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A black 2020 GMC Terrain, wich wins when comapring the 2020 GMC Terrain vs 2020 Nissan Rogue, is parked in front of city steps and trees.

2020 GMC Terrain vs 2020 Nissan Rogue: Compact SUVs Fight It Out

With a market as competitive as that of SUVs in today’s automotive industry, it’s up to manufacturers to up their game and please consumers in any way possible. This means having a full lineup of SUVs available for perusal, with high-quality choices in each category, ranging from compact to midsize to large. While the midsize and large SUV categories are definitely popular, the compact category is holding its own as people are finding these smaller SUVs to be great alternatives to driving a sedan. They’re roughly the same size as a car, although you’ll typically find them equipped with a lot more options and features that may give them increased versatility. One possible downside of these compact SUVs and crossovers being so popular is that there are a lot to choose from. To help narrow things down, we’re going to compare just two of them here with the 2020 GMC Terrain vs 2020 Nissan Rogue.

Checking out Prices and Trims

To start things off, let’s check out the different models available on both of these vehicles and the starting prices you’ll be seeing on each one of them. Just as a heads up, it’s important to remember that these are both compact SUVs, so you shouldn’t expect the lowest starting price to be any higher than $30,000, as that would be a little out of the range for this class of vehicle. If you were talking about the highest trim available, then you could definitely see prices over $30,000.

The full lineup of GMC SUVs is surprisingly small, considering there are only three SUVs available. However, with the Yukon covering the full-size category, the Acadia covering the midsize class, and the Terrain covering the compact group, it’s a well-rounded and straightforward lineup. And at a starting MSRP of $25,000 on the 2020 GMC Terrain, you can’t get too much more affordable of a deal, even among all competitors. This starting price is found on the Terrain SL, but there are three other models available as well, including the SLE ($28,400), SLT ($31,200), and Denali ($38,300). It’s a steep hike up in price from the Terrain SL to the Denali. Still, the Denali line of GMC vehicles has always been known for its abundant array of modern features and options for the more luxury- and convenience-inclined.

A grey 2020 GMC Terrain is parked in front of a modern house.

While GMC’s SUVs are easy to navigate, it gets a little more complicated with Nissan’s SUV lineup. Boasting six different SUV options, including both the Rogue and Rogue Sport, your choices are plentiful, although it may be a bit much. The ambiguous area lies with the Rogue and Rogue Sport because they share a nameplate, but they appear as different vehicles on the Nissan website. The Rogue Sport seems to be more marketed for city dwellers than the Rogue, but it’s not really clear why. Either way, they have the same trim options, but the Rogue comes out being slightly more expensive, with the Rogue S starting at $25,300 compared to the Rogue Sport S at $23,240. There are only three trims altogether, with the next one being the Rogue SV at $26,720 and then the Rogue SL at $31,690.

The prices are comparable between the 2020 GMC Terrain vs 2020 Nissan Rogue, although the Terrain will end up having more trim options than the Rogue, but just by one. However, the Denali is known as a luxurious trim option, and the Rogue doesn’t seem to have anything that can compare, as it tops out at the Rogue SL, which is more comparable to the Terrain SLT than the Denali.

Engine Options and Towing Capacities

Compact SUVs are indeed more similar to sedans than something like a full-size SUV, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t come equipped with a little bit of power under the hood. For an SUV to be truly versatile, it’s essential that it can perform well under different conditions, and a proper engine is one of the key factors behind making that happen.

There are two engine options on the 2020 GMC Terrain that will offer you a bit of variety when it comes to finding out what you’re looking for. The first option is going to be a standard 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder engine with up to 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. This is an engine that comes with a decent amount of power, and it’s also paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission for a nice efficiency boost. The second option is a 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder engine with up to 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This engine is a lot more powerful than the first, but it’s only available on the SLT and Denali models. On the Denali, it’s the standard option. It is also paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

An orange 2020 Nissan Rogue is driving along a guard rail blocking a rocky hill.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue only has the one engine option, and it’s honestly unfortunate because some people would hope for a little more power out of this vehicle. It’s a decent 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with up to 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, but it just really can’t compare with the Terrain’s engine options. Even the Terrain’s standard engine is better than this one, mainly because the torque rating is much higher. The Terrain’s second engine option, though, is a much better choice overall.

There is usually quite a significant correlation between engine options and towing capacity, and with the 2020 GMC Terrain, it’s no different. With the standard engine equipped, the Terrain has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 lbs. With the upgraded engine equipped, that maximum towing capacity jumps to 3,500 lbs. With its one engine equipped, the 2020 Nissan Rogue has a maximum towing capacity of 1,102 lbs. So even without the 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder engine added on, the 2020 GMC Terrain is easily able to outmatch the 2020 Nissan Rogue when it comes to towing your gear and toys for the next adventure to somewhere fun. In fact, the new Rogue is probably not even seen as a vehicle that should be towing much in the first place since it’s not really rated for it.

The Results are In

The only real benefit the 2020 Nissan Rogue might have over the 2020 GMC Terrain would be its fuel economy numbers. With EPA-estimated mpg numbers of 26/33 (city/highway) across all trim levels, the Rogue can save you a marginal amount of time and money from visits to the gas station compared to the Terrain. However, the Terrain remains competitive with EPA-estimated mpg numbers of 26/30 on the SLE/SLT and 22/28 on the Denali. Since the fuel economy numbers on each vehicle aren’t all that different, and the pricing is pretty similar, the 2020 GMC Terrain would seem like an overall better choice. If you take into account some of its unique off-road features like the Traction Select System or updated modern technological options like the standard GMC Pro Safety suite, the decision isn’t a hard one to make. But now you need to check one out for yourself at your nearest GMC dealership.

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