North Georgia Ford Compares 2015 Ford Explorer VS 2015 GMC Acadia Near Jasper, GA

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2015 Ford Explorer

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2015 GMC Acadia

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Acadia doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Acadia doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Explorer’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Acadia doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Explorer and the Acadia have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

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





5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Compression

.4 inches

.5 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

159 lbs.

188 lbs.

Neck Compression

31 lbs.

51 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 Ford Explorer is safer than the GMC Acadia:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

295 lbs.

318 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

34 G’s

Hip Force

524 lbs.

704 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

676 lbs.

677 lbs.

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

Warranty Comparison

The Explorer’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Acadia’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

There are over 74 percent more Ford dealers than there are GMC dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Explorer has a standard 175-amp alternator (200-amp - Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport). The Acadia’s 170-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer has more powerful engines than the Acadia:



Explorer 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

270 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.5 DOHC V6

290 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Sport 3.5 turbo V6

365 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

Acadia SLE/SLT 3.6 DOHC V6

281 HP

266 lbs.-ft.

Acadia Denali 3.6 DOHC V6

288 HP

270 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Ford Explorer V6 is faster than the Acadia SLE/SLT:



Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

8.1 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

13 sec

14.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

21.3 sec

24.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.9 sec

8.5 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.9 sec

4.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

16.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

85 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer 4 cyl. FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Acadia Denali FWD (20 city/28 hwy vs. 17 city/24 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer 4WD with its standard V6 gets better city fuel mileage than the Acadia Denali AWD 3.6 V6 (288 HP) (17 city/23 hwy vs. 16 city/23 hwy).

The Explorer 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 Acadia doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Explorer stops much shorter than the Acadia:



60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Explorer’s 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 SLE’s standard 65 series tires. The Explorer’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Acadia Denali’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Explorer has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Acadia’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

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

The Explorer Limited 4WD handles at .81 G’s, while the Acadia SLT AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Explorer Limited 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Acadia SLT AWD (27.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Explorer 4WD’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Acadia’s (38.9 feet vs. 40.4 feet). The Explorer Sport’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Acadia’s (39.8 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the GMC Acadia.

The Explorer is 3.7 inches shorter than the Acadia, making the Explorer easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Ford Explorer amounts to more than styling. The Explorer has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .35 Cd. That is lower than the Acadia (.361). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Explorer get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Explorer Limited 4WD is quieter than the Acadia SLT AWD:



At idle

35 dB

46 dB


75 dB

75 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front legroom, .9 inches more rear headroom and 3 inches more rear legroom than the Acadia.

The Explorer offers an optional rear tailgate seat that can be flipped rearward and used for tailgate picnics. (Do not use seat reversed while vehicle in motion.) The Acadia doesn’t offer a rear tailgate seat.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Acadia doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

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

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer’s standard driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Acadia’s standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully. The Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Acadia’s optional front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s exterior keypad. The Acadia doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its OnStar ® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

Intelligent Access optional on the Explorer (except Base/XLT) allows you to unlock the driver’s door, 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 GMC Acadia doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Explorer’s standard 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 Acadia’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Explorer Limited’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

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

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Explorer Limited detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Acadia doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the Explorer and the Acadia offer available heated front seats. The Explorer Limited also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the Acadia.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Explorer’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Acadia doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Explorer Limited/Sport 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 Acadia doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Explorer Limited’s optional Active 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 Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Explorer is less expensive to operate than the Acadia because it costs $29 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Explorer than the Acadia, including $96 less for front brake pads, $141 less for fuel injection, $44 less for front struts and $32 less for a power steering pump.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Explorer will be $2159 to $2401 less than for the GMC Acadia.

Recommendations Comparison

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Explorer as the 2011 North American Truck of the Year. The Acadia has never been chosen.

The Ford Explorer outsold the GMC Acadia by over two to one during the 2014 model year.

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