Car Buying Strategies
Search Car Buying Strategies Makes & Models Select a Make and Model Makes & Models Select a Make and Model New Cars Prices Buying Advice
Home / GMC / 2021 GMC Acadia

2021 GMC Acadia Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2021 GMC Acadia Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SL vs SLE vs SLT, AT4 & Denali
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2021 GMC Acadia Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

Filling the space in between full size SUVs and subcompact SUV models, the 2021 GMC Acadia is a perfect median option for those looking for a little more space in an SUV layout. Experiencing multiple upgrades and a refreshed style, the 2021 GMC Acadia is on the radar for many buyers who are looking for a slightly upscale SUV that is affordable and functional. Despite the many changes the GMC Acadia has experienced over the years, it still reigns as a top-selling SUV in the mid-size market.

Produced in its first generation in 2007, the GMC Acadia debuted in the United States and has shared the same platform as the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave since its introduction. Replacing the GMC Safari, this SUV it is the first GM unibody vehicle to be equipped with front-wheel drive. In 2013, the GMC Acadia received an exterior facelift and new safety features, including the first front center air bag in the industry. The 2012 through 2016 model years were even equipped with a unique SmartSlide seating system that allowed easy access to third-row seating that was a commendable interior feature for families.

From 2017 to the current model, the GMC Acadia deserted its dated chassis-based platform and moved to the same platform that forms the basis of the Chevrolet Blazer and the Cadillac XT5. Though the 2020 GMC Acadia did not begin an entirely new generation, it did receive a facelift with a completely new front end. Re-defining this mid-size crossover, recent GMC Acadia models offer improved storage space and an electronic control that replaced the traditional transmission shifter.

Compare the 2021 GMC Acadia SL vs SLE Trim Levels. What is the Difference?

The entry-level trim for the 2021 GMC Acadia is the SL model. While it is the basic trim level, even this bottom trim offers some upstanding features. Accompanied by a bench seat in the second row, the SL model has a seating capacity of up to seven passengers. Powered by a 4-cylinder engine that can produce up to 193-horsepower and offering keyless ignition and entry, this model is both capable and convenient. Complete with OnStar Connected Services, an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot, and 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, the SL model is more than one would expect in a lower trim level.

Though the 2021 GMC Acadia SLE does not necessarily compete with the SL model, it does take the attributes of the SL and expand upon them for an enhanced consumer experience. Transforming the second-row bench seating into captain's seats, the SLE has a reduced passenger capacity of six. Other than their substantial seating difference, the SL and SLE trim levels are very comparable. Both boast tri-zone automatic climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, five USB ports, and a six-speaker sound system.

In addition to these physical attributes, both the SL and SLE incorporate a variety of driver-assistive features and safety elements into their innate design. Blind-spot monitoring is a standard feature that alerts drivers to vehicles nearby that may be traveling in the driver's blind spot. Additionally, a rear-cross traffic alert comes standard to alert drivers of traveling objects behind the vehicle while in reverse. The inclusion of standard safety features at the lowest trim levels raises our expectations of what is to come in higher models, as well.

Compare the 2021 GMC Acadia SLE vs SLT Trims. What is the Difference?

Coming in as one of the most desirable trim levels and boasting the best value, the 2021 GMC Acadia SLT is a very well-rounded model. With a focus on offering more safety features than the SL or SLE has to offer, the SLT is a better choice for safety technology integration and driver-assistive feature selection. Enhanced with an impressive 4-cylinder turbocharged engine capable of producing 230 horsepower, buyers will also get more power in the SLT than it will with other, less competent lower level trim options. The midrange SLT option also comes equipped with sporty and practical roof rails, a convenient hands-free power liftgate, and safety enhancing fog lights.

Many of the upgrades the GMC Acadia SLT sees are related to comfort and convenience. From leather upholstery that is sleek and easy to clean to heated front seats that warm drivers in cool weather, the SLT seeks to keep drivers and passengers comfortable during their ride. While the overall size of the median-level 2021 GMC Acadia SUV certainly helps in this aspect, the interior facets that take comfort to the next level surely do not hurt, either. GMC vehicles are known for their plush interior and upscale design, and Acadia does not let us down in this aspect.

Many of these attributes are also deeply rooted in technology. A standard universal garage door opener, a power outlet in the middle row that is similar to a household plug-in, a navigation system, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are a few of the tech-based features that the 2021 GMC Acadia SLT offers. Some of these technology-based elements also pertain to enhanced safety features, like standard forward collision mitigation, lane keep assist, and automatic high beams.

Compare the 2021 GMC Acadia SLT vs AT4 Trims. What is the Difference?

Putting to use the foundation of the SLT, the 2021 GMC Acadia AT4 incorporates many of the attributes of the SLT model into that of its own. Following closely to the path the SLT has laid out, the AT4 takes the features that it pleases and improves upon the rest. Specifically, the GMC Acadia AT4 was made for off-road purposes. The body of the AT4 model itself is prided on its ability to handle rough terrain and off-road navigation. Yet, additional features improve this model's potential for such travel, as well.

Equipped with a V6 engine that can produce up to 310 horsepower, the GMC Acadia AT4 has the grit and potential to go where you need it to. No matter how difficult the path, the all-terrain tires and standard all-wheel drive are here to assist drivers on their journey. With the enhanced traction the all-wheel drive system provides, the GMC Acadia AT4 sees components that are unique to its specific setup. Capable and exclusive, this SUV is like no other you have ever seen before.

Additional technology features are introduced to the AT4 model to make off-road terrain travel easier. Hill descent control that helps stabilize and command the Acadia while navigating down steep and rough terrain is a unique feature. In conjunction with hill descent control, hill hold assist can assist with maintaining stability and control when navigating down terrain with an incline of five percent, or steeper. When the driver's foot is removed from the brakes, regardless of the reason, this feature applies the brakes for 1.5 seconds when the vehicle is on an incline of at least five percent.

Compare the 2021 GMC Acadia AT4 vs Denali Trim Level. What is the Difference?

Moving from a more rugged stature with off-road capabilities, the transition from the 2021 GMC Acadia AT4 to the Denali is an obvious one. Replacing all-terrain design elements with upscale attributes, the GMC Acadia Denali is the most prestigious model available for this specific SUV. The Denali trim level both appears more sophisticated than other Acadia options, and it incorporates more standard features. Aside from stylish exterior detailing, the 2021 GMC Acadia Denali offers a wider variety of standard safety features, as well. More options and an upgraded look are the strong points of the 2021 GMC Acadia Denali model.

Maintaining the AT4 model's V6 engine, the Denali trim offers performance that is much like that of its sibling. Forgoing the off-road components of the AT4, the Denali focuses more on convenience features and upscale design elements. From an integrated wireless charging pad to conveniently charge passenger devices to a digital instrument panel that takes the interior look of this SUV to the next level, the Denali is an impressive model. Heated mirrors that can be power-folded make it easy to control exterior elements from the interior of the vehicle, too.

Many of the comfort features the 2021 GMC Acadia Denali has to offer revolve around the seats of this SUV. Spending so much time in the cabin of this vehicle, passengers expect only the best when it comes to interior comfort. This is exactly what they get. Ventilated front seats sit directly in front of heated second-row seats. Driver-seat memory functions ensure that front seats are in the exact position passengers want them in upon entering the vehicle. Not only is the cabin roomy and comfortable, but it is also intuitive and seeks to provide exactly what consumers desire before they even know they want it.

Which Trim to Choose?

Each model the 2021 GMC Acadia is so impressive, it is difficult to choose the model you should invest in. While the overall look of this SUV remains similar across models, the interior details and tech-based attributes stand out as each model grows more exclusive. From the base SL model to the distinguished Denali, each consumer can find a level of customization that works for them. Taking elements, such as design, safety, technology, and performance, into consideration can aide buyers in making their decision on which 2021 GMC Acadia model they should purchase.

Each model stands out to a specific type of customer. The base SL 2021 GMC Acadia is a model that excels above competitors but is also an entry-level vehicle for the Acadia lineup. Offering a few tech-based features and impressive powertrain at the basic level, the SL model is a viable option for consumers who enjoy an upscale look at an economical price. Customers who are looking for a great value with a few more amenities may feel more comfortable moving up to the SLE model. Yet, the best value for a new 2021 GMC Acadia SUV model remains to be the SLT.

The last two trim levels of the 2021 GMC Acadia lineup are the most distinctive and the most exclusive. While the AT4 trim level offers everything, you could want and more for off-road travel, the Denali model offers the best of every feature in its prestigious presence. Featuring many of the same underlying interior facets and tech-based safety features, many of the differences between these two models lies within their capabilities and purpose. The 2021 GMC Acadia Denali is, by far, the most upscale model for this SUV. Yet, the AT4 is more fun-loving and a bit more affordable.

Regardless of the 2021 GMC Acadia model that is chosen, buyers can be assured that they are getting access to some of the best features available. Long-lasting and durable, GMC's history of producing quality vehicles is well-known among consumers. The 2021 GMC Acadia is no different in the modern and reliable nature it possesses. Though there is a 2021 GMC Acadia model for everyone, each trim level is the perfect match for a specific type of customer.

Used 2021 GMC Acadia:
Previous GMC Acadia Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2020 GMC Acadia Trim Levels