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First Drive Review: 2020 GMC Acadia gets sophisticated, rides smoothly

GMC has introduced the new Acadia AT4 for 2020.

Photo Courtesy of GMC

The GMC Acadia is back and bolder for the 2020 model year with fascia changes, cabin refinements, tech upgrades, and a new trim level.

The model, a three-row SUV that's smaller than the GMC Yukon, is in line with the Chevrolet Traverse in the GM lineup. Its positioning makes it an attractive model for buyers looking for more space, but don't need the overt truckiness that the Yukon offers.

At its front the 2020 GMC Acadia comes with anew standard LED lighting, a new grille, and fresh front and rear fascia. Additional equipment upgrades include side mirrors with integrated turn signals (power-folding on Denali) and a hands-free power liftgate. There are also new 18- and 20-inch wheel designs.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4 The Acadia now comes in an AT4 trim. Photo Courtesy of GMC

The 2020 GMC Acadia also now comes in an AT4 grade, giving the model the darkened exterior accents and appearance of off-road readiness that is afforded other GMC models with AT4 trim levels. Its bold appearance works with the Acadia's refined design lines and fits well with current market trends. All-wheel drive is standard in this model. It rides on standard 17-inch wheels and 20-inchers are available.

Under its hood, buyers can get a new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, which is standard on SLT and Denali models. It achieves 230 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder and available 3.6-liter V6 power plans still make the Acadia lineup for 2020. All engines are paired with a new nine-speed automatic transmission and have stop-start functionality.

An eBoost brake system is standard on turbo models. All Acadias have had suspension and handling upgrades for the new model year. On the winding rural roads of Jackson, Wyoming, the Acadia rode smoothly, absorbing most of the road's imperfections, and handled well, making it easy to park along the town square.

2020 GMC Acadia Denali GMC has retained the Acadia's plush seating for the 2020 model year.Photo Courtesy of GMC

The SUV is shifted via buttons and levers on the center stack, a move that frees up space traditionally taken up by a stick shifter. It's not terrible to use and will ultimately take some getting used to but should be easily adopted by drivers.

Most of the materials inside the cabin of the GMC Acadia are on-par with what you'll find inside other premium SUVs like the Infiniti QX60 and Acura MDX. That being said, there are some obvious cost-cutting design and materials choices, like the puzzling placement of the new open-pore wood decor in the Acadia Denali.

Every 2020 GMC Acadia come standard with GM's new 8-inch infotainment screen. The responsive screen has new a personal profile feature, refreshed navigation interface that allows for most functions to be reached via a single screen, and USB-C ports. There's a total of five charging ports in the Acadia, including a USB-A outlet in the third row.

There's a number of other new and enhanced features including the next-gen 15-watt wireless charging, a high-definition rear camera, and an available rear camera mirror (Denali only).

2020 GMC Acadia AT4 A new head up display is available. Photo Courtesy of GMC

The 2020 Acadia has the same list of standard and available safety technology as in the previous model year. None of the technologies proved too obstructive during testing.

The 2020 GMC Acadia will arrive on dealership lots this autumn It is made in America, at General Motors' Spring Hill, Tennessee plant.

We don't know what the Ford Bronco (officially) looks like yet, but a source has told AutomotiveMap that an off road racing-ready variant is already planned.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

A well-placed source within the off-road racing community has tipped off AutomotiveMap that Ford is planning to debut a specialized off road racing-ready version of the Bronco shortly after the model debuts next year.

There's some heritage in the Bronco being an off road racer. The first-generation Ford Bronco (1966-1977) is a popular off-roader even today and the internet is full of pictures and stories that tell the tale of championship rides.

Recently revealed patents for the Ford Bronco, first reported by AutoGuide, show numerous model configurations including two- and four-door trucks that could have a bed, with looks similar to the Jeep Gladiator. This style Bronco, with a bed, could compete directly with the Jeep Gladiator and, in racing, with the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

Chevrolet is far ahead of Ford when it comes to their truck racing program. The GM division worked with Hall Racing and suppliers like Multimatic to develop and test Chevrolet Performance parts that can be sold to off-roading enthusiasts. With these modifications Hall Racing has blown past the 100 mph mark on their Colorado ZR2 race truck and given the truck the parts it needs to remain planted when cornering, even at high speed.

1974 Ford Bronco side profile The first generation Ford Bronco, including 1974 models like this, remain popular in the off-roading community.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Chevrolet division recently introduced a desert racing version of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom Trail Boss, which the company will test during the Desert Racing Series using a similar process. Expectations are that this testing will lead to a Ford F-150 Raptor-fighter model of the Silverado. Insiders are referring to it as the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2.

But what about the Ford Ranger Raptor? The source was quick to point out to AutomotiveMap that the prospective off road racing-ready Ford Bronco model is not the Ford Ranger Raptor. Currently sold only in overseas markets, it is likely that the Ranger Raptor will debut when the next-generation Ranger comes to market in a few years.

Ford has confirmed that the Bronco will share a platform with the next-gen Ranger, and so it would make sense that a Bronco with Ranger Raptor characteristics would be on tap. Ford could easily test the underpinnings of a future off-roading Bronco model while wearing Ranger camouflage.

When approached for comment, Ford responded, "We don't comment on speculation about future products."

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is the company's first modern electric vehicle.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Its quirky shape, engaging drive dynamics, and encompassing available Bowers and Wilkins stereo system have earned the Volvo XC40 accolades since it debuted in 2017. Now, Volvo has introduced the 2020 XC40 Recharge, a battery electric-powered SUV that will competing directly the forthcoming Tesla Model Y and current Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona EV.

The XC40 Recharge is Volvo's first step in a new lineup built around electrified powertrains. The automaker has already pledged to introduce a new EV each year in order to make half its lineup fully electric by 2025.

Volvo has given the XC40 Recharge a 78 kilowatt-hour battery. That's the same battery pack that is in the Polestar 2.

Volvo XC40 Recharge rear back plug charging Volvo has not yet announced which charging company they are teaming up with in the U.S.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

U.S. models are slated to have 487 pound-feet of torque and 402 total horsepower. The compact SUV has a promised range of over 200 miles for U.S. buyers (most Americans travel just 30 miles a day) and can be charged up to 80 percent of its capacity in 40 minutes using a fast-charging system. On a Level 2 charger, getting to that point will take 7.5 hours. The automaker has not yet announced a charging company partner.

Volvo claims the vehicle can get from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, squarely placing it in the "zippy" category.

Volvo XC40 Recharge charging front grille headlights wheels The XC40 Recharge isn't too different from a traditional XC40 on the outside and inside.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

The XC40 Recharge has very similar looks to the 2019 Volvo XC40. The biggest differentiator is its enclosed grille. Side mirrors, lower fascia, and the roof have been given a black paint job. Volvo will sell the XC40 Recharge with an available Sage Green paint job.

Because there is no engine, the front trunk (frunk, if you prefer) has been turned into a cargo storage area.

Volvo XC40 Recharge roof side spoiler black Volvo has kept the two-tone look on this XC40.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

The model's interior is nearly identical to the XC40. It includes Volvo's new Android-powered infotainment system that supports Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play.

The model will go on sale in late 2020 and is promised to cost around $55,000.

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