2020 GMC Acadia AT4 review: Rugged looks with room for the family

Nancy J. Delong

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

Dressed in white, the AT4 looks like a stormtrooper.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

If you happen to be buying for a utility motor vehicle with a bit of off-road gumption, there are several solutions on the market. 1 of the most capable is Jeep’s common Grand Cherokee. The Subaru Ascent, Honda Passport and Land Rover Discovery Sport are a couple of other worthwhile solutions, far too. But have you thought of a GMC Acadia?


  • Highly effective acceleration
  • Fantastic transmission
  • Solid construct high quality

Do not Like

  • No adaptive cruise control
  • Some affordable inside bits
  • So-so seats

It can be Alright if the response is no. This big SUV has in no way actually been crafted to deal with anything a lot more than a muddy road or snowy driveway. But for 2020 the Acadia is now out there in AT4 trim, which, at minimum in concept, is meant to help you undertaking off the beaten path and get dwelling once more once you happen to be completed taking part in in the dust. Enabling some modest off-road ability, this design capabilities a twin-clutch all-wheel travel process and all-terrain tires for more traction in adverse ailments. Visible alterations contain the addition of black-chrome exterior accents, exclusive wheels and special badging.

As with high-conclusion Denali styles, GMC is treating its AT4 trim like a sub-brand. By the conclusion of this calendar year, AT4 versions of every GMC motor vehicle will be out there, with the Terrain, Canyon and all-new Yukon arriving for the 2021 design year.

What is actually new?

But let’s concentrate on the Acadia. The present generation of this SUV has been close to for about a few yrs. Since very little remains static in the automotive business enterprise, GMC has mildly refreshed this motor vehicle for 2020 to be certain it is aggressive with newer rivals like the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade and Ford Explorer.

Some of the Acadia’s most considerable alterations were being made less than the hood. A 2.-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motor is now offered, offering 230 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque. As in earlier design yrs, two in a natural way aspirated dynamos are nevertheless out there. This contains a base 2.5-liter device that is very good for a middling 193 ponies, and a 3.6-liter V6 churning out 310 horses.

Maximizing overall performance and effectiveness is a new nine-velocity automatic transmission. It can be standard across the Acadia range and replaces a six-velocity gearbox that was made use of in previous design yrs.

Managing the transmission is an equally new gear selector. Long gone is a conventional change lever, replaced by a sequence of buttons and rocker switches. Found at the base of the heart stack, this collection of controls can take some finding made use of to. I fumbled close to with it for a day or a few, but once muscle mass memory arrived into engage in it wasn’t a difficulty.

Other enhancements for 2020 contain an upgraded infotainment process with a higher-resolution touchscreen spanning eight inches and a a lot more intuitive user interface. This process is indeed fast and uncomplicated. Pinch-to-zoom overall performance on the map is as very good as you can expect to locate on any telephone, which is the standard all automakers ought to aim for. The Acadia can also be fitted with a 15-Watt wi-fi charging pad, whilst LED headlamps are standard across the range. In addition to a smattering of conventional USB ports, two USB type-C retailers are incorporated on the heart console.

In the spouse and children way

Like rival cars, the Acadia can accommodate up to seven folks, but you can also get it with just six or even five seats. This tends to make it a very good in shape for both equally more substantial and scaled-down families. My AT4 check design is not fitted with the out there third-row bench, which indicates it only has place for a driver and four passengers.

Travelers in the 2nd row have loads of room to stretch out, moreover the ground is flat, which indicates whoever is relegated to the center location does not have to straddle a hump with his or her feet. The Acadia’s entrance buckets are slash for wide-shouldered individuals, which means they are loads wide. On the other hand, for scaled-down men and women like me, they are not especially cozy, currently being far too organization and bereft of bolstering.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

Load ‘er up! You will find loads of storage room in the GMC Acadia.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

This GMC is adept at hauling close to a family’s worth of things, from strollers and hockey baggage to a veritable mountain of groceries. Driving that 2nd-row seat, you get just shy of 42 cubic feet of place, however that range swells to seventy nine when the split backrest is folded down. These figures are mainly similar to what the Acadia’s big rivals supply, however Toyota’s new Highlander, the Palisade and Explorer are all marginally a lot more capacious in both equally measures.

Outside of the cargo maintain, you will find loads of other storage room. Not only is the heart console generously sized, thanks in part to the change from a conventional mechanical shifter to an electronic one, you will find loads of place in the glovebox and door panel pockets for other tchotchkes.

A no-nonsense inside

The relaxation of this Acadia’s inside is primarily enjoyable. No, it is not the most opulent cabin in the phase, that title very likely goes to the Palisade, but neither does it come to feel slipshod like the Explorer’s. My AT4’s evidently legible instrumentation, intuitive infotainment process and logically put controls make driving a primarily anxiety-cost-free affair.

Adding a dash of design and style, my tester’s inside also capabilities perforated leather-based trim rendered in jet black and Kalahari, form of a peanut-butter hue. These cow hides are attractively coloured if not especially prosperous, feeling a lot more like vinyl than anything peeled off an animal’s body. At minimum this solution looks great and only adds $one,000 to the Acadia’s cost tag.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

The inside is a mixed bag, however every thing is simple to use.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

What is actually significantly less forgivable is the weave-pattern trim made use of liberally through the inside. Even by imitation carbon-fiber criteria it looks weak. When many of the Acadia’s controls are simple to use, some of its knobs come to feel rubbery and small-lease, especially the dials operating the climate process.

A host of driver-help capabilities is out there in the Acadia, however some goods expense more. Normal fare contains rear cross-website traffic notify, blind-location monitoring, a high-definition reversing digicam and rear park-guide. Optional tech contains entrance-and-rear park guide, lane-departure warning and automatic unexpected emergency braking, which are bundled in the Driver Warn Bundle II. It can be 2020, should not capabilities like these be standard across the range? Luckily, this solutions team is only $695.

What are unable to be had at any cost on the AT4, nevertheless, is adaptive cruise control. GMC only offers this tremendous-practical aspect on all-wheel travel Denali styles fitted with the Final Bundle, an more $5,295. At minimum standard, outdated-fashioned cruise control is standard.

This sort of powertrain, a lot smoothness

Shift into travel with the flick of a finger and this GMC provides unexpectedly solid overall performance. AT4 styles are fitted solely with that 3.6-liter V6, which is very good for 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque.

I will have to confess, until it has a turbocharger bolted to each individual cylinder head and is mounted less than the hood of a Cadillac ATS-V, I’ve in no way been terribly amazed by GM’s 3.6-liter six-shooter. I very last skilled it in a Chevy Colorado midsize truck a couple of months back again and found it disagreeably coarse. Luckily, its manners are a lot enhanced in the Acadia. It remains primarily tranquil through the rev range and pretty much no vibration can be felt inside. This motor also tends to make the Acadia feels considerably a lot more responsive than you’d at any time be expecting based mostly on its relatively modest output figures, delivering hundreds of high-rpm pull. Bury the accelerator pedal and it sprints to redline with enthusiasm. Making up for a lack of reduce-conclusion grunt is the Acadia’s resourceful new transmission.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

Where by the horses stay.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Shockingly, that nine-velocity gearbox is one of the very best I’ve at any time examined. Most transmissions these times are high-quality, but often they are gradual to react or get befuddled, but that is not the scenario right here. It swaps ratios seamlessly and quickly. Upshifts are just about imperceptible, however it is not scared to drop gears when get-up-and-go is demanded — just roll on the throttle and it responds eagerly. You will find no need to stand on the accelerator, possibly, to summon a downshift like in so many fashionable cars.

With all-wheel travel a outstanding part of its powertrain combine, my AT4 stickers at 18 miles for every gallon metropolis and 25 mpg highway. Combined, Uncle Sam claims it ought to typical 21 mpg.

The AT4’s journey is organization, however by no indicates brutal. Interior sounds degrees seem marginally higher than in similar cars, very likely thanks to its aggressive, all-terrain tires, a established of Continentals mounted on the standard 17-inch wheels. Machined-experience 20s are offered for an supplemental $900, coming wrapped with significantly less-aggressive all-year rubber.

Off-roader or delicate-roader?

All that tire chat brings me to an additional issue. Just how capable is the Acadia AT4 off road? Nicely, I would be leery of getting this utility motor vehicle wherever a lot more demanding than a washed-out dust road as it only has 7.2 inches of floor clearance, but hey, you do you. That is a whole inch significantly less than what some versions of the Explorer supply and nevertheless driving both equally the Highlander and Palisade.

Offsetting this lack of peak, the AT4 design is fitted with loads of other practical package. For instance, the standard twin-clutch all-wheel travel process offers a range of selectable settings. For better gasoline financial system, it can route torque to just the entrance wheels, however there are also all-wheel travel, sport, off-road and towing modes to pick from.

Apart from its knobby tires, the Acadia AT4 also will come with hill-start guide, which keeps it from rolling backward on grades, and hill-descent control. This can help the SUV go down inclines at a gradual, regular pace, so you will not have to manually journey the brakes. This is absolutely some practical tech that bolsters the vehicle’s off-road cred, but that fairly small floor clearance is nevertheless likely to be an problem if you head far too considerably off the beaten path.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

The Acadia is not a terrible-seeking utility motor vehicle.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

A practical, if not phase-primary decision

With its exceptional drivetrain and multipurpose inside, the 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 is a good solution for families of different dimensions thanks to its distinct seating configurations. Not only that, this motor vehicle drives very well and looks rugged, moreover its infotainment process is a winner. Too terrible adaptive cruise control is nowhere to be found and many common driver-help capabilities expense more.

An entry-degree Acadia SL with entrance-wheel travel, the base four-cylinder motor and no-more-demand Summit White paint will established you back again just 5 bucks significantly less than $31,000, such as $one,195 in delivery costs. My check AT4 design was, in a natural way, considerably richer than that, however nevertheless not wholly unreasonable, checking out at $forty five,090. Of class, if off-roading is your best worry, a equivalent outlay will, for instance, get you a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, however it is not likely to be as roomy inside and a third-row seat is unavailable at any cost.

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