2019 Kia Niro vs. 2019 GMC Terrain

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Niro are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The GMC Terrain doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

The Niro has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Terrain doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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

Warranty

The Niro comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Terrain’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than GMC covers the Terrain. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Terrain ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Niro’s reliability 62 points higher than the Terrain.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 18th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia third in reliability. GMC is ranked 26th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Niro

Terrain

 

FWD

FE

52 city/49 hwy

28 city/39 hwy

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

n/a

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

28 city/38 hwy

 

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

 

 

Niro

Terrain

 

FWD

FE

52 city/49 hwy

26 city/30 hwy

1.5 Turbo

 

LX/EX

51 city/46 hwy

22 city/28 hwy

2.0 Turbo

 

Touring

46 city/40 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

24 city/28 hwy

1.5 Turbo

 

 

n/a

21 city/26 hwy

2.0 Turbo

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Terrain doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Niro uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Terrain with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Kia Niro higher (7 out of 10) than the GMC Terrain (3 to 5). This means the Niro produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Terrain every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Niro offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Terrain doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The Niro stops shorter than the Terrain:

 

Niro

Terrain

 

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Niro FE/LX/EX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Terrain’s standard 65 series tires. The Niro S Touring/Touring’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Terrain’s optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Niro has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Niro flat and controlled during cornering. The Terrain’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Niro Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Terrain Denali AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Terrain w/17” wheels’ (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The Niro’s turning circle is 6.8 feet tighter than the Terrain w/19” wheels’ (34.8 feet vs. 41.6 feet).

Chassis

The Kia Niro may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 550 pounds less than the GMC Terrain.

The Niro is 10.8 inches shorter than the Terrain, making the Niro easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Niro has .1 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear headroom than the Terrain.

Ergonomics

The Niro EX/S Touring/Touring’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Terrain’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

The Niro has a standard 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. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Terrain and isn’t available on the Terrain SL.

The Niro’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Terrain SL doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The Niro S Touring/Touring’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Terrain’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Niro, based on reliability, safety and performance. The GMC Terrain isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Niro first among small SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Terrain isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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