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2021 Chevrolet Equinox vs GMC Terrain

2021 Chevrolet Equinox vs GMC Terrain

2021 Equinox vs Terrain - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Midsize crossovers are gaining momentum in the auto market. As an option that provides the look of an SUV without the sheer size of such a vehicle, crossovers and compact SUVs create a space in which smaller models can excel. Easier to maneuver and their compact size make models like the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain so popular among consumers. The hatchback of these two models make loading and unloading easy, while their signature design elements set them apart from each other. Perfect as grocery-getters or commuting vehicles, the exceptional fuel economy of the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain can be used to your advantage.

Designed and manufactured by General Motors, these two small SUVs are more alike than they are different. This makes every little discrepancy between the two stand out even more. Similar in size and stature, the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain can even be hard to tell apart. Aside from the sharp lines in the Equinox and the boxier layout of the Terrain, the exterior attributes of these two models are quite similar. However, each model possesses its own quirky accents and enhancements that allow them to stand out in a crowd.

Functioning as a traditional and an upscale version of the same general type of vehicle, the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain show buyers what it is like to have a doppelganger in appearance. However, one look at the inside and one peek under the hood will instantly point buyers toward the very innate differences of these two crossover models.

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The Powertrain

The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain surprise buyers with the number engine selections they each encompass. With each model offer two different engines, consumers have plenty of options to choose from. In their base model, the Equinox offers a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, while the Terrain relies on a turbocharged 1.5-liter, as well. Virtually twins in the base state, the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain battle it out under the hood for the top spot. Just a bit spunkier in its acceleration and paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, the 2021 GMC Terrain beats out the six-speed automatic transmission and slower acceleration of the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox.

The fun does not stop there, though. The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain continue to compete in their available engine upgrades. While the Equinox also offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that works better with its weight, the Terrain also responds with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as an available upgrade. Standard on higher GMC Terrain trims, this engine increases the towing capacity of this small SUV to 3,500 pounds. This is similar to what the Chevrolet Equinox can accomplish with its engine upgrade, as well.

Featuring standard front-wheel drive, Equinox owners can improve their driving experience with an upgrade to all-wheel drive, if they choose. Similarly, the Terrain owners can also make the same decision between these two options. Yet, one of the ways in which these two models stand out from each other is in their overall handling. Though the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is direct and responsive, the 2021 GMC Terrain offers a little more play in its steering and is a bit more fluid. The Equinox is certainly destined to go where you command it, but its ride can a bit rough and unforgiving. The Terrain does a better job of improving comfort and soaking up bumps with its signature suspension, creating a smoother and more enjoyable ride for passengers.


Depending on how much you enjoy having control over your vehicle will determine which of these models you feel the most comfortable in. The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is a bit more rigid and straightforward than the playful 2021 GMC Terrain. In the Equinox, drivers must pointedly execute every move, from urging it to accelerate to dealing with its overt steering accuracy. While these may be admirable to some drivers, they are not for everyone. If you want a more relaxed and laidback driving experience, the GMC Terrain is the option to go with. Its plethora of comfort-oriented interior features and effortless steering makes a pleasant ride automatic in this model.

While the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is a people-pleaser all-around, appealing to all types of consumers, the 2021 GMC Terrain has its sights set on a finer class of consumers. Cue the interior differences between the practical and conventional Chevrolet Equinox and the luxurious and upscale GMC Terrain. Though both models are suited just fine for family travel, you will get a more refined experience in the Terrain and more traditional ride in the Equinox. While the Chevrolet Equinox focuses on adding more convenience features, like extra leg room and additional cup holders, the GMC Terrain takes it a step further by integrating power windows and a push-button shifter.

The cargo space in the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain is exactly as you would expect it to be. Both boast average stowage space, yet the Terrain is a bit more innovation in the way it achieves more space. The Chevrolet Equinox can fit up to eight carry-on suitcases in the rear with the seats folded up, and this space undoubtedly expands upon folding. Offering a 60/40 rear seat split, the Terrain also boasts a fold-flat front seat which allows owners to pack 24 carry-on suitcases within its cabin in its best configuration. The versatility of the 2021 GMC Terrain helps it excel slightly over the more conventional 2021 Chevrolet Equinox.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.


Chevrolet and GMC are both brands that take the safety of their vehicles seriously, and this is apparent in the design and safety ratings of the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain. While the Equinox achieved a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Terrain also earn high marks. Yet, both models were denied a Top Safety Pick+ accolade, due to their lackluster headlights. In fact, the headlights of the GMC Terrain performed quiet poorly in safety testing.

Similar to one another, most of the driver assistive safety features offered in both the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain are included as standard amenities. Features like automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring can be found across all models. Yet, a few safety features are available as option upgrades, like adaptive cruise control. Overall, these two small SUVs do a good job of making several safety features standard instead of forcing buyers to upgrade for a cost to obtain them.

Driver assistive safety features are not the only preventive attributes you will find in these two models. Both SUVs also incorporate anti-lock brakes, stability control, and front impact airbags to ensure passenger safety and reduce injury in the event of a collision. Seatbelt pretensioners, a security system, overhead airbags, and side impact airbags are also standard amenities.

Which Has the Best Value?

The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain are models that are known for their competitive pricing and economical attributes. Generally speaking, the Chevrolet Equinox is priced lower than the GMC Terrain. Yet, the price difference between these two is by a small margin. Due to their production by the same manufacturer, the cost of ownership is relatively similar. However, the upscale amenities in the GMC Terrain may make the parts and components a bit more costly to replace. This does not mean the Terrain is so luxurious that the common buyer cannot afford it. It simply means that the quality of its interior and exterior detailing is better than that of the Chevrolet Equinox.

In comparing the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain, you will find the same number of trim level options between both models. Each one features four different trims to choose from, each one improving its standard amenities and exclusivity. For example, as you move up the trim level lineup for the Equinox and the Terrain you will find more distinctive accents and technology elements being incorporated as standard. Each one also features a trim that is held in regard above all others. For the Chevrolet Equinox this is the Premier model and for the GMC Terrain this is the Denali trim.

Which is Better?

Any buyer will find the comparison of the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2021 GMC Terrain is a rather tedious task. These two small SUVs are so similar in many aspects that it can be hard to discern which qualities really make a difference in a buyer's overall evaluation. What truly sets the Equinox and the Terrain apart are the different attitudes each one has toward design and innovation. While the Chevrolet Equinox transforms every year to keep up with the changes in technology and safety improvements, the GMC Terrain is always a step ahead of the game. Viewed as a more upscale and equipped model, the 2021 GMC Terrain is a bit more outfitted with innovative tech and modern safety elements than the Chevrolet Equinox.

The purpose of each of these models differs slightly, as well. The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is focused on providing quality transportation for families at a reasonable price with conventional attributes. It does not care much for the frills and enhancements that the 2021 GMC Terrain puts much of its focus on. The Chevrolet Equinox is a more simplistic and practical version of a small SUV. On the other hand, the 2021 GMC Terrain is a better option for those in search of a luxurious look and a comfortable ride. Most of its features are geared toward making a passenger's ride more convenient and comfortable. It truly focuses on the feeling a passenger gets when they step inside the cabin.

Overall, if you enjoy a more refined look and upscale presence, the 2021 GMC Terrain is the perfect model for you. It makes driving more convenient and plays into the intuitive nature of driver concerns. Not only does it anticipate what drivers will need before they discover it themselves, but it also comes up with solutions that look good and feel elegant. In contrast, if you are looking for an affordable midsize SUV that will hold up well to the wear and tear of constant carpools and childhood messes, the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is what you will feel the most comfortable in. While it certainly is not a value-driven vehicle, as it does incorporate some modern elements, it is quite conventional compared to the GMC Terrain. You do not have to worry about spills, dirty ball clothes, or cramped seating in the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox. It was designed with families in mind, and its features play into that form of service for buyers.

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