2021 Volkswagen Atlas vs. 2020 GMC Acadia

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

The Atlas has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Acadia doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Acadia doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Atlas and the Acadia have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

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

Atlas

Acadia

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

403

Neck Injury Risk

33%

37%

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

186 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 Volkswagen Atlas is safer than the GMC Acadia:

Atlas

Acadia

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

57

106

Chest Movement

.5 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

48 G’s

155 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

144

263

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

42 G’s

Hip Force

527 lbs.

896 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

279

319

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

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

The Atlas comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Acadia’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Atlas’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Acadia’s (7/100,000 vs. 6/100,000).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Atlas for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. GMC only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Acadia.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Acadia’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Atlas has a standard 680-amp battery. The Acadia’s 660-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.

Engine

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

The Atlas has more powerful engines than the Acadia:

Horsepower

Torque

Atlas 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

235 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Atlas 3.6 DOHC V6

276 HP

266 lbs.-ft.

Acadia 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder

193 HP

188 lbs.-ft.

Acadia 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

230 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Brakes and Stopping

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

For better stopping power the Atlas’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the Acadia:

Atlas

Acadia

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

12.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

For better traction, the Atlas has larger standard tires than the Acadia (245/60R18 vs. 235/65R18). The Atlas SEL Premium’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Acadia (265/45R21 vs. 255/65R17).

The Atlas’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Acadia’s standard 65 series tires. The Atlas SEL Premium’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Acadia’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Atlas has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Acadia. The Atlas SEL Premium’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Acadia.

Suspension and Handling

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The Atlas’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Acadia doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Atlas’ wheelbase is 4.8 inches longer than on the Acadia (117.3 inches vs. 112.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Acadia.

The Atlas’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (55.1% to 44.9%) than the Acadia’s (56.5% to 43.5%). This gives the Atlas more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Acadia’s (38.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Atlas has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Acadia (8 vs. 7.2 inches), allowing the Atlas to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Atlas’ minimum ground clearance is .2 inch higher than on the Acadia All Terrain (8 vs. 7.8 inches).

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

The Atlas has 9.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Acadia (153.7 vs. 143.8).

Cargo Capacity

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

The Atlas’ cargo area provides more volume than the Acadia.

Atlas

Acadia

Behind Third Seat

20.6 cubic feet

12.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.5 cubic feet

41.7 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

96.8 cubic feet

79 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Atlas easier. The Atlas’ cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the Acadia’s liftover is 32 inches.

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

Atlas

Acadia AT4

Acadia

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

23.8”/53”/85”

n.a./48”/83”

18.5”/48”/83”

Max Width

61.6”

50”

50”

Min Width

45”

42.5”

42.5”

Height

37.5”

33”

33”

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Atlas. The Acadia doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

The Atlas’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the Acadia’s (2000 vs. 1000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the GMC Acadia is only 4000 pounds. The Atlas offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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The Atlas’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Acadia’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully. Only its driver’s window closes automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Acadia can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Atlas has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Acadia doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Atlas’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Acadia’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Acadia doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Atlas offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Acadia doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium/R-Line also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The Atlas SEL Premium’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Acadia doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

Insurance will cost less for the Atlas owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Atlas with a number “5” insurance rate while the Acadia is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Atlas is less expensive to operate than the Acadia because it costs $127 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Atlas than the Acadia, including $46 less for front brake pads and $49 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its August 2017 issue and they ranked the Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion higher than the GMC Acadia Denali AWD.

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

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