2019 GMC Acadia vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Acadia and the Pathfinder have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 Nissan Pathfinder:

 

Acadia

Pathfinder

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

337

Neck Injury Risk

22%

42%

Neck Stress

162 lbs.

464 lbs.

Neck Compression

16 lbs.

25 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

112/392 lbs.

516/475 lbs.

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

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 Nissan Pathfinder:

 

Acadia

Pathfinder

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

106

114

Chest Movement

.9 inches

.9 inches

Hip Force

253 lbs.

457 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

18 inches

HIC

319

338

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

42 G’s

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

Warranty

The Acadia’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Pathfinder’s (6 vs. 5 years).

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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Pathfinder.

There are over 57 percent more GMC dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Acadia’s warranty.

Engine

The Acadia’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 26 more horsepower (310 vs. 284) and 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 259) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Acadia AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Pathfinder (21.7 vs. 19.5 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 Pathfinder 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 Nissan Pathfinder (3 to 5). This means the Acadia produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Pathfinder every 15,000 miles.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Acadia’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pathfinder (255/65R17 vs. 235/65R18).

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

Suspension and Handling

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 Pathfinder’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Acadia Denali AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Acadia SLT AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 (26.9 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Acadia has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Pathfinder (7.2 vs. 7 inches), allowing the Acadia to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Acadia All Terrain’s minimum ground clearance is .8 inch higher than on the Pathfinder (7.8 vs. 7 inches).

Chassis

The GMC Acadia may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the Nissan Pathfinder.

The Acadia is 4.9 inches shorter than the Pathfinder, 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 Pathfinder 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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Acadia has .2 inches more rear headroom, .4 inches more third row legroom and .9 inches more third row hip room than the Pathfinder.

The front step up height for the Acadia is 1 inches lower than the Pathfinder (18” vs. 19”). The Acadia’s rear step up height is 1.8 inches lower than the Pathfinder’s (19” vs. 20.8”).

Cargo Capacity

The Acadia’s cargo area is larger than the Pathfinder’s in almost every dimension:

 

Acadia

Pathfinder

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

18.5”/48”/83”

19.2”/43.7”/78.9”

Max Width

50”

45.9”

Height

33”

31.4”

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

Servicing Ease

The Acadia uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Pathfinder 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.

The Acadia has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Pathfinder doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Acadia and the Pathfinder have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Acadia is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pathfinder prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Acadia’s standard front power windows lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Pathfinder’s power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically. The Acadia’s optional front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

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 Pathfinder S’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 automatic headlight on/off feature is not available on the Pathfinder S.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Acadia’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Pathfinder and aren’t offered on the Pathfinder S.

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 Pathfinder offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Acadia is less expensive to operate than the Pathfinder because it costs $234 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Acadia than the Pathfinder, including $38 less for a water pump, $59 less for a muffler, $226 less for a starter, $115 less for fuel injection, $79 less for a fuel pump and $34 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The GMC Acadia outsold the Nissan Pathfinder by 31% during 2018.

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

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