2019 GMC Acadia vs. 2019 Dodge Durango

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Acadia Denali’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Durango doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the GMC Acadia’s middle seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Dodge Durango doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Acadia are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Durango doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Acadia has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Durango doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Forward Automatic Braking optional in the Acadia as “Superior.” The Durango scores only 1 point and is rated only “Basic.”

The Acadia Denali offers an optional Surround Vision System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Durango only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Acadia and the Durango have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the GMC Acadia is safer than the Dodge Durango:

 

Acadia

Durango

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

144

Neck Injury Risk

22%

34%

Neck Stress

162 lbs.

251 lbs.

Neck Compression

16 lbs.

26 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

112/392 lbs.

427/350 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the GMC Acadia is safer than the Durango:

 

Acadia

Durango

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

9 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

19 cm

26 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

.2/.1 kN

5.3/2.5 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

6%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.59/.48

1.53/.59

Tibia forces R/L

.9/.9 kN

1.9/1.4 kN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the GMC Acadia is safer than the Dodge Durango:

 

Acadia

Durango

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.1 inches

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

39 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Acadia the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Durango was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Acadia’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and 40,000 miles longer than the Durango’s (6/100,000 vs. 5/60,000).

GMC pays for scheduled maintenance on the Acadia for 2 years and 24,000 miles. GMC will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Dodge doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Durango.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Acadia have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Durango.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 18th in reliability. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 23rd.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the GMC Acadia V6 is faster than the Durango Dual Exhaust 3.6 DOHC V6:

 

Acadia

Durango

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.2 sec

20.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.4 sec

8.3 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.3 sec

4.2 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.8 sec

5.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

131 MPH

117 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the GMC Acadia uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Durango with the 5.7 V8 engine requires mid-grade for maximum efficiency, which can cost 5 to 40 cents more per gallon.

The Acadia has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Durango doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the GMC Acadia higher (5 to 6 out of 10) than the Dodge Durango (3 to 5). This means the Acadia produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Durango every 15,000 miles.

The EPA certifies the GMC Acadia as an “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV). The Dodge Durango is only certified to “Low Emissions Vehicle” (LEV) standards.

Brakes and Stopping

The Acadia’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Durango V6 are solid, not vented.

The Acadia stops much shorter than the Durango:

 

Acadia

Durango

 

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

142 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The GMC Acadia’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Dodge Durango only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Acadia has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Durango doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Acadia has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Acadia flat and controlled during cornering. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Acadia offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Acadia Denali AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Durango GT pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Acadia SLT AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the Durango GT 4x4 (26.9 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Acadia’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Durango’s (38.7 feet vs. 41 feet).

Chassis

The GMC Acadia may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 1050 pounds less than the Dodge Durango.

The Acadia is 7.6 inches shorter than the Durango, making the Acadia easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Acadia FWD 4 cyl. uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Durango doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Acadia uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Durango doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Acadia has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Durango (143.8 vs. 140.3).

The Acadia has .4 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, .9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear legroom, 1 inch more rear shoulder room, .5 inches more third row hip room and 3.9 inches more third row shoulder room than the Durango.

The front step up height for the Acadia is 2.5 inches lower than the Durango (18” vs. 20.5”). The Acadia’s rear step up height is 1.6 inches lower than the Durango’s (19” vs. 20.6”).

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Acadia’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Durango doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Acadia Denali’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Durango doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The Acadia’s optional front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches. The Durango’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Acadia is less expensive to operate than the Durango because typical repairs cost much less on the Acadia than the Durango, including $93 less for a starter, $10 less for a fuel pump and $247 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its August 2017 issue and they ranked the GMC Acadia Denali AWD higher than the Dodge Durango GT 4x4.

The GMC Acadia outsold the Dodge Durango by 34% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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