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A white 2020 GMC Acadia is facing forward while parked on a hill.

Comparing the 2020 GMC Acadia and the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee

When it’s time to look into new SUVs, you know there are going to be a lot of options out there. So let’s narrow down the choices for a second and just make a quick comparison between two well-known brand’s mid-size options. Today, we’re going to be looking at the 2020 GMC Acadia vs 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Both GMC and Jeep have popular options in the SUV market, although the Jeep brand is usually off by itself in its own category since it’s such an off-road brand. However, you may be surprised to see that the Acadia and Grand Cherokee have more in common than one might first imagine.

While the Jeep brand isn’t quite as old as GMC, it’s done a superb job of making a name for itself in the adventure and off-road department. As the SUV market continues to heat up and stay extremely popular, it’s on the manufacturers to make sure they’re doing everything possible to make their vehicles appeal to all crowds. Hence, you see a lot of brands other than Jeep, GMC included, making off-road-ready vehicles that are still a pleasure to drive on the highway. And, the same for Jeep, but in the opposite direction. Their vehicles are already off-road-ready, so for them, it’s about increasing their luxury and convenience options for a smooth and enjoyable ride

Prices and Trims

The front tan and black leather interior of a 2020 GMC Acadia is shown.

The 2020 GMC Acadia is available in five different trim levels. In increasing order and starting MSRP, they’re the SL ($30,995), SLE ($34,995), SLT ($40,895), AT4 ($43,395), and Denali ($47,495). It should be noted that these prices do not include the destination fee.

The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in eleven different trim levels (including some limited edition ones). They’re the Laredo ($32,045), Upland ($35,995), Altitude ($38,140), Limited ($39,855), Limited X ($44,950), Trailhawk ($44,955), Overland ($46,295), High Altitude ($49,040), Summit ($51,995), SRT ($68,395), and Trackhawk ($86,900). The starting MSRPs listed here do not include the destination fee.

While the Grand Cherokee definitely has more trims available, that isn’t always a good thing. It can get a little confusing at times when there are too many options to choose from, especially when a lot of the prices are so close together (see the Altitude and Limited or the Limited X and Trailhawk). Yes, people like to feel unique, and they want their vehicle to be the same, but the Acadia having a clear distinction between trim levels makes a bit more sense.

You may have also noticed the Acadia does actually start off at a lower price than the Grand Cherokee, especially when you take into account the Acadia has the destination fee (normally $1,195) tacked on already. Take that off, and the SL would actually hit below $30,000, whereas the Laredo would hit more around $33,500 (with the $1,495 destination fee).

Engine and Performance

While prices are great to compare, there’s usually a reason for why one price is lower, or one is higher. Much of that can usually be found when you start looking at what kind of engines are included or are available and what kind of performance you’re going to get out of a vehicle.

Acadia Performance

All 2020 GMC Acadia models will come standard with front-wheel drive other than the all-wheel drive-only AT4. You can opt for all-wheel drive on any trim other than the SL, where it’s not an option.

Your standard engine on the 2020 GMC Acadia is a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with up to 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque. This includes Stop/Start technology for reduced fuel consumption and emissions. The 2.5L engine comes standard on the SL and SLE trim levels, although if you choose an SLE model with AWD you’ll get a 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder engine with up to 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and Stop/Start technology. The 2.0L Turbo engine is also standard on the SLT model (both FWD and AWD).

The AT4 and Denali models come standard with a 3.6L V6 engine with up to 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque, Active Fuel Management, and Stop/Start technology. This is the biggest engine option available across all Acadia models. It’s also available as an option on the SLE and SLT trims.

A white 2020 GMC Acadia AT4, which wins when comparing the 2020 GMC Acadia vs 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee, is driving up a dirt hill.

Grand Cherokee Performance

All 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee models will come standard with a 4×2 drivetrain apart from the 4×4-only Trailhawk, SRT, and Trackhawk models. However, there is still 4×4 availability on all other models.

Your standard engine across all Grand Cherokee models (other than the SRT and Trackhawk), whether they be 4×2 or 4×4, will be a 3.6L V6 engine with up to 293 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This is the reason you can definitely have a more expensive vehicle (compared to the Acadia). Having this type of engine on even the lowest trim level is a bold statement from Jeep. It’s really quite an upgraded option compared to the Acadia’s first two engines, but it falls a bit short of the 3.6L V6 you find on the AT4 and Denali trims. However, those trims also start over $40,000. You can add the 3.6L V6 onto an Acadia SLE, but you’re still looking at $36,090 compared to the estimated $33,500 of the Grand Cherokee Laredo.

We shouldn’t really talk about the SRT or Trackhawk since they come with huge price tags and performance numbers to warrant them, but we’ll make a quick mention. The SRT comes with a 6.4L V8 engine with up to 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque while the Trackhawk comes with a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine with up to 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. Obviously, the Acadia won’t have anything to compare to these, but neither would most other mid-size SUVs.

A white 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is driving on a treelined racetrack.

Other Features

While the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee will attract many customers with its high-quality performance numbers, it will also detract some interest when people realize it still only seats up to five passengers. For some reason, Jeep is reluctant to cross the 5-passenger threshold with any of its vehicles, but it’s especially surprising when you see just about every other manufacturer have a mid-size SUV option that can seat six, seven, or even eight passengers. Unfortunately, the Grand Cherokee isn’t an ideal choice for packing in the entire family or a bunch of friends.

The 2020 GMC Acadia, while not hitting the same price-to-performance ratios as the Grand Cherokee, can seat either six or seven passengers, depending on your chosen configuration. These days, the amount of space has become a requirement for many families out there. For this reason alone, the Grand Cherokee would be left by the wayside by many, no matter how much performance it could muster.

Overall, in the fight between the 2020 GMC Acadia vs 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee, they both come out as winners. The Acadia can match the Grand Cherokee’s performance, apart from those racing trim outliers, and it can fit more passengers. However, the Grand Cherokee will see better performance across its lower trim levels unless you opt for the upgraded engine on the Acadia.

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