2020 GMC Acadia vs 2020 Nissan Pathfinder – Atlanta, GA

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  • 2020 GMC Acadia

    A blue 2020 GMC Acadia is facing left.

    Starting at


    2020 Nissan Pathfinder

    A grey 2020 Nissan Pathfinder is facing right.

    Starting at


    21 / 27 MPGFuel Economy 20 / 27 MPG
    193-310 HPHorsepower284 HP
    188-271 LB-FTTorque259 LB-FT

    Three-row SUVs are convenient and versatile, giving drivers the ability to transport up to 7 passengers or a great deal of cargo with the last two rows of seats folded down. This is one of the main reasons this class of vehicle is so popular today, particularly with suburban drivers who have to juggle driving families and stuff from place to place. Many of the top automobile manufacturers feature at least one large, three-row SUV in their fleets, and have seen demand for these vehicles increase over time. Two of the most popular brands are the 2020 GMC Acadia vs 2020 Nissan Pathfinder

    The Acadia has quickly moved to the front as a sporty and dependable three-row SUV, offering drivers a vehicle with many luxury features at an affordable. Similarly, Nissan has ridden the Pathfinder to great success, following a very successful advertising campaign back in the late 90s. While the Acadia brand name is not as old as the Pathfinder, both have undergone a number of updates and upgrades over the years to the point where they are today. Today, the Acadia and Nissan feature three-row configurations that can seat up to 7 passengers, and are front-wheel drive standard, with all-wheel drive available as an upgrade. Both are excellent options, but only one can win the battle of the three-row SUVs.

    Both vehicles are fairly reasonably priced for their class. The base model 2020 GMC Acadia is the SL, with a starting MSRP of $30,995. In contrast, the base model 2020 Nissan Pathfinder S has a starting MSRP of $31,680. GMC offers buyers of the 2020 GMC Acadia five different trim levels to choose from. In addition to the base model SL, there is the Acadia SLE, SLT, AT4, and the top-of-the-line Acadia Denali. This is the first ever Acadia offered with the AT4 trim, which includes a special twin-clutch all-wheel drive system and other features to improve off-road performance. The Nissan Pathfinder comes in six different trim levels, but this may be a little misleading. The base model is the Pathfinder S, followed by the Pathfinder SV, SV Rock Creek edition, SL, SL Rock Creek edition, and the Pathfinder Platinum. As can be seen, two of the trim levels are actually special editions of two of the models, the SV and SL. With a base price that can't be beat, check out the 2020 Acadia here at Rick Hendricks Buick GMC Duluth.

  • Performance

    A white 2020 GMC Acadia AT4, which wins when comparing the 2020 GMC Acadia vs 2020 Nissan Pathfinder, is parked on a dirt trail near Atlanta, GA.

    Engine Options

    The 2020 GMC Acadia has three different engine options. The Acadia SL and SLE come with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine as standard. This can produce up to 193 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque. The Acadia SLT comes with a standard 2.0-liter Turbo 4-cylinder engine that has been rated to produce up to 230 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Both the 2.5-liter engine and 2.0-liter Turbo engine feature Stop/Start technology, which automatically shuts the engine off and restarts it in bumper-to-bumper traffic in order to improve fuel economy. In addition, both have variable valve timing and direct injection to improve engine efficiency and performance. The Acadia AT4 and Denali feature a 3.6-liter V6 engine that can produce up to 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. This engine has active fuel management, variable valve timing, and spark ignition direct injection to improve fuel efficiency and engine performance. Every 2020 GMC Acadia features a 9-speed automatic transmission.

    In contrast, Nissan only offers one engine on the Pathfinder. Every Pathfinder comes with a 3.5-liter direct injection DOHC V6 gas engine. This applies whether you are buying an entry level Pathfinder S or the top-of-the-line Pathfinder Platinum. As a result, the extra $11,000 for the Platinum does not buy you a better, more powerful, or more efficient motor. The Nissan Pathfinder’s V6 engine has been rated to produce up to 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. While this is more powerful than the 2.5-liter engine on the Acadia SL and SLE, it is about the same as the 2.0-liter Turbo on the Acadia SLT, and much less powerful than the V6 engine on the Acadia AT4 and Denali. In addition, each 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has a continuously variable transmission (CVT). 


    This is one area where the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder excels. Where the 2020 GMC Acadia has been rated to have a maximum towing capacity of 4,000 pounds, comparable to most other three-row SUVs in its class, the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has the ability to tow up to 6,000 pounds. While this is not as important for an SUV as it would be for a pickup truck, nevertheless, it is one area where the Pathfinder stands out. 

  • Interior

    The front tan and grey interior of a 2020 GMC Acadia is shown.

    Passenger Room

    The two three-row SUVs have seating for up to 7 passengers and are fairly comparable when it comes to the first two rows. The 2020 GMC Acadia affords its front row passengers 40 inches of headroom, 41 inches of legroom, and 59.4 inches of shoulder room, and second row passengers 39.6 inches of headroom, 39.7 inches of legroom, and 58.7 inches of shoulder room. Similarly, the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder gives its front row passengers 42.2 inches of headroom, 42.2 inches of legroom, and 60.9 inches of shoulder room, while its second row passengers enjoy 39.4 inches of headroom, 41.7 inches of legroom, and 60.4 inches of shoulder room. The differences arise with the third row. While both give sufficient headroom and shoulder room to third row passengers (37.2 inches of headroom and 54.3 inches of shoulder room in the Acadia, and 37.8 inches of headroom and 57.1 inches of shoulder room in the Pathfinder), the Pathfinder does not give enough legroom for any third row passenger other than a small child, only 19.8 inches. This is in stark contrast to the 31.1 inches of legroom in the third row of the Acadia. It appears that the folks at Nissan decided to boost the trunk space and legroom on the first two rows of the Pathfinder at the expense of third row passengers.

    Cargo Space

    This may be explained by the cargo space in the two vehicles. Maximum cargo space in the 2020 GMC Acadia is 79 cubic feet, with the second and third rows of seats folded down. Similarly, the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder provides up to 78.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third rows folded down as well. However, there is more space behind the second and third rows in the Pathfinder than in the Acadia. There is 47.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the Pathfinder’s second row and 16.2 cubic feet behind the third row. This is greater than the 41.7 cubic feet behind the second row in the Acadia and 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. In order to boost the cargo space behind the third row, the Nissan designers sacrificed a great deal of legroom, making the third row of seats in the Pathfinder all but unusable. Outcome: advantage 2020 GMC Acadia.

  • Safety Features

    A grey 2020 GMC Acadia is parked in front of a  brick wall near Atlanta, GA.

    2020 Nissan Pathfinder

    While both of these SUVs have numerous safety features, the 2020 GMC Acadia SL has more standard safety features than the base model 2020 Nissan Pathfinder S. Both SUVs come with airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, and 4-wheel antilock disc breaks. In addition, the Pathfinder features automatic emergency braking, a rearview monitor, rear sonar system, hill start assist, and vehicle dynamic control with traction control system. 

    2020 GMC Acadia

    The Acadia has comparable systems to these, including an electronic barking brake, HD rear vision camera, rear cross traffic alert, and StabiliTrak with traction control. In addition, the Acadia SL has a number of other standard safety features, including lane change alert with side blind zone alert, a passenger sensing system, rear park assist, rear seat reminder, tire fill alert, OnStar and GMC connected services, and General Motors’ Teen Driver system, which provides peace of mind for parents with young drivers in their families. To get comparable safety features on their vehicles, Pathfinder drivers will have to pay more to get a higher vehicle trim. Outcome: advantage 2020 GMC Acadia.

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