From its bold grill to its athletic design, this family SUV has style and adapts to your everyday needs. The 2021 GMC Acadia is built for families on the go, allowing room for everyone and everything. The Ford Explorer is a midsize SUV that delivers a smooth, comfortable ride with its powerful engine. Let’s see how they both compare.
The 2021 GMC Acadia made a few changes for this model year. Second-row captain’s chairs are now standard on all but the base SL trim, providing seating for up to six people. Acadia offers comfortable seating in the first two rows, with plenty of head-and legroom for adults. The third row offers a little less space, making it a better option to seat children. Second and third row fold-flat-seating and Smart Slide second row seats provide ease with cargo storage and getting in and out of your SUV. With up to 79 cubic feet of cargo space when both seats are folded down, the Acadia offers a good amount of cargo space for your next adventure, with storage cubbies providing ample space to store your goodies. A hands-free power liftgate is available for your convenience. The GMC Acadia is offered in five trim levels – SL, SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali, with a starting price that ranges from $29,800 to $48,300.
The 2021 Ford Explorer is a midsize three-row SUV with seating for seven or six, with optional second-row captain’s chairs. The front seats are spacious and comfortable, though there is less room in the rear seats. Cargo space gives you 18.2 cubic feet behind the third row, 47.9 cubic feet with the third row folded down, and up to 87.8 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down. Cloth upholstery and power-adjustable front seats are standard; and leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, front sport seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, power-folding third-row seats, and massaging front seats are available. A power liftgate comes standard; and an available hands-free liftgate and a cargo management system that adds under-floor storage and a reversible cargo floor is an option. The Explorer is available in base, XLT, Limited, ST, and Platinum trim levels. The base Explorer has a starting price of $33,000 and ranges to a starting price of $59,000 for the Platinum.
Power and Fuel
With Acadia’s base engine, it features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 193 horsepower or an optional 3.6-liter V6 that will give you 310 horsepower and is standard on the AT4 trim for off-road capability. A turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 230 horsepower is available on the SLT and Denali trims. A nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard and all-wheel drive is optional. The 2.5-liter delivers a 1000-pound towing capacity and the V6 can tow up to 4000 pounds when properly equipped. The Acadia offers 21/27 mpg in the city and on the highway with its base 2.5-liter engine and 19/27 mpg city/highway with the V6 front-wheel drive. The turbocharged engine with front-wheel drive will give you 22/29 mpg city/highway.
The Ford’s standard turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower delivers a smooth and sturdy ride with its 10-speed automatic transmission and a rear-wheel-drive platform. There are two available twin-turbocharged V6s that will put out 365 and 400 horsepower and are also paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive comes standard in the two highest trims, but you can add four-wheel drive to the other trims for added cost. The base engine is not short on power, but the V6 options are quicker. Estimated fuel economy is 21/28 mpg in the city and on the highway with its base engine and 18/26 mpg city/highway with the twin-turbo V6 engines. When properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 5,600.
Safety and Technology
The GMC Acadia features modern, onboard technology to keep you connected wherever you go. A standard 8-inch infotainment touchscreen comes with the SL and SLE trim, with five USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, along with keyless ignition and entry. The SLT trim adds navigation and an eight-speaker Bose audio system with HD radio. Safety features included are the Onstar connected services, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert. The SLT will also feature forward collision mitigation, lane keeping assist, and automatic high beams. Denali’s upgraded packages will add even more safety and technology features to your driving.
The Ford Explorer has an impressive list of safety and tech features, including a highly rated SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen that quickly connects to your smartphone with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Six speakers, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and four USB ports are also standard. Available features include a 10.1-inch touch screen with a portrait layout, a 12.3-inch customizable driver display, a 14-speaker Bank & Olufsen sound system, a rear-seat entertainment system, and wireless device charging. For added assistance, the Explorer comes with Ford Co-Pilot360 technology and driver-assist features to add ease and safety to your driving. Standard safety features include blind spot monitoring, rearview camera, lane-keep assist, forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and auto high-beam headlamps.
The 2021 GMC Acadia and Ford Explorer offers plenty of room for adults in the first two rows of seating with enough cargo room to bring your gear on your next adventure. The Acadia will give you captain’s chairs in its second row and an AT4 off-road trim, and the Explorer will carry your heavy load and give you more cargo space at a higher price tag.