2020 Kia Sportage vs. 2020 GMC Terrain

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Sportage 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 Sportage’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Terrain doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Sportage 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sportage the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Terrain was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Sportage 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 Sportage 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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage first among small SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Terrain isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 20 places higher in reliability than GMC.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The Sportage has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Terrain FWD’s standard fuel tank (16.4 vs. 14.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Sportage

Terrain

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.3 inches

The Sportage stops much shorter than the Terrain:

Sportage

Terrain

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Terrain (245/45R19 vs. 235/50R19).

The Sportage LX’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 Sportage SX Turbo’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Terrain’s optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Terrain.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Terrain Denali AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Terrain Denali AWD (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.5 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

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

Chassis

The Sportage is 5.9 inches shorter than the Terrain, making the Sportage easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Sportage has .6 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear headroom than the Terrain.

Cargo Capacity

The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume than the Terrain with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 29.6 cubic feet).

Towing

The Sportage’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Terrain’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Terrain doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Sportage’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Terrain’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sportage’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Terrain’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

The Sportage (except S/LX)’s available 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Sportage owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Sportage with a number “8” insurance rate while the Terrain is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Terrain because it costs $355 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sportage than the Terrain, including $124 less for a water pump, $412 less for a muffler, $148 less for front brake pads, $228 less for a starter, $231 less for fuel injection, $425 less for a fuel pump and $290 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Sportage will be $1137 to $3446 less than for the GMC Terrain.

Recommendations

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage third 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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