2019 GMC Acadia vs. 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan

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 Grand Caravan doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 Grand Caravan 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 Grand Caravan doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Acadia (except SL/SLE) offers optional Forward Automatic Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Grand Caravan doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Acadia offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Acadia (except SL/SLE)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Acadia Denali offers an optional Surround Vision System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Grand Caravan only offers a rear monitor.

The Acadia has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Acadia and the Grand Caravan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available 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 Grand Caravan:

 

Acadia

Grand Caravan

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

247

Neck Injury Risk

22%

36%

Neck Stress

162 lbs.

347 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

112/392 lbs.

776/782 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

37%

37%

Leg Forces (l/r)

10/95 lbs.

526/665 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 Grand Caravan:

 

Acadia

Grand Caravan

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Restraints

GOOD

POOR

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

176

230

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

n/a

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

17 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Femur Force R/L

.2/.1 kN

13.4/4 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

100%/1%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.59/.48

2.29/.9

Tibia forces R/L

.9/.9 kN

3.5/3.4 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 Grand Caravan:

 

Acadia

Grand Caravan

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

155 G’s

257 G’s

Hip Force

253 lbs.

625 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

54 G’s

Hip Force

896 lbs.

948 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

47 G’s

Hip Force

673 lbs.

788 lbs.

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 Grand Caravan was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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

GMC pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Acadia. GMC will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Dodge doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Grand Caravan.

Reliability

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

The Acadia’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 27 more horsepower (310 vs. 283) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 260) than the Grand Caravan’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the GMC Acadia V6 is faster than the Dodge Grand Caravan:

 

Acadia

Grand Caravan

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.6 MPH

87.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Acadia FWD V6 gets better city fuel mileage than the Grand Caravan (18 city/25 hwy vs. 17 city/25 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Acadia 4 cyl.’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Acadia AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Grand Caravan (21.7 vs. 20 gallons).

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 Grand Caravan 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 Grand Caravan (3). This means the Acadia produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Grand Caravan every 15,000 miles.

The EPA certifies the GMC Acadia as an “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV). The Dodge Grand Caravan 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 on the Grand Caravan are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Acadia has larger standard tires than the Grand Caravan (235/65R18 vs. 225/65R17). The Acadia’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Grand Caravan (255/65R17 vs. 225/65R17).

The Acadia’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Grand Caravan’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Acadia offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Grand Caravan’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The GMC Acadia’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Dodge Grand Caravan 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 Grand Caravan doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the GMC Acadia has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Dodge Grand Caravan has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

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 Grand Caravan’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Acadia has variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

Chassis

The GMC Acadia may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 550 pounds less than the Dodge Grand Caravan.

The Acadia is 10.1 inches shorter than the Grand Caravan, 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 Grand Caravan 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 Grand Caravan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Acadia has .5 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more rear headroom and 2.6 inches more rear legroom than the Grand Caravan.

Cargo Capacity

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

The Acadia’s available folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Grand Caravan’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

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 Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Dodge Grand Caravan is limited to 3600 pounds. The Acadia offers up to a 4000 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Acadia uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Grand Caravan uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

When different drivers share the Acadia (except SL/SLE), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Acadia (except SL/SLE)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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

Keyless Open and Start standard on the Acadia allows you to unlock the doors, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Dodge Grand Caravan doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Acadia’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Grand Caravan’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Acadia has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Grand Caravan only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Acadia has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Grand Caravan has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SXT.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Acadia (except SL/SLE) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Acadia has standard extendable sun visors. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the Acadia with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Grand Caravan’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Acadia SLT/Denali has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Grand Caravan has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Acadia Denali keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Acadia Denali offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Standard smartphone integration for the Acadia allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Economic Advantages

The Acadia will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Acadia will retain 42.28% to 47.72% of its original price after five years, while the Grand Caravan only retains 35.14% to 40.13%.

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

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