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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, here I am past the 12 month mark at 30,000 kms. I've kept a notebook in the car for the purpose of jotting down any thoughts, impressions, problems, etc that have come into play during my first year of ownership, and I thought I'd share them with you.

First off, a little disclaimer; we purchased it with the intention of keeping it beyond its warranty cycle and payoff period. I tend to own vehicles for a couple of years and then "move onwards". But, this time around, we prefer to have a vehicle large enough to carry 6+ people (especially if when our family grows, we’ll need the space), and I still think that a nicely optioned SLE Acadia fits the bill both for value and “bang for the buck”. I should explain my difference between the two; value as compared to some of the other contemporaries in the class, and “bang for the buck” as in what you actually get for the price. I think at the pricepoint, you get a very nice looking vehicle, with an interior more suited for a Cadillac than a GMC, with good fit and finish that I would have never guessed GM capable of 5 years ago.

So, here I am at 30,000kms. At this rate, I'll be out of the standard bumper-2-bumper next year. Since people have started driving more, it would be nice if GM offered a little more robust warranty; it would certainly be feasible considering the strides they’ve taken with perceived quality, but as I’ll discuss in a bit, now I know why they haven’t.

I’ve driven several short (3-6 hours) and long (14+) road trips, along with a fair amount of city driving, both on paved, not so paved, and never gonna be paved roads. Should be a good all ‘round review. I find these “year of ownership” reviews much more informative than the ones you find the automags where they basically review the car after owning it a week. They never get into service quibbles, the dealership network, or any other practicalities of ownership that a lot of us would either benefit from, of avoid buying the thing all together once we hear some of the horror stories. Hopefully, I’ll stay a little objective about the Acadia’s review.

First, the great. The ride quality is absolutely superb. I enjoy driving along at highway speeds, and carry on a conversation with someone shoved into the back row. What’s even more surprising is that smaller adults actually find that back bench not only tolerable, but my crotchety old mother, who will berate someone for looking at her the wrong way, had no complaint about it at all. Other than the fact she couldn’t reach me to slap me on the back of the head if I completed a lane change too abruptly. I’ve almost burned through the OEM tires (18” rims), and the ride quality remains sure and planted in most conditions. In the rain, the tires are starting to show their age with some minor hydroplaning in deep water (where before the Acadia would surge through unmolested), while still having about 5k-6k kms left on them, but that’s normal.

The interior remains my favorite place to be. Whether it’s windows down with music cranked, or A/C with soft jazz playing in the background, the Acadia’s cockpit is easily the nicest I’ve been in at the price point. Competitors Pilot and CX-9 seem to make base model buyers suffer my offering them de-luxurized interiors compared to their top of the line models, and GM’s design philosophy (leather here and there and a few more buttons for the next trim level) really pays off since they started with an uplevel interior. There are few gimmicks here, with all controls falling into your hands very naturally, and no bloody computer menus to pick through just to turn the HVAC fan speed down one notch (BMW could learn a lesson here).

The interior is aging very well, with no fade or marking visible on any of the surfaces. The seats continue to look almost brand new, even resisting the urge to suck up a Big Gulp (or two, darned kids). I have the black interior, so that is probably helping the “illusion” that all is well.

The exterior is also holding up very well, even though I have taken her where the pavement is but a fond memory. I fish quite a bit, and often that elusive fishing hole is a dirt road or two away. The AWD system, while not offering any low gear, doesn’t need it as long as you’re not attempting to boulder climb or mud bog. If you’re going to take a $40k vehicle bouncing off-road smashing through the bushes… well… must be nice to have $$. Me, I’ll stick to logging and forestry roads, where the Acadia pulls off an “executive shuttle” feeling to it as you throw up a huge dust trail behind, with almost no road noise penetrating the cabin. I’ve got a minor rock chip here and there, but the paint remains in great shape, even after enduring the harsh Canadian winter. In fact, it’s faired better than the last 3 vehicles I’ve owned in their first years.

The fuel economy is another spot this CUV really shines. My friend has a Tahoe, and while the two are very comparable in size and capacity… I continually get better fuel economy, resulting in fewer trips to the gas station, resulting in my friend hating his Tahoe. Who would have though that even burdened down with all the weight of crash bars, airbags, modern safety gear and what not, that a 2+ ton vehicle could achieve 24+ MPG? Honestly, it’s one of the strongest arguments to be made about this category; all the size and convenience, no frame weight penalty. I can see why both Ford and GM are moving to unibody for their next generation SUVs.

Now, onto the not so great.
There are some quality issues that are starting to rear their little heads. Even though I’ve had the track replaced under warranty, both front seats exhibit the shakes when moving them back and forth, and the drivers’ seat still refuses to lock completely at most settings, resulting in a few millimeters of play. Sounds insignificant, but not when you apply the brakes or gas and feel your seat rock. I had this issue on a previous Honda, and 4 trips to the dealership resulted in absolutely nothing but a waste of my time. There is a TSB on a bolt replacement now, so we’ll see if that fixes it.

The seatbelts burning through the front post covers doesn’t impress me. Did the engineers wear the seat belts in testing, or simply check off “yep, we put seatbelts in it, hooray”. Makes me wonder what other kind of unforeseen rubbing / friction issues will pop up.

The front passenger seat sensor has decided that it will arbitrarily decide whether or not to turn on the passenger airbag, whether my wife is sitting the seat or not. Warranty.

The icons have completely rubbed off both keyfobs, even though my wife uses hers far less. Well, at least if someone steals it, they’ll have no idea what button does what. Warranty.

I had the farting brake pedal issue as well as other owners on here; a fluid flush and replacement with non-GM fluid took care of it. It didn't affect performance, it was just annoying. Again, warranty.

All things considered, GM has come a long way since the last time I owned a GM product (2000). That vehicle was in the shop more than I drove it, and ended up having the majority of its drivetrain replaced. Some parts (rear diff, front auto-locking hubs) replaced twice.

There are some oddball rattles. I'm not surprised, considering some of the bumpy and rattly roads I've been on, but several older SUVs I've been in, including GMs, are remarkably rattle free at the 3-4 year mark, and some of these see much more off-road service than the Acadia ever will. But still, I haven't gone tearing over heavily rutted roads or anything, so the rattles are a little surprising.

But, these are fairly minor wiggles. Let’s face it, with all the safety regulations being shoved into our faces and the weight penalty all new vehicles are facing year after year, for the remarkable complex machine that it is, it is holding up rather well. Until you read the next paragraph.

And finally, the very bad. The power steering issue. GM needs to get on top of this, yesterday. I ended up moving and hauling a trailer with a dead pump 1400kms, and then had to wait three weeks for a replacement, all the while reading about horror stories about the rack failing, etc. I got so concerned about it that I fired off a letter to GM, and still haven’t called them back. I’m still pretty pissed about it.

Why? Why, as the world’s #2 (recently #1 I might add) automaker, can they not fix something as critical as a ****** pump? Ok, so it’s the supplier’s fault. Find another supplier! It’s obvious that the steering pump issue has been known since 2007, so why, halfway through 2008, are people still having to drive around a potentially dangerous vehicle for a couple of weeks? C’mon GM, fix it already.

So, all that being said, I still like the Acadia very much. Some of the sparkle has gone out with these persistent warranty visits, and it doesn’t help that the vast majority of GM’s dealerships are burdened down by bureaucracy and procedure, so they can’t offer you a loaner when you very obviously need one for safety’s sake. I treat this vehicle more like “just a mode of transportation” than any other vehicle I’ve owned (indeed, I am a self-professed car nut and general automotive enthusiast) and I just don’t find myself investing as much of a relationship with the Acadia as my previous vehicles.

It would be a ****** shame for GM to drop the Lambda platform, as I think it’s one of their “aces in the hole” right now. Both the F-150 and Silverado have plummeted from their #1 and #2 sales spots respectively, and let’s face it; Ford GM and Chrysler all have very truck-heavy vehicle portfolios. They’re hurting the most in this gas crisis, and the $4 pump prices seems to be the straw that is breaking the economy’s back; North Americans are finding other ways to commute, and moving into fuel efficient vehicles en mass. Some people still need vehicles capable of carrying people, and while I’ll soon have another vehicle or two stashed in the garage (a fuel-efficient commuter and something extravagant… most likely RWD with 2 doors), I still need something to haul more than 5 people and their junk.

I still think the Acadia is the best choice.


++ edited because I cant spel
 

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nice write up toaster. Thanks for taking the time to sum up your first year.
 

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Toaster, great write up. Thanks for sharing. Another long post well worth reading. :cheers:
 

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OH GREAT! Toaster Oven you are the one I want to talk with!!!!

So you have the mechanical seats, right? I had not seen an SLE without power seats. so my question is, is there a height adjustment. One of those arms you pump up and down?
 

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Great write up! It's been 4 months since we got the Acadia and I have 8,500 kms on it and I'd say the Acadia has been exceeding expectations. I am yet to experience winter with it. Wow, I think this is the first time I am looking forward to winter. Cheers! :cheers:
 

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That's a real good post, Toaster. It was refreshing to read a post by one of the members that was objective about the performance of a vehicle that we are all rallying around. It gives those of us who are waiting on our first Acadia an insightful view of what we may expect from this product. :)

Thanks. :thumb:
 

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Very objective article! I am one of those that has not experienced anything bad and took the latest 2 tranny upgrades as far as requiring any type of warranty service. Thank you Toaster for sharing with us!
 

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A great write up. Like you we have had our Acadia for a while now. We have not experienced any mechanical problems, but I would rate the quality of this vehicle only average in today's market. The plastics in the interior are not the greatest and when the front doors are closed they sound a little cheap. At $30,000 this is a decent car, but at $40,000 I think there are better quality cars for the money. Would we buy it again? The answer is no and the main reason for the no is that we no longer need a vehicle this size, but I also have some doubts about the long term durability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
emnel said:
OH GREAT! Toaster Oven you are the one I want to talk with!!!!

So you have the mechanical seats, right? I had not seen an SLE without power seats. so my question is, is there a height adjustment. One of those arms you pump up and down?
Nope, sorry; I have the power drivers and passenger seats (front and back, height on drivers' side only).

detnick said:
That's a real good post, Toaster. It was refreshing to read a post by one of the members that was objective about the performance of a vehicle that we are all rallying around. It gives those of us who are waiting on our first Acadia an insightful view of what we may expect from this product. :)

Thanks. :thumb:
You're welcome.


big bear craig said:
A great write up. Like you we have had our Acadia for a while now. We have not experienced any mechanical problems, but I would rate the quality of this vehicle only average in today's market. The plastics in the interior are not the greatest and when the front doors are closed they sound a little cheap. At $30,000 this is a decent car, but at $40,000 I think there are better quality cars for the money. Would we buy it again? The answer is no and the main reason for the no is that we no longer need a vehicle this size, but I also have some doubts about the long term durability.
What I find interesting is that indeed, 5-6 years ago, the market was not this good. There have been phenominal strides made by almost everyone with regards to fit and finish, especially with the interiors. Car makers finally figured out that's where we spend the most time. But you make a great point; in 2009, there are some (arguably) nicer vehicles for the money, but a lot of it is subjective.
 

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big bear craig said:
A great write up. Like you we have had our Acadia for a while now. We have not experienced any mechanical problems, but I would rate the quality of this vehicle only average in today's market. The plastics in the interior are not the greatest and when the front doors are closed they sound a little cheap. At $30,000 this is a decent car, but at $40,000 I think there are better quality cars for the money. Would we buy it again? The answer is no and the main reason for the no is that we no longer need a vehicle this size, but I also have some doubts about the long term durability.
I have to agree, although not a bad vehicle at all and so far am satisfied. For $40,000+ I would think that the overall durability, etc. would be up there with what you would find in its' category/class of vehicle. You are correct, the doors do sound very tin can-ish when you shut them. I leased my wife's XC-90 Volvo for less money and the same exact price point and feel it is a much better vehicle for the money. This is my 4th leased GMC (2-Yukons, 1-Envoy and now Acadia). I will still continue to lease GMC for work related vehicle, but will hold my reservations on the Acadia until I can drive it for a couple of more years prior to giving it a true 'A' rating. With all that said, I definitely like the interior fit & finish over the Volvo. The Volvo tends to be very vanilla inside IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thread from the dead! :beer:

I never got around to telling folks on here what happened... after I posted this... to the Acadia. A friend of mine recently decided to get a vehicle to accommodate his growing family, so it was 2007 for me all over again as we went around, SUV / minivan / CUV shopping. We ran across an identical, used '07 in the same color as the Acadia I used to have, and after a test drive the 'ole memories came back, and I spent some time (albeit, not much) reflecting on my own ownership experience. I've also been telling 'ole war stories around the campfire with my current vehicle brethren (check sig for current ride), given the current high-profile shenanigans GM is going through rather publicly with the recalls and such.

I went looking for my old posts, and stumbled across here again, and was surprised I never completed my little Acadia ownership experience with updating folks here.

So, in case you still care by this point, here we go. If not, I've summarized at the bottom.

After my warm and fuzzy post above, the Acadia began to have glitches, and I started to take the rose-colored glasses off. Not, "glitches in the Matrix / deja-vu" glitches, but glitches. Remote start doesn't work. Then it does. Radio EQ goes funky, and shifting into neutral while cycling the ignition (and opening the door!) to reset while in motion is not an appealing option. Despite getting the local dealership to where I had just moved to replace the entire seat track on the drivers' side, the passenger side seat began "rocking back and forth" due to play, and despite my wife informing the dealership she didn't like the lurch towards / away from the windshield, the passenger seat rail was not fixed or replaced. My favorite phrase: "customer concern not duplicated".

The real showstopper was when the OEM tires were on the wearbars at 32k in early '09. Of course, factory tires are not covered by the tire manufacturer's warranty; they only have the initial 12 month GM warranty on them. No biggie I thought, I'll just buys some new ones. How hard could it be? Well, this was back in early '09, and suffice to say, the options for factory size were the Goodyears... and only the Goodyears. And they were not at an attractive price. It didn't help that every other week, the Acadia was going into the local dealership for the usual routine of "confirm warranty issue" with one visit, and then scheduling the actual warranty work. Oh yes, I got the interior panels the seatbelts were wearing through replaced, along with some MAJOR interior trim rattle issues popping up.

All that being said, with our move we also went from ferrying the kids and us around to me driving to work and back every day, with an empty 8-passenger truck.

So, couple that with all the problems that are becoming more and more frequent, we decided to trade-in. It's unfortunate that the local dealership's sales department matched their service department's service levels; in addition to quoting us way, way below black book they refused to budge on the dealership markups on any G8 GTs on their lot at the time. I'm also fuzzy on the timeframes, but I seem to recall a $10k dealer markup on a GXP driving me away from that car as well, back in late '08.

Instead, I ended up searching and picking up another SRT-4, in the same color and options as the one I traded in on the Acadia in the first place. Total time of ownership - about a year and a half. It got traded in with bald tires, loose seat tracks on both seats, but no major damage, rock chips, and nothing short of at least 20 dealership warranty visits. And the power steering pump was going again.

In hindsight - I really did gloss over the whole power-steering pump thing. GM basically told me to pound sand, the new local dealership I had moved to (the pump went after 5pm during the weekend we were moving down, towing a trailer no less) gave me the runaround until I put my foot down and got me into a rental Acadia (that the pump started to go on when I brought it back to pick up my Acadia), and like I said; the pump was making whining noises when I traded it in.

Fast-forward to today, and I got quite the chuckle when the "all-new!" Acadia was shown, complete with Outlook body panels. Like I said at the start, I got to test drive a brother/sister Acadia to the one I had, in addition to test driving a new '14, and I have to say, I am quite disappointed that the platform hasn't really moved forward since 2007. Sure, there's some quality improvements and new materials, but the basic vehicle architecture is the same as the one I had in '07, and I can only hope most of the bugs are ironed out (then again, I did flip through here and the problem forum and was surprised at some of the same issues plaguing new owners).

All that being said... I was overall extremely disappointed in my ownership experience. Sure, it was a great vehicle for the price... but I think I can look back and say, I got what I paid for. I was actually disappointed that there was no major refresh - the new 3.6 LF3 or a variant of that power plant would sure wake the Acadia up, and I lament the loss of the unique LED tailights. I still like the look, and still, occasionally, the wife or kids will point out one (in blue-gold of course) rumbling along in traffic.

Only one dealership out of the three we dealt with (local one sales and service prior to the move was horrible, local sales and service after the move was horrible, our purchase dealership was hours out of our way but the sale experience) was great, and that is the biggest part of the equation that's overlooked. Sure, we all want to get a great price when we buy... but the service relationship over the next couple of years is what adds grey to our hair.


TL;DR - Acadia didn't fall apart... but it didn't hold together well either. Look for a good service experience, because the sale is over quickly, and service is what counts in the long run. Horsepower is more fun than # of seats. And yes, I get the same (better in some cases!) fuel economy with the 6.4L than the Acadia.

**edited, because I still can't spell.
 
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