The 2023 GMC Acadia midsize crossover SUV soldiers on with minor changes over the 2022 model year, but buyers still need to know what they’re getting for their money with the different 2023 GMC Acadia trim levels.
Still seating a maximum of seven people, the Acadia is a three-row midsize crossover positioned below the larger Yukon and above the smaller Terrain in the GMC lineup. Its corporate cousins include the mainstream Chevrolet Traverse and the Buick Enclave, and it competes with popular and established rivals like the Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, and many more.
In a relatively large crowd of crossovers competing for the same buyers, the 2023 GMC Acadia tries to make a case for itself by sporting a more truck-like appearance and hiding a family-friendly suite behind it. While it has started to show its age recently, it more or less succeeds at the job it was designed to do.
The 2023 GMC Acadia aims to provide an upscale package at a non-luxury price tag. Available in four different trim levels, from the most refined Denali to the off-road-oriented AT4, it has the trim that should interest almost everyone. With two engines available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations, buyers have a total of four trim levels to choose from.
The SLE serves as the base trim, while the SLT, AT4, and Denali are higher up the trim ladder for those who want more than the basics. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard across all configurations.
In addition to these trims, various appearance and feature packages are available to further upgrade your 2023 GMC Acadia to your taste. Sadly, there is no hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain offered when there are some competitors that do offer a hybrid option.
No matter which trim level you choose, a host of safety and driver assistance features and wireless connectivity come as standard. With a comfortable ride, a versatile cabin, and tasteful lines, the GMC Acadia remains a decent option when shopping for a mid-size crossover. But the competition is stiff and it’s not out of order to suggest some may offer better value for money.
Anyway, the 2023 GMC Acadia does a good job of hauling people and cargo in some style while providing a pampered ride and modern amenities. We’ll explore what each trim level has to offer so that you can decide which GMC Acadia trim best suits your needs.
2023 GMC Acadia SLE vs. SLT trim levels
As stated before, two engines are available across the range. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged unit generating 228 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque acts as the base engine, while a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that develops 310 horsepower and 271 lb.-ft. of torque is optional. Power is sent to either the front or all four wheels as an option on all trims, except the AT4 trim, which is only available with the V-6 and all-wheel drive.
By default, seating for six passengers is available in a 2-2-2 configuration and can be upgraded to a 2-3-2 arrangement for seating up to seven people. SmartSlide second-row seats provide quick and easy access to the third-row seating area, and both the second and third rows can be folded for an extended cargo area if available space is limited. Without any of the seats folded the cargo capacity stands at 12.80 cu.-ft., and increases to 79 cu.-ft. when all seats are folded.
With the base engine, the GMC Acadia can tow up to 3,500 pounds when equipped with the available trailering package, and that increases to 4,000 pounds when paired with the bigger V-6.
A suite of advanced driver aids in the form of GMC’s Pro Safety Plus package comes standard across the range. The suite includes safety features like Lane Keep Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alerts, and much more. All models feature StabiliTrak, an electronic stability control system with traction control.
In these increasing warm times, buyers are sure to welcome tri-zone automatic climate control, which is also standard. And the family will be delighted to know that modern wireless connectivity like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Wi-Fi hotspots are also supported by default on all trims.
With the Traction Select System as standard, drivers can switch between different drive modes for different road conditions if the need arises. A distinct feature available on all trims is the Hitch Guidance and Hitch View System. It displays a guideline on the Rear Vision Camera view when you’re in Reverse to help line up your hitch to your trailer and perform careful maneuvers. Driver assistance features like this are lacking in some of the Acadia’s main rivals.
In front-wheel drive form, the four-cylinder engine gets an EPA estimated fuel economy of 22 MPG in the city, 29 MPG on the highway, and 25 MPG combined. It drops to 27 MPG on the highway and 24 MPG combined with all-wheel drive. Similarly, the bigger V-6 achieves an EPA-estimated 19 MPG in the city, 27 MPG on the highway, and 22 MPG combined, which drops to 26 MPG on the highway and 21 MPG combined when equipped with all-wheel drive.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine is the only available engine on the base SLE trim, while the SLT trims add the V-6 as an option. Both trims are available with optional all-wheel drive and a standard 9-speed automatic transmission. 18-inch aluminum wheels are standard, whereas 20-inch alloys are optional in various finishes on both trim levels.
The base SLE misses out on features like HD Surround Vision and a head-up display that are available as options on the SLT trim. Moreover, although it is available as an option, the SLE trim lacks the 8-inch GMC Infotainment System with Navigation, multi-touch display, and AM/FM/SiriusXM2 stereo, which is otherwise standard on the SLT trim.
Many will appreciate the hands-free, programmable power liftgate on the higher SLT trim, but is it too much to ask to do this task manually on the SLE trim?
The SLT trims swap the 6-speaker audio system of the SLE for a Bose premium 8-speaker audio system. Likewise, the base SLE trim has a 4-way manual driver’s seat instead of the 8-way power and memory driver’s seat on the SLT trim.
Heated driver and front passenger seats make their way into the standard SLT trim, and a heated steering wheel is optional. The SLT trim also outshines the base SLE trim by having leather-appointed first-and second-row seating in place of premium cloth seat trim.
The SLT trim definitely has a more upscale interior than the base SLE, especially as it includes many more standard and available driver assistance and convenience features and superior materials. While there is no significant mechanical advantage besides the optional V-6, the SLT trim remains the more desirable option of these two. If you are happy to pay more than $4,000 more for the SLT than the SLE, you might want to hang on and look at the next trim before making a decision.
2023 GMC Acadia SLT vs. AT4 trim levels
The adventurous AT4 trim stands out from the rest of the lineup as it offers a more rugged appearance, a distinct interior trim, and additional off-road features. The larger V-6 engine and all-wheel drive are standard as the AT4 trim tries to fulfill the trekking duties of its drivers.
The 2023 GMC Acadia AT4 includes features not offered on other trims, like the Active Torque Control AWD System, Hill Decent Control, and Hill Start Assist that deliver a more refined and capable off-road experience. A higher 3.49 axle ratio is also standard on the AT4 to make off-roading easier. Rubber is changed to all-terrain tires with special 17-inch wheels, but ground clearance is the same 7.20 inches as the rest of the lineup and that shows how the off-road ability of the Acadia AT4 is far from imperious.
On the inside, the AT4 is distinguished by the front seat headrests that are stitched with the AT4 logo, and sill plates prominently displaying an embossed AT4 badge. The AT4 upholstery is black premium cloth or available black leather-appointed seating with Kalahari accents, whereas the SLT trim has standard leather-appointed first-and second-row seating. Other than that, pretty much everything is the same.
A heads-up display and HD Surround Vision are available on both trims. Depending on the second-row seat configuration, both the SLT and AT4 trims can seat up to six or seven people. Similarly, the Infotainment Package, Driver Convenience Package, and GMC Pro Safety Plus make an appearance in both the SLT and AT4 trims as standard. Other assistance and convenience features like Hitch Guidance with Hitch View, Trailering Package, 8-way power driver seat, heated driver, and front passenger seats are common to both.
The AT4 trim enjoys some off-road specific touches on the outside, inside, and mechanically; other than that, there is not much it gains over the SLT trim. If you prefer a crossover with some off-road chops, you can opt for the AT4 trim for more or less the same amount of money that buys an SLT Acadia.
2023 GMC Acadia AT4 vs. Denali trim levels
The top-of-the-line 2023 GMC Acadia Denali trim is the unashamed upscale version of the Acadia. The standard engine is the V-6, but unlike the AT4, buyers can downsize to a four-pot mill if they prefer. All-wheel drive remains optional no matter the engine chosen. The Denali trim lacks the off-road readiness of the AT4 but makes up for it with adaptive ride control that makes it a superb on-road cruiser.
On top of standard features across the range, the Denali trim adds a heads-up display as standard, but HD Surround Vision remains optional. 20-inch Ultra Bright machined aluminum wheels come installed from the factory and can be swapped with other optional 20-inch alloys with different finishes. A signature Denali grille adorns the front, making it easily recognizable as the most premium version of this likable midsize crossover SUV.
Get inside and an 8-inch multi-color reconfigurable driver information screen adorns the dash. And in addition to the 8-way power driver seat of the AT4, the Denali adds heating, ventilation, and memory as well, while the front passenger seat also enjoys these luxuries. The perforated leather-appointed seat trim replaces the premium cloth seat trim of the AT4. Wireless connectivity is the same, but the Denali adds wireless charging as an additional convenience feature.
The 2023 GMC Acadia Denali adds many comfort and convenience features to the already feature-rich recipe of Acadia. The packages optional on lower trims are available as standard higher up, but there are other packages still available to further upgrade your Acadia Denali, especially the Denali Ultimate Package.
The Denali Ultimate Package includes HD Surround Vision, Adaptive Cruise Control, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, a Rear Camera Mirror, Rear Camera Mirror Washer, Dual Skyscape 2-panel power sunroof, Adaptive Ride Control (AWD model only), and the Trailering Package. If you’re going to go down the pretty expensive Denali route, why wouldn’t you want to add all that?
Which 2023 GMC Acadia trim should you buy?
There are no 2023 GMC Acadia trim levels that we’d advise you to steer clear of as they all have their merits. The base SLE certainly isn’t one of those stripped-down fleet-focused models that retail buyers rightfully normally ignore.
But if your budget is that limited, why not save a few dollars by going for the Traverse instead? The Denali is nice, but at that kind of money, the conversation starts to include models from some luxury automakers that question the strength of the GMC’s case for your business.
We think the SLE and AT4 or the sweet spot in the 2023 GMC Acadia family, and which you choose probably depends on how much you value all-wheel-drive and a stronger focus on off-road capability. We’d definitely recommend the AT4 as the first-choice trim in the 2023 GMC Acdai family, but if you’re not bothered about AWD, the SLT is the way to go.