Ford Explorer Vs. GMC Acadia: Compare Cars


Angular Front Exterior View – 2015 Ford Explorer FWD 4-door XLT
Enlarge Photo
Looking for a three-row, mid-size crossover? Then you’re probably cross-shopping a few likely nameplates. The Ford Explorer fits the description. As one of the most recognizable nameplates in the car world, it’s now more family-focused than ever.
You might also be looking at Pilot, Durango, Grand Cherokee, and Pathfinder-—but we think the GMC Acadia also makes a strong case for itself, with seating for seven and a wide range of trim levels, from moderately priced to luxuriously finished.
So how does the GMC Acadia stack up against the latest Ford Explorer?
For comfort and utility, it’s a job well done by both. The Ford’s front seats are shaped very well, with more bolstering than the base Acadia seats; both can be optioned up with leather, heating and ventilation. The Explorer’s a bit shorter and taller than the Acadia, which gives it a little less leg room in its third-row seat. Neither makes it easy for adults to reach the third row.
The Acadia also has about 30 more cubic feet of cargo space than the Explorer–the Ford Flex is a more direct competitor, really–but both offer fold-away third-row seats and second-row seats that move forward to make the interiors more flexible. If you’re truly fixated on the third-row accommodations … might we show you something in a Honda Odyssey?
Between these two utes, the Acadia’s certainly bigger and more useful, for those who need space for lots of people and cargo. But when it comes to performance, we like the Explorer better. In part, it’s because of the diversity of drivetrains it offers.
The Acadia comes in a sole drivetrain configuration with 288 horsepower and a six-speed automatic, with front- or all-wheel drive, topping out at about 24 mpg highway. The Explorer lineup starts with a run of the mill V-6, progresses into a 28-mpg-plus turbocharged four with a paddle-shifted automatic and front-wheel drive, and is topped off with a twin-turbo V-6 with 350 horsepower and all-wheel drive, teamed with a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic. The latter is basically an Explorer SHO in all but name, and our favorite by far.
The Explorer’s electric power steering is quick and zesty, while the Acadia’s is slower and less responsive. And while the Acadia rides more smoothly on its long wheelbase, the Explorer’s still pretty adept at damping its own body motions, while it still offers SUV-like traits, like adjustable traction modes for mild off-roading, wintry weather, sand, and mud. It’s no Grand Cherokee, but it’s no minivan.
Both the Acadia and Explorer have safety scores and technology well in hand, but score poorly (or not at all) on the latest crash tests. The Acadia gets good marks from both the NHTSA and the IIHS, but hasn’t been subjected to the IIHS’ new small-overlap test. The Explorer has, and it gets a “marginal” score, despite great ratings in almost every other test. Each has its own stand-apart safety options: the Explorer has rear-seat inflatable seat belts, while the Acadia sports a front-center airbag.
In the past, the Acadia has focused more on tradition while Ford reached for future tech. That changed a couple of years ago, with a major update to the Acadia that brought better connectivity features, along with some mild styling changes. Its IntelliLink system offers a refreshingly straightforward interface from its iPad-like screen. On most versions of today’s Explorer, virtually everything can be controlled by voice or steering-wheel buttons–including mobile streaming audio, voice-to-text capability, even in-car Twitter, all through an updated, clarified version of MyFord Touch.
Neither the Explorer nor the Acadia can rightly be called an SUV, and both are beginning to show their age, particularly in crash-test scores. One does a better job carrying people; the other fares better at faster driving. Neither one would be our first pick for anything more adventurous than a dusty cabin trail. Despite the outward appearances, they’re among the closest things we have to minivans without sliding side doors–and that hasn’t hurt their popularity one bit.
Source: CarConnection

DrivePulse is your source for new car reviews, research, ratings, used car research and the latest industry automotive news. Connect and follow us today!

Leave A Reply