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2013 GMC Acadia

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$11,837 — $26,085 USED
14
Photos
Sport Utility
7-8 Seats
18-19 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 5 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Carlike ride and handling
  • Cargo space
  • Roomy second row

The Bad

  • Cramped third row
2013 GMC Acadia exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2013 GMC Acadia
  • Sharp, new face
  • Upscale-looking interior
  • New touch-screen display
  • New front center airbag

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Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

From the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2013 GMC Acadia.

By David Thomas

When suburbia was overrun by large, inefficient SUVs, along came the crossover SUV to make the anti-minivan crowd happy.

General Motors' three-row crossover triplets — the Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia — hit all those shoppers' needs. They're the largest crossovers in terms of cargo and interior room while still feeling relatively nimble around parking lots and carpool lanes.

For 2013, all three have been updated. You can compare the 2013 and 2012 GMC Acadia here.

The 2013 GMC Acadia's biggest change is on the outside, where a monstrous new grille will draw attention at soccer games, but there isn't much else that's new to make the Acadia stand out from the pack.

Luckily for GMC, the competition hasn't delivered a knockout punch of its own … yet.

Performance
The thing to remember about the Acadia throughout this review is just how big it is. At 200.8 inches long, it's 3.7 inches longer than a Ford Explorer, 3.6 inches longer than a Nissan Pathfinder and 9.4 inches longer than a Honda Pilot. It also outweighs those three by 122 pounds, 471 pounds and 350 pounds, respectively.

That's why its V6 needs to produce 288 horsepower to get it moving.

The all-wheel GMC Acadia doesn't feel fast when accelerating from a stop or at highway speeds. It does just enough to get the job done — even with my family on board — but nothing more. To be fair, there aren't many three-row crossovers ...

When suburbia was overrun by large, inefficient SUVs, along came the crossover SUV to make the anti-minivan crowd happy.

General Motors' three-row crossover triplets — the Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia — hit all those shoppers' needs. They're the largest crossovers in terms of cargo and interior room while still feeling relatively nimble around parking lots and carpool lanes.

For 2013, all three have been updated. You can compare the 2013 and 2012 GMC Acadia here.

The 2013 GMC Acadia's biggest change is on the outside, where a monstrous new grille will draw attention at soccer games, but there isn't much else that's new to make the Acadia stand out from the pack.

Luckily for GMC, the competition hasn't delivered a knockout punch of its own … yet.

Performance
The thing to remember about the Acadia throughout this review is just how big it is. At 200.8 inches long, it's 3.7 inches longer than a Ford Explorer, 3.6 inches longer than a Nissan Pathfinder and 9.4 inches longer than a Honda Pilot. It also outweighs those three by 122 pounds, 471 pounds and 350 pounds, respectively.

That's why its V6 needs to produce 288 horsepower to get it moving.

The all-wheel GMC Acadia doesn't feel fast when accelerating from a stop or at highway speeds. It does just enough to get the job done — even with my family on board — but nothing more. To be fair, there aren't many three-row crossovers that are exhilarating behind the wheel … at least not without much more powerful engines under the hoods of more expensive nameplates. The Explorer's base V6 produces 290 hp but doesn't feel noticeably quicker.

Around town, the Acadia remains unbelievably nimble for its size. Light steering and excellent visibility add to a feeling of effortlessness that will be a big selling point for errand-running families.

I also found it easy to park. Steering is easy and the driver gets a good sense of where all four corners of the crossover are — the lack of which was a fault I found in the Explorer and others in the class.

Pushing the GMC Acadia to its limits while cornering isn't advisable. This is a large SUV, after all, and that's an area where the Ford has a slight edge. In this class, though, nothing handles like the Mazda CX-9.

The Acadia's ride is about average; one editor thought the optional 19-inch alloy wheels didn't help matters. I had no complaints about road and wind noise.

Gas mileage for front-wheel-drive models is rated at 17/24 mpg city/highway, 19 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive (AWD) models like the one I tested lose a single mpg on all three figures. All models come paired with a six-speed automatic. These numbers are about average for the class, with only the Nissan Pathfinder offering significantly better returns of 22 mpg combined.

During my winter testing over a few hundred miles of driving, the trip computer showed better than 14 mpg only once. This was poor. Even in cold weather and on my mileage-killing commute and errand-running, test cars typically perform at their city mileage rating. I tested an even-thirstier AWD Ford F-150 with a turbocharged V6 paired to an automatic, rated 15/21/17 mpg, in identical conditions during even colder temperatures, and its computer showed mileage of 15 mpg.

Interior
The 
GMC Acadia is in a tough spot when it comes to pleasing families who live in upscale digs. A starting price of $34,945, including an $895 destination charge, puts it at least $3,500 above most of the competition. Is its interior worthy of that extra dough? Not at all.

I don't want to be repetitive, but while the fit and finish and materials are good enough, shoppers might prefer the futuristic look of the Explorer or the elegant look of the Pathfinder versus the Acadia's no-frills layout.

The front seats have wide seat bottoms and, in my test car, the leather seat surfaces were quite comfortable. The Acadia's interior just doesn't feel premium. Even the gauges — which seem untouched from the previous model — look outdated and low-rent.

It also features an updated version of GM's MyLink multimedia system. The system itself is simple enough to use in terms of how menus progress and how various settings are laid out. The 6.5-inch screen is a bit small, though, and placed too low in your field of vision. Most competitors, like Nissan, have 8-inch screens.

What I and other editors thought was the worst failing was the integration of capacitive touch "buttons" surrounding the screen itself. These are actually just labeled areas on a flat piece of plastic that, when you touch them — with ungloved fingers — activate a specific digital command.

The Home button, which you'll use a lot, is hard to hit blindly. Even worse, though, the controls for the trip computer that displays between the gauges are in this same cluster and require an added glance to locate. All this fumbling is one of the reasons we've found executions of capacitive touch in many cars to add a significant level of distraction that isn't needed in modern vehicles, which are already extremely tech-laden.

Family-Friendliness & Cargo
You simply can't ignore the 
GMC Acadia's spaciousness. If you're a family that uses all three rows routinely, the Acadia has 24.1 cubic feet of cargo room behind them. That tops the Explorer, at 21 cubic feet; the Pilot, 18 cubic feet; and the Pathfinder, 16 cubic feet (see these competitors compared side-by-side). That gave me plenty of room for grocery runs, and it could easily accommodate soccer players and their gear for practice.

The Acadia bests the rest in terms of maximum cargo room, too, but passenger volume is just equal to the Explorer and a bit less than the Pilot and Pathfinder.

This is where families need to judge how often they use that third row and how much stuff they need to carry. Or, conversely, how comfortable they want their passengers to be.

Of course, going the minivan route is more practical than any three-row crossover; a Honda Odyssey, for example, packs 13 percent more passenger volume and 28 percent more cargo volume than the GMC Acadia (see them compared).

Minivans and some large crossovers, like the Pathfinder, also do a much better job with entry height. My 5-year-old son can climb into almost any car I bring home to test, but he couldn't manage the Acadia on his own. Both he and my 3½-year-old daughter were able to climb into the Pathfinder we tested a few months earlier with ease. Both actually raved about it.

Base SLE-1 Acadias come standard with a second-row bench seat, for a total seat count of eight. Two captain's chairs change that number to seven and are standard on the SLE-2 trim and upward. But the bench seat is a no-cost option in higher trims if you do need that extra spot.

Cars.com's certified child-seat technicians put the Acadia through a thorough check of how it handles a variety of car seats. The captain's chairs simplified third-row access. The sliding second-row seats also helped provide plenty of room for infant, convertible and booster seats. However, installing the infant seat in the second row was a struggle, and there were no Latch connectors in the third row.

Features & Pricing
If the 
GMC Acadia's space isn't enough to wow you, its sticker price will likely make you pass on it entirely.

At a starting base price of $34,945, you get a decent amount of content, including a backup camera, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, a USB port, cruise control and parking sensors. But there you're dealing with cloth seats and a manual driver's seat.

That price is nearly $3,500 more than the base Chevy Traverse, which has less standard content, like parking sensors, but does have Bluetooth, cruise control and a backup camera.

The competition has even lower starting prices, with the Explorer, Pathfinder and Pilot all starting below $31,000, including destination, with similar equipment levels.

Acadia prices reach much higher — nearly $45,000 — as you move to the top trim level, the SLT-2.

But GMC has an even pricier model, called the Acadia Denali, that has more flash outside, including unique bumpers and wheels, as well as more features inside, starting at $46,840.

Safety
The 2013 
GMC Acadia is a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, representing top scores in frontal, side and rear crash tests and a roof-strength test. The 2013 Acadia comes with anti-lock brakes and also earns a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

You can find a list of standard safety features here.

Acadia in the Market
The 
GMC Acadia is a solid crossover for those who need space and can't fathom minivan ownership. However, its price, hit-or-miss interior and flawed gadgetry open holes of doubt for shoppers in this crowded segment.

Can the styling alone draw shoppers? Yes, and they'll be treated to a good body-type crossover. The thing is, you'll find just as good a vehicle in the Chevy Traverse for less money — let alone the competition, which you can get for even less.

Send David an email  

 

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.2
40 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.0)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Love it!

by Acadia fan from Palatine, Il on October 20, 2018

This car is an Elegant looking car. Roomy and comfortable for all passengers. I like the heated or cooling seats. You will not be disappointed! Read full review

(5.0)

Smooth ride

by JentheHen from Breckenridge, Mi on October 7, 2018

I’ve owned other suvs so I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and comfortable the ride is, I drove a Buick Regal before this purchase and the Acadia glides down the road, even with all thepotholes ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2013 GMC Acadia currently has 2 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2013 GMC Acadia SLE-1

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by GMC

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)

  • Powertrain

    6 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    172-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2013 Acadia Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Acadia received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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