2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2020 GMC Terrain: Compare Crossovers

February 26, 2020

Although the 2020 Chevy Equinox and 2020 GMC Terrain are assembled in the same plant, share similar powertrains, and may even share the same floor space at the dealership, these two compact crossovers from General Motors have more than just daylight separating them.

The two compact crossovers have mass appeal. They’re both tall-riding, five-passenger crossovers with touchscreens inside and a long list of upgrades that aims for hearts, minds, and importantly, wallets.

Which is worth your money? That question begs more questions. Naturally, we’ll try to answer them here.  

MORE: Read our 2020 Chevrolet Equinox and 2020 GMC Terrain full reviews

At first blush, the Terrain’s 6.5 TCC Rating trumps the Equinox’s 6.0 score. The two crossovers are virtually indistinguishable to drive. Blindfold us behind the wheel of both and we’d have a tough time telling the difference. Wait, don’t. 

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 GMC Terrain

2020 GMC Terrain

2020 GMC Terrain

2020 GMC Terrain

The two are stylistically separate but share nearly identical skeletons underneath. But there’s more. There’s always more.

For starters, the Chevrolet Equinox is less expensive by a thin margin, although an apples-to-apples comparison widens that considerably. The 2020 Equinox L costs $24,995 to start, and the 2020 GMC Terrain SL costs $26,195. The $1,200 difference is in the details. The Equinox L is harder to spot in the wild than a jackalope and the GMC uses a 9-speed automatic that’s not available on the Chevy’s base engine.

Comparably equipped, the two spread out and tighten up, which makes the details worth sweating.

For starters, both crossovers are equipped with 7.0-inch touchscreens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, cloth upholstery, and automatic emergency braking. Their base engines are 1.5-liter turbo-4s that make 170 horsepower; GMC pairs it with a 9-speed automatic while Chevy does it with a 6-speed. All-wheel drive is optional, but not on the base version of either—you’ll have to go up one trim level in both crossovers.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 GMC Terrain

2020 GMC Terrain

2020 GMC Terrain

2020 GMC Terrain

The 2020 GMC Terrain SLE can be equipped with all-wheel drive for $31,195, before options. The 2020 Chevy Equinox LS can be equipped with all-wheel drive for $29,095, before options. The Terrain has a nicer instrument cluster, active noise cancellation, and a 9-speed automatic that the Equinox skips with its 1.5-liter engine. Is the GMC $2,100 better? Not really. 

With the uprated 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4, the race between the two gets weird—and wide. The 2.0-liter all-wheel drive GMC Terrain SLT costs $37,415 and a 2.0-liter, all-wheel drive Chevy Equinox LT costs $32,795. That’s a big gap.

The GMC makes leather upholstery standard; adding leather to the Chevy requires some prereqs that send its price soaring to $36,970. Opting for an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the Equinox brings its price to $37,715, which is $300 more than the GMC, but those prerequisite packages add 19-inch wheels to the Equinox that the Terrain doesn’t have.

The Equinox is aces if luxury appointments like leather and big wheels aren’t a must-have; the GMC gets closer if they are.

(The GMC Terrain Denali and upcoming AT4 have virtually no equal in the Chevy lineup. If you’re looking for a luxe compact crossover or a more rugged crossover, GM’s made the decision for you.)

Our TCC Rating favors the Terrain because its exterior and luxury trim levels raise the average for the rest of the team. The Equinox is nearly mechanically identical (aside from its 6-speed automatic) and equally spacious.

If a low price looks best to you, the Equinox is worth that look. If you’re looking to make a statement, or just want a half-step up from a mainstream automaker, the GMC wins out.

Summary

6.2
Expert Rating
Active safety gear is standard for 2020 models, making the base Chevy Equinox L finally worth a look.
6.5
Expert Rating
The 2020 GMC Terrain is a stylish crossover SUV that we wish had more standard safety gear.

Styling

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox isn’t about to offend anyone from a style standpoint, but it won’t excite either.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 GMC Terrain recently traded its right angles for some curves, and the result is a sleeker SUV.
Read More

Performance

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox has given up on turbodiesel power, but the turbo-4s that remain are capable.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 GMC Terrain is turbocharged whether you like it or not, but one of the two engine options stands out.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is plenty practical for cargo and passengers, but doesn’t stand out in terms of comfort or quality.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 GMC Terrain is less spacious than its stylish body suggests.
Read More

Safety

8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox ratchets up safety with newly standard technology.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 GMC Terrain performs well in crash tests, but a lack of active safety tech on most is disappointing.
Read More

Features

7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox has gained more standard safety equipment—and has become a better value.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 GMC Terrain is well-equipped as standard, but the price of top-tier models quickly erodes its value.
Read More

Fuel Economy

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox can deliver an EPA-combined 28 mpg.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
Full numbers aren’t available just yet, but the 2020 GMC Terrain is average in the efficiency department.
Read More

MSRP

from $23,800
from $25,000

Invoice

from $23,776
from $24,975

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

28
27

Engine

Turbocharged Gas I4, 1.5L
Turbocharged Gas/E15 I4, 1.5L

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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