2019 GMC Terrain vs. 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the GMC Terrain’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Terrain are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Terrain Denali offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Grand Cherokee only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Terrain and the Grand Cherokee have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the GMC Terrain is safer than the Grand Cherokee:

 

Terrain

Grand Cherokee

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

86

172

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.7/.1 kN

4.9/2.3 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

3%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.47/.51

1.06/.54

Tibia forces R/L

1.2/.2 kN

2.3/1.3 kN

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Terrain the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Grand Cherokee was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Terrain’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Grand Cherokee’s (6 vs. 5 years).

GMC pays for scheduled maintenance on the Terrain for 2 years and 24,000 miles. GMC will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Jeep doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Grand Cherokee.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Terrain have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Grand Cherokee.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 18th in reliability. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 28th.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Jeep Grand Cherokee V6:

 

Terrain

Grand Cherokee

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

88.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Terrain Diesel gets better fuel mileage than the Grand Cherokee Diesel:

 

 

Terrain

Grand Cherokee

 

2WD

Auto

28 city/39 hwy

22 city/30 hwy

 

AWD

Auto

28 city/38 hwy

21 city/28 hwy

 

On the EPA test cycle the Terrain gets better fuel mileage than the Grand Cherokee:

 

 

Terrain

Grand Cherokee

 

2WD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

26 city/30 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

V6

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

22 city/28 hwy

n/a

 

4WD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

24 city/28 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

V6

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

21 city/26 hwy

n/a

 

Regardless of its engine, the Terrain’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Jeep only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Grand Cherokee V6.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the GMC Terrain higher (3 to 5 out of 10) than the Jeep Grand Cherokee (1 to 5). This means the Terrain produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Grand Cherokee every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Terrain, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Grand Cherokee.

Brakes and Stopping

The Terrain stops much shorter than the Grand Cherokee:

 

Terrain

Grand Cherokee

 

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

157 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Terrain’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Grand Cherokee Laredo’s standard 70 series tires.

The Terrain has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Terrain Denali AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Terrain Denali AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 (27.5 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The GMC Terrain may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1050 to 1600 pounds less than the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The Terrain is 7.5 inches shorter than the Grand Cherokee, making the Terrain easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Terrain uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Terrain has .1 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom and 1.1 inches more rear legroom than the Grand Cherokee.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Terrain’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The Terrain’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Grand Cherokee’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

On a hot day the Terrain’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Grand Cherokee can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Terrain owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Terrain will cost $430 less than the Grand Cherokee over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the GMC Terrain will be $4361 to $14763 less than for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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