Back in 2006, large 3-row crossover utility vehicles based on unibody, car-derived platforms rather than body-on-frame SUVs weren’t particularly common yet. The Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander were around but they hadn’t grown as large as the current crop. GM entered the segment with the GMC Acadia and Buick Envoy on a then-new platform called Lambda. These had nearly the same interior space as the full-size Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon of the era. After shrinking the second-generation Acadia, GMC is going back to the full-size, midsize template for 2024.
After dabbling with a smaller size to differentiate the Acada from its Buick and Chevrolet siblings for the second-generation, the new third-gen model is once again the same size as the 2024 Traverse, with a new Envoy yet to be revealed. While we don’t yet have exact dimensions, it should be about 206-inches long with about a 121-inch wheelbase. This means that the third-row of the 2024 Acadia will once again be a viable place for a pair of adults to sit, something that was definitely not true in the outgoing model.
Like the new Traverse, the Acadia has a purposeful, chunky appearance that says SUV, but with the rough edges sanded down to make it look more upscale than the Chevrolet. The body color on the side window framing has shifted back from the C-pillar to the D-pillar creating a single large expanse of glass.
The front fascia now looks taller with hooked headlights that are very reminiscent of the Sierra pickup. Lighting all around is now provided by LEDs. The overall impact isn’t by any means groundbreaking, but it does look nicely executed.
The interior is a more substantive change than the exterior is distinctly different from the Traverse. The Chevrolet has a similar horizontal layout to its infotainment screen with it butting up against the instrument cluster display. The Acadia has the same 15-inch portrait style screen used in the Sierra EV, complete with the same glued on volume knob that we first saw on Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Unlike Ford which has unfortunately opted to have all of the climate controls in the touch interface, GMC retains a row of physical switches just below the screen for oft-used functions. Chalk up a win for GMC on this one. Like other new GM vehicles, the Acadia has the Android Automotive-based infotainment system complete with built-in Google Automotive Services including Maps, Assistant and the Play store for downloading more apps. Since the Acadia hasn’t gone electric yet, it also still has support for smartphone projection including Apple Carplay.
The Acadia Denali will also have GM’s hands-off Super Cruise driving assistant available. This is still the best functioning system of its kind on the market and includes speed and lane centering control, automaking lane changing and support for towing on over 400,000 miles of roads across North America.
The second row seats have a very useful feature that we’ve seen in the Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX60. The seats can either fold and flip forward for third row access or they can be tipped forward with a child seat still attached (albeit without a child in the seat!) so that it doesn’t need to be removed.
Under the body, is a further update of the basic architecture of which there was never anything particularly wrong. There is a strut suspension in the front with a multi-link independent setup in the rear. As with the first two-generations, the engine is mounted transversely in the front with either front or all-wheel-drive.
As with a number of other recent internal combustion vehicles from GM, they have simplified the powertrain lineup. There is now only one engine available, the same 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that was announced for the Traverse. It produces 315-hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, beating both the previous V6 and the 2.0-liter turbo. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The maximum towing capability remains at 5,000 lbs.
Initial trim levels will include luxury Denali and Denali Ultimate as well as the now di riguer AT4 off-road trim. The AT4 gets an extra inch of ground clearance thanks in part to 18-inch wheels with taller all-terrain tires, but even with a twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system, this isn’t going to be a serious rock crawler or desert runner. It should be able to handle basic trails and bad weather just fine, but for the really tough stuff you’ll want something more akin to the Canyon AT4X. There’s no indication yet from GMC that they will build an AT4X version of the Acadia, but given the success of off-road vehicles in recent years, it certainly can’t be ruled out.
GMC won’t announce pricing until closer to the on-sale date which is in early 2024. The new Acadia will be produced in Lansing, Mich.