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2020 Chevrolet Traverse vs. 2020 GMC Acadia: Compare Crossovers

March 18, 2020

The 2020 GMC Acadia and 2020 Chevrolet Traverse aren’t remarkable for any reason—and that’s reason enough to look at them. 

The two crossovers from General Motors are more distantly related now (they used to be much closer in size) and offer different takes on the three-row family-vehicle idea. The Traverse is a rounded corner; rated PG for “Pretty Generic.” The Acadia, by contrast, is more muscular: a boxy shape, a little ‘tude, and an off-road package or luxury trim away from under- or over-dressing to your next dinner party. 

The race between both is nearly too close to call. The Traverse earned a 6.0 TCC Rating, the Acadia notches a 6.2 TCC Rating. Numbers aren’t the whole story, though (every accountant knows that). So what follows is the rest of the story. 

MORE: Read our 2020 Chevy Traverse and 2020 GMC Acadia full reviews

Families looking for a budget-balling, bling-tastic or paper-tiger-tough, off-road-adjacent three-row crossover, your answers are the Acadia Denali and Acadia AT4. If it must haul a gaggle of little-leaguers and their gear, the Traverse is more spacious. You’re welcome to read the rest of the words, but GM has answered your questions already. 

Families looking for a very low-cost, bare-bones three-row crossover have a more difficult decision to make. The good news: The base Traverse L and base Acadia SL cost the same $30,995, including destination, right down to the nickel. The bad news: Those crossovers largely only exist for their teaser prices. As of March 2020, there were only five base models of each out of thousands of Acadias and Traverses on dealer lots across the country. We’ll take our chances with the scratch-off tickets instead. 

The next best for both is the $34,095 Traverse LS and the $34,995 Acadia SLE with front-wheel drive. The Acadia looks a little better and has a few better amenities including an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for infotainment and blind-spot monitors, but it’s saddled with an anemic 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes 193 horsepower. By contrast, the Traverse LS gets a 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6, six USB chargers, and more space for less money. It gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen, however. All-wheel drive adds $2,000 to the Traverse’s final cost, but $2,400 to the Acadia’s bottom line because GMC subs in a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo-4 with AWD. Advantage: Traverse.

2020 Chevrolet Traverse

2020 Chevrolet Traverse

In the middle, where our recommended trims are, there’s more daylight. The 2020 Traverse LT Cloth with an active safety package that adds automatic emergency braking (which should be standard equipment anyway) costs $41,020 with all-wheel drive. That includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone software, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, navigation, remote start, and six USB chargers. The $44,685 Acadia SLT with active safety features (again, a spend-up extra) has mostly the same equipment except for Bose premium audio and leather upholstery. (The Traverse LT can be equipped with leather upholstery for $1,900 more if needed.) Advantage: Traverse.

There’s a pattern forming. Generally speaking, the Traverse is less expensive (except for very top, High Country trims) than a comparable Acadia. The Acadia Denali and AT4 don’t have direct competition from the Traverse, so steer there if they fall within your budget and priorities for a near-luxury ride or off-roadish crossover. 

For everything else, the Traverse offers more space for less money than the Acadia. Maybe that’s what’s remarkable about it after all.

Summary

6.3
Expert Rating
The 2020 GMC Acadia gains a turbo-4, but falls behind new three-row rivals.
5.8
Expert Rating
The 2020 Chevy Traverse is a three-row family mainstay with plentiful interior space.

Styling

6.0
Expert Rating
A newly minted nose keeps the Acadia fresh, but the cockpit’s falling back in the pack.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Traverse is better than bland, but could use some of GM’s newest digs.
Read More

Performance

7.0
Expert Rating
The Acadia’s capable engines and trick all-wheel-drive system endow it with good performance.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
Down to just a V-6, the Traverse hits all the family basics like Sunday Hometown Buffet.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

8.0
Expert Rating
The Acadia excels with four or five passengers on board.
Read More
9.0
Expert Rating
Set the starting lineup, then stuff them into the 2020 Traverse. They’ll fit.
Read More

Safety

6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Acadia has good crash-test scores and available safety equipment.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
Crash-test data in the 2020 Traverse is incomplete.
Read More

Features

7.0
Expert Rating
Strong infotainment and variety boost the Acadia in the features column.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
There’s a 2020 Traverse for nearly every family, but not all include features families need.
Read More

Fuel Economy

4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 GMC Acadia posts average gas mileage ratings.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
Among three-row crossovers, the 2020 Traverse keeps pace with its fuel economy.
Read More

MSRP

from $29,800
from $29,800

Invoice

from $29,770
from $29,770

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

23
21

Engine

Gas I4, 2.5L
Gas V6, 3.6L

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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