By on February 18, 2019

Image: GM

As part of its 2020 model year refresh, GMC’s midsize Acadia crossover gains three engine options and three additional cogs for its automatic transmission. It also gains an AT4 variant — the brawny-lux GMC sub-brand introduced on the 2019 GMC Sierra pickup, though a modest suspension lift isn’t a part of this AT4’s package.

While the squared-off grille and newly blunt front end will no doubt be the first thing anyone notices about the 2020 Acadia, they’ll soon notice the top-flight Denali loses its standard V6 engine.

There’s a new engine in the Acadia roster: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, good for 230 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, per GMC’s estimates. The General’s truck brand claims it optimized the engine for low-speed torque delivery, with peak twist coming online at 1,500 rpm. Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) should improve the four-banger’s fuel economy in very low-load driving conditions.

Image: GM

Gone is the 3.6-liter V6 from the high-zoot Denali trim, replaced by the new 2.0L. Yes, this means the money-making Denali gets a power cut, as the V6 boasted 310 hp and 271 lb-ft. The 3.6L remains in the lineup, however, providing standard power for the AT4 trim, and GMC says customers can order it on other trim levels (further fattening the Denali’s thick profit margin). The 2.5-liter four-cylinder returns to motivate the entry-level SLE.

Managing the flow of power from all engines is a standard nine-speed automatic. This unit, found elsewhere in GM’s crossover stable, replaces a six-speed tranny that, while as unobtrusive as room temperature air, didn’t do much for the Acadia’s fuel economy or competitiveness. Also standard, mercifully, is a stop/start deactivation switch.

Image: GM

As before, customers can outfit their Acadia with five, six, or seven chairs, depending on trim, though they’ll notice something missing between the front seats: the shifter. Yes, like it or not, the 2020 Acadia opts for a push-button array. One benefit to this setup is greater console storage room.

Elsewhere in the Acadia’s cabin — which is far from a beauty queen contestant, in this writer’s mind — open-pore wood joins the Denali features roster (if you’ve ever seen the current generation’s wood trim, you know just how far GMC fell behind in the lumber department). Kudos to GMC for attempting to make the Acadia Denali look like it warrants its inflated price tag.

Image: GM

All 2020 Acadias gain an 8.0-inch touchscreen with improved image resolution and voice recognition, plus a simplified layout. The brand claims certain tasks will take fewer steps to complete.

Heading back outside, the Acadia’s new snout features Sierra-like C-shaped headlamps, with the revised rear fascia featuring a take on the C-shaped tail lights found on the smaller Terrain. There’s standard LED lighting all around.

While 18- or 20-inch wheels come standard on the Acadia’s various trims, the AT4 dons 17-inch hoops shod in all-terrain rubber. GMC’s twin-clutch all-wheel drive system complements the AT4’s take-me-anywhere-but-be-careful bodyside cladding and blacked-out grille. All Acadias see unspecified suspension refinements.

gm

Other promises from GMC include a digital rear-vision camera on all but the SLE (it’s optional on that base trim) and a new rear camera mirror for Denali. Two new USB ports appear in the cabin, bringing their complement to five.

Expect to see the 2020 Acadia’s pricing released closer to its fall on-sale date.

[Images: General Motors]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

50 Comments on “2020 GMC Acadia: More Engines, More Speeds, More Grille...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Gone is the 3.6-liter V6 from the high-zoot Denali trim, replaced by the new 2.0L.”

    Haha what a joke… but will the lemmings even notice?

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      It’s a joke to build something more profitable when actual customers won’t notice?

      I’m not a huge fan of GM’s product generally, but around these parts they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t. GM, what losers, selling their sedans with big incentives! And then… GM, what losers, not even making sedans anymore! People trashed on them for not being profitable in the 2010s and now people are trashing on them for pivoting to a market that will actually stay profitable…

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        In Denali, its a slap in the face especially when a lesser trim (AT4) retains it standard. Yet another reason to NOT buy GM.

        “GM, what losers, selling their sedans with big incentives!”

        You forget for years they didn’t put money on the hood of the large sedans in order to gouge what market there was instead of focusing on volume.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Perisoft: You can always count on the B&B to slam GM no matter what they do. Very little thought put into comments, just go right for the negative ones.

        It reminds me of a joke I’d heard long ago about the Pope and a politician (insert whomever you like) being out in a boat in the middle of a lake when a storm blows in. The political figure walks to the shore and pulls the boat in with the Pope in it.

        The next day, the headlines read: “Politician can’t even swim”.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “It’s a joke to build something more profitable when actual customers won’t notice?”

        This is GM, the company that passed on spending the extra 90 cents for ignition switches that would hold the key in place so as to keep the airbags functioning during a crash. You think that they just discovered beancounting on engines this year?

        If a turbo four were less expensive or more profitable it would have been there all along.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          As someone said on a different thread:

          Barra took a bankrupt car company and made it a second tier car company.

          Looking at it that way it’s an accomplishment.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Its the LSY engine from the Cadillac XT4, a long stroke version of the engine in the Regal which has less power and torque overall but more is available at lower RPMs, probably necessary given the weight of this thing.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    I’m not a fan of the oversize grille trend, but in this case it’s a significant improvement. If I’m not mistaken, they’ve also widened the track, improving its stance considerably. I hate the switch to push-buttons for shifting, however, and I continued to be confused by GM’s powertrain selection. I mean, why detune the 2.0T, then make it mandatory in the top Denali trim? I’m getting the impression this new GM 9-speed has a serious problem handling torque. That, or GM lacks a basic understanding of consumer behavior.

    • 0 avatar
      Robotdawn

      Actually, I’ve had a couple Buick’s with the GM 2.0T and it’s lack of availability in the Acadia had kept this truck near the bottom of the list for my wife’s next vehicle.
      I actually like stop/start, so pairing it with the 2.0T seems like the perfect fuel economy and performance balance. Curious how it will do pulling around this much weight is all.
      FYI it’s not mandatory it’s standard.

      • 0 avatar
        Rocket

        The 2.0T works well in the Regal, but it’s more powerful in that application (paired with the Aisin 8-speed). Why detune it for use in a larger, heavier vehicle?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The 2.0T offered in the Buicks are more powerful though.

        In the Envision it is 252/295.
        Regal is 250/295 for AWD and 250/260 for FWD.
        Equinox and Malibu is 252/260.
        XT4 is 237/258.
        And now Acadia is 230/258.

        The Regal AWD uses an 8A but everything else uses a 9A. I’m not sure why Cadillac and GMC are getting a detuned version. It’s not like the application with Buick/Chevy is ‘peaky’ with torque. Is the recommended fuel octane different among the brands?

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          This is stupid although IF the 2.0T was making the same 250 hp and 290? lb ft as in the AWD versions of the Regal it would be hard to sell the V6.

          I reserve judgement on the new Acadia and it’s 9 speed until I see if the fuel economy goes up.

          If not then folks might as well pickup a discounted 2019 when the 2020s are hitting showrooms.

      • 0 avatar
        Good ole dayz

        >>I actually like stop/start …

        You will until the repeated cycles of taking off from a stop without full oil pressure and without full transmission fluid pressure trashes your turbos, other engine wear items and transmission longevity.

        Start stop is there to get federal “credits” toward fuel efficiency (part of the overall “carbon pollution” / “climate change” frauds), while ensuring some ultra-planned obsolescence as vehicles’ repair costs escalate much sooner than they would without start-stop.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      They didn’t detune the 2.0t. This 2.0t isn’t the old 2.0t which had more power and torque.

      No, this is the crappy new 2.0t first featured in some Cadillac or other crossover. The old engine had a square bore and stroke and some horsepower. This new one has a smaller bore and a longer stroke and less horsepower. It is supposed to be smoother to compete with the Lexus 2.0t chuffer, all maxed out at 235 hp, but nobody noticed the smoothness, they just noticed the new one is a gasper with no guts.

      I mention all this so that you people can tickle your memory cells for a faint recall that all this info has been fed you before. Because it has.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      @Rocket,
      Per the article: “The 3.6L remains in the lineup, however, providing standard power for the AT4 trim, and GMC says customers can order it on other trim levels (further fattening the Denali’s thick profit margin).” So I don’t think the 2.0T is “mandatory in the top Denali trim.” From the cup half-full perspective, it gives the buyer a choice.

      • 0 avatar
        Robotdawn

        The ‘old’ 2.0T also made that number with premium fuel. Perhaps it won’t need it this time around. I’m also assuming the ‘all new’ part of this 2.0T from the old is about 70% marketing speak.
        The new 1.5s seem to do fine in the rental Malibus I’ve driven, I don’t see why this shouldn’t be fine here. Unlike some people I’m willing to wait to test-drive before assuming the negative.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    IMO the Sierra would so much better with that grille.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Buy a 2019 while you can for the shift lever alone.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      God yes, what we really needed to do was profligate those push-buttons across the non-truck lineup.

      If it has paddle shifters the buttons would be tolerable but if it’s anything like my FIL’s 2018 Terrain then it won’t.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    Pefisoft:

    The real losers are the people who disregard the incentives on the sedans and pay as much as 50% more for an elevated version of the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      Losers because one’s needs may require substantially more cargo space in the footprint of a mid-size sedan? Losers because they prefer the ease of entrance and higher seating position a crossover provides? Losers because an AWD mid-size sedan is difficult to find? Or losers because they spend more up front but pass on the massive depreciation saddled to conventional sedans?

      • 0 avatar
        Zipster

        Rocket:

        Losers because the number of times they need the incremental cargo space can be measured in the low single digits. Losers because they are too corpulent to enter and exit a sedan. Losers because they are too ignorant to acquaint themselves with winter tires. Losers because they must finance an even greater amount to buy a depreciating asset, irrespective of the rate of depreciation. Finally, losers because they pay more in gasoline and insurance costs, with respect to the former, about 30% more a year. Does this sound like you, sir?

        • 0 avatar
          Rocket

          It sounds like my wife. She drives what works for her, and so do I. Whatever you drive, I’m fairly certain there are plenty of people who take issue with it. Of course the grown ups among us would express disapproval without resorting to name-calling. You should try it.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    What’s the point in the AT4 trim? A unibody front wheel drive based crossover with no ground clearance and slightly aggressive tires.
    You could put all that on a Wbody impala and off-road just as well. Who cares about the 2.0, the people buying these don’t know if they drive a manual or automatic transmission vehicle. Which I guess relates back to my first question. Morons buy dumbed down vehicles, GM knows their crossover base.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      AT4 is for those who want the luxury of the Denali but find the chrome to be a bit too much.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        There was ALL TERRAIN trim also FYI until the debut of this new AT4.

        The thing that made me think about the original All Terrain (prior to 2019) was that the 2017-2018 All Terrain Acadia was only available as a 2 row vehicle. That left 40 cubic feet of space and a nice wide 2nd row bench.

        Starting in 2019 they turned the All Terrain into “Denali Lite” with captains chairs, mandatory 3rd row, and heated cloth seats. It was like Denali minus the leather and bling.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      Well, it does look better in AT4 guise. It also has the trick AWD system. One could argue the latter should be offered across the board, but that’s a topic for another debate.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Dynamically I doubt this will compete with the new Explorer, but I think the AT4 looks better than the Ford at least(love the high profile 18s).Hopefully , GM won’t try to price this at the same level of the Explorer trim level for trim level, then it’d be a tough sell.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Hopefully all those that said the Mazda CX5 was under powered and needed the 2.5T engine, now say the same for the Acadia. The CX-5 turbo has more power and torque, while being lighter and more aerodynamic.
    GMC should have given the Denali a higher powered engine (or version of the 2.0 turbo). Denali should mean the top spec with limited options (like Mazda with the Signature trim). This devalues Denali.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Precisely.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Outside of the mega-GM fans here, I doubt you’ll find much love for the HT2000 in the comments.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Agreed, this is a different 2.0T that is wheezy and lacking which is owed to the benefit of being smoother. With so many better options out there, I find it surprising that GM would put the new 2.0T in the Denali. You can walk across the street to the FCA dealer and get a GC or Durango for roughly the same price that comes with a V8 engine, 400hp, and 3xx-something ft-lbs of torque.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        For 2019, an AWD Durango RT is actually *cheaper* than the base price of an AWD Acadia Denali. And it looks like the only “free” color on the Acadia is white. Yes, every other color is at least $495 (the fancier white is $1,095!). If you care about the yearly difference in fuel costs, you can’t afford either one.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperCarEnthusiast

      You can opt for the V6 for the 2020 Acadia Denali, it just will cost you more to do so now! GMC Marketing at work to get more from you!

  • avatar
    jatz

    Why do GMCs always look like Chevy parts that were sent to Honda for paint and assembly? They’re pretty uniformly gorgeous.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I do think the refresh is an improvement, styling wise. I like this look a lot better than the 2019.

  • avatar
    multicam

    The taillights give off some kind of a Volvo vibe to me, not sure why…

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    GMC marketing team seems to be trying to get 2020 Acadia buyers to move up to the optional now V6 by detuning the 2.0T engine. Only the AT4 retains the V6 as the standard engine. I sure pricing will be higher across the board for the refresh 2020 models. I really like the new changes except the downgrade on the engine size.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I’m holding judgement until I see how well the 8AT and 9AT transmissions hold up over time. Yes, that means no new GM for me in the next couple of years, at least.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ToolGuy: Hypothesis: It will continue to get worse. (The quitters are likely more competent than the clingers.)...
  • ToolGuy: Dear Honda: What is the third CGI image purporting to show, beyond the 90-inch vertical reach to the...
  • dal20402: It was a fixed 65 mph highway test. Look, hate Ford if you want, it’s your constitutional right. But...
  • ToolGuy: Jeep Thoughts (I know you can’t wait to hear): • My [halfway through college] daughter’s Two...
  • theflyersfan: I had to look this up because I swear I remember this from a long time ago, but there was one time in...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber