3 Best Years for GMC Acadia (+ Reliability Ratings)

3 Best Years for GMC Acadia (+ Reliability Ratings)

The GMC Acadia is a mid-size crossover SUV that has been on the market since the 2007 model year. Over nearly two decades, GMC has released three distinct generations of the Acadia with various improvements and updates. For buyers looking for a reliable used SUV that offers value and features, the GMC Acadia can be an excellent choice. However, with model years ranging over 15 years, it’s crucial to evaluate the highs and lows of each generation and year to find the best option.

Overview of the GMC Acadia SUV

Purpose of the article

The purpose of this article is to analyze the model years of the GMC Acadia and identify which specific year from each generation offers the best combination of reliability, features for value, and safety. We’ll examine criteria like reliability ratings, standard features, and safety scores to determine the top choices.

Criteria for evaluation

To evaluate each model year of the GMC Acadia, we’ll consider the following key criteria:

  • Reliability ratings from reputable sources like RepairPal, Consumer Reports, and J.D. Power.
  • Standard features are included at each model year and trim level.
  • Crash test and safety ratings from organizations like NHTSA and IIHS.
  • Current average used pricing to determine overall value and affordability.

By assessing each Acadia generation and model year against these objective measures, we’ll aim to point buyers towards the offerings that best balance a low risk of issues with good standard features and pricing.

Best Year: 2015 GMC Acadia

3 Best Years for GMC Acadia (+ Reliability Ratings)

Reliability ratings

The 2015 GMC Acadia received above-average reliability ratings. RepairPal rated it 3.5/5 for reliability and predicted ownership costs of $457 per year. Consumer Reports also praised its low repair frequency and cost of ownership.

Standard features

Standard features on the 2015 Acadia included a 3.6L V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, 8-way power front seats, Bluetooth, and a 7-inch touchscreen. Higher trims added features like navigation, a sunroof, and third-row seating.

Safety ratings

The 2015 Acadia earned top safety scores. It received a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA along with top “Good” ratings in all crash tests from the IIHS. Front crash prevention was also standard for 2015.

The current used price range

With 80,000-100,000 miles, average used 2015 Acadia prices on the market currently range from $15,000-$18,000 depending on trim level and options. This represents an excellent value proposition given the strong safety ratings and reliable track record.

Best Year: 2016 GMC Acadia

Reliability ratings

The 2016 model saw no significant changes but maintained the 2015’s strong reliability. RepairPal again rated it 3.5/5 and estimated ownership costs of $455 per year. J.D. Power named it among the most dependable midsize SUVs.

Standard features

Standard features remained very similar to the 2015, with the 6-speed automatic and 3.6L V6 carried over. Options like navigation and the power liftgate were now standard on more trims.

Safety ratings

Safety scores for 2016 were unchanged from the previous year, with top five-star ratings from NHTSA and “Good” ratings across the board from IIHS. Forward collision prevention was still standard equipment.

The current price range

Given it shared the reliable drivetrain and carried over strong safety, the 2016 Acadia holds its value well. For 2016 with 80,000 miles, prices average $16,000-$19,000 depending on the exact trim level and options included originally.

Best Year: 2020 GMC Acadia

Reliability ratings

Reliability improved further for the 2020 model year. RepairPal rated it 4/5, finding repair costs were 16% below average. J.D. Power also named it one of the most dependable midsize SUVs on the market that year.

Standard features

The 2020 received a substantial refresh and upgrade over previous generations. Now standard were an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, power liftgate, LED lighting, and more. Upper trims added niceties like navigation and driver assists.

Safety ratings

Safety technology expanded as well, with standard automatic emergency braking on all 2020 Acadia. It achieved a five-star overall rating from NHTSA along with “Superior” front crash prevention and “Advanced” headlights scores from IIHS.

The current used price range

With the second generation refresh and upgrades, residual values held steady for these early 2020 models. Used examples with 30,000-50,000 miles now list between $24,000-$28,000 depending on exact specifications and local market factors.

History and Overview of the GMC Acadia SUV

The GMC Acadia has been in production since the 2007 model year across three distinct generations. Let’s examine the key details of each:

First generation 2007-2016

  • Built on the same kappa platform as other GM SUVs like the Saturn Outlook.
  • Available with a 3.6L V6 or 3.0L V6 diesel, with 6-speed automatic standard.
  • Seating for 5, 6, or 7 passengers depending on trim.

Second generation 2017-2023

  • Moved to the smaller GN platform shared with the Chevrolet Traverse.
  • 3.6L V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission standard across all models.
  • The rear redesign added more cargo space, third row was now standard on all trims.

Third generation 2024-present

  • Continues on the GN platform but with extensive redesign and new features/technology.
  • The powertrain remains the 3.6L V6 paired with the 8-speed automatic.
  • New exterior and interior styling inside and out.

Each generation brought incremental improvements, but the key aspects of 3-row practicality and capable V6 power have remained consistent pillars of the Acadia identity.

Factors to Consider when Buying a Used GMC Acadia

2024 GMC Acadia SUV | GMC Dealership Near Attleboro, MA

When shopping the used market, buyers will want to weigh several factors particular to the Acadia:

Model year

As analyzed, certain years within each generation tend to be more reliable and offer better value.

Vehicle mileage

Higher mileage units will likely have more wear/tear and require more upkeep.

Vehicle condition

Check for accident history, fluid condition, and worn/damaged components.

Mechanical issues

Transmissions in earlier models sometimes faltered – check service records.


Higher trims have more content like AWD but cost more to maintain.

Vehicle history report

Reveals any title issues, accidents, or if it was a fleet/rental vehicle.


Consider your budget and compare similar Acadias based on year, mileage, and features.

Fuel efficiency

Look at the average MPG and factor in current gas prices. The V6 gets 18-21 MPG.

Thoroughly inspecting used Acadias based on these measures helps ensure buyers find one in the best shape to match their needs and budget.

Common Problems with GMC Acadia

While generally reliable, some Acadias may experience these issues that buyers should watch out for:

Transmission issues

Some 2007-2009 models had premature transmission failure issues with the 6-speed automatic.

Gas cap faults

Loose or broken gas caps triggered check engine lights on many early Acadias as the caps wore.

Check engine light issues

These lights commonly came on due to minor sensor faults, though nothing usually serious.

Roadside vehicle stops

Occasional reports of stalls or inability to restart linked to the fuel delivery module in some 2010-2013s.

We’ll explore these four common problems – their potential causes and solutions – in more detail later. Overall Acadias fare well, but it’s smart to vet any used vehicle thoroughly.

GMC Acadia Maintenance Schedule

Following the recommended maintenance schedule is key to long-term trouble-free operation of an Acadia. Here are the standard service intervals:

Oil change

Every 5,000-7,500 miles depending on driving conditions and oil used. Synthetic blends last longer.

Tire rotation

Rotate tires every 5,000-8,000 miles to maximize treadwear on AWD/4WD models.

Air filter replacement

Inspect filter annually and change as needed – typically every 15,000-20,000 miles.

Brake inspection

Check brake pads and rotors annually or every 15,000 miles for wear if driven aggressively.

Spark plug replacement

Replace spark plugs around 100,000 miles for best performance and fuel efficiency.

Fuel system cleaning

The fuel injectors may need cleaning every 30,000 miles if using lower-quality gas.

Beyond these, also inspect other fluids, filters, belts, and hoses annually based on age and mileage. Following the maintenance mindset helps maximize your Acadia’s longevity.

GMC Acadia Generations – First Generation in more detail

Let’s take a closer look at the first-generation GMC Acadia produced from the 2007 to 2016 model years:

Platform, engine options, seating configurations

The first Acadia shared GM’s Kappa platform with the Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave. Available engine options included a 3.6L V6 and optional 3.0L V6 diesel. Seating arrangements ranged from 5 to 7 passengers.

Praise and criticism for first-generation design

Contemporary reviews gave the Acadia good marks for interior space and ride comfort. However, some found early models lacking in power and style compared to rivals. The 3.6L V6 was considered underpowered.

While the first Acadia had its faults and shortcomings emerge over time, it established the long-running nameplate. Affordable examples from the later years still make good utility vehicles today.

GMC Acadia Generations – Second Generation in more detail

Now let’s examine the second-generation Acadia available from 2017 to 2023:

Platform, engine options, seating configurations

This generation moved to the GN platform shared with the Chevy Traverse. Only the 3.6L V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission were offered. Third-row seats became standard across all trims.

Praise and criticism for second-generation design

Reviews praised the redesign for increased cargo and passenger space. Critics noted the 3.6L V6 still lacked low-end torque versus rivals’ V6s. The ride remained on the stiff side for a crossover.

Overall the second Acadia generation brought needed upgrades over the first but retained some of the same drivability drawbacks versus class leaders. Early used examples represent good value nowadays.

GMC Acadia Generations – Third Generation in more detail

2024 GMC Acadia

Here are the key points about the current third-generation Acadia:

Platform, engine options, seating configurations

It remains on the GN platform with a 3.6L V6 and 8-speed automatic standard. Up to 8 passengers can be accommodated depending on trim.

Introduction year, current design, and features

The redesigned 2024 model introduced new exterior styling, interior upgrades, and expanded standard/available driver assist features.

Praise so far for third-generation design

Early reviews praised the Acadia’s upscale enhancements and modernized looks inside and out. Ride comfort also improved over past generations.

While longer-term reliability isn’t proven yet, the latest Acadia demonstrates GMC’s efforts to keep the nameplate fresh. Residual values should hold up well as these early models age.

Problems with the 2015 GMC Acadia

The 2015 Acadia earned praise overall for its reliability, but a few drivers did report:

  • Transmission shifting issues in colder temperatures require a software update in some cases.
  • Loose or faulty gas caps cause check engine lights until replacement. GMC extended the warranty on caps.
  • Occasional “service stability track” messages from worn suspension components like tie rods or ball joints.

Most 2015s required no repairs according to owner feedback. However, buyers should check service records for any updates or repairs relating to the transmission, fuel system, or suspension.

Problems with the 2016 GMC Acadia

The 2016 model carried over largely without issues, save occasional reports of:

  • Continued check engine lights and rough running from gas cap wear/breakage on some units.
  • Oil consumption concerns from worn piston rings lead to low oil levels in high-mileage examples above 150,000 miles.
  • Infrequent complaints of squeaks or rattles developing in the rear hatch area.

Overall reliability remained very strong. Just be sure any used 2016 Acadia has had the gas cap and oil checked/changed as preventative maintenance.

Problems with the 2020 GMC Acadia

With less than 100,000 miles in the early 2020s, few recurring issues have emerged so far beyond minor niggles like:

  • Inconsistent or faulty exterior door lock actuators require dealer replacement in a small percentage.
  • CarPlay/Android Auto sometimes fails to connect on initial startup until a system reset.
  • Wind noise complaints in the cabin at highway speeds from misaligned windows/seals in a few drivers’ reports.

No major or common problems have taken hold, signaling the refresh brought continued refinement. Just watch for recalls and check the condition of exterior locks/seals.

Common transmission issues in more detail

A weak point for some 2007-2009 Acadias involved their six-speed automatic transmissions manufactured by GM. Complaints emerged of:

  • Harsh shifting or sluggish response to throttle input above 80,000-100,000 miles.
  • Fluid leaks lead to internal breakdown and refusal to engage gears.
  • Premature wear causing transmission rebuild/replacement costs above $3,000 on average.

GM extended warranties in some cases. Avoid early Acadias without thorough service records addressing any past transmission concerns.

Common gas cap faults in more detail

Loose, worn, or faulty gas caps were a consistent early issue, often causing:

  • Check engine lights due to the fuel evaporative system sensing a breach.
  • Rough idling, stalling, or inability to restart until the cap was tightened or replaced.
  • Gas caps as early as 30,000 miles exhibited looseness requiring re-seating or new caps.

GMC extended warranties on 2007-2012 gas caps. Be sure any used Acadia cap works properly and does not trigger dashboard warnings.

Common check engine light cause in more detail

While minor, check engine lights commonly resulted from:

  • Loose or worn mass air flow, crankshaft, and camshaft sensors trigger generic codes.
  • Evaporative system leak codes due to gas cap issues as noted above.
  • Oxygen sensor function codes due to changing conditions/driving habits.

Scanning tools usually found no serious problems. Still, scan any used Acadia and ensure codes are historical and not active issues.

Common roadside stops cause in more detail

On certain 2010-2013 Acadias, a recurrent problem caused by the fuel delivery module involved:

  • Sudden stalling at low speeds or when coming to a stop.
  • An inability to restart the engine until it cooled for 30 minutes or the module was replaced.

Dealers addressed through a technical service bulletin and module updates/replacements for affected VINs. Ensure any used Acadia received applicable repairs.

Transmission issues solutions in more detail

2024 GMC Acadia Interior | Rizza Buick GMC

To avoid 2007-2009 Acadias with transmission worries:

  • Check service records for any repairs/fluid changes above 100,000 miles.
  • Have a mechanic perform a transmission fluid/filter inspection for leaks or debris.
  • Look for shift consistency and no delayed responses during a test drive.

With proactive fluid services, many Acadias outlast original 6-speeds. But rebuild costs make these risky without documentation.

Gas cap faults solutions in more detail

As preventative measures:

  • Ensure any used Acadia gas cap seals properly and does not lose suction when removed.
  • Check for markings that it has been replaced under warranty if an early model.
  • Consider a low-cost replacement as routine maintenance to avoid checking engine lights.

A tightly-sealing cap helps avoid a consistent and annoying issue on these vehicles.

Check engine light solutions in more detail

When evaluating a used Acadia:

  • Review OBDII scanner reports for codes – ensure none are pending or recurring.
  • Note if codes align with known minor sensor faults rather than driveability issues.
  • Check service records – mechanical fixes usually address Dashboard Warning lights.

Generally speaking, Acadias with solely historical check engine light codes posed no major issues.

Roadside stops solutions in more detail

To vet a 2010-2013 used Acadia:

  • Review service records for fuel delivery module reprogramming TSB or replacements.
  • Verify no current or recurring codes associated with low-fuel pressure.
  • Request a test drive including starting/idling engine when hot to rule out stalling.

With module repairs, these Acadias perform normally. Un-updated examples risk unnecessary towing.

Safety ratings for 2015 GMC Acadia

The IIHS and NHTSA agreed the 2015 Acadia offered top crash protection:

  • NHTSA 5/5 stars overall
  • IIHS “Good” rating in all tests
  • Standard front crash prevention

It achieved “Superior” marks from IIHS for front crash prevention capabilities as well – a major safety advancement at the time.

Safety ratings for 2016 GMC Acadia

Carrying over the previous generation’s exemplary scores:

  • Top “Good” ratings from IIHS in all tests
  • 5/5 stars from NHTSA overall
  • Standard forward collision warning/mitigation

No changes meant the 2016 retained industry-leading crashworthiness and driver-assist capabilities.

Safety ratings for 2020 GMC Acadia

The refreshed 2020 raised the bar even further:

  • Another 5/5 stars from NHTSA
  • IIHS “Superior” frontal crash prevention
  • “Advance” headlight ratings from IIHS
  • Standard automatic emergency braking

GMC prioritized safety tech, praiseworthily making it standard across all Acadias.

Recommendation on model year if reliability priority

For buyers seeking the lowest risk of issues, we recommend:

  • 2015-2016 Acadias – Earned strong reliability ratings whilst offering many modern standard features at affordable used prices. Transmission concerns are minimal for the model years.
  • 2020 model year – Early examples show fault-free operation so far, but longer-term data isn’t available yet like for the 2015s. Slightly higher initial costs.

Avoid the 2007-2009 years due to transmission rebuild potential unless a low-mileage example with documentation.

Recommendation on model year if newest features priority

Drivers wanting more of the latest in features, technology, and upgrades should target:

  • 2020 Acadia – Substantial upgrades in this generation include standard driver assists, CarPlay/Android Auto, power liftgate, and more. Prices remain fair for the content.
  • 2023+ models (current generation) – Continues the evolution including styling improvements and additions like available blind spot assist and other options. Higher initial costs though.

The 2020s strike a great upgrade/value balance versus considerably more for a brand-new Acadia.

Recommendation if budget under $15k

With $15k or less, the best Acadia options are reliable:

  • 2015 models in base trim – Can find ones with 70,000-90,000 miles for the $13,000-$15,000 range. Excellent safety and efficiency for the money.
  • 2016 Acadias – May require going to higher miles (90,000-110,000) but retain strong components. Still worth considering for under $15k.

Aim to have any used vehicle inspected closely if the budget is tight in case of potential upcoming repairs.

Recommendation if budget $15-20k

In the $15-20k range, targets include:

  • Late-2015/2016 SL models – Added features like leather, navigation, and more with under 100,000 miles.
  • Low mileage 2017-2019 SLE or SLT trims – Refinements of that generation with 60,000-80,000 miles still excellent values long-term.
  • Early 2020 SLE or SLT – Upgraded infotainment/driver assists make these worth slightly higher costs in this budget.

Any of these years and trims balance newer refinements, value, and predicted reliability.

Recommendation if budget $20-25k

With $20k-$25k to spend:

  • Very low mileage 2017-2019 Denali trims under 60,000 miles – Top features from that generation.
  • Early 2020 Denali models – Luxury/technology leader at the time still in warranty.
  • 2021 Acadias – Added AWD, may find SLE/SLT trims with less than 40,000 miles.

The higher trims and newest model years fit the stretching budget and deliver more refinement and long-term ownership assurance.

Recommendation if budget over $25k

For buyers able to spend $25k or more:

  • Late model year 2020 Denali under 30,000 miles
  • Loaded 2021 Acadia SLE/SLT
  • Current generation 2023 SLE/SLT

This affords the ability to target the best-equipped and newest generations still under full factory warranty coverage. Expect impeccable condition, features, and peace of mind.

Summary of key points

In reviewing the entirety of the GMC Acadia’s lifespan:

  • 2015-2016 models offer the best blend of a proven reliable drivetrain and competitive pricing in today’s used car market.
  • The 2020 refresh ushered in substantive upgrades worth considering, especially if desiring newer driver assistance tech.
  • Higher trims and the newest available years maximize features per dollar spent as the budget increases.

Thoroughly inspecting any potential used Acadia while addressing the common issues outlined provides buyers the assurance of quality and value for many years ahead.