2019 GMC Terrain vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

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 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking optional in the Terrain as “Superior.” The Golf Alltrack scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Terrain Denali offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Terrain comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. GMC will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Golf Alltrack.

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). Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Golf Alltrack.

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

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Terrain has a standard 700-amp battery. The Golf Alltrack’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 20th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 18th in reliability. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

Engine

The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 84 more horsepower (252 vs. 168) and 61 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 199) than the Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

The Terrain’s 1.6 turbo diesel produces 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 199) than the Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack (automatics tested):

 

Terrain

Golf Alltrack

Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

3.2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

8.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.7 sec

5.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

87 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Terrain 4 cyl. diesel AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Golf Alltrack SMG (28 city/38 hwy vs. 22 city/30 hwy).

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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Terrain’s standard fuel tank has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Golf Alltrack (15.6 vs. 14.5 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The GMC Terrain comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Golf Alltrack.

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Terrain, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Golf Alltrack.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Terrain 1.5T/Diesel

Terrain 2.0T

Golf Alltrack

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

10.7 inches

The Terrain stops shorter than the Golf Alltrack:

 

Terrain

Golf Alltrack

 

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Terrain has larger standard tires than the Golf Alltrack (225/65R17 vs. 205/55R17). The Terrain’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf Alltrack (235/50R19 vs. 225/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Terrain offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Golf Alltrack’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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Terrain’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the Golf Alltrack (107.3 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Terrain is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Golf Alltrack.

For greater off-road capability the Terrain SLT/Denali has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Golf Alltrack (7.9 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the Terrain to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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 Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Terrain has 8.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf Alltrack (103.2 vs. 94.3).

The Terrain has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 4.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf Alltrack.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Terrain’s rear seats recline. The Golf Alltrack’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The Terrain has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Golf Alltrack has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Terrain offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack does not have an oil pressure gauge.

On a hot day the Terrain’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Golf Alltrack can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Terrain has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Golf Alltrack only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 Golf Alltrack’s 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 Golf Alltrack offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Terrain and the Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack.

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 Golf Alltrack 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

The GMC Terrain outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by 24% during 2017.

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

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