Chevrolet Equinox vs. GMC Terrain

October 11th, 2020 by

If you’re interested in a five-seat crossover, both the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox and 2020 GMC Terrain are top contenders. These vehicles are difficult to compare because they’re nearly identical in most categories. The skeleton, engine, safety ratings, and spaciousness of the two keep them neck and neck in any race.

From the outside, you may notice that the Equinox looks a bit more sophisticated, while the GMC Terrain boasts a more rugged appearance. The smaller stylistic differences between these extremely comparable rides are likely to be what helps you determine which vehicle is best for your personal preferences.

Under the Hood

Wedding Venue near DFWImage via Flickr by truckhardware

Both the base-level Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain have 1.5-liter turbo 4S engines with 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque. A 2.0-liter turbo option with 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque is also available for both vehicles. In the Terrain, you have a nine-speed automatic transmission, while the Equinox offers a six-speed automatic for the 1.5-liter engine and a nine-speed automatic for the 2.0-liter engine. All-wheel drive is optional on both if you move up a trim level from the base option.

Both of these options provide 26 mpg in the city with their base-trim models. The Terrain offers 30 mpg on the highway compared to the Equinox’s 31. Both have a 14.9-gallon fuel tank capacity, and both vehicles have a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds with the right configurations.

Seating and Storage

The dimensions for the Equinox and Terrain are nearly identical both inside and out. Both seat five comfortably. The GMC Terrain offers 63.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, and the Chevy Equinox offers 63.9 cubic feet. With all the seats in place, you have just under 30 cubic feet of cargo space in both options.

The feel of the interior materials offers a bit more differentiation between the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain. Slip inside the Terrain where leather upholstery is standard. You can get a leather interior when you upgrade the Equinox to the Premier trim level.

Both the Terrain and the Equinox offer similar additional upgrades, including power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2020 GMC Terrain a five-star safety rating in all categories but rollover resistance, for which it earned a four-star rollover rating with a rollover risk of 16.4%. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ranked the Terrain good in all categories of crashworthiness. Its vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system is superior, while the vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention rating is just one level below, at the IIHS’ advanced ranking designated.

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox received identical ratings from the NHTSA, coming in at five stars for every rating but rollover, for which it also earned a 16.4% rollover risk. The IIHS gave the Terrain a good rating for all measures of crashworthiness, and they rated the headlights a superior ranking, better than the Terrain. Rankings were again identical for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention.

Both vehicles have a full suite of standard safety features that include:

  • Standard daytime running lights.
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane departure prevention.
  • Automatic emergency braking.
  • Forward collision alert.
  • Following distance indicator.
  • Front pedestrian braking.
  • IntelliBeam headlamps.

With the GMC Terrain, drivers can opt for the Driver Alert Package that offers adaptive cruise control, side blind zone alert, lane change alert, rear cross-traffic alert, safety seat alert, and rear park assist. In the top-of-the-line Denali, this package also includes front park assist.

In the Chevy Equinox Premier, you’ll get additional standard safety features that include rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, and lane change alert with side blind zone alert. A safety alert seat is available in the Premier trim as well.


The Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain both provide everything you need in the way of modern technology. You’ll enjoy a 7-inch touch screen and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Bluetooth connectivity and an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot in both vehicles will help you stay connected on the go. You can upgrade to an 8-inch touch screen in the Equinox Premier and enjoy two additional USB ports. With the Terrain SLT, you get an 8-inch infotainment touch screen along with an upgraded high-definition rearview camera.

Both vehicles have a standard six-speaker sound system. The Equinox comes standard with two USB ports. Upgrade to the Infotainment Package, and you’ll get another two USB ports in the front console, two USB data ports with an auxiliary jack, and an SD card reader in the front storage bin. This upgrade adds an HD rear-vision camera, power programmable liftgate, and 120-volt power outlet as well.

The Terrain comes standard with four USB ports. With the luxurious Denali trim, you’ll also get high-definition surround vision, a rear-vision camera, a hands-free power liftgate, a GMC navigation system, and a premium Bose seven-speaker sound system.

At night, you may spot one of the most noticeable differences between these highly similar vehicles. The Equinox’s dash lights are blue, while the Terrain’s light-up red.


For the base trim level, the GMC Terrain is priced slightly higher. However, The Car Connection indicates that the base level is ‘harder to spot in the wild than a jackalope,’ meaning that most buyers will end up with a higher trim level and the associated price tag, which can bump the Equinox up above the Terrain in terms of cost.

For both vehicles, it’s important to consider the available upgrades, as you can add luxuries like leather upholstery and upgraded engines with the right trim level. Comparing the pricing for the exact specs that you’re interested in will give you a better idea of how these vehicles stack up on the bottom line.

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you’ll find both the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain available at United Chevrolet Buick GMC. Come visit us in Jacksonville, Illinois, to take both of these options for a test drive and see which one suits your preferences the best. We can help you explore your options in greater depth and ultimately find the best fit for your driving style.

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