Select a year
- Highs Attractive design, improved infotainment, plenty of in-cabin storage space.
- Lows Quality doesn't match price, cramped third row, unimpressive fuel economy.
- Verdict The Acadia is a perfectly fine three-row crossover, but it's not the best of its bunch.
With room for seven, a bold, squarish design, and a new, off-road-inspired model, the 2020 Acadia is aimed at families who want a little luxury with a reasonable price tag. It can't quite match up to the build quality or performance characteristics of competitors such as the Mazda CX-9, and those who frequently need three rows of seats would be better off with something larger. But the Acadia offers a modern, attractive cabin with plenty of interior storage space and thoughtful features such as an available hands-free liftgate and second-row seats that slide and tip forward to ease third-row access. It's not the crossover we'd buy, but we won't be horrified if you choose it for your own driveway.
What's New for 2020?
The Acadia receives a facelift for 2020, with a new grille, newly standard LED headlights, and revisions to the rear end. There's also a new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine—standard on the SLT and Denali trims—which GMC estimates will have 230 horsepower when it goes on sale late in the model year. The trim lineup has expanded to include an AT4 model, which brings off-road-inspired design (including 17-inch wheels fitted with all-terrain tires) to the Acadia lineup. Inside, there's a new 8.0-inch infotainment system with improved software and a higher-resolution touchscreen. GMC has switched to an electronic gear selector, which frees up space in the center console. A hands-free liftgate is newly available, and there are fresh designs for the Acadia's 18- and 20-inch wheels. A nine-speed automatic is now standard with every engine.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We'd choose the mid-level SLT trim, which adds the Acadia's new 2.0-liter engine, leather first- and second-row seats, and a hands-free tailgate to the equipment list. In addition to those SLT extras, that model comes with the standard LED headlights, heated, power-adjustable mirrors, and keyless entry and push-button start.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Acadia's base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder good for 193 horsepower, but the optional 3.6-liter V-6 makes 310 horsepower and hustled our Denali test vehicle from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. A nine-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard with either engine; all-wheel drive is optional. The 2.5-liter is good for maximizing fuel efficiency, but not much else—it has a measly 1000-pound towing capacity whereas the V-6 can tow up to 4000 pounds.
While you'll never forget that you're driving an SUV, the Acadia is competent and reasonably composed. The Acadia feels ponderous during high-speed cornering, but when driven in a less aggressive manner (as most people drive most of the time), the ride is forgiving and stable. An adaptive suspension—standard on the Denali and optional on SLT-2 trims with all-wheel drive—adjusts the dampers every two milliseconds to help smooth out the ride over bumps or to tighten things up if the driver starts feeling frisky.
A new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 230 horsepower will go on sale late in the model year and will be standard on the SLT and Denali trims.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
We have yet to submit the 2020 Acadia with its new nine-speed automatic transmission to our real-world highway-fuel-economy test. Despite this new transmission, the 2020 Acadia's EPA ratings are barely changed: the front-drive version with the base 2.5-liter engine's ratings are now 21 city and 26 highway; its city rating is unchanged, while its highway rating increases by 1 mpg. For the optional 3.6-liter V-6 with front-wheel drive, the 2020 numbers increase by 1 mpg in the city, to 19 mpg, while the highway number increases by 2 mpg, to 27.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Acadia's compact exterior may help it fit into garages and parking spaces, but it imposes consequences on interior spaciousness. The interior design is pleasing to the eye, and most controls are intuitive and within reach of the driver. A black-and-white gauge cluster with red needles provides information at a glance; Denali models feature a reconfigurable center screen that provides a plethora of additional vehicle information depending on the driver's settings. The tilting-and-telescoping steering column could use more range to give very tall or very short drivers a comfortable position, but it still works for most people. The leather-wrapped steering wheel features aluminum trim that is convincingly upscale. Unfortunately, some of the interior materials have a cheap look and feel.
With the third row in use, we were only able to fit two carry-on suitcases in the Acadia, but with the second- and third-row seats stowed, we were able to fit 28. The Dodge Durango held four cases behind its third row and 30 with the rear rows of seats folded, so it might be a better choice if you'll be frequently hauling people and cargo at the same time.
Infotainment and Connectivity
When it comes to technology, the Acadia offers plenty for the whole family. From an abundance of USB ports to onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi, passengers can easily stay connected. The touchscreen infotainment system is intuitive and responsive; charging more than one device that requires a 12-volt outlet may prove a challenge, as only one of those outlets is provided.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The Acadia did great in its crash tests with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety but missed out on a Top Safety Pick award because its headlamps scored only Marginal in that test; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the all-wheel-drive Acadia five stars and gave four stars to the front-wheel-drive model. Its driver-assistance technologies add an additional level of protection, but they're either expensive options or they force the buyer to choose one of the costly top trims. Key safety features include:
- Available automated emergency braking
- Available lane-keeping assist
- Available blind-spot monitoring
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Acadia comes with a comprehensive warranty and maintenance coverage package as standard, with additional protection plans available from dealers. Hyundai offers longer limited and powertrain warranties, but GMC does cover the Acadia's first maintenance visit within the first year of ownership.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit