2021 Kia Sportage vs. 2021 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 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 (except LX/S) offers optional Parking Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Terrain doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

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 and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sportage the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 35 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Terrain last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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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

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage second among compact suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Terrain isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 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 first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 8th.

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 13 places higher in reliability than GMC.

Engine

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The Sportage’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 11 more horsepower (181 vs. 170) than the Terrain’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The Sportage SX Turbo’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 67 more horsepower (237 vs. 170) and 57 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 203) than the Terrain’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The Sportage SX Turbo’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 70 more horsepower (240 vs. 170) and 57 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 203) than the Terrain’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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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

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

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

Terrain

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

11.3 inches

Tires and Wheels

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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 SLE/SLT’s optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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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 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 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

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

Passenger Space

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Towing

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

Ergonomics

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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.”

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Sportage (except S/LX) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Terrain doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Sportage (except LX) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Terrain doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Sportage owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sportage will cost $170 less than the Terrain over a five-year period.

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 $125 less for a water pump, $415 less for a muffler, $162 less for front brake pads, $231 less for a starter, $234 less for fuel injection, $429 less for a fuel pump and $293 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 $2669 to $3232 less than for the GMC Terrain.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/25

The Kia Sportage has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

Sportage

Terrain

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

n/a

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