an off-road-tuned suspension.
  • GMC Acadia SLT: The SLT-1 trim level comes standard with a power-adjustable passenger seat, leather upholstery, an eight-speaker Bose audio system, an 8-inch touch screen, and the features from the Driver Alert I package. It's also the only other subtrim available with the All Terrain package. The SLT-2 comes standard with heated second-row seats, a safety alert driver’s seat, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision alert, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and low-speed forward automatic braking.
  • GMC Acadia Denali: The top-of-the-line Denali comes standard with the V6 engine, navigation, a hands-free power liftgate, ventilated front seats, and an automatic heated steering wheel. The extra cost Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, forward automatic braking, and a surround-view parking camera.

See 2018 GMC Acadia trims and specs »

What Does GMC's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

GMC offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned models, GMC extends its original new-car limited powertrain warranty to six years or 100,000 miles from the original sale date. CPO models also get a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty after the three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Qualifying vehicles also get free maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles. GMC CPO vehicles must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read GMC’s warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, GMC has a decent CPO program compared with other affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Acadia?

The GMC Acadia has one of the highest safety scores in our midsize SUV rankings. It received the highest crash test ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Acadia Denali models equipped with the optional forward automatic braking (part of the Technology package) provide a Superior level of front crash prevention, which is the highest rating. Denali models also received the second-lowest rating of Marginal for the headlights, while all other trims have the lowest rating of Poor.

Front-wheel-drive Acadias have an overall rating of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Models with all-wheel drive earned five stars.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • Teen Driver (lets you do things like set volume and speed limits for secondary drivers)
  • rear-seat alert (reminds you to check the back seats for belongings or small children)

Available advanced safety features:

  • forward collision warning
  • forward automatic braking
  • front pedestrian braking
  • safety alert driver’s seat
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • front and rear parking sensors
  • surround-view parking camera
  • blind spot monitoring with lane change alert
  • lane keep assist
  • IntelliBeam automatic high-beam headlights

See Acadia safety scores »

2018 GMC Acadia Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 GMC Acadia or 2018 Chevrolet Traverse?

You'll spend an average of $5,000 more to buy a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse, but there are a number of reasons we think it's better than the Acadia. The Traverse comes standard with the same V6 engine that's optional in the Acadia, and it also has a higher tow rating. The Chevrolet is a little longer, which means you get a roomier third-row seat and almost twice the amount of cargo space behind it. With its combination of spacious seats and family-friendly features, we named the Traverse our 2018 Best 3-Row SUV for Families.

Which Is Better: 2018 GMC Acadia or 2018 Buick Enclave?

The 2018 Buick Enclave is one of the most expensive in our midsize SUV rankings, costing on average an additional $10,000 or so more than the Acadia. Though you get more room, you don't get much else. The interior quality is similar between the two models, as are the standard features lists. With no real gain to the Buick, it makes more sense to spend less to get the GMC instead.

Compare the Acadia, Traverse, and Enclave »

2018 Acadia Performance

How Does the 2018 GMC Acadia Drive?

The Acadia's base four-cylinder engine is optimized for fuel economy instead of power. The available V6 is a much better choice if lots of passengers or mountain passes are in your future – it takes on tasks like these without much strain, and it costs only a little more to fuel. On the road, the Acadia is more carlike than trucklike, with good maneuverability and a smooth ride quality.

  • Base engine: 193-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive.
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic
Does the 2018 GMC Acadia Get Good Gas Mileage?

Fuel economy ratings for the GMC Acadia are a shade above average for the class.

  • Four-cylinder, FWD: 21/26 mpg city/highway
  • Four-cylinder, AWD: 21/25 mpg
  • V6, FWD: 18/25 mpg
  • V6, AWD: 17/25 mpg
2018 GMC Acadia Towing Capacity

The Acadia can tow up to 4,000 pounds when properly equipped. Most midsize SUVs have a higher trailering capacity.

Read more about Acadia performance »

2018 Acadia Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Acadia Seat?

The 2018 Acadia is a three-row SUV that seats seven people in its standard configuration or six with the available second-row captain's chairs, which replace the standard bench seat. Some models with the All Terrain package nix the third row entirely for a maximum capacity of five people.

The first and second rows have a decent amount of room, and passengers sitting in the second row are sure to appreciate this zone's standard sliding, reclining seats. Like many midsize SUVs, the third row is not very spacious, but there is enough room here to carry a pair of adults in a pinch.

The cabin has a premium look and feel, thanks in part to its upscale styling. Quality materials are plentiful, including aluminum inlays, genuine wood accents, and perforated leather seats. 

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery
  • second-row bench seats that slide, recline, and fold with 60/40 split
  • third-row bench seat with 50/50 split

Available seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • heated, ventilated, and power-adjustable front seats
  • heated steering wheel
  • heated second-row seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 GMC Acadia?

The 2018 Acadia has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats of the second row. They don’t take an excessive amount of effort to use, though the lower connectors are somewhat buried in the seat cushions. There are two additional tether anchors on the third-row seats. They are not hidden, but they may be confused with other cargo hardware. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Acadia's LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use. 

2018 GMC Acadia Features

Every 2018 Acadia comes with the IntelliLink touch-screen infotainment system. It has a user-friendly interface and lots of standard connectivity features, including Apple CarPlay and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Straightforward knobs and buttons allow for quick adjustments without using the touch screen.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, five USB ports, satellite radio, a six-speaker audio system, and a Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch infotainment touch screen, a navigation system, an eight-speaker Bose surround-sound system, satellite radio, and a rear-seat entertainment system
  • Additional standard features: push-button start, proximity keyless entry, and tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: a dual-panel sunroof

See 2018 GMC Acadia specs »

Read more about Acadia interior »

2018 GMC Acadia Dimensions

GMC Acadia Cargo Space

Midsize SUVs with three rows of seats typically aren't known for having lots of cargo room in the back, but at a mere 12.8 cubic feet, the Acadia's cargo area is especially small. This expands to 41.7 cubic feet when you collapse the fold-flat third row seats, and 79 cubic feet with all rear seats folded. There are some convenient storage bins built into the floor, and some models may have a power liftgate or a hands-free liftgate.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 GMC Acadia Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet, 2 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,956 pounds

Where Was the 2018 GMC Acadia Built?

GMC built the Acadia in Tennessee.

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