2021 Volvo XC40 vs. 2020 GMC Terrain

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/10/29

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The GMC Terrain doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The XC40’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Terrain doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 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.

Both the XC40 and Terrain have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC40 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Terrain’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The XC40 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Terrain doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The XC40 offers an optional CTA Auto Brake that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Terrain doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The XC40’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 XC40 and the Terrain have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

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, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC40 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Terrain last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The XC40 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 XC40’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Terrain’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo 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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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the XC40 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Terrain’s 700-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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The XC40 T4’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 17 more horsepower (187 vs. 170) and 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 203) than the Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC40’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Terrain:

XC40

Terrain 1.5T

Terrain 2.0T

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

The XC40 stops shorter than the Terrain:

XC40

Terrain

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC40 has larger standard tires than the Terrain (235/55R18 vs. 225/65R17). The XC40’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Terrain (245/45R20 vs. 235/50R19).

The XC40’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Terrain’s standard 65 series tires. The XC40’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Terrain’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC40 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Terrain. The XC40’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Terrain.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC40 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the XC40 flat and controlled during cornering. The Terrain’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the XC40 is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Terrain.

For greater off-road capability the XC40 has a 1.4 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Terrain SLE (8.3 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the XC40 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC40’s minimum ground clearance is .4 inch higher than on the Terrain SLT/Denali (8.3 vs. 7.9 inches).

Chassis

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The XC40 is 8.1 inches shorter than the Terrain, making the XC40 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The XC40 has .3 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 2.8 inches more rear hip room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Terrain.

Cargo Capacity

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A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC40. The Terrain doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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The XC40’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Terrain’s (3500 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the GMC Terrain is only 3500 pounds. The XC40 offers up to a 4630 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The XC40 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 XC40’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 XC40 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Terrain can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC40’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 optional on the XC40 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 XC40’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 XC40’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Terrain’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Terrain doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC40 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Terrain doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC40 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The XC40’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 XC40’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.

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 2020/10/29

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volvo XC40, based on reliability, safety and performance. The GMC Terrain isn't recommended.

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

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