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

Victoria D. Doty

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

Dressed in white, the AT4 appears to be like a stormtrooper.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

If you are buying for a utility motor vehicle with a little bit of off-road gumption, there are several options on the current market. A single of the most capable is Jeep’s popular Grand Cherokee. The Subaru Ascent, Honda Passport and Land Rover Discovery Sport are a several other worthwhile options, as well. But have you regarded as a GMC Acadia?


  • Impressive acceleration
  • Outstanding transmission
  • Good build high quality

Will not Like

  • No adaptive cruise manage
  • Some affordable interior bits
  • So-so seats

It is Okay if the reply is no. This big SUV has hardly ever truly been developed to deal with something a lot more than a muddy road or snowy driveway. But for 2020 the Acadia is now readily available in AT4 trim, which, at the very least in concept, is supposed to enable you undertaking off the overwhelmed route and get household yet again as soon as you are completed actively playing in the filth. Enabling some modest off-road capacity, this model capabilities a twin-clutch all-wheel drive procedure and all-terrain tires for added traction in adverse ailments. Visual modifications involve the addition of black-chrome exterior accents, exceptional wheels and particular badging.

As with higher-end Denali products, GMC is managing its AT4 trim like a sub-brand name. By the end of this calendar year, AT4 variations of each individual GMC motor vehicle will be readily available, with the Terrain, Canyon and all-new Yukon arriving for the 2021 model year.

What is actually new?

But let us target on the Acadia. The current generation of this SUV has been around for about 3 years. Because absolutely nothing remains static in the automotive business, 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 important modifications ended up manufactured beneath the hood. A two.-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motor is now made available, providing 230 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque. As in earlier model years, two by natural means aspirated dynamos are still readily available. This features a foundation two.five-liter device which is superior for a middling 193 ponies, and a three.6-liter V6 churning out 310 horses.

Maximizing functionality and performance is a new 9-velocity automatic transmission. It is typical across the Acadia assortment and replaces a six-velocity gearbox that was made use of in past model years.

Managing the transmission is an equally new equipment selector. Absent is a traditional change lever, replaced by a collection of buttons and rocker switches. Positioned at the base of the centre stack, this selection of controls requires some receiving made use of to. I fumbled around with it for a working day or 3, but as soon as muscle memory arrived into play it was not a challenge.

Other enhancements for 2020 involve an upgraded infotainment procedure with a greater-resolution touchscreen spanning eight inches and a a lot more intuitive consumer interface. This procedure is without a doubt speedy and straightforward. Pinch-to-zoom functionality on the map is as superior as you are going to locate on any cellular phone, which is the typical all automakers should purpose for. The Acadia can also be equipped with a 15-Watt wi-fi charging pad, when LED headlamps are typical across the assortment. In addition to a smattering of traditional USB ports, two USB kind-C stores are bundled on the centre console.

In the household way

Like rival automobiles, the Acadia can accommodate up to 7 men and women, but you can also get it with just six or even 5 seats. This will make it a superior suit for each much larger and more compact households. My AT4 test model is not equipped with the readily available third-row bench, which means it only has place for a driver and four passengers.

Travelers in the second row have a great deal of house to stretch out, as well as the ground is flat, which means whoever is relegated to the center place does not have to straddle a hump with his or her feet. The Acadia’s entrance buckets are minimize for broad-shouldered people, indicating they are a great deal broad. Nonetheless, for more compact people like me, they are not especially comfy, currently being as well business and bereft of bolstering.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

Load ‘er up! There is a great deal of storage house in the GMC Acadia.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

This GMC is adept at hauling around a family’s well worth of stuff, from strollers and hockey bags to a veritable mountain of groceries. Guiding that second-row seat, you get just shy of 42 cubic feet of place, although that variety swells to 79 when the split backrest is folded down. These figures are mainly similar to what the Acadia’s major rivals give, although Toyota’s new Highlander, the Palisade and Explorer are all marginally a lot more capacious in each actions.

Over and above the cargo hold, you can find a great deal of other storage house. Not only is the centre console generously sized, many thanks in portion to the switch from a traditional mechanical shifter to an digital just one, you can find a great deal of place in the glovebox and doorway panel pockets for other tchotchkes.

A no-nonsense interior

The relaxation of this Acadia’s interior is largely pleasurable. No, it is not the most opulent cabin in the section, that title probable goes to the Palisade, but neither does it feel slipshod like the Explorer’s. My AT4’s clearly legible instrumentation, intuitive infotainment procedure and logically put controls make driving a largely tension-no cost affair.

Introducing a dash of type, my tester’s interior also capabilities perforated leather-based trim rendered in jet black and Kalahari, type of a peanut-butter hue. These cow hides are attractively coloured if not especially loaded, sensation a lot more like vinyl than something peeled off an animal’s system. At the very least this possibility appears to be pleasant and only provides $one,000 to the Acadia’s price tag tag.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

The interior is a combined bag, although every little thing is quick to use.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

What is actually considerably less forgivable is the weave-pattern trim made use of liberally in the course of the interior. Even by imitation carbon-fiber expectations it appears to be weak. Whilst quite a few of the Acadia’s controls are quick to use, some of its knobs feel rubbery and small-rent, especially the dials functioning the weather procedure.

A host of driver-guidance capabilities is readily available in the Acadia, although some things price added. Typical fare features rear cross-site visitors inform, blind-place checking, a higher-definition reversing camera and rear park-guide. Optional tech features entrance-and-rear park guide, lane-departure warning and automatic emergency braking, which are bundled in the Driver Inform Bundle II. It is 2020, shouldn’t capabilities like these be typical across the assortment? The good news is, this options group is only $695.

What are unable to be experienced at any price tag on the AT4, having said that, is adaptive cruise manage. GMC only provides this tremendous-useful characteristic on all-wheel drive Denali products equipped with the Ultimate Bundle, an added $five,295. At the very least common, previous-fashioned cruise manage is typical.

These powertrain, considerably smoothness

Shift into drive with the flick of a finger and this GMC delivers unexpectedly sturdy functionality. AT4 products are equipped exclusively with that three.6-liter V6, which is superior for 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque.

I have to confess, unless it has a turbocharger bolted to each individual cylinder head and is mounted beneath the hood of a Cadillac ATS-V, I have hardly ever been terribly amazed by GM’s three.6-liter six-shooter. I very last seasoned it in a Chevy Colorado midsize truck a several months again and uncovered it disagreeably coarse. The good news is, its manners are considerably enhanced in the Acadia. It remains largely peaceful in the course of the rev assortment and virtually no vibration can be felt inside of. This motor also will make the Acadia feels much a lot more responsive than you’d ever expect dependent on its fairly modest output figures, providing loads of higher-rpm pull. Bury the accelerator pedal and it sprints to redline with enthusiasm. Producing up for a lack of decreased-end grunt is the Acadia’s resourceful new transmission.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

Where the horses dwell.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Shockingly, that 9-velocity gearbox is just one of the most effective I have ever tested. Most transmissions these days are fine, but occasionally they are sluggish to respond or get befuddled, but that is not the situation in this article. It swaps ratios seamlessly and swiftly. Upshifts are practically imperceptible, although it is not scared to fall gears when get-up-and-go is demanded — just roll on the throttle and it responds eagerly. There is no want to stand on the accelerator, possibly, to summon a downshift like in so quite a few present day automobiles.

With all-wheel drive a distinguished portion of its powertrain mix, my AT4 stickers at 18 miles per gallon metropolis and 25 mpg freeway. Mixed, Uncle Sam states it should normal 21 mpg.

The AT4’s ride is business, although by no means brutal. Interior sounds concentrations look marginally greater than in similar automobiles, probable due to its intense, all-terrain tires, a established of Continentals mounted on the typical seventeen-inch wheels. Machined-facial area 20s are made available for an more $900, coming wrapped with considerably less-intense all-time rubber.

Off-roader or smooth-roader?

All that tire chat provides me to a different point. Just how capable is the Acadia AT4 off road? Perfectly, I might be leery of getting this utility motor vehicle anyplace a lot more tough than a washed-out filth road as it only has seven.two inches of floor clearance, but hey, you do you. That’s a complete inch considerably less than what some variations of the Explorer give and still guiding each the Highlander and Palisade.

Offsetting this lack of peak, the AT4 model is equipped with a great deal of other useful package. For occasion, the typical twin-clutch all-wheel drive procedure provides a assortment of selectable configurations. For increased gas economic system, it can route torque to just the entrance wheels, although there are also all-wheel drive, sport, off-road and towing modes to pick from.

Apart from its knobby tires, the Acadia AT4 also will come with hill-start out guide, which retains it from rolling backward on grades, and hill-descent manage. This allows the SUV go down inclines at a sluggish, constant tempo, so you will not have to manually ride the brakes. This is absolutely some useful tech that bolsters the vehicle’s off-road cred, but that fairly small floor clearance is still going to be an challenge if you head as well much off the overwhelmed route.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

The Acadia is not a bad-on the lookout utility motor vehicle.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

A useful, if not section-foremost alternative

With its exceptional drivetrain and adaptable interior, the 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 is a sound possibility for households of various dimensions many thanks to its diverse seating configurations. Not only that, this motor vehicle drives perfectly and appears to be rugged, as well as its infotainment procedure is a winner. Way too bad adaptive cruise manage is nowhere to be uncovered and quite a few popular driver-guidance capabilities price added.

An entry-level Acadia SL with entrance-wheel drive, the foundation four-cylinder motor and no-added-charge Summit White paint will established you again just five bucks considerably less than $31,000, together with $one,195 in delivery costs. My test AT4 model was, by natural means, much richer than that, although still not absolutely unreasonable, examining out at $45,090. Of program, if off-roading is your top rated worry, a similar outlay will, for occasion, get you a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, although it is not going to be as spacious inside of and a third-row seat is unavailable at any price tag.

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