Comfortable, No-Frills, Good Performing, Family SUV – 2013 GMC Acadia Review

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The 2013 GMC Acadia is an SUV turned crossover (I still think of it as an SUV) which I believe is a bit of a sleeper. Probably the most aggressive features of it is the bold front grill with the GMC logo on it. It’s strong, as if to say, get out of my way, I’m a GMC and I’m coming through here. But the rest of the vehicle is pretty nondescript. There are no super innovative design or technology features that come out and clobber you right over the head quite the way the GMC emblem grill does. It is, in all aspects, your run of the mill SUV. Read on for my 2013 GMC Acadia Review.

2013 GMC Acadia Front Grill
2013 GMC Acadia Front Grill

I call it the way I see it…an SUV, despite what is stated on the GMC description. It’s roomy, holds plenty of cargo, and the one that I test drove for 10 days, seats 7 quite comfortably, although we only had 5 people and one small dog and lots of luggage. But it was perfect for us. For the size and the power (boasting 288 horsepower from the 3.6 liter V6), coupled with the packaged features in the SLT-1 trimline, it was a pleasure to drive. We set off from San Francisco on a road trip down to Los Angeles, with the cabin packed full of luggage and food. The Acadia is, in my opinion, perfectly crafted for that purpose. The one I tested did have a towing package (capable of pulling 5200 lbs), an Entertainment system and dual moonroofs. There was plenty of intuitive technology within the cabin and the Acadia did not feel heavy or sluggish on the road. In fact, I was actually surprised at the gas mileage, rated at 17 City and 24 Highway. We averaged 18.8 MPG in our mixed driving experience.

2013 GMC Acadia Side View
2013 GMC Acadia Side View

The leather seating was comfortable and there was plenty of leg room in the middle row (which were 2 separated captains chairs – perfect to keep kids separated). The rear bench row seats 3, although it is probably better for 2. We opted to fold down part of the rear bench to allow for luggage to be piled in. I liked the fact that the Acadia rides high, more like an SUV (as I said) and less like a crossover (which I have found to be somewhat in between a sedan and an SUV). Yes, you probably would get better mileage in a lighter crossover, but driving the Acadia inspired some confidence that you could go off road or camping quite easily. The version that I test drove was a FWD. There is an AWD version that probably would be better for more rugged experiences.

2013 GMC Acadia Folded Rear Seats
2013 GMC Acadia Folded Rear Seats

Before I go further into the features, have a look at my video review (also available directly on YouTube):

I think it is important to talk about the things that I wish the Acadia had, because the list is pretty small. But having experienced quite a variety of vehicles, there are some features that I now really look for in a vehicle. Specifically:

  • Larger Touchscreen – the Acadia comes with a 6.5″ color touchscreen, I wish it were larger.
  • Blind Spot Indicators – the SLT-1 trimline I had didn’t have any blind spot indicators other than physical curved mirrors. There is an option, though for Side Blind Zone Alerts.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control – having experienced adaptive cruise control in other vehicles, it’s sad to see there isn’t an option available for this.
  • Tech display on the speedometer area – I wish that more information were displayed within the speedometer area, especially turn-by-turn indicators when the GPS is active.

Other than the items above, the GMC Acadia had all of the creature comforts and features I would look for in a vehicle of this type. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the features. Again, the trimline that I test drove was the 2013 GMC Acadia SLT-1 which had the following sampling of options:

  • 3.6L, SIDI V6 Engine – Front Wheel Drive version

    2013 GMC Acadia V6 Engine
    2013 GMC Acadia V6 Engine
  • 6 Speed Automatic Transmission
  • OnStar (subscription required)

    2013 GMC Acadia OnStar on Mirror
    2013 GMC Acadia OnStar on Mirror
  • Rear backup camera
  • Stabilitrak stability control system with traction control
  • Heated dual outside power mirrors

    2013 GMC Acadia Side Mirror
    2013 GMC Acadia Side Mirror
  • 19″ wheels

    2013 GMC Acadia 19" Wheels
    2013 GMC Acadia 19″ Wheels
  • Rear power liftgate

    2013 GMC Acadia Power Liftgate
    2013 GMC Acadia Power Liftgate
  • Remote vehicle start
  • 7 people seating – 2 front, 2 middle and 3 split rear (60/40 split)
  • 8-way power seat adjustments for driver
  • Trizone auto climate control (2 front and rear)

    2013 GMC Acadia Front Climate Controls
    2013 GMC Acadia Front Climate Controls
  • Cruise control
  • Driver and front passenger heated seats
  • Bose premium audio system with XM Radio service
  • Rear seat audio and climate controls

    2013 GMC Acadia Rear Climate & Entertainment Controls
    2013 GMC Acadia Rear Climate & Entertainment Controls
  • Navigation & Rear Seat entertainment system (Optional Package)

    2013 GMC Acadia Entertainment System
    2013 GMC Acadia Entertainment System
  • Power sunroof & 2nd row skylight (Optional Package)

    2013 GMC Acadia Moonroof & Skylight
    2013 GMC Acadia Moonroof & Skylight
  • Trailering equipment (Optional Package)

Those are the highlights that caught my attention. Of these, here are my favorites.

The space – I loved the fact that not only could I seat my entire family comfortably, but that there was plenty of storage space in the back for all of our luggage. With the 60/40 split fold down rear seat, you can easily load things up for longer trips. The seats are comfortable, especially with the leather. Also, having the middle row as two captains chairs with a center walk through area means that you not only have physical separation between those riders (think kids bugging each other) but also, you could put a mini cooler or some type of luggage between the seats. Also, being able to easily access the rear by walking through is nice. There is also a smaller stash area in the back to put flat objects like blankets or towels.

2013 GMC Acadia Rear Cargo
2013 GMC Acadia Rear Cargo

The “light” feel – This is actually two items. For starters having a moon roof that opens in the front and the skylight over the rear, gives the Acadia an open feeling. While the cabin does feel spacious, when you have a glass ceiling, this makes it appear even more spacious. But, the Acadia itself also doesn’t feel like a heavy SUV. I’m not saying that it’s nimble, but it definitely doesn’t lag, even with only a V6.

2013 GMC Acadia Skylights
2013 GMC Acadia Skylights

The gas mileage – Since it does have a V6, the gas mileage is decent, but not stellar. I actually expected this and with my average MPG of 18.8, I was actually surprised.

2013 GMC Acadia Speedometer
2013 GMC Acadia Speedometer

The voice commands – All too often, voice commands represent the tech feel of the vehicle. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Acadia responded to voice commands, especially with the navigation. There are many vehicles that lock out the ability to enter in addresses when you are driving, as a safety measure. Entering in destinations is a driving distraction and really something that you should only do when you are stopped. Luckily, the Acadia’s voice recognition does a great job walking you through speaking (and recognizing) an address or destination. We used this feature numerous times without any issue. Lastly, the spoken responses (female) were very natural and not computer-sounding.

2013 GMC Acadia Center Console
2013 GMC Acadia Center Console

I have a variety of other photos of the 2013 GMC Acadia on this Flickr set or if you like photos put to music, you can view the video below (also available directly on YouTube).

Overall, I definitely wasn’t disappointed by the 2013 GMC Acadia SLT-1. It has a base MSRP of $39,780 and the price as tested with all of the options is $45,165 which is pretty much in line with other SUV/crossovers in the market. Honestly though, there is nothing that reaches out and really grabs you about this vehicle. It was fun to drive, responsive, comfortable, and had enough tech inside to keep me and my passengers happy.

2013 GMC Acadia Emblem
2013 GMC Acadia Emblem

Disclosure Text: Apart from the 10-day loan of the 2013 GMC Acadia, I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.

HTD says: If you are looking for a basic, all-around SUV for your family, be sure to test drive the GMC Acadia.

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Global Product Review Disclosure

Disclosure: This is a global disclosure for product review articles on HighTechDad. It does not apply to Automobile reviews and there are other exceptions. Therefore, it may or may not be applicable to this particular article. I may have a material connection because I may have received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this or other content. I was/am not expected to return the item after my review period. All opinions within this and other articles are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.

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About HighTechDad

Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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