2020 GMC Terrain vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek 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.

Compared to metal, the Terrain’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Crosstrek has a metal gas tank.

Both the Terrain and the Crosstrek 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, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the GMC Terrain is safer than the Subaru Crosstrek:

Terrain

Crosstrek

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

17%

36%

Neck Stress

190 lbs.

304 lbs.

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

42 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

26%

44.6%

Neck Stress

153 lbs.

195 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

52 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

264/236 lbs.

230/427 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the GMC Terrain is safer than the Subaru Crosstrek:

Terrain

Crosstrek

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

109

138

Abdominal Force

195 G’s

196 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

288

303

Spine Acceleration

55 G’s

58 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

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

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’ 2019 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 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

Engine

The Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 18 more horsepower (170 vs. 152) and 58 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl. The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 100 more horsepower (252 vs. 152) and 115 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the Subaru Crosstrek (automatics tested):

Terrain

Crosstrek

Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

10.2 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.7 sec

6.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

82 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Terrain 1.5T

Terrain 2.0T

Crosstrek

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

10.8 inches

The Terrain stops shorter than the Crosstrek:

Terrain

Crosstrek

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Terrain’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Crosstrek (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 Crosstrek Limited’s 55 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Terrain’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the Crosstrek (107.3 inches vs. 104.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Terrain is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Crosstrek.

The Terrain Denali AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Crosstrek Limited (27.5 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Terrain has 2.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Crosstrek (103.2 vs. 100.9).

The Terrain has .2 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom and 3.2 inches more rear legroom than the Crosstrek.

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

Cargo Capacity

The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Crosstrek with its rear seat up (29.6 vs. 20.8 cubic feet). The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Crosstrek with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 55.3 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Crosstrek 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 on the Terrain SLT/Denali, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Crosstrek doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

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

Servicing Ease

The Terrain has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Crosstrek doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The engine computer on the Terrain automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Crosstrek’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The Terrain’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Crosstrek has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

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 Crosstrek’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 Crosstrek can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Terrain has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Crosstrek has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Limited.

The Terrain’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Crosstrek Premium/Limited.

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

Both the Terrain and the Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Terrain and the Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Terrain is less expensive to operate than the Crosstrek because typical repairs cost much less on the Terrain than the Crosstrek, including $101 less for a starter and $212 less for front struts.

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

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