2024 GMC Acadia Grows Everywhere But Under the Hood

Bigger in every dimension, the GMC Acadia moves up into the Large CUV segment with platform-mates Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse. The 2024 Acadia and Traverse are on sale now; the 2025 Enclave comes in late summer.

Bob Gritzinger, Editor-in-Chief

June 20, 2024

4 Min Read
2024 GMC Acadia Denali
GMC Acadia Denali grows in length, height and width for 2024.

BLUFFTON, SC – General Motors continues to offer internal-combustion engines, albeit downsized versions, the latest of which we sample on a test drive here in the 2024 GMC Acadia.

Arriving now in dealerships at the same time as the 2024 Traverse joins Chevrolet showrooms (but ahead of its Buick Enclave sibling), the GMC Acadia shares platform, powertrain and many attributes with those two models, including the turbocharged inline 4-cyl. 2.5L.

2024 GMC Acadia 2.5L engine.jpg

The transverse-mounted, front-drive-biased 2.5L replaces both the prior-model’s 2.0L turbo 4-cyl. and the 3.6L V-6. The new 2.5L trounces the output of the outgoing 2.0L but gives up nothing compared with the V-6: 328 hp, up 18 hp vs. the V-6; 326 lb.-ft. (442 Nm) of torque, up 55 lb.-ft. (75 Nm); and touting a payload of 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kg) when properly equipped, up 1,000 lbs. (454 kg).

One measure where the 2.5L disappoints is in highway fuel economy, posting 24 mpg (9.8 L/100 km) vs. the 2023 V-6’s 26 mpg (9.0 L/100 km). City (19 mpg [12.4 L/100 km]) and combined (21 mpg [11.2 L/100 km] are the same. The 2023 2.0L engine produced higher ratings, but with significantly less output.

The 2024 model employs an 8-speed automatic (vs. 2023’s 9-speed) that takes advantage of the engine’s lower torque curve to drop out the third-gear ratio. We observed 21.9 mpg (10.7 L/100 km) on our drive in an Acadia Denali, and 19.8 mpg (11.9 L/100 km) during some rather spirited backroad driving in an Acadia AT4.

While a change in gearing could impact fuel economy, no doubt the bigger factor is the 2024 model’s growth in size, gaining 10.6 ins. (269 mm) in length as well as 3.2 ins. (81 mm) in height, along with some width and weight as well (though 2024 curb weight is still TBD). At 204 ins. (5,182 mm), the Acadia now joins the Traverse and Enclave in the Large CUV class and enjoys a 23% bump in maximum cargo capacity to 98 cu.-ft. (2,775 L).

2024-gmc-acadia-denali-cargo room.jpg

The Acadia’s propulsion system won’t surprise, but it does provide ample power in the 3,500- to 5,500-rpm range, often where the engine is spinning when driving at 45 mph (72 km/h) and you need a quick boost to 60 mph (97 km/h) or above to pass or get up to speed on an interstate entrance ramp.

However, at launch or when loping along at 70 mph (113 km/h), we note some lag until the rpm builds to that magic 3,500 number – and then the engine performs admirably. Turbo lag shouldn’t be an issue as the engine employs a dual-volute turbocharger similar to the one used with success in 2.7L 4-cyl. in models such as the fullsize Chevrolet Silverado pickup. The dual-volute turbo employs two exhaust channels to maintain steady pressure on the turbine.

Some other specifics to note on the powertrain:

  • Stop/start, using the 12V starter motor, employs the electronic phaser on the intake camshaft to set the cam to the specific start-up point, allowing almost unnoticeable restarts.

  • The steering-wheel paddle shifters are activated by punching the “L” for Low selector on the steering wheel (rather than “M” for Manual or “S” for Sport). GMC says the intent is for paddle shifters to be used to set a lower gear for transmission braking on long downhill grades; they do hold ratios when activated, without releasing unexpectedly as some systems do. But if you don’t push the L button, the paddles do nothing.

  • In all-wheel-drive-equipped models, a button on the left lower dashboard must be used to switch from front drive to AWD. However, once AWD is activated, it remains so until turned off manually. GMC says the idea is to afford FWD fuel efficiency but allow the owner to hold the vehicle in AWD during snowy months or on longer, slippery drives.

  • The AT4 model adds a GKN-sourced electronic twin-clutch rear axle called Active Torque Control that provides better lateral power distribution vs. the single-clutch on non-AT4s. Off-road mode allows more yaw and less traction-control intervention at any speed, which we found truly enjoyable when tossing the CUV into gravel and sandy backroad corners. Terrain mode introduces a low-speed, semi-1-pedal powertrain control, handy when picking our way through a tough trough that lifted some tires completely off the ground.

    2024 GMC Denali AT4 off-road.jpg

The Acadia also gets GM’s Super Cruise advanced driver-assistance system that allows hands-free driving on 400,000 miles (643,738 km) of roads. We found it highly precise and capable in handling speed control down to a stop, as well as fully automated lane changes around slower-moving vehicles.

Many functions are controlled via a 15-in. (38-cm) portrait touchscreen, standard across all trims: Elevation (replacing SLE and SLT trims), AT4 and Denali. Prices start at $45,995 for the base Elevation and rise to $51,395 for the AT4 and $57,695 for the Denali.


About the Author(s)

Bob Gritzinger

Editor-in-Chief, WardsAuto

Bob Gritzinger is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto and also covers Advanced Propulsion & Technology for Wards Intelligence.

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