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Give it up for the 2021 Chevy Traverse. The Chevrolet Traverse outperforms its luxury sibling, the 2021 GMC Acadia, in one crucial area. Check out what the Traverse has on the Acadia and why it might be the better option. 

The 2021 Chevy Traverse is safer than the GMC Acadia 

A 2021 Chevy Traverse driving down the road
2021 Chevy Traverse | Chevrolet

The 2021 Chevy Traverse earned the Top Safety Pick award, while the 2021 GMC Acadia did not. In 2020, the Chevy Traverse didn’t win this award because the passenger-side small overlap test wasn’t completed. 

This test involves simulating the vehicle’s front passenger side slamming into an obstacle like a tree or a wall at 40 mph. But it completed this test with a ‘Good’ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). 

Completing these tests and gaining improved LED headlights and the Premier and High Country trims allows the Traverse to earn the Top Safety Pick recognition. The 2021 GMC Acadia didn’t earn this title because the headlights only achieved a ‘Marginal’ score. 

How do the Traverse and Acadia compare in safety tests? 

Both the 2021 GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse earned ‘Good’ ratings in all six crash tests from the IIHS. They both earned five-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration too. 

But the Traverse only has the Top Safety Pick title for higher trim levels with the LED protectors on the Premier and High Country trims. The L, LS, LE, and RS trims have HID projector lights that earned ‘Poor’ ratings. The poor ratings are because the HID projector lights provide inadequate visibility and curves and creating glare for oncoming drivers. 

The 2021 Traverse earned ‘Superior’ ratings for avoiding and mitigating crashes with its available automatic emergency braking systems. The mid-grade system was better at preventing impacts with pedestrians than the more expensive and enhanced system offered by General Motors. 

But here’s the crazy thing. The Chevy Traverse doesn’t come standard with automatic emergency braking. Nearly all other rival three-row SUVs include that feature. The Dodge Durango is the only other option outside of the GM family without standard automatic emergency braking. 

How do the Traverse and Acadia compare? 

A 2020 GMC Acadia off-roading
2020 GMC Acadia | GMC

You can get started in a 2021 Chevy Traverse for about $29,800. The 2021 GMC Acadia has the same starting price. This is the MSRP, so the price does not include the destination fee or dealership markup. 

The Chevy Traverse has a single engine option. It’s a 3.6-liter V6 with 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. In the GMC Acadia, this engine delivered 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. Plus, the Acadia offers two four-cylinder options. 

To our surprise, the Traverse can tow up to 5,000 lbs, while the Acadia can only tow up to 4,000 lbs. We expected the GMC Acadia to have a little more muscle. Both options come in front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is optional. 
The Acadia feels more like an SUV, while the Traverse feels like a high-riding minivan. The Acadia also has a slightly better fuel economy. It’s also easier to maneuver in tight areas. But the Traverse is more comfortable with more cargo space.