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

    Dressed in white, the AT4 appears like a stormtrooper.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    If you are looking for a utility automobile with a little bit of off-road gumption, there are quite a few choices in the marketplace. Unquestionably, one of the crucial succesful is Jeep’s widespread Grand Cherokee. The Subaru Ascent, Honda Passport and Land Rover Discovery Sport are just a few different worthwhile choices, too. But have you ever thought of a GMC Acadia?

    LikePowerful accelerationSuperb transmissionSolid construct high quality

    Don’t LikeNo adaptive cruise managementSome low-cost inside bitsSo-so seats

    It’s OK if the reply isn’t any. This massive SUV has by no means actually been constructed to deal with something greater than a muddy street or snowy driveway. But for 2020 the Acadia is now obtainable in AT4 trim, which, no less than in concept, is meant that can assist you enterprise off the overwhelmed path and get dwelling once more when you’re completed taking part in within the filth. Enabling some modest off-road functionality, this mannequin includes a twin-clutch all-wheel drive system and all-terrain tires for additional traction in hostile circumstances. Visual modifications embrace the addition of black-chrome exterior accents, distinctive wheels and particular badging.As with high-end Denali fashions, GMC is treating its AT4 trim like a sub-brand. By the top of this calendar 12 months, AT4 variations of each GMC automobile will probably be obtainable, with the Terrain, Canyon and all-new Yukon arriving for the 2021 mannequin 12 months.

    What’s new?But let’s concentrate on the Acadia. The present era of this SUV has been round for about three years. Since nothing stays static within the automotive enterprise, GMC has mildly refreshed this automobile for 2020 to make sure it is aggressive with newer rivals just like the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade and Ford Explorer.Some of the Acadia’s most important modifications have been made underneath the hood. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is now provided, delivering 230 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque. As in earlier mannequin years, two naturally aspirated dynamos are nonetheless obtainable. This features a base 2.5-liter unit that is good for a middling 193 ponies, and a 3.6-liter V6 churning out 310 horses.

    Maximizing efficiency and effectivity is a brand new nine-speed automated transmission. It’s customary throughout the Acadia vary and replaces a six-speed gearbox that was utilized in previous mannequin years.

    Controlling the transmission is an equally new gear selector. Gone is a conventional shift lever, changed by a sequence of buttons and rocker switches. Located on the backside of the middle stack, this assortment of controls takes some getting used to. I fumbled round with it for a day or three, however as soon as muscle reminiscence got here into play it wasn’t an issue.Other enhancements for 2020 embrace an upgraded infotainment system with a higher-resolution touchscreen spanning 8 inches and a extra intuitive person interface. This system is certainly speedy and easy. Pinch-to-zoom efficiency on the map is nearly as good as any smartphone nowadays, which is the usual all automakers ought to goal for. The Acadia may also be fitted with a 15-Watt wi-fi charging pad, whereas LED headlamps are customary throughout the vary. In addition to a smattering of conventional USB ports, two USB type-C retailers are included on the middle console.In the household wayLike rival automobiles, the Acadia can accommodate as much as seven folks, however you can too get it with simply six and even 5 seats. This makes it an excellent match for each bigger and smaller households. My AT4 check mannequin shouldn’t be fitted with the obtainable third-row bench, which suggests it solely has room for a driver and 4 passengers.Travelers within the second row have loads of area to stretch out, plus the ground is flat, which suggests whoever is relegated to the center spot doesn’t should straddle a hump along with his or her toes. The Acadia’s entrance buckets are lower for broad-shouldered people, that means they’re lots large. However, for smaller people like me, they don’t seem to be notably comfy, being too agency and bereft of bolstering.Load ‘er up! There’s loads of cupboard space within the GMC Acadia.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    This GMC is adept at hauling round a household’s value of stuff, from strollers and hockey baggage to a veritable mountain of groceries. Behind that second-row seat, you get simply shy of 42 cubic toes of room, although that quantity swells to 79 when the cut up backrest is folded down. These figures are largely corresponding to what the Acadia’s main rivals present, although Toyota’s new Highlander, the Palisade and Explorer are all barely extra capacious in each measures.Beyond the cargo maintain, there’s loads of different cupboard space. Not solely is the middle console generously sized, thanks partially to the swap from a conventional mechanical shifter to an digital one, there’s loads of room within the glovebox and door panel pockets for different tchotchkes.A no-nonsense insideThe remainder of this Acadia’s inside is usually nice. No, it isn’t probably the most opulent cabin within the section, that title seemingly goes to the Palisade, however neither does it really feel slipshod just like the Explorer’s. My AT4’s clearly legible instrumentation, intuitive infotainment system and logically positioned controls make driving a largely stress-free affair.Adding a splash of favor, my tester’s inside additionally options perforated leather-based trim rendered in jet black and Kalahari, type of a peanut-butter hue. These cow hides are attractively coloured if not notably wealthy, feeling extra like vinyl than something peeled off an animal’s physique. At least this feature appears good and solely provides $1,000 to the Acadia’s price ticket.The inside is a blended bag, although all the things is straightforward to make use of.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    What’s much less forgivable is the weave-pattern trim used liberally all through the inside. Even by imitation carbon-fiber requirements it appears fairly poor. While most of the Acadia’s controls are straightforward to make use of, a few of its knobs really feel rubbery and low-rent, notably the dials working the local weather system.A bunch of driver-assistance options is obtainable within the Acadia, although some gadgets value additional. Standard fare consists of rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, a high-definition reversing digital camera and rear park-assist. Optional tech consists of front-and-rear park help, lane-departure warning and automated emergency braking, that are bundled within the Driver Alert Package II. It’s 2020, should not options like these be customary throughout the vary? Fortunately, this choices group is barely $695.What can’t be had at any worth on the AT4, nonetheless, is adaptive cruise management. GMC solely gives this super-useful function on all-wheel drive Denali fashions fitted with the Ultimate Package, an additional $5,295. At least common, old school cruise management is customary.Such powertrain, a lot smoothnessShift into drive with the flick of a finger and this GMC delivers unexpectedly sturdy efficiency. AT4 fashions are fitted solely with that 3.6-liter V6, which is nice for 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque.I have to confess, until it has a turbocharger bolted to every cylinder head and is mounted underneath the hood of a Cadillac ATS-V, I’ve by no means been terribly impressed by GM’s 3.6-liter six-shooter. I final skilled it in a Chevy Colorado midsize truck just a few months again and located it disagreeably coarse. Fortunately, its manners are a lot improved within the Acadia. It stays largely quiet all through the rev vary and virtually no vibration may be felt inside. This engine additionally makes the Acadia feels way more responsive than you’d ever count on based mostly on its comparatively modest output figures, offering a great deal of high-rpm pull. Bury the accelerator pedal and it sprints to redline with enthusiasm. Making up for an absence of lower-end grunt is the Acadia’s resourceful new transmission.Where the horses dwell.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    Shockingly, that nine-speed gearbox is without doubt one of the greatest I’ve ever examined. Most transmissions nowadays are superb, however typically they’re sluggish to reply or get befuddled, however that isn’t the case right here. It swaps ratios seamlessly and swiftly. Upshifts are almost imperceptible, although it isn’t afraid to drop gears when get-up-and-go is required — simply roll on the throttle and it responds eagerly. There’s no want to face on the accelerator, both, to summon a downshift like in so many fashionable automobiles.With all-wheel drive a outstanding a part of its powertrain combine, my AT4 stickers at 18 miles per gallon metropolis and 25 mpg freeway. Combined, Uncle Sam says it ought to common 21 mpg.The AT4’s experience is agency, although in no way brutal. Interior noise ranges appear barely larger than in comparable automobiles, seemingly as a consequence of its aggressive, all-terrain tires, a set of Continentals mounted on the usual 17-inch wheels. Machined-face 20s are provided for a further $900, coming wrapped with less-aggressive all-season rubber.Off-roader or soft-roader?All that tire speak brings me to a different level. Just how succesful is the Acadia AT4 off street? Well, I’d be leery of taking this utility automobile wherever more difficult than a washed-out filth street because it solely has 7.2 inches of floor clearance, however hey, you do you. That’s a full inch lower than what some variations of the Explorer present and nonetheless behind each the Highlander and Palisade.Somewhat offsetting this lack of peak, the AT4 mannequin is fitted with loads of different helpful equipment. For occasion, the usual twin-clutch all-wheel drive system gives a spread of selectable settings. For higher gas economic system, it may possibly route torque to only the entrance wheels, although there are additionally all-wheel drive, sport, off-road and towing modes to select from.Aside from its knobby tires, the Acadia AT4 additionally comes with hill-start help, which retains it from rolling backward on grades, and hill-descent management. This helps the SUV go down inclines at a sluggish, regular tempo, so you do not have to manually experience the brakes. This is definitely some helpful tech that bolsters the automobile’s off-road cred, however that quite low floor clearance continues to be going to be a difficulty in the event you head too far off the overwhelmed path.The Acadia shouldn’t be a bad-looking utility automobile.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    A helpful, if not segment-leading selectionWith its glorious drivetrain and versatile inside, the 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 is a strong choice for households of various sizes because of its totally different seating configurations. Not solely that, this automobile drives properly and appears rugged, plus its infotainment system is a winner. Too unhealthy adaptive cruise management is nowhere to be discovered and plenty of widespread driver-assistance options value additional.An entry-level Acadia SL with front-wheel drive, the bottom four-cylinder engine and no-extra-charge Summit White paint will set you again simply 5 bucks lower than $31,000, together with $1,195 in supply charges. My check AT4 mannequin was, naturally, far richer than that, although nonetheless not fully unreasonable, testing at $45,090. Of course, if off-roading is your prime concern, the same outlay will, as an illustration, get you a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, although it isn’t going to be as spacious inside and a third-row seat is unavailable at any worth.

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