Compact crossovers, Volkswagen Tiguan vs GMC Terrain.

The compact crossover/SUV segment has grown rapidly in 2018. There have several facelifted models along with completely new models hitting the market. Two popular models in this segment are the all-new Volkswagen Tiguan vs GMC Terrain. Both are available in FWD or AWD. We will be comparing the AWD models. So how do they compare?


Trim Levels

Volkswagen Tiguan

  • S
  • SE
  • SEL
  • SEL Premium

GMC Terrain

  • SL (FWD only)
  • SLE
  • SLT
  • Denali



TiguanTerrain (later release)
Overall Safety RatingNot yet rated*****
Front Driver SideNot yet rated*****
Front Passenger SideNot yet rated*****
Overall Side Rating**********

Note, that whilst the NHTSA rating is out of a maximum possible 5 stars, 2018 model year GMC Terrains produced before November 28, 2017, did not get a 5-star safety rating.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Driver Assistance Package ($850) is available on the base trim (the S)

  • Forward Collision Warning & Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist)
  • Blind Spot Monitor with
  • Rear Traffic Alert

Also available, depending on trim levels is;

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Light Assist
  • Lane Assist
  • Area View
  • Park Distance Control with Maneuver Braking
  • Front Assist
  • Rear Traffic Alert


GMC Terrain

Driver Alert Package I is available on SLE and SLT and includes;

  • Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert,
  • Rear Park Assist,
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Safety Alert Driver Seat

Driver Alert Package II is available on SLT and Denali and includes;

  • Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking,
  • Forward Collision Alert,
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning,
  • Following Distance Indicator and IntelliBeam headlamps


Performance and Economy

Volkswagen Tiguan AWDGMC Terrain AWDGMC Terrain AWDGMC Terrain AWD
Engine2.0 L Turbo Gasoline1.5 L Turbo Gasoline1.6 L Turbo Diesel2.0 L Turbo Gasoline
Transmission8-Speed Auto9-Speed Auto6- Speed Auto9-Speed Auto
Horsepower / Torque184 hp / 221 lb-ft170 hp / 203 lb-ft137 hp / 240 lb-ft252 / 260 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (City)21 mpg24 mpg28 mpg21 mpg
Fuel Economy (Highway)27 mpg28 mpg38 mpg26 mpg
Fuel Economy (Combined)23 mpg26 mpg32 mpg23 mpg


Size and Dimensions


The Tiguan and the Terrain are almost identical when it comes to exterior dimensions.

Volkswagen TiguanGMC Terrain
Width (W/O mirrors)72.4"72.4"
Track Width62.2"62.2"
Ground Clearance7.9"6.90"


Volkswagen TiguanGMC Terrain
Seating capacity5 (or 7 with 3rd row option)5
Front Leg Room40.2"40.9"
Back Seat Leg Room38.7"39.7"
Cargo Volume73.5"63.3"



Technology and Entertainment

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on both AWD vehicles in all trim levels.


The Volkswagen base trim S model comes with a 6.5″ capacitive color touchscreen. SE, SEL, and SEL Premium Tiguans come with a brighter 8.0″ glass-covered touchscreen. This also includes navigation.  The GMC Terrain in the SLE comes with a 7″ color touchscreen. Upgraded Infotainment package with navigation is available as an extra. SLT models get the 8″ diagonal touchscreen as standard with navigation as an optional extra. Top of the line Denali models in the Terrain get the 8″ screen with navigation as standard.


Tiguan S, SE, and SEL trim lines get a 6-speaker audio system as standard. Top of the line Tiguan SEL Premiums get a new Fender® Premium Audio system with 9 speakers. This includes a 480-watt, 12 channel amp, and a Bassman™ subwoofer. audio

A 6-speaking sound system is standard on the Terrain SLE and SLT trim levels with the 7-Speaker Bose® Premium Audio standard on the Denali.  Bose Premium Audio is available as an extra on SLT models as part of the, ‘Infotainment Package II’.

USB ports

Volkswagen Tiguan
  •  S – 1 port
  •  SE – 3 ports
  •  SEL – 3 ports
  •  SEL Premium -3 ports
GMC Terrain
  • SLE- 2 data/charging ports and 2 charge-only ports
  • SLT- 4 data/charging and 2 charge-only ports
  • Denali – 4 data/charging and 2 charge-only ports


Comfort and Convenience

Volkswagen Tiguan S gets a cloth interior. SE and SEL models get leatherette heated driver and passenger seats. The SEL Premium gets leather seats, also heated. On the Terrain, SLE’s get cloth, SLT, and Denali get heated leather-appointed seats. Heated rear seats are available as an option on the Denali. A heated steering wheel is standard on both top trims from each manufacturer, the SEL Premium from VW and the Denali from GMC.

For remote start, on the Volkswagen SE, it is an option, and standard on the SEL and SEL Premium. This is similar for the Terrain, an optional extra on the SLE and standard on SLT and Denali trims.



Here is probably one of the most noticeable differences between the Tiguan and Terrain. The Tiguan has a traditional shift lever vs a push-button shifter on the Terrain. GMC call it the “Electronic Precision Shift, button and trigger based transmission interface.”


Drive modes

Both vehicles in the AWD configurations offer various ‘drive modes’ to adjust traction according to road conditions. The AWD 4Motion system from Volkswagen offers modes that include; Off-Road, customizable Off-Road, customizable On-Road, and Snow. The GMC Terrain has a tow/haul mode, Off-Road, and AWD disconnect. Downhill assist is also available in the Terrain.


With so many options and choices available between the two vehicles, it’s difficult to compare price according to features. Taking the two most similar (as equipped without packages), the VW Tiguan SEL and GMC Terrain SLT both in AWD with 2.0 L engine, the Volkswagen works out slightly less based on MSRP. The Tiguan SEL comes in at $33,385 MSRP and the GMC Terrain at $35,990. These prices are manufacturer suggested retail prices taken from their respective websites and do take into consideration any discounts or incentives which may vary and or change at any time.


Read our first impress review on the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan. For the latest deals or test drive a Tiguan, contact Fremont Volkswagen. For more information or a test drive in the Terrain, contact Fremont Chevy.