2018 GMC Terrain vs. 2018 Mazda CX-5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the GMC Terrain’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Mazda CX-5 doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Terrain are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Terrain Denali offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CX-5 only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Compared to metal, the Terrain’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-5 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Terrain and the CX-5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Terrain’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CX-5’s (6 vs. 5 years).

GMC pays for scheduled maintenance on the Terrain for 2 years and 24,000 miles. GMC will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CX-5.

There are almost 3 times as many GMC dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Terrain’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Terrain first among compact suvs in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The CX-5 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 16th in initial quality. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 27th.

Engine

The Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 186) than the CX-5’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 65 more horsepower (252 vs. 187) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 186) than the CX-5’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

The Terrain’s 1.6 turbo diesel produces 54 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 186) than the CX-5’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Mazda CX-5:

 

Terrain

CX-5

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

78.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Terrain diesel gets better fuel mileage than the CX-5:

 

 

Terrain

CX-5

 

FWD

1.6 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

28 city/39 hwy

25 city/31 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

AWD

1.6 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

28 city/38 hwy

24 city/30 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Terrain’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-5 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Terrain Gas has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Terrain, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-5.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Terrain 2.0T’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-5:

 

Terrain 1.5T/Diesel

Terrain 2.0T

CX-5

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11.7 inches

The Terrain stops shorter than the CX-5:

 

Terrain

CX-5

 

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Terrain Denali’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-5 (235/50R19 vs. 225/65R17).

The Terrain Denali’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring’s 55 series tires.

The Terrain has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The CX-5 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Terrain’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the CX-5 (107.3 inches vs. 106.2 inches).

The Terrain Denali AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Terrain Denali AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the CX-5 Grand Touring AWD (27.5 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Terrain SLT/Denali has a greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-5 (7.9 vs. 7.5 inches), allowing the Terrain to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The front grille of the Terrain uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The CX-5 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Terrain uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The CX-5 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Terrain has .3 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-5.

Cargo Capacity

The Terrain has a larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the CX-5 with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 59.6 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Terrain SLT/Denali’s cargo door can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Mazda CX-5 is limited to 2000 pounds. The Terrain offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Terrain has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The CX-5 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Terrain (except SL/SLE)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-5 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Terrain’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The CX-5 has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The power windows standard on both the Terrain and the CX-5 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Terrain is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-5 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Terrain’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The CX-5’s passenger windows don’t open automatically.

On a hot day the Terrain’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the CX-5 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Terrain has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The CX-5 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The Terrain’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the CX-5 Grand Touring.

When the Terrain with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The CX-5’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Terrain SLT/Denali has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-5 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Terrain Denali keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The CX-5 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Both the Terrain and the CX-5 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Terrain has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The CX-5 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Terrain (except SL) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Terrain Denali’s optional Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The CX-5 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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