Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 GMC Acadia VS 2015 Nissan Pathfinder Near Phoenix, AZ

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2016 GMC Acadia

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2015 Nissan Pathfinder

Safety Comparison

The Acadia (except ) offers an optional front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Acadia (except SL/SLE) offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The Pathfinder doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The GMC Acadia has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Acadia (except SL/SLE)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Acadia has standard OnStar ®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Acadia and the Pathfinder 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, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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




5 Stars

4 Stars



5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

366 lbs.

464 lbs.



5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.6 inches

Leg Forces (l/r)

221/280 lbs.

479/476 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 GMC Acadia is safer than the Nissan Pathfinder:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

.4 inches

.9 inches

Hip Force

318 lbs.

457 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

34 G’s

41 G’s

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

18 inches




Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

42 G’s

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

Warranty Comparison

The Acadia’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Pathfinder’s (6 vs. 5 years).

GMC pays for scheduled maintenance on the Acadia for 2 years and 24,000 miles. GMC will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Pathfinder.

There are over 2 times as many GMC dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Acadia’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The Acadia has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Acadia has a standard 170-amp alternator. The Pathfinder’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Acadia has a standard 730-amp battery. The Pathfinder’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the Acadia is under the floor, which protects it from hot underhood temperature that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Acadia’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Pathfinder’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the Acadia’s reliability will be 143% better than the Pathfinder.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 16th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 20th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 9th in reliability, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 12th.

Engine Comparison

The Acadia SLE/SLT’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 21 more horsepower (281 vs. 260) and 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 240) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The Acadia Denali’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 28 more horsepower (288 vs. 260) and 30 lbs.-ft. more torque (270 vs. 240) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Acadia has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Pathfinder (22 vs. 19.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Acadia’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Pathfinder:



Front Rotors

12.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.13 inches

The Acadia stops shorter than the Pathfinder:



70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Acadia has larger tires than the Pathfinder (255/65R18 vs. 235/65R18).

The GMC Acadia’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Pathfinder only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Acadia’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Pathfinder (118.9 inches vs. 114.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Acadia is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Pathfinder.

The Acadia SLT AWD handles at .78 G’s, while the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Acadia SLT AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 (28.2 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Acadia has a 1.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Pathfinder (7.6 vs. 6.5 inches), allowing the Acadia to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Acadia has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Pathfinder can only carry 7.

The Acadia has 1.2 inches more front hip room, .9 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear hip room, .6 inches more rear shoulder room, .6 inches more third row headroom, 2.5 inches more third row legroom, 6.3 inches more third row hip room and .7 inches more third row shoulder room than the Pathfinder.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Acadia’s cargo area provides more volume than the Pathfinder.



Behind Third Seat

24.1 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

70.1 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


42.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

116.1 cubic feet

79.8 cubic feet

The Acadia’s cargo area is larger than the Pathfinder’s in every dimension:



Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width






Ergonomics Comparison

The Acadia (except SL/SLE) offers an available heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Acadia and the Pathfinder have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Acadia is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pathfinder prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Acadia has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The automatic headlight on/off feature is not available on the Pathfinder S.

The Acadia offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Pathfinder offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional IntelliLink for the Acadia (not available SL) allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including playing internet radio stations and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Acadia, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Nissan doesn’t offer wireless connectivity on the Pathfinder S.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Acadia owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Acadia will cost $590 to $2515 less than the Pathfinder over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Acadia is less expensive to operate than the Pathfinder because typical repairs cost less on the Acadia than the Pathfinder, including $25 less for a water pump, $79 less for a starter, $86 less for fuel injection and $13 less for front struts.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the GMC Acadia, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Pathfinder isn't recommended.

The GMC Acadia outsold the Nissan Pathfinder by 6% during 2014.

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