2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV


Ranked #9 in Midsize Suv

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Starting MSRP 

$47,495 - $49,495

Key Spec of 2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV
fuel economy


fuel type

Regular unleaded


310 hp @ 6600 rpm

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36,000 mi.

2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: December 28, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

If you're thinking of buying a luxury midsize SUV to haul your family for a long vacation, there are numerous options to choose from. Besides, going for a plush German SUV would have you shell out hefty amounts. But there’s an American midsize SUV that offers a premium-looking interior, a striking exterior, and more for a budget sticker price. The GMC Acadia Denali is one of such smart buys in the segment. For under $50,000, buyers get the crowd’s attention, thanks to shiny chrome attire and an upscale interior that will please your family and win their hearts. 

ProsConsWhat's New

Tantalizing boxy structure with chrome touch-ups

Unexciting fuel economy

The 2020 GMC Acadia Denali will feature an updated infotainment system on the inside

Profound features list

Lackluster engine performance

The former 6-speed automatic transmission is replaced by a 9-speed automatic unit

Refined ride quality

Over All Rating


Out of 10

Pricing and Features7.80
Engine and Performance8.50
Fuel Economy7.50
Notable Rankings

#9 in Midsize Suv

#11 in Suv

Pictures & Videos


Base$47,495 onwards

Colors and Styles

2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV in Iridium Metallic color
Iridium Metallic

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

The top-of-the-line Denali trim comes fully equipped with top features and a brawny engine hiding under the hood. It is an attempt to unify affordability, practicality, and affluence in an attractive midsize SUV body. But how does GMC’s lavish midsize rank against popular picks in the segments like Ford Explorer, Subaru Ascent, and Toyota Highlander? In this review, let’s look into the plethora of features that come along with the Denali badge, and see how this midsize SUV stands against its rivals in different aspects.

2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV front view
2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV rear view


The GMC Acadia Denali poses as a fully loaded, midsize 3-row SUV. With a price tag of over $46,000, the Acadia Denali is bling and handsome, with elite interiors and tonnes of features and options. Also, it comes with two drivetrain options to choose from. Going for All-wheel drive would be a better option which further helps with off-roading capabilities and more traction. Let's have a look at some of the notable features.


2021 GMC Acadia Denali





Key Features

Dark Galvanised, Perforated Leather-appointed seat trim


Power Mirrors


Heated Front seats


Keyless entry


Power Driver Seat


Unique Denali chrome grille

Which Trim should you buy?

There’s not much to choose from since the Denali is the top-spec Acadia also treated as a sub-brand owing to its popularity. It is fully loaded and hence is a substantial buy for the price. Besides these, the Acadia Denali can be equipped with adaptive cruise and a surround-view camera, which isn’t standard and comes as a part of a technology package that is limited to Denali trim only. Otherwise, it is a very well-appointed car with some top-notch features on tap.

Engine and Performance

The 2020 GMC Acadia Denali fits a 3.6L V6 engine under the hood as standard, which motivates the burly SUV with 310-hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated with a 9-speed automatic transmission, replacing the old 6-speed unit. The power drives the front wheels as standard, while all-wheel-drive can opt for extra money.

2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV side view

Pair the optional 3.6L engine with all-wheel drive and it gets enough strength to tow a 5,000lbs trailer. The 0-60 mph on the V6 engine mill equipped Acadia Denali takes only 6.1 seconds. Moreover, it can also reach a top speed of 115 mph which is not the fastest among the rivals as it is restricted.


2020 GMC Acadia Denali

2020 Ford Explorer Limited

2020 Subaru Ascent Touring

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum







3.6 liter V6

2.3-liter Turbocharged Inline-4

2.4-liter Turbocharged Flat 4

3.5-liter V6







9-Speed Automatic

10-Speed Automatic


8-Speed Automatic


310 hp @ 6600 rpm

300hp @ 5,500rpm

260hp @ 5,600rpm

295hp @ 6,600rpm


271 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm

310 lb-ft 3,500rpm

277 lb-ft @ 2,000rpm

263 lb-ft 4,700rpm

0-60 MPH (secs)





Quarter-Mile (secs)





Top Speed (MPH)





The Ford Explorer is the mightiest SUV in the lot, with Toyota Highlander being the nearest. Equipped with the massive V6 engine, the Acadia Denali flaunts the most attractive figures, yet it fails in the towing game, as rivals are more muscular. On the other hand, the fastest SUV occurs to be the Ford Explorer with 5.6 seconds to 60 mph and a top speed of 143 mph which is truly remarkable for an SUV.

How well does the 2020 GMC Acadia Denali handle?

When it comes to riding quality, the 2020 Acadia Denali won’t pop your eyes out, but it’s relaxed and supple, as a family SUV is supposed to be. The FWD models have noticeable torque-steer, surprisingly, the same carries over to AWD models, owing to FWD bias mode. The suspensions are soft, and cushion the cabin from rough road disturbances. The adaptive suspension adds to a more polished riding style. 

 The only hitch to the stable driving dynamics is the Acadia’s tendency to turn wide, which means oversteer. What makes the Acadia stand out in the segment is the carlike driving dynamics, the steering is easy, and it doesn’t take much effort to move the hefty SUV around. The V6 would suit the personalities looking for extra punch and grunt, and brisker accelerations.

 2020 GMC Acadia Denali Braking Performance

For the 2020 GMC Acadia Denali, it features big rotors and powerful disc brakes on all wheels. This ensures that the hefty SUV stops effectively. Though there aren’t figures to confirm the braking distance, rest assured that the GMC SUV won’t fail you. It incorporates a 12.6 inches rotor in the front and 12.4 inches rotor in the rear and weighs the lightest in the segment which subsequently delivers a good braking performance.


2020 GMC Acadia Denali

2020 Ford Explorer Limited

2020 Subaru Ascent Touring

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)





Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)





Curb Weight (lbs)

4187 lb.

4345 lb.

4603 lb.

4260 lb.

60-0 MPH (in feet)





Since the figures are missing, it’s hard to compare the Acadia Denali to the rest of the rivals. The Subaru Ascent showed the real braking power by stopping at 119 feet from 60 mph, as the burly SUV stops efficiently despite being the heftiest in the lot. The Ford Explorer on the other hand comes with the largest front rotors measuring 13.6 inches and the Toyota Highlander sports the largest rear brakes measuring 13.3 inches.

Fuel Economy

The 2020 GMC Acadia Denali has turned out to be a reasonably efficient SUV. The 19/27/22 mpg on city/highway/combined conditions are apt for an SUV of this size. The Acadia also fits a 19-gallon fuel tank to stretch far, without stressing about gas stations frequently. However, the Range on offer is a bit scanty returning 361/513/418 in the city, highway, and when combined.


2020 GMC Acadia Denali

2020 Ford Explorer Limited

2020 Subaru Ascent Touring

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum

MPG (City)





MPG (Highway)





MPG (Combined)





Fuel Capacity (gallons)





Range (City/Hwy/Combined) (miles)

361 / 513 /418

376 / 501/429.6



The colossal V6 engine makes the Acadia Denali nearly as efficient as the rivals, yet Toyota Highlander leads with a minor margin. With the biggest tank, the Subaru Ascent makes sure that it goes the farthest in the city in comparison to the rivals. It covers a distance of 386 miles in the city and 502 miles on the highway. When combined, it is capable of covering a distance of 424 miles which is pretty great.


The 2020 GMC Acadia Denali dresses up in opulence and richness, and being the capital of the Acadia model, it garnishes the interiors with high-quality materials and smooth fabric touches. The Denali models get premium leather trim interiors and in the light shades, the aura of the cabin elevates to upmarket and solacing. The Acadia Denali can seat 6-passengers since the second-row bench seats are thrown out for a more relaxing second-row captain chair arrangement. Starting from the front seats, the seats are well-bolstered and supportive, and yes, the front row features power-adjustable seats, while the second row is manual. Don’t search for the automatic stick, as the clean interior designs of the Acadia Denali substitutes the same with a push-button gear selector. 

2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV front seats

The dash design is clean, but the contrast stitching, brushed aluminum accents, and wood trims add luxurious flavor. The front seats also flaunt the “Denali” embroidery on the headrests, look fantastic with dark shade interiors. The second row gets breezy room and serene experience with the captain chairs, that slide and reclines to make it worth fighting for. The third-row seats are slightly tight, even the access gap is narrow. The second-row seats slide and tilt to make space to the third row, the same narrow channel as we mentioned. Mostly, children would be seated in the rear, and GMC Acadia Denali has USB ports to keep their devices fully charged.


2020 GMC Acadia Denali

2020 Ford Explorer Limited

2020 Subaru Ascent Touring

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum

Seating Capacity





First Row (head/shoulder/leg) (in.)





Second Row (head/Shoulder/leg) (in.)





Third Row (head/shoulder/leg) (in.)





Cargo Space (cu-ft)





Coming to the cargo capacity, the Denali treatment also brings a power liftgate with an adjustable height feature. The boot opening is wide, and with the third-row seats upright, the cargo capacity is 12.8 cu-ft. A stroller would fit just fine, but the third-row seats fold down to add more, and then the second-row seats do the same and there’s a 79 cu-ft of cargo space to access. 

The interiors of the 2020 GMC Acadia Denali are fresh, subtle, and more sparkling than any rivals in the lot. However, Ascent and Highlander offer one extra seating space. If cargo capacity is a priority, pick the Explorer for most, followed by Ascent and Acadia on the last spot. Standout interior features:

  • Nappa Leather upholstery
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Front row seats “Denali” embroidery
  • Brushed aluminum accents and wood trim

How intuitive is the 2020 GMC Acadia Denali’s infotainment unit?

The 2020 GMC Acadia Denali is the finest Acadia one can pick, and it surely packs its share of advanced tech bits. Starting with an 8” GMC touchscreen interface, that remains unchanged in every Acadia and incorporates AM/FM Radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The Denali trim gets exclusive additions like SiriusXM, HD Radio, and navigation. While for the long routes, an 8-speaker Bose premium audio system takes the burden of entertaining the crowd. 

2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV infotainment screen

The cabin hosts various USB slots, five to be exact, along with a 120-volt power outlet and wireless charging, which is exclusive for the Denali-treated Acadia. In addition to a plethora of infotainment details, the Acadia Denali can also be equipped with a rear-seat entertainment unit, with or without a DVD player. The infotainment is intuitive and the clean layout makes it easy to get used to. The steering-wheel-mounted GameBoy-inspired control buttons come to the rescue. The driver cluster is a cluster of two analog gauges with a multi-information display in between. Standout infotainment features:

  • AM/FM stereo with SiriusXM
  • Bluetooth streaming audio
  • Apple Carplay and Android Auto
  • Voice commands
  • Wireless Charging
  • Bose Premium Sound System
  • SiriusXM
  • HD Radio with Navigation

The 2020 GMC Acadia Denali has a distinctive exterior design that combines old functionality and aggressive details for a powerful presence on the roads. The overpowered shine of chrome is what defines this top-of-the-line Acadia model. The front fascia has an earnest and sincere personality while chrome touch-ups make it look even more premium and upscale. 

2020 GMC Acadia Denali SUV 

The shiny chrome continues on the side, highlighting the Acadia's high ground clearance, marking limited off-road capability. The big wheel arches and gives it a daunting stance. The rear quarters are wrapped with glass, which looks outstanding. Moreover, it is also the most compact car in its class which further helps while pottering around the city and also offers great handling.


2020 GMC Acadia Denali

2020 Ford Explorer Limited

2020 Subaru Ascent Touring

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum

Curb Weight (lbs.)

4187 lb.

4345 lb.

4603 lb.

4260 lb.

Length (in.)





Width (in.)





Height (in.)





Ground Clearance (in.)





Wheelbase (in.)





GMC Acadias are burly, yet have an unforgettable impression on eyes and brains. This hefty SUV is the smallest in the lot, with the Ford Explorer being a massive machine. The small size gives the Acadia Denali an edge over rivals when it comes to maneuverability and handling. On the contrary, the Ford Explorer is the largest SUV in the competition which reduces its handling capabilities.Standout exterior features:

  • 20-inch machined Aluminium wheels with black accents
  • Chrome accents on door handles and body side moldings
  • Chrome Denali grille
  • Exclusive Denali badging

Besides a unique grille and upgraded interior materials, the new GMC Acadia Denali gets loads of safety aids as standard. The robust design of this 3-row midsize SUV extends the safety quotient and keeps the occupants inside safe, in case of an unfortunate event. Moreover, it scores a 5-star rating from NHTSA and an overall ‘Good’ in the crash tests conducted by the IIHS and comes out as one of the robust SUVs in the competition. Some Standout safety features:

  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert
  • StabiliTrak, stability control system with Traction Control
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System with Tire Fill Alert
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Front Pedestrian Braking (Optional)

2020 GMC Acadia Denali vs 2020 Ford Explorer Limited

The Ford Explorer has always been a popular SUV in the segment featuring incredible passenger space, efficient powertrain with brutal muscle power. In comparison to the standard setup of the Acadia Denali, the Ford Explorer is more powerful and quicker, while both the engine blocks are equally efficient. And with the optional block, the Acadia Denali might flaunt better numbers, but the Explorer still leads to being more brawnier and the fact that it offers optional 4-wheel-drive, unlike any other rivals.

2020 Ford Explorer Limited

2020 GMC Acadia Denali vs 2020 Subaru Ascent Touring

The Subaru Ascent Touring and the GMC Acadia Denali are top-of-the-line trims of their respective models. In the brawl of showing off power, the flat-4 engine in Subaru is not as powerful as the V6 block of the Acadia Denali. The interiors are equally spacious, but the former offers more cargo capacity, while Denali has plusher attire and ambiance.

2020 Subaru Ascent Touring

2020 GMC Acadia Denali vs 2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum

The Toyota Highlander is more efficient than the GMC Acadia Denali but when it comes to cabin space, the cramped third row can be a turn-off. The interiors are equally plush, as both competitive rivals try to lure consumers with premium materials and elegant designs. But when it comes to being capable and potent, the Highlander has a better edge.

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum


Final Verdict

For a substantial price tag, the new GMC Acadia Denali packs the most adorned qualities of SUVs. With shiny badges and chrome exterior styling cues, the Acadia Denali takes milliseconds to catch attention, and the interiors pamper the occupants over long hauls. The Nappa leather-appointed seats offer immense comfort and support, and the cabin is spacious, but the rear seats aren’t as generous as rivals. The cargo capacity is also average for the segment, but its driving dynamics are impressive and the on-road manners are supple for the size.


vehicle bio
base price


body style

4dr SUV

engine type

222 cu in

horse power

310 hp @ 6600 rpm


271 lb.-ft. @ 5000 rpm


9 speed Automatic


64.5 in


112.5 in


75.4 in

curb weight

4390 lbs


68.7 in

Ground Clearance

7.2 lbs

passenger volume

143.8 cu ft

cargo volume

79 cu ft

passenger capacity

5 Seats

fuel economy

17/20/25 mpg

highway range

550.0 mi

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

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