GMC Acadia vs. Ford Explorer

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - October 20, 2016

The midsize crossover segment is hotter than ever and two of Detroit's own, Ford and GMC, are in the thick of it with their Explorer and Acadia, respectively.

The Explorer has long been one of the more desirable crossovers in this class, thanks to its elegant looks and potent powertrains.

The Acadia, on the other hand, owes most of its relative success to its larger cabin. In 2017, however, the Acadia underwent a full redesign that made it smaller, thereby limiting its roominess inside.

Can this smaller Acadia still hold up against the Explorer?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Acadia & Explorer »

What the GMC Acadia Gets Right

The GMC Acadia underwent a complete redesign recently, dropping its size and weight significantly while also enhancing its aging looks. The change in looks finally puts the Acadia on par with the more refined Explorer.

While the 3.6-liter V6’s 310 ponies can’t hang with the Ford’s turbo V6, it is more fuel efficient than V6-equipped Explorers at 18 mpg city, 25 mpg city, and up to 21 mpg combined. What’s more, it's a good bit more powerful than the Explorer’s base V6.

The Acadia is also more premium than it’s ever been in its base setup. It now comes standard with upscale features like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 7-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, a WiFi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more. What’s more, all of this comes in at a price far south of the base Explorer.

What the Ford Explorer Gets Right

The 2017 Explorer rolls in with plenty of upscale features that match the new Acadia. These include 18-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, LED headlights, a power driver seat, and more. The slightly longer Explorer also has a few more inches of legroom in its third-row seats, making them a little more livable for older children.

Like the Acadia, the Explorer has several engines to choose from, but the Ford has one more than the GMC. The base 3.5-liter V6 easily crushes the Acadia’s base four-cylinder, while its 365-horsepower EcoBoost V6 tops the Acadia’s range-topping powerplant. The Explorer really stands out with its optional 280-horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost, which also allows this crossover to top out at 27 mpg highway.

The Explorer also has the Acadia’s number in cargo hauling, as it can handle a respectable 21 cubic feet of cargo with all the seats in place and a maximum of 81.7 cubes. What’s more, its 5,000-pound towing capacity easily tops the GMC.

Is the Acadia Better Than Ever?

The Acadia's new look finally puts it on par with its main competitors, and its new engines are a breath of fresh air. However, its reduced footprint means the cabin is tighter and cargo room isn't what it used to be.

Winner: GMC Acadia

Sure, the Acadia is now about the same size as the Explorer, but it still takes home a win against its longtime rival. The new Acadia now has premium features to match the Explorer, and its price is far lower without too much sacrifice in hauling capabilities.

Take a closer look at the GMC Acadia >>

Take a closer look at the Ford Explorer >>

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter | Website

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