Here are GMC Acadia Years to Avoid and The Best Acadia Reliability Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

The GMC Acadia is a very popular and nicely designed three-row SUV anyone will be proud to own, either at individual basis or for family trips.

Buying a used Acadia, like any pre owned vehicle, demands some thorough due diligence to separate the model years to avoid, due to GMC Acadia problems reported by Acadia owners such as transmission issues, engine issues and even mechanical problems.

According to our research, the model years mostly affected according to Acadia owners are 2008, 2012, and 2013 years. 

Some experienced minor issues, most were of major issue including severe engine problems and protracted transmission problems which often results in heavy costs and repairs. Get more valid tips in this GMC Acadia pros and cons reports.

Fortunately, GMC Acadia owners have been very happy with SUV car within the 2nd generation line especially from 2015 model known to deliver top notch reliability and sound performance!

Now read along to discover detailed information we have cooked for you; getting to know the more reliable model years and ensure that you’re getting the best value for your budget.

A Brief Overview of Acadia

  • Years of Production

This sought-after mid-size crossover SUV has been in production since 2006, and GMC have since churned out three generations of GMC Acadia models, each delivering variety of features and improvements:

  • First Generation: 2007-2016,
  • Second Generation: 2017-2022
  • Third Generation: 2023-Present

FACTS: Some model years within these generations are better than others.

  • Crossover SUV

As a typical crossover SUV car, the GMC Acadia provides the best of both worlds by combining the space and practicality of an SUV with the comfort and driving experience of a sedan.

This makes it a great choice for families or those in need of extra cargo space without sacrificing maneuverability and fuel efficiency.

Some of the key features and attributes of the GMC Acadia:

  • Seating capacity for up to seven passengers,
  • Available all-wheel drive for improved handling and traction,
  • Towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds (depending on the model year and configuration),
  • A variety of engine options, including V6 and four-cylinder models, offering both power and efficiency.

Here are The Years to Avoid

Here is the bitter part – few specific model years that have proven to be less reliable than others. These GMC Acadia years experienced numerous issues, making them less ideal choices for a long-lasting vehicle:

  • 2008:

The 2008 GMC Acadia is widely considered the worst year for this vehicle. This model received the most complaints related to transmission problems that were expensive to fix. If you’re looking for a reliable GMC Acadia, it’s best to steer clear of the 2008 model.

  • 2012 and 2013:

The 2012 and 2013 models also had their fair share of issues. These two years saw a recurrence of some problems that were supposedly addressed in previous years.

The 2012 model, for example, had engine issues which included excessive oil consumption, while the 2013 model had similar transmission issues to the 2008 Acadia.

  • 2016 and 2017:

The 2016 and 2017 GMC Acadia models belong to the third generation and unfortunately continued the trend of problematic years.

These vehicles had issues with their electrical systems and many Acadia owners reported problems with the infotainment system. Also, the 2017 model had problems with the suspension system, making it another year to avoid.

We suggest you totally steer clear of the 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017 model years because each of these years has its own set of issues that make them less desirable than other available options.

GMC Acadia Problems and Issues

Transmission Issues

In some older models of the GMC Acadia, you may encounter transmission issues. The 2007 Acadia received many complaints regarding the transmission issues:

  • Transmission failure
  • Car jolting while driving
  • Issues with shifting gears

These stated problems could lead to costly repairs and sudden inconvenience, so you should be informed before purchasing one.

Engine Problems

Another issue you need to look out for in certain GMC Acadia years is engine problems. The 2007 and 2008 models faced various engine issues, including:

  • Engine failure
  • Camshaft sensor light being illuminated
  • Overheating of the 3.6-liter V6 engine

Repairing engine problems in the Acadia can be expensive, with costs reaching $4,000 or more for an engine rebuild. So it’s worth considering these potential issues when shopping for a used Acadia.

Fuel Pump Issues

Some GMC Acadia models, specifically the 2017 and 2018, experienced fuel pump leaks. This issue is not only a nuisance but can also pose safety risks due to the possibility of a fire.

Make sure to inspect the fuel system of any Acadia you’re considering purchasing, especially from these years.

Power Steering

Along with the other common problems mentioned, the GMC Acadia can also face power steering issues. Loss of power steering can make the vehicle difficult to maneuver and potentially dangerous.

While it’s important to remember that not all Acadias will experience these issues, it’s still essential to consider as a potential problem.

The Best Recommended Years and Models

Now here is the sweet part. There are a few specific best years that stand out as the most reliable and popular among customers.

We shall share the best years, best model years, and newer models that are worth considering for your next vehicle purchase.

  • The 2015 GMC ACADIA

The 2015 model year has proven to be one of the best and most recommended GMC Acadia years, produced towards the end of the first generation, and offers several key benefits, including improved reliability.

The 2015 Acadia has a projected five-year cost of ownership of $27,100, making it more affordable in the long run.

  • The Newer Models

The second-generation GMC Acadia has shown improvements in reliability when compared to most earlier versions. The 2013 is generally known to have experienced much fewer problems.

The first gen present ultimate reliability and generous performance ratings then first generation. For example, years that follow the 2015 Acadia are generally considered reliable models, given the reputation of the 2015 GMC Acadia.

  • 2015: A reliable and popular choice from the first generation,
  • Post-2013 second generation models: Improved reliability compared to the problematic 2012 and 2013 models

By focusing on these recommended years and models, you are more likely to find a high-quality, reliable GMC Acadia that meets your needs while avoiding the pitfalls of the less dependable options out there. Happy shopping!

Reliability and Consumer Reports

It’s essential to pay attention to reliability ratings and consumer reports. These sources provide valuable information about potential problems and issues to avoid in certain model years.

Consumer Reports is a reputable source for vehicle reliability information. And while they don’t have specific information for every model year of the GMC Acadia, their general overview does mention it as a three-row SUV built to comply with more stringent fuel economy standards.

Other sources compile lists of GMC Acadia years to avoid by examining reported problems and recalls. The following model years have experienced more issues than others:

  • First Generation: 2008
  • Second Generation: 2012 and 2013
  • Third Generation: 2016 and 2017

Additionally, when browsing through used vehicles, inquire about any recalls or repairs that have been completed to ensure you’re making an informed choice.

Performance-wise, for a second-generation Acadia, we recommend considering the inline four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbo engine as a more reliable choice compared to the 3.6-liter V6 option.

However, do remember that every used vehicle should be treated as unique because a specific GMC Acadia year that had many reported issues might still offer you with minimal problems.

Always research, review available maintenance records, and have a trusted mechanic examine any potential purchase.

Competitor Comparison

We guess you may love to compare the closest rivals to Acadia to deepened your search for a happy ending?

Let’s show you how these 5 SUV boys stack up against your beloved Acadia: Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, Buick Enclave, and GMC Terrain.

  • Chevrolet Traverse

The Chevrolet Traverse is a full-size SUV that can be considered as a cousin to the GMC Acadia. Both vehicles share the same platform and are built by General Motors.

However, the Traverse tends to offer more cargo space and comes with a larger standard engine.

  • Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is another popular choice in the mid-size SUV class. It is known for its robust engine options and high towing capacity.

The Explorer has gone through a recent redesign, providing a stylish and modern appearance. Furthermore, it comes with a hybrid option, a feature not available for the GMC Acadia.

  • Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is a new entry in the SUV market, gaining popularity for its stylish design, comfortable ride, and advanced technology features.

It offers a V6 engine and comes with plenty of standard features. While the GMC Acadia has a smaller starting price, the Telluride is a strong competitor in terms of overall value. Do more comparison over  this list of Telluride issues.

  • Buick Enclave

Another General Motors vehicle, the Buick Enclave, shares similarities with the GMC Acadia, such as the platform and engine options with best Enclave cars offering better reliability..

The main difference between these vehicles is the level of luxury. The Buick Enclave tends to offer more upscale features and a more refined interior.

  • GMC Terrain

The GMC Terrain is a smaller sibling to the Acadia within the GMC lineup. It is a compact SUV that offers a more fuel-efficient engine and easier maneuverability due to its smaller size.

However, the Terrain lacks in terms of interior space and cargo capacity compared to the Acadia and its competitors.

Here’s a brief comparison table highlighting the main differences and similarities:

Vehicle Base Engine Cargo Space (cu. ft.) Towing Capacity (lbs) Starting Price
GMC Acadia 2.0L Turbocharged I4 79.0 4,000 $33,600
Chevrolet Traverse 3.6L V6 98.2 5,000 $34,000
Ford Explorer 2.3L Turbocharged I4 87.8 5,300 $33,470
Kia Telluride 3.8L V6 87.0 5,000 $34,180
Buick Enclave 3.6L V6 97.6 5,000 $41,495
GMC Terrain 1.5L Turbocharged I4 63.3 1,500 $26,300


Features and Options

  • Trim Levels

GMC offers a variety of trim levels for the Acadia, ensuring there’s a configuration that suits your needs. Options include the SL, SLE, SLT, and the luxurious Denali.

Each trim level offers various combinations of features, such as leather seats, adaptive cruise control, and a panoramic sunroof.

As you move up in trim levels, you’ll gain access to more advanced technology and convenience features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and lane-keep assist.

  • Cargo Space

The Acadia provides a generous amount of cargo space for all your needs. With the third-row seats in place, you’ll have enough room for your daily cargo needs such as groceries or sports equipment.

However, if your needs grow, you can easily fold down the third-row seats and expand the cargo area for larger items.

  • Third-Row Seats

GMC Acadia’s third-row seats offer a comfortable and convenient seating option for additional passengers. You’ll appreciate the spaciousness and ease of access when loading passengers in the back.

Feel free to invite more friends or extended family members on your next road trip; your Acadia has you covered.

  • Safety Features

Your safety is a top priority when driving, and the Acadia provides various features to ensure you’re protected.

Standard safety features include a rearview camera, traction control, and stability control, while advanced options like adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist are available in higher trim levels. These features work together to help you stay alert and navigate the road with added confidence.

Fuel Economy and Maintenance

Again, fuel economy and maintenance requirements are very important twin factors to consider.

You want to make sure your vehicle offers reasonable gas mileage while also being relatively low-cost and straightforward to maintain.

The GMC Acadia’s fuel economy varies by year and model, but you can generally expect an average of 18-21 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and 25-27 MPG on the highway.

To maximize your fuel efficiency and keep costs down, consider the following tips:

  • Keep your tire pressure properly inflated: Underinflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%,
  • Maintain a steady speed: Avoid rapid acceleration and deceleration, which consume more fuel,
  • Plan your trips: Consider combining errands to reduce the number of short trips and limit idling.

Proper maintenance is critical for preserving your GMC Acadia’s performance and longevity. Here are some essential practices to follow:

  • Engine oil change: For synthetic oil, change it every 7,500 miles.
  • Transmission fluid: Replace it every 30,000 miles or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Timing belt/chain: Inspect for wear and tear regularly and replace as needed, especially for Acadia models manufactured before 2013, which had issues with timing chain stretching.

Considerations for Buying a Used Acadia

Before purchasing your used Acadia, consider the model’s repair history and any possible recalls, such as passenger safety recalls for seatbelts and airbags or fuel pump leaks and faulty driveshafts in some models.

Here are some key points to keep in mind as you search for your ideal used Acadia:

  • Look for an Acadia with a proven track record, as some models can last as much as 200,000 miles if well-maintained. This could provide you with 13 to 14 years of driving if you average 15,000 miles per year.
  • Keep an eye on the average repair costs associated with the vehicle, as some model years may have higher repair costs than others. Avoid years known for widespread issues, such as the 2008 GMC Acadia.
  • When evaluating a used car, consider the average cost for a model in your area to ensure you’re getting a fair deal. Researching used car prices can help prevent overpaying and getting stuck with a vehicle prone to issues.
  • Don’t forget to check the specific engine options in the model you’re considering. The inline four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbo engine has proven to be more reliable than the 3.6-liter V6 in some cases.

By keeping these factors in mind and diligently researching your options, you’re more likely to find the perfect used Acadia for your needs.


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