Three row crossovers and SUVs have become immensely popular in recent years, and many Ames buyers today prefer them to the traditionally family-friendly minivan. The Ford Explorer has long been a favorite due to its sharp looks, range of features, and interior practicality. But the GMC Acadia was recently redesigned, attempting to offer buyers a large, efficient crossover. But can it take on the venerable Explorer?

Below, we're going to compare key features of the 2019 Ford Explorer and 2019 GMC Acadia to see which one is the best option for Ames, IA families looking for a three-row SUV. While some would expect the Acadia to win easily due to its newer design, it's definitely not that simple, as the Ford Explorer has some tricks up its sleeve.

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Powertrain & Driving

Both the 2019 Ford Explorer and the GMC Acadia come with several engine options, allowing Ames buyers to balance the power and efficiency of their new SUV. The Acadia comes standard with a 2.5l four-cylinder engine that produces 193 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. This really isn't a lot for a three-row SUV, and reviewers and owners alike have found it can struggle with passing and acceleration. However, it does help maximize efficiency of the 2019 Acadia, which is smaller and lighter than previous Acadia generations. Upper trim levels of the Acadia come with a 3.6l V6 at 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque.

Meanwhile, the Ford Explorer has three engine options. The standard engine is a 3.5l V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. This is much more powerful than the Acadia's base engine, and it can be upgraded to a 2.3l turbo at 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. This EcoBoost engine brings both impressive torque and greater efficiency. Finally, upper trim levels of the Explorer like the Sport and Platinum get a turbocharged 3.5l V6 that produces a whopping 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.

When it comes to driving, both vehicles offer forgiving suspensions that keep the family comfortable even on uneven roads. However, the Ford Explorer Sport (a favorite among our Iowa customers) comes with a stiffer suspension for a more responsive driving experience. The Sport trim and more powerful engine options make the Ford Explorer more fun to drive, while the Acadia has a more utilitarian feel to its driving dynamics.

Interior & Features

Comparing the interiors and features of the 2019 Ford Explorer vs GMC Acadia, there are some significant differences. When comparing the base trims, the Ford Explorer is more powerful, but the Acadia has more standard tech features. However, that changes as you move up in trim level. The Ford Explorer Limited introduced leather interior, the 2.3l turbo as standard, and a wealth of other desirable features like premium sound system and power-folding third row seats. The Acadia Denali, the top trim level, is the same MSRP as an Explorer Sport, but does not come as well-equipped. Ford's Platinum trim for the Explorer is the pinnacle of luxury among the two vehicles, and adds upgraded leather, panoramic sunroof, an upgraded sound system, and more.

In terms of size and comfort, the Ford Explorer's interior is larger and offers more premium materials than that of the GMC Acadia. Small item storage is also notably better. Interestingly, the Acadia reduces seating capacity to 6 at its mid-level and higher trim levels, while the Explorer retains seating for seven across the range. For large families, or those who plan to frequently ferry multiple passengers, the larger Ford Explorer is the better choice.


Comparing the 2019 Ford Explorer vs 2019 GMC Acadia, it's clear that both are practical, well-designed three-row SUVs. However, the Ford Explorer offers greater comfort, luxury, and power at all but the base trim level. It's no surprise that the Ford Explorer has remained one of the most popular three-row SUVs in Iowa throughout the years, as its sharp looks and smart design have won over many of our Ames Ford customers.

If you've been shopping for a new family crossover or SUV, come test drive the 2019 Ford Explorer for yourself at Ames Ford in Ames, Iowa. Our friendly staff will help answer all your questions, and financing is just a click away. Feel free to call us for more information, or check out our inventory of Ford Explorer models below.


Ames Ford Lincoln

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