2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport vs. 2020 GMC Terrain

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport 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 Atlas Cross Sport has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Terrain doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the Atlas Cross Sport and the Terrain have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

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The Atlas Cross Sport comes with a full 4-year/50,000-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 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Atlas Cross Sport’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Terrain’s (7/100,000 vs. 6/100,000).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Atlas Cross Sport for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. GMC only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Terrain.

Reliability

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The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Terrain’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.

Engine

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The Atlas Cross Sport’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 65 more horsepower (235 vs. 170) and 55 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 203) than the Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The Atlas Cross Sport’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 24 more horsepower (276 vs. 252) and 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 260) than the Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Atlas Cross Sport has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Terrain FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.6 vs. 14.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Atlas Cross Sport has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Terrain AWD’s standard fuel tank (18.6 vs. 15.6 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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

Atlas Cross Sport

Terrain 1.5T

Terrain 2.0T

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

The Atlas Cross Sport’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Terrain are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Atlas Cross Sport has larger standard tires than the Terrain (245/60R18 vs. 225/65R17). The Atlas Cross Sport R-Line’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Terrain (265/45R21 vs. 235/50R19).

The Atlas Cross Sport’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 Atlas Cross Sport R-Line’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Terrain’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Atlas Cross Sport has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Terrain. The Atlas Cross Sport R-Line’s 21-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Terrain.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Atlas Cross Sport’s wheelbase is 10 inches longer than on the Terrain (117.3 inches vs. 107.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas Cross Sport is 4.7 inches wider in the front and 5.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Terrain.

For greater off-road capability the Atlas Cross Sport has a 1.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Terrain SLE (8 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the Atlas Cross Sport to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Atlas Cross Sport’s minimum ground clearance is .1 inch higher than on the Terrain SLT/Denali (8 vs. 7.9 inches).

Passenger Space

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The Atlas Cross Sport has 8.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Terrain (112 vs. 103.2).

The Atlas Cross Sport has .7 inches more front legroom, 4.3 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear legroom and 5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Terrain.

Cargo Capacity

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The Atlas Cross Sport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Terrain with its rear seat up (40.3 vs. 29.6 cubic feet). The Atlas Cross Sport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Terrain with its rear seat folded (77.8 vs. 63.3 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Atlas Cross Sport. The Terrain doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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The Atlas Cross Sport’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Terrain’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the GMC Terrain is only 3500 pounds. The Atlas Cross Sport offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The Atlas Cross Sport uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Terrain uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

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The Atlas Cross Sport’s front and rear power windows all open or close 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 Terrain’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Atlas Cross Sport the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Terrain can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Atlas Cross Sport’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Terrain’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas Cross Sport SEL 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.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Atlas Cross Sport offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Terrain doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Atlas Cross Sport SEL also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

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