5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

190 lbs.

445 lbs.

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

38 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

363/349 lbs.

326/489 lbs.



5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.8 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

153 lbs.

235 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

92 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

264/236 lbs.

299/387 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 Jeep Compass:



Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

55 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

630 lbs.

928 lbs.

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


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


To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Terrain has a standard 700-amp battery. The Compass’ standard 500-amp battery and largest (optional) 650 amp battery aren’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Terrain’s reliability 22 points higher than the Compass.

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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 12th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 17th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 22nd in reliability. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 24th.


The Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl. The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 72 more horsepower (252 vs. 180) and 85 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the Jeep Compass (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

10.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

76.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Terrain gets better fuel mileage than the Compass:





1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/30 hwy



1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/28 hwy




2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

23 city/32 hwy


2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/31 hwy



2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the Terrain’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Jeep only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Compass Auto.

The Terrain FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Compass (14.9 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Terrain AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Compass (15.6 vs. 13.5 gallons).


The GMC Terrain comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Compass.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Terrain 2.0T’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Compass:

Terrain 2.0T


Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

10.95 inches

The Terrain stops much shorter than the Compass:



60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

144 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

151 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Terrain has larger standard tires than the Compass (225/65R17 vs. 215/65R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Terrain has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Compass Sport.

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 Compass doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Terrain’s wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the Compass (107.3 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Terrain is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Compass.

The Terrain Denali AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the Compass Trailhawk pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Terrain Denali AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the Compass Trailhawk (27.5 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .53 average G’s).


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 Compass 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 Compass doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Terrain has 3.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Compass (103.2 vs. 99.6).

The Terrain has .8 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front hip room, .5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear legroom, 2.6 inches more rear hip room and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Compass.

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

Cargo Capacity

The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Compass with its rear seat up (29.6 vs. 27.2 cubic feet). The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Compass with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 59.8 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Compass doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Terrain SLT/Denali’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Compass doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.


The Terrain’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Compass’ (1500 vs. 0 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Jeep Compass 4x4 is only 2000 pounds. The Terrain offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.


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 Compass 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 Compass 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 Compass does not have an oil pressure gauge.

On a hot day the Terrain’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Compass 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 Compass has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Latitude/Trailhawk/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 Compass’ 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 Compass offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Terrain and the Compass 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 Compass.

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 Compass doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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

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 Compass doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Terrain is less expensive to operate than the Compass because typical repairs cost less on the Terrain than the Compass, including $195 less for front struts.

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

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