2011 GMC Acadia Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
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