The 2020 Ford Explorer and GMC Acadia are great options for both family-friendly comfort and a spirited daily drive. But you can only choose one, so which is the absolute best option? Our comparison guide has the details.
Passenger Space and Comfort: 2020 Ford Explorer
When you’re in the market for a friendly family hauler, you’ll absolutely love the Explorer. Fully redesigned for 2020, the Explorer is roomier than ever. And, with seating for up to seven passengers, it’s a big draw for freewheeling families. All three rows provide passengers generous space for their heads, elbows, and legs.
The 2020 GMC Acadia gets accolades for its smooth, quiet ride and simple cabin layout. It’s also pretty big on space, if not as roomy as the Explorer. We just wish it were a little more upscale, especially inside the more expensive top-trim models, like the Denali.
Sportiest Ride: 2020 Ford Explorer
For the most in sports utility, choose the Explorer. For starters, Ford’s crossover gives you much more in standard power. The base, XLT, and Limited trim models come standard with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. In the sporty ST model, you’ll find an even speedier ride, compliments of its exclusive turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. This engine turns up the heat with 400 horses and 415 pound-feet of torque.
Add all-wheel drive to your Explorer for a little more adventure. This performance technology needs no help from you – it simply kicks into action, maximizing traction on off-road surfaces or slick pavement whenever necessary. The Explorer’s drive modes include Trail and Sand and Snow, so you can tweak performance in off-road settings accordingly.
The 2020 Acadia doesn’t come standard with as much power. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 193 horses and 188 pound-feet of torque. However, you can pay a little extra and get one of two optional engines. A turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 230 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. The Acadia’s most powerful engine is a V6 rated for 310 horses and 271 pound-feet of torque, which is on par with the Explorer’s base engine.
And while the Explorer offers all-wheel drive on every model, no matter the powertrain, the Acadia only offers this traction-boosting technology on the top-trim Denali.
Best Towing Performance: 2020 Ford Explorer
If you’ve got big toys that require a lift, the Explorer is the right choice for you. With the proper equipment and configuration, Ford’s three-row crossover can tow up to 5,600 pounds. That’s a big jump from the Acadia’s tow ratings, which only reach 4,000 pounds. Should your boat or camper weigh more than that, you’re going to need the Explorer.
Thriftiest Performance: It’s a Tie!
Both the 2020 Ford Explorer and the GMC Acadia earn EPA ratings of up to 24 mpg combined, depending on powertrain and configuration. And that means that both of these three-row crossovers are up to the task of blending premium power with impressive fuel economy.
In the end, though, the 2020 Ford Explorer has our official recommendation. This sporty crossover outdoes the competition with its richly appointed cabin, road-trip ready passenger space, and high-powered performance.