First Look – Refreshed 2020 GMC Acadia Gets AT4 Variant
Off-Road Special Joins Facelifted Crossover Lineup
The current-generation GMC Acadia will receive its first significant update for 2020, three years after the midsize sport-ute was introduced. In addition to predictable cosmetic alterations, the 2020 Acadia will also be the first of GMC’s SUVs to receive an AT4 trim, which appears on the Sierra 1500 and Sierra HD as an off-road special.
The AT4 follows its pickup siblings off the beaten path courtesy of standard all-terrain tires wrapped around 17-inch wheels, a standard 3.6L V-6 engine, and standard twin-clutch all-wheel drive. It also gets styling changes in the way of a black chrome grille and unique wheel designs for both the standard 17s as well as the optional 20s. Unfortunately, GMC didn’t admit if there were any other mechanical alterations made to the Acadia AT4, but we think we see a little extra ground clearance under the crossover in the images the company provided. Perhaps a retuned suspension with taller springs is on offer.
Cosmetically, the entire Acadia range has been updated with all-new front and rear fascias that incorporate a notched front grille, sculpted front bumper, and new front and rear lighting with GMC’s C-shaped LED signatures. A new rear bumper and reshaped taillights look a bit too much like the Ford Explorer for our tastes. Otherwise, the Acadia’s attractive and inoffensive styling looks a bit more modern and sleek than before. We especially like the new headlights, which are much more sophisticated and stylish than the outgoing SUV’s.
Inside, GMC refined the Acadia with a new center console that provides more storage space, thanks to the company’s Electronic Precision Shift gear selector. A button-and-trigger array moves the PRNDL controls from the center console to low on the center stack, where they take up less usable real estate. Jettisoning the conventional gearshift opens up space for side-by-side cupholders and a larger storage pocket, although some owners may have a hard time getting used to the new method of gear selection. For what it’s worth, we’ve experienced the system on the GMC Terrain and found it to be reasonably intuitive after a few minutes of acclimatization.
That new gear selector will control a likewise-new transmission, a nine-speed unit that is now standard on every Acadia. The nine-speed’s gear spread theoretically provides better acceleration and efficiency. However, we have driven similar GM nine-speed transmissions and found them to be occasionally abrupt or rough-shifting. Hopefully those bugaboos have been exorcised in the 2020 Acadia.
In addition to the current 2.5L I-4 and 3.6L V-6 engine options, the 2020 Acadia will be available with a new 2.0L turbocharged I-4 with GM’s slick “tripower” valvetrain that can disable two cylinders in light-load situations. This engine produces a maximum of 230 hp and 258 lb-ft, with turbo lag minimized thanks to a twin-scroll design that divides exhaust pulses into two separate events. With power slotting neatly between the 193hp 2.5L I-4 and the 310hp 3.6L V-6, the turbo four could be a Goldilocks engine for the family-oriented Acadia. Each engine in the 2020 Acadia’s portfolio now comes standard with engine idle stop, saving fuel in traffic.
The 2020 Acadia will be available with a long list of premium features, including an all-new infotainment system that stores driver profiles in the cloud. That means if you and your spouse each own a compatible GM vehicle, you can pre-load your radio preferences, climate settings, and more by simply logging in to the new vehicle. Additionally, these settings are tied to the Acadia’s key fobs, with up to four driver profiles available. Other luxury niceties include an available 15-watt wireless charging pad, high-definition rearview camera, rear camera mirror, and head-up display.
Expect the 2020 Acadia to see a slight price bump from its predecessor. Prices should start at about $30,500 for the base Acadia SL, rising through SLE and SLT trim levels to a max of about $47,500 for the all-wheel-drive, V-6–only Denali. The Acadia AT4 should demand about $45,000 for the pleasure.
The 2020 GMC Acadia will arrive in dealers this fall.