|193 - 310 HP||Horsepower||270 HP|
|188 - 271 lb-ft||Torque||278 lb-ft|
|21/28 MPG||Fuel Ecomony||16/19 MPG|
When looking for a family SUV, the choices can be overwhelming. With so many options on the market, how do you settle on a particular model? It can be difficult settling on a segment, let alone a specific model in the segment. So we thought we would compare two SUVs that are not necessarily direct competitors, in an effort to help you find the right SUV and the right amenities for your family’s needs. A great example of this is the 2020 GMC Acadia vs 2020 Toyota 4Runner.
So let’s see which makes the most sense for the modern family. Toyota brings a solid reputation to the competition, but you might be surprised by what our research revealed. When it comes to what’s important to a family, especially in terms of budget and utility and comfort—arguably the most important aspects of owning a sports utility vehicle—the Acadia came out on top. And it wasn’t even close.
In what instance would we recommend a Toyota 4Runner? If you want an off-roader and can appreciate a truck-like ride. The 4Runner’s body-on-frame construction is what trucks use, so it benefits from its off-road characteristics while its on-road manners suffer. Still, we would probably favor a dedicated 4x4 over a 4Runner, if you were looking for pure off-road performance. The Acadia, however, bests the 4Runner in comfort, passenger volume, driving manners, handling, and fuel efficiency, among other things, while also keeping pace off-road thanks to the new AT4 model. We know, we thought this would be a closer competition too, though the 4Runner’s value seems to hinge more on its off-road reputation than real-world currency. But let’s take a more in-depth look at the numbers and see how they compare.
If you live in a rural area where there are a lot of single-track or 4x4 roads, the 4Runner is a great option. You understand you will have to deal with poor fuel efficiency, but that’s not always the worst trade-off to get you where you're going. You might want to consider a truck then or a dedicated 4x4 if the roads where you live are that difficult. The 2020 Acadia AT4 model can handle moderate off-road conditions, which is all you would really want to use a factory 4Runner for anyway. And the Acadia’s AT4 trim comes standard with exciting new off-road features: twin-clutch all-wheel drive, 17-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, and Hill Descent Control. The 3.6-liter V6 is also standard with this trim and gives you 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque.
The Toyota 4Runner’s 4.0-liter V6 puts up similar numbers: 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. Well, the torque is similar, but the horsepower is lagging behind in this engine. As it’s an older engine, the fuel efficiency also is falling behind industry standards. A kinetic dynamic suspension system, a locking rear differential, and multi-terrain select with crawl control are some of the off-road features you will find available for the 4Runner.
For overall performance, it’s hard to match the Acadia’s versatility. Its adaptive suspension adds the ability to adjust the dampers every two milliseconds to smooth out the ride over bumps or tighten things up if you feel the need to open it up on the highway or on winding roads. That’s the time it takes to travel just two inches at 60 mph! This Continuously Variable Ride Control system allows the Acadia to handle anything from dirt roads to open highways with style and comfort.
The Acadia has 15.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 4Runner. What does this mean for your passengers? The third-row seats for the 4Runner are more suitable for children than adults. The Acadia also has a much larger cargo capacity than the 4Runner when its rear seats are up, so when both SUVs utilize third-row seating, the Acadia has more room for luggage than the 4Runner and your passengers will be much more comfortable in the Acadia.
The Acadia’s interior approaches that of a luxury SUV and can be outfitted as such with the Denali trim. The modern luxury touches are everywhere inside, and there is plenty of available technology for the whole family. Fun features include a rear-seat entertainment system, plenty of USB ports as well as onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi, so everyone can stay connected, active-noise cancellation, a Dual SkyScape 2-panel panoramic sunroof, and Bose sound, among many other options.
While it is priced to compete with the Honda Passport, the styling and luxury amenities of the Acadia bring it closer to luxury brands like the Acura MDX and Lincoln Aviator. The 4Runner’s interior, however, does not take the same state-of-the-art approach as the Acadia. Its focus is on simplicity, and it suffers from lackluster materials and outdated styling. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility is new for this year, though, and so is a new 8-inch touchscreen.
The GMC Acadia features a choice of three engines, so you’ll be able to match your family’s lifestyle to one of the many engine options. Luckily, all options feature good fuel efficiency, so you won’t have to sacrifice fuel economy for power. If you need power, however, that’s not a problem. The Acadia’s 3.6-liter V6 features up to 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 4,000 lb.
The 4Runner’s only engine option is powerful but returns poor fuel efficiency. The 4Runner also only offers a 5-speed automatic transmission, which is outdated and can impede acceleration. The 9-speed automatic transmission for the Acadia is new for the 2020 model year and features the latest advancements in technology. While the best feature of the 4Runner’s V6 is its emphasis on torque and 5,000-lb towing capacity, the Acadia nearly matches it while also maintaining solid fuel efficiency. The 4Runner manages 278 lb-ft of torque and gets 16/19 MPG, while the Acadia turns 271 lb-ft of torque and achieves 19/27 MPG.
An exciting feature of the Acadia’s V6 engine is its active fuel management system, which cuts fuel to two of the six cylinders under light load. Coming soon for 2020 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This is another strong engine option from GMC.
And if you don’t need all of that power, you can opt for the Acadia’s 2.5-liter inline-4. This engine provides 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque and is a great option if your primary need for your SUV is to conquer the daily rigors of commuting and carpool duty.
The Toyota 4Runner shows its age in the fuel efficiency department. Returning a relatively poor efficiency rating of 16/19 MPG, you will want to look elsewhere if eco-friendly vehicles are important to you. This is due to having only one powertrain option with an outdated 5-speed automatic transmission. The Acadia runs circles around the 4Runner in this department, however, offering both power and efficiency with its three powertrain options.
The worst you’ll get with the Acadia is 18/25 MPG, and that’s the all-wheel drive model with the powerful 3.6-liter V6 that runs with 310 ponies. This combination of fuel efficiency and power is due to its 9-speed automatic transmission and active fuel management system. The Acadia tops off at 21/28 MPG if you’re looking to avoid frequent trips to the gas pumps.
The 4Runner inches closer to the competition in the safety department with the addition of Toyota Safety Sense P. For the 4Runner, this includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, and automatic high beams. This gets the 4Runner up-to-date but nowhere near the top of its segment. The 4Runner’s options ultimately focus more on its off-road capabilities and less on its family-friendly features.
The Acadia has many advanced features to keep your family safe on the road. Standard features include a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring with lane change alert, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, and a rear seat reminder. Teen Driver is also standard, so with the Acadia, you can set audio volume limits as well as speed limits for your kids.
Other features for the Acadia include a head-up display, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, rear camera mirror, front pedestrian braking, and a surround-view parking camera system. If that’s not enough for you, don’t worry, there’s more: front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and a safety alert driver’s seat.