A man with a backpack is closing the trunk of his 2019 black GMC Acadia.

Which is the Better SUV: The 2019 GMC Acadia or the 2019 Toyota Highlander


When you get behind the wheel of a modern SUV there are a lot of things you ought to expect. Cargo space and durability are only the tip of the iceberg. When you examine what makes a great SUV ‘great’ with a fine-toothed comb, you’ll find that there are more factors at play. There are a wide variety of high-ranking SUVs on the market today, all vying for the top. Two SUVs that are certainly racing for the top spot are the 2019 GMC Acadia and the 2019 Toyota Highlander. But which vehicle is better? There is plenty that sets these two impressive SUVs apart; however, when you look a little deeper, the true victor becomes clear. In this article, we’ll show you the 2019 GMC Acadia vs 2019 Toyota Highlander, and help you figure out which one you should drive away with.

Engine Power and Overall Performance

SUVs have changed a lot over the years. In the past, they were synonymous with oversized machines that were large for the sake of being large. As a result, they hefted superpowered engines that were designed to pump out horsepower and suck down a lot of fuel. The modern SUV, while sticking to the traditional expectation of a larger form, has managed to draw back the engine size, and as a result, improved fuel economy. There are few SUVs that are as good an example of this change as the 2019 GMC Acadia and the 2019 Toyota Highlander.

Tucked beneath the hood of the 2019 Toyota Highlander is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine which pumps out 185 horsepower and 184 lb-ft worth of torque. This engine can provide some reasonable towing capacity as well, topping out at 1,500 pounds. When it comes to fuel efficiency, Toyota’s engine does a reasonable job, offering up an EPA-rated 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. If the four-cylinder option isn’t enough for you, don’t worry, Toyota offers a more powerful alternative in the 295 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine. While this V6 engine may require more fuel, the power can be put to good use, bumping towing capacity to a remarkable 5,000 pounds.

A silver 2019 GMC Acadia, which wins when comparing performance between the 2019 GMC Acadia vs Toyota Highlander, is driving past a tan building.

The 2019 GMC Acadia is equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine as standard which can offer drivers roughly 193 horsepower. This four-cylinder option has a max towing capacity of 1,000 lbs, and earns an EPA-rated 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Like the 2019 Toyota Highlander, the 2019 GMC Acadia can come with an upgraded engine as well. Drivers of the upgraded GMC Acadia can expect to find a 310 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine, as well as increased towing capacity, bringing things up to 4,000 pounds at max capacity.

So, which engine is better? Well, while the 2019 Toyota Highlander offers greater towing capacity in both four-cylinder and six-cylinder trim options, but the 2019 GMC Acadia outshines everywhere else. Between the greater horsepower and similar fuel economy, it is easy to see the GMC Acadia as the clear victor in this category.

What About Safety Features?

Of course, one of the major benefits of driving an SUV is the added level of safety. Although, like with most modern cars, you should expect more than just the standard. Your ideal SUV should be packed with a suite of smart automotive tech that provides greater awareness of the road, and may even prevent an accident before it even gets a chance to occur. So, how do the 2019 GMC Acadia and the Toyota Highlander stack up in this area?

Well, the 2019 Toyota Highlander comes with a full package of safety features that give drivers incredible peace of mind. Take Toyota’s standard Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. Intended to prevent drivers from hitting pedestrians this system uses an array of sensors to view the space in front of the car, then stop the vehicle before a potential collision. Lane departure alerts, also add a layer of peace of mind and security, warning you when you begin drifting out of a lane. Dynamic cruise control, brings cruise control to the next level, by automatically adjusting speed based on the vehicle ahead.

How does the 2019 GMC Acadia stack up? Well, the 2019 GMC Acadia offers a similar degree of safety tech. Although the GMC Acadia ups the ante by providing Surround Vision. Surround Vision is an innovative feature that provides a top-down view of your car and the surrounding environment while backing up. As a result, you can have a clearer view of the area around your car and potentially avoid unnecessary collisions. Some trim options of the 2019 GMC Acadia also come with GM’s Patented Safety Seat, which vibrates the seat through haptic feedback, offering a smart alternative to the audible alerts that features like blind spot monitoring, and lane change alerts.

So, how do these two SUVs compare? Well, the 2019 Toyota Highlander offers quite a lot as standard, however, if you’re willing to shell out the extra cash, the 2019 GMC Acadia provides a more innovative safety system, that includes features that you won’t find on the Toyota SUV.

Comfort and Price

The tan and black interior details of the 2019 GMC Acadia are shown.

When it comes to size, both of these vehicles could be considered equals, although cargo space is what sets them apart.  The 2019 GMC Acadia offers 79 cu.ft. of cargo space with the rear seats laid down. Alternatively, the 2019 Toyota Highlander offers 83.7 cu.ft. of cargo space with the rear seats laid down. While a marginal difference, every inch can count when trying to pack your vehicle with cargo and is worth considering if you do a lot of substantial hauling and transport.

What about the sticker price? Well, this is where the 2019 GMC Acadia certainly excels. The 2019 Toyota Highlander starts at $31,680 MSRP, which is pricy but not overly expensive; that is until you compare it to the GMC Acadia. The GMC Acadia starts at $29,000 MSRP, offering a much more affordable option if you’re in the market for a base model.

The Verdict

Comparing the 2019 GMC Acadia against the 2019 Toyota Highlander is no straight shot. Both vehicles offer reasonable packages and provide a modern SUV driving experience that is bound to impress even classic SUV lovers. That said, the details are what set these two SUVs apart.

When it comes to engine and performance, the 2019 GMC Acadia is a standout, offering greater power overall. In the factor of safety, the 2019 GMC Acadia and 2019 Toyota Highlander are quite evenly matched and is arguably a tie.

Last on the lineup is comfort and price. Well, the 2019 Toyota Highlander may offer marginally greater cargo space, it is difficult to compare with the 2019 GMC Acadia’s sticker price. The lower price combined with the rest of the previously mentioned benefits sets this modern SUV apart from its Toyota manufactured counterpart. Don’t take our word for it? Well, we always recommend that you head to a dealership and test drive the vehicle yourself to see what each one offers. A first-hand experience is the best way to gauge for yourself which SUV is better, the 2019 GMC Acadia or the 2019 Toyota Highlander.