2019 GMC Terrain vs. 2019 Subaru Forester

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 Subaru Forester 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 Forester 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 Forester only offers a rear monitor.

Both the Terrain and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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.

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 Forester has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Terrain’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Forester’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). Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forester.

There are almost 3 times as many GMC dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Terrain’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 20th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 18th in reliability. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 27 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 70 more horsepower (252 vs. 182) and 84 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

The Terrain’s 1.6 turbo diesel produces 64 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Terrain 4 cyl. diesel AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Forester (28 city/38 hwy vs. 26 city/33 hwy).

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 Forester doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Terrain’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:

 

Terrain 1.5T/Diesel

Terrain 2.0T

Forester Base/Premium

Forester Sport/Limited/Touring

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Terrain’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Forester (235/50R19 vs. 225/60R17).

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 Forester Sport/Limited/Touring’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Terrain offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Forester’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 Forester doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Terrain’s wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer than on the Forester (107.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

Chassis

The Terrain uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Forester doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Terrain has .3 inches more front hip room and .3 inches more rear legroom than the Forester.

Cargo Capacity

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 Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Subaru Forester is limited to 1500 pounds. The Terrain offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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 Forester doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Forester’s power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically. The Forester Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower 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 Forester can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Terrain’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Forester and aren’t offered on the Forester Base.

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 Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 Forester 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 Forester doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Terrain is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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

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