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2015 GMC Acadia vs. 2015 Chevrolet Traverse: What's The Difference?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2014

The 2015 GMC Acadia and the 2015 Chevrolet Traverse are both General Motors crossovers with 3-row seating. They're equipped with the same powerful V6 engine, the same 6-speed automatic transmission and many of the same features. Interior dimensions are roughly the same, too -- and so is their overall exterior size. So what actually makes these two SUVs different? We're took a closer look to find out.

Exterior

Although the Acadia and Traverse have a lot of similarities under the skin, few would accuse the two crossovers of sharing styling cues. While the Traverse's look is a lot more traditional (offering a more rounded, softer appearance for widespread appeal), the Acadia goes for a more muscular look, boasting a large, boxy front grille, flared wheel arches and a totally different rear end. The differences are more than slight, and we happen to think that the Acadia looks a little more aggressive and slightly more upscale than its more affordable Traverse stablemate does.

Interior

Although the Traverse and Acadia offer different exterior styling, the two crossovers share a lot of interior pieces and components. Yes, the GMC uses a slightly different look, with a little more aluminum in the center control stack. And yes, top versions of the Acadia offer more upscale materials than any level of the Traverse, but interior room is about the same, and so are the gauges, switches and controls, including the transmission lever and the infotainment system (dubbed MyLink in the Chevrolet and IntelliLink in the GMC). If you're used to a Traverse, you'll be right at home in an Acadia, and vice versa.

Mechanicals

Both the Traverse and the Acadia offer only one engine and transmission combo: a 3.6-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic. It makes 288 horsepower in the Acadia and 281 hp in the Traverse, though we suspect you won't be able to discern the 7-hp difference with such large vehicles. As for fuel economy, the Acadia and Traverse both offer 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive, or 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with optional all-wheel drive.

Features

The Acadia is positioned as a more premium vehicle than the Traverse, and as a result, the GMC offers a little more equipment than its Chevrolet stablemate. For example, the Acadia offers xenon headlights that aren't available in the Traverse. The Acadia also touts an available heads-up display, which isn't offered in the Chevy, and high-end Acadia Denali models feature a nicer interior that boasts a wood grain steering wheel and additional sound deadening for a more comfortable ride.

With that said, the Traverse and Acadia share a wide range of equipment and even a few high-end features, such as forward-collision alert, an available navigation system and ventilated seats. Don't think you have to spend big money for an upscale Acadia model just to get extra luxury features and equipment.

Technology

Although the Acadia touts a few more features than the Traverse, the two crossovers include largely the same level of high-tech equipment. For instance, the SUVs feature the same useful infotainment system, though it's dubbed MyLink in the Traverse and IntelliLink in the Acadia. Both SUVs also offer a wide range of high-tech safety gadgets, including forward-collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. In fact, the more upscale Acadia has only a few tech features to hang over the Traverse's head, including an available heads-up display, xenon headlights and audio controls for the third-row seat. If it's technology you're after, you'll find that the Acadia has a slight advantage over the Traverse -- but not by much.

Safety

You won't find much of a difference between the Traverse and Acadia in terms of safety features. The SUVs offer the same level of standard equipment, which includes a backup camera, traction control and side-curtain airbags for all three rows. The Acadia offers standard backup sensors, and they're optional on the Traverse. Both crossovers feature a new front-center airbag as standard equipment, positioned between the driver and passenger for additional support in case of side impact. Both also offer a wide range of optional equipment, including forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. In other words, drivers who prioritize safety won't find any major advantages or differences when they compare the Traverse and Acadia.

Conclusions

The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse and the 2015 GMC Acadia are excellent crossovers, boasting strong engines, a lot of desirable standard and optional features, and exceptional interior room. The Acadia is a little more expensive, but it brings a slightly nicer interior, more muscular styling and a few extra features. Drivers on a budget will want to go with the Traverse, while those interested in a more luxurious SUV will probably prefer the Acadia -- but no matter which one you choose, you can't go wrong with either crossover.

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Used 2015 GMC Acadia AWD SLE
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Used 2015 GMC Acadia AWD SLE
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Used 2015 GMC Acadia FWD Denali
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Used 2015 GMC Acadia AWD SLE
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 GMC Acadia vs. 2015 Chevrolet Traverse: What's The Difference? - Autotrader