The Good, the Bad, and the Avoidable: GMC Acadia Model Years

Launched in 2007, the GMC Acadia is one of the most reliable and popular crossover SUVs in the market. It provides users with an array of sophisticated features and a beautiful interior. It’s known for its ample cabin and cargo space, making it a family-friendly option.

However, like every other car, they’ve had their share of problems. These issues range from little inconveniences to adverse safety issues that often result in expensive trips to the repair shop. To save yourself this stress and expenses, here are GMC Acadia years to avoid, especially if you’re opting for a used model.

GMC Acadia years to Avoid

GMC Acadia years to avoid

The GMC Acadia years to avoid include the 2008, 2012, and 2013 models from the first generation and the 2017 and 2018 models from the second generation.

These models were plagued with many issues ranging from transmission issues, fuel pump issues, expensive repair costs, etc. Let’s take a close look at them.

2008 GMC Acadia

While the first-generation Acadia reportedly had issues, the 2008 model topped the list. This model was known for the most unreliable transmissions. These transmissions develop issues barely a few miles of usage and get worse at 75k miles. Worse, the repair cost is very expensive, totaling about $4,000.

The 2008 model also recorded engine failure, causing the car to shut down while driving. The model, however, is not totally bad. It had an okay interior design and amazing features to make driving pleasurable. But when compared to the repair cost that arises due to these problems, you may want to opt for other models.

2012 and 2013 GMC Acadia

The GMC Acadia rolled out with much improvement, addressing concerns of the earlier years. However, the 2012 and 2013 models resurfaced with the issues of the much earlier models with additional problems, with the 2012 model recording more.

In total, both years had four main recalls that troubled drivers for a year and half.

While known for its practicality, spaciousness, and fewer transmission issues reported with no safety issues recorded, the 2013 model inherited the return-to-engine issue from the earlier models.

The 2013 model also recorded issues such as coolant leaks, wrong oil levels, leaky gaskets, and water spots. What annoys users is the expensive repair costs that could go up to $7000 for a car with less than 80k miles. Wondering what 2013 GMC Acadia years to avoid? All 2013 models have the same pros and cons, so you may need to weigh your options.

2017 and 2018 GMC Acadia

While GMC kept improving drastically, reducing the issues for a few years, the 2017 and 2018 models surfaced with past problems and even added new ones. The models were known to have their driveshaft detach when idling or driving, putting drivers and other road users in a dangerous spot.

However, while driveshaft issues mostly plagued both models, they reportedly had seat belts, tires, airbags, fuel pump leaks, and other mechanical issues. Invariably leading to further recalls for these models.

For example, the 2017 model, which was the most problematic after the 2008 model, had electrical equipment issues. The Major was the shifter issues prompting drivers to manually shift the transmission because the vehicle failed to recognize it’s in Park. The 2017 model also had the rearview camera issue that popped due to the cable connection pattern—invariably leading to recall.

GMC Acadia years to buy

While the GMC Acadia reliability in Reddit and other automotive forums has been questioned, some models performed very well. Best years GMC Acadia to buy include 2015, 2016, and models made after 2018. However, that’s not to say they were not flawed; they just had fewer issues and complaints compared to the ones above. Let’s take a look at them.

2015 GMC Acadia

The 2015 model was second to the last in the first-generation Acadia lineup. It was graced with a spacious cabin measuring 116.1 cu-ft of cargo space. This was accompanied by a spacious legroom save the third row.

It is road-friendly and offers a comfortable and smooth ride on both main and back roads, making it an ideal car for family runs. It tows excellently, featuring a towing capacity of 5,200 lbs

2016 GMC Acadia

The 2016 GMC Acadia was the last in the first-generation lineup and has been one of the best ever produced. Its major high points are the comfy, spacious cabin, beautiful interior, and great tech and safety features. It has a high safety rating, and its tech features are some of the best in its class.

Its ride quality is great and balanced, with an apt driving experience, reliable transmission, great towing, and a quiet cabin. The seat configuration allows the dropping of seats or re-erecting for more cargo space. The large and practical SUV, however, suffered from several issues, such as lack of power steering and fluid leak.

These issues, however, occurred a few times and at longer intervals. It also has a bland exterior design and suffers from below-average fuel efficiency due to its largeness compared to other vehicles in its class.

2019 GMC Acadia

All GMCs produced after 2018 were reportedly reliable and excellently designed. The 2019 GMC Acadia was undoubtedly much smaller than the previous, featuring a smaller legroom and cargo space. However, drivability, comfortability, and technology were apt. And the general styling would keep car enthusiasts smiling.

2020 GMC Acadia

The 2020 model is another lovable option praised for its comfortability, ruggedity and practicality. This model has a smooth and comfortable ride, graced with quick acceleration. The major highlight of this model was its infotainment system,  handling, interior, steering, and safety features.

The  US news, for example, gave the 2020  GMC Acadia a 7.3 out of 10 rating, JD Power 83/100, Edmund 3.6/5, and Kelly Blue book 4.2/5. While this doesn’t translate to a perfect vehicle, it’s a pass score for any vehicle, especially compared to other models. The only known issues were a few electrical issues and interior accessories malfunctions that didn’t cause headaches for users.

2021 GMC Acadia

The 2021 Acadia, while maintaining its ride quality, received some new improvements that made users even happier. It featured an elevation version and wireless function for both Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Fuel economy is average, and drives excellently, even for a new rider. The model is responsive and has a quicker acceleration.

2022 and 2023 GMC Acadia

The 2022 and 2023 Acadias were the last of the second generation, and both function similarly. Ride quality is apt with prompt acceleration. They are also graced with beautiful cabins, modern driver assistance, and safety features, making these versions safer and easier to drive. Aside from ride quality, users have praised them for their manufacturing quality, mild road noise, and appearance

2024 GMC Acadia

The Full-size mid SUV has a gracy appearance that looks chunky, screaming SUV but with sanded-down rough edges that give it the better Chevrolet version. It features a finely executed interior, safety features, and driving assistance to make driving pleasurable. Its second-row seat can be flipped forward or folded, making a more spacious cabin. So far, no complaint has been made about this model.

Common GMC Acadia problems

The GMC Acadia has recorded several complaints since inception, but here are the most common.

Transmission issues

The GMC Acadia with 6-speed auto transmission in the 2008 model experienced broken clutch speed within the transmission. Invariably causing transmission slippage, rough shifting, and losing reverse gear.  Users also noted transmission not shifting beyond second gear and activating limp mode for no reason. Repair cost for this issue can total up to $4000

Engine issues

While the 3.6L V6 engine had efficient power and torque, they were flawed, with most having to do with coolant and oil leaks as well as cracked gaskets. The reported engine issues often lead to affected vehicles slowing or stopping unexpectedly while driving, putting them in dangerous spots.

Victims of these issues had no choice but to embark on a costly repair to replace their engines. Engine issues were rampant in earlier ones, such as the 2008, 2010, and 2011 models.

Illumination of the check engine

GMC Acadia fitted with a V6 engine was known to throw a check engine light accompanied with several codes. However, a software upgrade to the PCM is likely to fix the issues.

Dimmed light

Another life-threatening issue faced by the Acadia, particularly the second generation, was dimmed light. Users complain that when the road is not properly lit, they instead rely on their fog light. This issue was very evident in the 2017 models, but was also reported in 2008, 2011, and 2012 models

Failing airbags

Users complained of airbag failure often caused by malfunctioning seat melts. Invariably resulting in the illumination of the SRS light. This safety issue was mostly associated with the 2012 models, leading to recalls.

Failing AC system

Some GMC models were reported to have AC issues, causing a drop in cooling efficiency. This happened due to an evaporator leak, preventing some parts or the whole vehicle from cooling.

Other GMC Acadia issues include

  • The power steering pump suddenly stops working
  • Premature timing belt failure
  • Loss of engine power
  • Air condition intermittent failure
  • Damaged chain and cam sensor
  • Melted wiring of daytime running light
  • Transmission blacking out repeatedly
  • Leaky steering rack
  • Car not starting
  • Shift to park issues
  • Non-functioning honk
  • Steering issues
  • AC Freon leaks

What problems were common in the 2008, 2012, and 2013 GMC Acadia?

The 2008 was inflicted with serious transmission issues that got worse at 75k miles. Meanwhile, the 2012 and 2013 reportedly suffered repeated engine issues, including coolant and gasket leaks. Invariably causing overheating and eventually complete engine failure. All these repairs were on the high side, setting these cars as models to run away from.

What sets the 2015 and 2016 models apart from other GMC Acadia years?

Aside from the fewer complaints, these models featured spacious cabins and cargo space, making them practical and the best fit for families. Moreover, they are very reliable and would be a good option if you are going for a used GMC Acadia.

Is GMC Acadia a good car?

Is GMC Acadia a good car? The GMC Acadia is a good car, but like many cars, it has its share of reliable and unreliable options. If you want a used, reliable option, opt for the 2015, 2016, and those made after 2018. If, however, you want a much newer model, you can opt for the 2023 or 2024 GMC Acadia.

How long can a GMC Acadia last?

With proper maintenance, you can have your GMC Acadia over 200,000 miles if it still has the factory parts.

Final words

Opting for a second-hand GMC Acadia can be an honest decision anyone can make. They’re one of the reliable options in the used market that offers a smooth ride. But you can only enjoy it when you avoid models leading to expensive repairs. GMC Acadia years to avoid include 2008, 2012, 2013, 2017, and 2018 models.

These cars were plagued with problems ranging from transmission to engine and drive shaft issues, leading to costly repairs. On the flip side, some GMC Acadia with great features known to hold up well include the 2015, 2016, and all models made after 2018.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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