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Chevrolet Equinox Vs. GMC Terrain: Compare Cars

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Chevrolet Equinox Vs. GMC Terrain

Chevrolet Equinox Vs. GMC Terrain

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Nearly every manufacturer now puts out a crossover model, and among them there's one to meet almost every size and price point. Move up to where compact meets mid-size and you're likely to consider the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain. In both cases, what you get is plenty of room, outstanding safety scores, lots of value for the dollar.

Of the two, the Chevrolet Equinox is the more conservative one, perhaps more likely to appeal to mainstream buyers. Its rounded front end gives it an almost whimsical look, and only the distinctive and steeply-raked C-pillar make the Equinox stand out in the crowd. The GMC Terrain, on the other hand, looks nothing like its cross-division rival; with doses of testosterone and seriousness, the Terrain pumps up on a more chiseled, chunky look. Fenders feature oversized (and oddly squared) flares, and everything about the Terrain says “SUV,” not “crossover.” If we were inclined to stereotype, we’d say that female shoppers will be drawn to the Equinox, with male buyers favoring the Terrain.

Since both vehicles come from General Motors, powertrains are common between them. The most fuel-efficient engine choice is the 2.4-liter four-cylinder, which produces 182 horsepower and delivers up to 32 mpg on the highway in either vehicle. This is probably a reasonable choice for most buyers, either in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but those who need the ability to tow a light trailer will probably want to choose the 3.6-liter V-6. This engine delivers 301 horsepower and the ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds, but fuel economy drops to 24 mpg highway in front-drive models and 23 mpg in AWD versions.

Upright seating with a commanding view out ahead, plus a comfortable interior, all add up in either case to a vehicle that's great for busy parents. There’s plenty of headroom, even for rear seat passengers, and a reasonable amount of legroom, too. Ride quality is more than acceptable in either vehicle, though this year the GMC gets better shocks across the board for a smoother ride, while only the Equinox V-6 LTZ merits them. Both can be equipped to near-luxury levels of content with features like touchscreen infotainment systems, leather upholstery, voice command navigation and premium audio systems. A Terrain Denali trim level adds leather trim, dual power front seats, a new grille, and other luxe touches. The cabin of both vehicles is remarkably quiet, too, especially given their blue-collar roots and affordable price tags.

Safety is a primary focus for both the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain. Both have been chosen as Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and both can be configured with options like a rearview camera and blind spot detection systems. Opt for higher trim models, and both can be equipped with forward collision alert and lane departure warning, features found only on high-end luxury sedans just a few years back. Both, however, suffer from the same styling-related flaw: thick C-pillars create substantial blind spots, requiring careful adjustment of the side view mirrors for safety. In both cases, these models haven't been tested by the tough new small-overlap frontal impact test, either.

Prices tend to run a bit higher for new GMC Terrain models than they do for the equivalent Chevy Equinox, so value wins out slightly in favor of the Chevrolet. But all else nearly identical, it all comes back to styling: If you’re drawn to the blocky styling of the GMC, we’re sure you’ll be happy with your choice. Opt for the toned-down lines of the Equinox, and chances are you'll get everything you need.
2014 Chevrolet Equinox 2013 GMC Terrain
2014 Chevrolet Equinox 2013 GMC Terrain Denali
TCC Rating
7.8 The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox is every bit as solid, spacious, and well-equipped as cost-conscious families could expect -- and far more quiet and refined than many other models without a luxury badge. 8.0 The 2013 GMC Terrain may wear a tough skin, but shows a softer side with excellent four-cylinder gas mileage and Denali luxury.
Styling
8The interior of the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox is quite carlike, but you can see just a bit of influence from Chevy trucks on the outside. Read more8The 2013 GMC Terrain is square-shouldered on the outside, a little softer on the inside; Denalis have a few plush touches. Read more
Performance
7Don't expect much excitement behind the wheel of the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox; but even the base four-cylinder model performs respectably. Read more7The 2013 GMC Terrain has a frugal four or a very strong V-6; the ride's more comfortable now, thanks to better tuning. Read more
Quality
8The 2014 Equinox is by no means a luxury model, but families will find it right on message for comfort and versatility. Read more8The Terrain can carry five adults easily, and the sliding seat gives it more flexibility than other utes in its class. Read more
Safety
8The Equinox is one of the safer picks in its class; just consider outward visibility as some might find it limited. Read more9High crash-test scores and standard features like a rearview camera easily overcome the Terrain's iffy rearward visibility. Read more
Features
8The advanced connectivity and active-safety features on offer in the 2014 Equinox are a step better than those found in some other Chevrolet . Read more8All Terrains have advanced infotainment gear and streaming audio; navigation is an inexpensive upgrade. Read more
Green
7The four-cylinder versions of the 2014 Equinox are considerably more fuel-efficient--and the way to go for most buyers. Read more7Gas mileage is a big draw in the four-cylinder Terrain; the new V-6 doesn't fall back in fuel economy, either. Read more
MSRP
from $24,440 from $26,305
Invoice
from $23,218 from $24,989
Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway
26 26
Front Leg Room (in)
41.20 41.20
Second Leg Room (in)
39.90
Read Full Specs
39.90
Read Full Specs
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