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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 Nissan Kicks 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 Kicks doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Terrain offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The GMC Terrain has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.
The Terrain SLT/Denali’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Kicks doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Terrain has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Kicks doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the Terrain and the Kicks have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The GMC Terrain weighs 777 to 1176 pounds more than the Nissan Kicks. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
The Terrain’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Kicks’ (6 vs. 5 years).
GMC pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Terrain. GMC will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Kicks.
There are over 57 percent more GMC dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Terrain’s warranty.
The Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 48 more horsepower (170 vs. 122) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 130 more horsepower (252 vs. 122) and 146 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.
The Terrain’s 1.6 turbo diesel produces 15 more horsepower (137 vs. 122) and 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.
As tested in Motor Trend the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Nissan Kicks:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Terrain’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Kicks doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The Terrain’s standard fuel tank has 4.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (14.9 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Terrain’s standard fuel tank has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (15.6 vs. 10.8 gallons).
The Terrain has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Kicks doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
For better stopping power the Terrain’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Kicks:
The GMC Terrain has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.
The Terrain stops shorter than the Kicks:
60 to 0 MPH
For better traction, the Terrain has larger standard tires than the Kicks (225/65R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Terrain’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Kicks (235/50R19 vs. 205/60R16).
The Terrain’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Terrain has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kicks S. The Terrain’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Kicks SV/SR.
The GMC Terrain’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Kicks only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
For superior ride and handling, the GMC Terrain has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Kicks has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Terrain’s wheelbase is 4.2 inches longer than on the Kicks (107.3 inches vs. 103.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Terrain is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Kicks.
The Terrain Denali AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the Kicks SR pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Terrain Denali AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (27.5 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).
For greater off-road capability the Terrain SLT/Denali has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Kicks (7.9 vs. 7 inches), allowing the Terrain to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
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 Kicks doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Terrain uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Kicks doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Terrain has 9.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (103.2 vs. 93.9).
The Terrain has 3.5 inches more front hip room, 4.2 inches more front shoulder room, 6.5 inches more rear legroom, 2.7 inches more rear hip room and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Terrain’s rear seats recline. The Kicks’ rear seats don’t recline.
The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Kicks with its rear seat up (29.6 vs. 25.3 cubic feet). The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 32.3 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Kicks doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Terrain (except SL) offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Kicks doesn’t offer a power liftgate.
The Terrain has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Kicks has no towing capacity.
When two different drivers share the Terrain (except SL/SLE), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Kicks doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Terrain (except SL/SLE)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Kicks doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The Terrain’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Kicks does not have an oil pressure gauge.
The power windows standard on both the Terrain and the Kicks have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Terrain is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Kicks prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
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 Kicks’ 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 Kicks can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Terrain SLT/Denali detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Kicks doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The Terrain’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Kicks SV/SR.
When the Terrain with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Kicks’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Terrain SLT/Denali has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Kicks offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the Terrain and the Kicks offer available heated front seats. The Terrain Denali also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Kicks.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the Terrain Denali keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Kicks doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the Terrain’s optional (except SL/SLE) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Kicks doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Terrain has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
The Terrain (except SL)’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Kicks doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
Both the Terrain and the Kicks offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Terrain has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Kicks SV/SR doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the Terrain (except SL). The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.
With standard voice command, the Terrain SLT/Denali offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control system.
The Terrain (except SL) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Kicks doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The Terrain Denali’s optional Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Kicks doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The GMC Terrain outsold the Nissan Kicks by almost five to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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