2016 Chevy Equinox vs. 2016 GMC Terrain – A Comparison

December 4th, 2015 by

2016- Chevrolet Equinox Performance

It’s said that great things come in pairs, and few things speak to this truism quite like the 2016 Chevy Equinox and the 2016 GMC Terrain.

The two are veritable twins; both made by GM, these models are nearly identical in their construction, featuring many of the same internal components wrapped under surprisingly divergent exterior design. However, despite many outward similarities, there are a few key differences between these closely related models, and knowing what they are could be the factor that helps a consumer choose between these two comparable SUVs.

One of the main reasons for the similarity is GM’s newly-integrated use of a modular platform for these two vehicles, which slightly decreased the size of the Equinox. When first introduced at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, the 2016 Equinox brought a breath of fresh air into an already highly-respected model. And although both the Equinox and the Terrain come with a respectable number of available upgrades and editions, the overall performance of even their most basic trim levels are still respectable for an SUV, and undeniably comparable.

For the consumer trying to choose between the two, the choice can seem nearly impossible without an in-depth look at how they stack up in the fine details. Here’s a look at the 2016 Chevy Equinox and the 2016 GMC Terrain, and how the two compare side-by-side:

The 2016 GMC Terrain. Photo courtesy of GMC.

The most immediately noticeable differences between these two models are aesthetic. The Equinox, with its more sleek design, features a rounded front end that is more likely to appeal to the mainstream consumer. With a chiseled, sloping hood and wrap-around headlamps, the Equinox retains that classic luxury look that might be hard to find in an SUV, and might remind one more of a typical crossover.

The Terrain, however, is much more squared and imposing. It’s chunky, chiseled headlamps and muscular front end strike a much more noticeable profile than the Equinox, which could appeal to those looking for the kind of muscle that boldly proclaims it’s an SUV.

Both models feature newly-restyled 17-inch aluminum wheels on the basic package, with 18- and 19-inch wheels available on higher trim models. Both also offer standard daytime-running LED headlamps for that truly sleek, modern look.

Although noticeably divergent in exterior styling, these two related models are nearly identical on the inside – literally, they match in interior dimensions to almost the inch in every measurement. Except for a few minor changes to the layout of the dash, these two models offer the same center console, the same seating layout, and the same leg- and headroom.

Both also feature GM’s MultiFlex sliding rear seat that offer each just over 63 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded.

2016 Chevy Equinox Interior

Under the Hood
These models offer the exact same performance options and come with the same powertrain. Each comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that certainly gets the job done, and can do it at an estimated 32 miles per gallon highway. With 182 horsepower and 172 ft-lb of torque, this powertrain system is certainly enough to get whichever model you choose there and back, and the available Eco-Mode can help boost fuel efficiency.

For those left wanting a little more power, both models offer an available upgrade to GM’s 3.6-liter V6, capable of an impressive 301 horsepower and which can get from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. While more powerful, this engine also offers 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway in both SUVs and promises to tow up to 3,500 lbs. Although both run on standard gasoline, the Terrain may also run on E85 ethanol.

Though both models are pretty much the same performance-wise, the Equinox is about a hundred pounds lighter than the Terrain, which could make a slight difference in handling and pickup for those truly finicky drivers. Standard traction control electronic stability control systems on both models re-enforce these SUVs’ towing capabilities fairly equally as well, further bolstered by an available four-wheel drive on each.

What might really set these apart is the Terrain’s standard automatic grade braking, which sets transmission to remain in a lower gear to help deceleration on a downgrade, even with a trailer. Both models, however, feature Hill Start brake assist, which holds brake pressure for 1.5 seconds to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards when accelerating on an incline from a stopped position, as well as fully-independent suspensions.

Tech and Amenities
On their standard trims, these two models offer identical technology and features, including two touchscreen infotainment systems that are essentially the same (MyLink in the Chevy, IntelliLink in the GMC), forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, heated front seats, and a remote starter. Both also offer the same optional upgrades, like automatic climate control, leather upholstery and a power rear liftgate.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the Equinox’s use of OnStar, including the OnStar Automatic Crash Response System and six months standard of the OnStar Guidance Plan navigation system. This also comes with a standard five-year subscription to the OnStar Basic Plan, which included the remote starter, remote lock and panic setting available on the RemoteLink mobile app.

Both of these SUVs offer available Siri Eyes-Free Voice Passthrough for hands-free phone use while driving, as well as available 4G LTE Wi-Fi in the cabin to access the internet and streaming music services. And, with each offering multiple standard 12-volt outlets as well as standard USB ports, passengers can charge devices and stay connected just about anywhere in either of these great models.

GM's IntelliLink software comes standard n the 2016 GMC Terrain. Photo courtesy of GM.

GM’s IntelliLink software comes standard n the 2016 GMC Terrain. Photo courtesy of GM.

Because of their similar design, these models each offer excellent reputations for safety. Both received an average four-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and both received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s much-sought-after Top Safety Pick.

Both models offer a standard rear-vision camera, as well as available blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert technologies. And, of course, each come standard with six surround airbags.

For those looking for a truly luxurious and safety-conscious vehicle, the Terrain does offer its upscale Denali edition, which comes standard with features not standard in the Equinox like rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring, and also an available dual-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system not available on the Equinox. These additions, however, are reflected in the additional cost for the Denali edition. The equivalent features can be found in the Equinox LTZ edition’s safety package.

Based on all this, it’s really hard to say which is the better SUV. Given that the 2016 Chevy Equinox shares so many essential and additional features with the GMC Terrain, the two are truly comparable SUVs, each able to handle the same workload and deliver equitable luxury and comfort at the same time.

For those looking for a more muscular construction that really makes itself known on the road, opt for the Terrain. For those, however, who prefer the classic, stylish look of a modern crossover, look no further than the 2016 Chevy Equinox.

With such great quality vehicles coming out of GM this year, it seems as though going with either of these vehicles is a safe bet for anyone who needs that delicate combination of style and substance from an SUV. Whichever vehicle you decide to go with, you’re almost guaranteed to be satisfied with your choice between these two excellent vehicles.

Posted in 2016 Chevy Equinox