For carmakers today, the perfect lineup would be focused almost entirely on trucks and crossovers, favoring profitability at the expense of diversity. Just look at FCA’s Ram and Jeep showrooms. In the General Motors portfolio, that brand is GMC, with not a car to be found in its lineup and several body-on-frame offerings meant to take a serious beating. It should be a license to print money. But a lineup of trucks and SUVs isn’t enough. Some folks want the rough-and-tumble edge of an off-road vehicle, albeit one that can still credibly serve duty in the school pickup line. Enter the AT4 trim level, an off-road package that spans the gap between the GMC's upscale professional image and the off-road oriented buyer. The 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 is the latest member of the family AT4 slots in between the mid-grade SLT and the range-topping Denali, but simply saying it’s the second-most expensive Acadia variant isn’t really doing it justice. If the SLT trim is understated, and the Denali trim opulent, the AT4 trim promises ruggedness and adventure – even if it can’t deliver it. The Acadia is definitely a soft-roader and AT4 doesn’t do much to change that – it’s effectively an appearance package. It adds a unique grille, 17-inch wheels and AT4 badges — all blacked out — plus a set of Continental TerrainContact A/T tires engineered to offer a comfortable ride while still enabling some off-pavement excursions. There are several unique interior treatments as well, including “AT4” embroidery on the seats, regardless of whether you go with the base upholstery or the upgraded perforated leather ($1,000) that was added to our test vehicle. Note that we didn’t mention anything beyond the small wheels and meaty tires that would actually make the AT4 any better off pavement. There’s no extra ground clearance (it remains a meager 7.2 inches), low range 4x4 system or suspension enhancement to be found here. This would be a departure from other GMC AT4 models, including the Sierra 1500 and upcoming 2021 Yukon, which get extra ground clearance, underbody protection and a rugged suspension, but it won't be an outlier. The similarly soft-roading Terrain AT4 has already been announced. Yet, off-road models tend to get hammered with on-road handling and ride quality criticism and here's where the Acadia AT4 being more of an appearance package pays off. The Acadia’s suspension hasn’t been stiffened to the point where it would treat your internal organs like they’re in the pit at a metal concert. In fact, the AT4 is downright luxurious. And even with those knobby all-terrain tires, the steering remained precise, allowing us to dodge potholes or errant drivers without the vagueness expected of off-road-oriented models like the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro or every Jeep Wrangler. The tires do make extra noise, but the Acadia is otherwise quite comfortable and quiet, and tracks nicely on the highway. On the other hand, we feel compelled to call out GM’s strange part-time all-wheel drive system, which must be …
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|MPG||18 City / 25 Hwy|
|Transmission||9-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||310 @ 6600 rpm|
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