Here’s how the two “professional grade” SUVs compare
GMC vehicles are known for their rugged designs and premium interiors (in Denali trim). And you can get one for a reasonable price, especially if you’re looking at the Terrain and Acadia crossovers. What is the difference between the GMC Terrain and Acadia? Find out how the two crossovers stack up in this GMC Terrain vs. Acadia comparison.
Which Is Bigger?
GMC’s smallest crossover is the Terrain. As a compact crossover, the Terrain is sized similarly to the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, and it seats five people. The GMC Acadia is a midsize SUV that seats up to seven people. You can compare it to the likes of the Toyota Highlander.
Since it’s a larger vehicle, the Acadia boasts more cargo volume than the Terrain. Max cargo capacity reaches 79 cubic feet in the Acadia, compared to 63.3 cubic feet in the Terrain. Behind the second row, the Terrain has 29.6 cubic feet of space, versus the Acadia’s 41.7 cubic feet. There is only 12.8 cubic feet of space behind the Acadia’s third row should you decide to keep all the seats up.
Surprisingly, the Terrain and Acadia offer an identical 39.7 inches of legroom in the second row. In past reviews, we’ve praised both models for giving second-row passengers plenty of room to stretch out. If you opt for the Acadia, know that legroom in the third row drops to 31.1 inches.
Which Is More Powerful?
The Acadia offers more power. An available 3.6-liter V-6 engine makes a potent 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. There are two other engine choices on the Acadia: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 193 hp and 188 lb-ft and a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 230 hp and 258 lb-ft.
Meanwhile, the Terrain is available with two engines. The first is a 1.5-liter turbo-four with 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque, and the second is a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 252 hp and 260 lb-ft.
Just because the Terrain is less powerful doesn’t mean it’s slow. In fact, expect little variation in acceleration between the Terrain and Acadia on potent models. We clocked a 2018 GMC Terrain with the 2.0-liter turbo-four engine reaching 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds. That puts it about on par with a V-6-powered 2017 GMC Terrain we tested at 6.7 seconds.
Which Is More Efficient?
The Terrain is the more fuel-efficient choice. Fuel economy tops out at 27 mpg (8,7 L/100 km) combined when paired with front-wheel drive and the smaller 1.5-liter engine. In contrast, the most efficient Acadia nets 24 mpg (9,8 L/100 km). This figure applies to Acadia’s equipped with front-drive and the 2.0-liter engine. Check out the fuel economy differences below.
GMC Terrain vs. Acadia fuel economy ratings:
2020 GMC Terrain FWD (1.5L) – 26/30/27 mpg (9,0/7,8/8,7 L/100 km)
2020 GMC Terrain AWD (1.5L) – 25/28/26 mpg (9,4/8,4/9,0 L/100 km)
2020 GMC Terrain FWD (2.0L) – 22/28/24 mpg (10,7/8,4/9,8 L/100 km)
2020 GMC Terrain AWD (2.0L) – 21/26/23 mpg (11,2/9,0/10,2 L/100 km)
2020 GMC Acadia FWD (2.0L) – 21/28/24 mpg (11,2/8,4/9,8 L/100 km)
2020 GMC Acadia AWD (2.0L) – 21/27/23 mpg (11,2/8,7/10,2 L/100 km)
2020 GMC Acadia FWD (2.5L) – 21/27/23 mpg (11,2/8,7/10,2 L/100 km)
2020 GMC Acadia FWD (3.6L) – 19/27/22 mpg (12,4/8,7/10,7 L/100 km)
2020 GMC Acadia AWD (3.6L) – 18/25/21 mpg (13,1/9,4/11,2 L/100 km)
Which Is Safer?
Both vehicles perform well in crash tests. The 2020 GMC Terrain received an overall five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency hasn’t released full results for the 2020 Acadia, but the 2019 version earned four stars when equipped with front-wheel drive and five stars when equipped with all-wheel drive.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also issues crash test ratings. Both the 2020 Terrain and 2019 Acadia scored “Good” in all crash tests, although the vehicles’ headlight ratings prevented them from earning Top Safety Pick status.
Which Is More Capable?
When it comes to the GMC Terrain vs. Acadia question, it’s natural to wonder how these SUVs stack up in terms of off-road capability and towing. Let’s start with Terrain: It’s capable in off-road situations thanks to the Traction Select system with different drive modes. The Acadia also offers this feature. Although not a hardcore off-roader, the Acadia AT4 model is the choice for driving off the beaten path, as it receives special features like all-terrain tires that perform well in the mud. The Terrain can tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg), while the Acadia can tow up to 4,000 pounds (1,814 kg).
Which Is Cheaper?
You guessed it—the smaller Terrain is less expensive. The 2020 GMC Terrain is priced from $26,195 USD, while the 2020 GMC Acadia starts at $30,195 USD. The price difference can get a lot higher, though. If you’re looking for an opulent Denali model, the Terrain version goes from $39,495 USD while the Acadia will cost you at least $46,695 USD. GMC often offers incentives on the Terrain and Acadia.
Which Is Better?
So which is better: the GMC Terrain or Acadia? For bigger families that can use a third row for transporting kids, the Acadia is the obvious choice. This model also has the distinction of boasting more cargo space than the Terrain, and offering slightly increased towing capacity. But consumers who want the best fuel economy or price may want to veer toward the Terrain.
What Is the Difference Between the GMC Terrain and Acadia?
- The Acadia is bigger
- The Acadia has an available V-6
- The Terrain is more efficient
- Both have good safety ratings
- The Acadia has a more capable AT4 trim
- The Terrain is cheaper starting at $26,195 USD
- The Acadia has three rows of seats, making it the family choice