2019 GMC Terrain vs. 2019 Lexus NX Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Lexus NX Series 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 NX Series doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking optional in the Terrain as “Superior.” The NX Series scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

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

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


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). Lexus only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the NX Series.

There are over 7 times as many GMC dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Terrain’s warranty.


To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Terrain has a standard 700-amp battery. The NX Series’ 580-amp battery isn’t as powerful.


The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 58 more horsepower (252 vs. 194) and 61 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 199) than the NX 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

The Terrain’s 1.6 turbo diesel produces 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 199) than the NX 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Consumer Reports the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the NX 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:



NX Series

Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

7.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.7 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

91.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Terrain 4 cyl. diesel AWD gets better fuel mileage than the NX 300h (28 city/38 hwy vs. 33 city/30 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Terrain gets better fuel mileage than the NX Series:




NX Series



1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

26 city/30 hwy

22 city/28 hwy

4 cyl.


1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

24 city/28 hwy

22 city/28 hwy

4 cyl.

Regardless of its engine, the Terrain’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Lexus only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the NX Series 300h.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the GMC Terrain uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine for maximum performance). The NX 300 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Terrain 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 NX Series doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


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 NX Series.

Brakes and Stopping

The Terrain stops shorter than the NX Series:



NX Series


60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Terrain’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the NX Series F Sport’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Terrain offers optional 19-inch wheels. The NX Series’ largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 NX Series doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Terrain’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the NX Series (107.3 inches vs. 104.7 inches).

The Terrain Denali AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the NX 300 pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the Terrain SLE has a greater minimum ground clearance than the NX 300h (6.9 vs. 6.7 inches), allowing the Terrain to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Terrain SLT/Denali’s minimum ground clearance is 1 inch higher than on the NX 300 (7.9 vs. 6.9 inches).


The GMC Terrain may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 500 pounds less than the Lexus NX Series.

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 NX Series 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 NX Series doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Terrain has 31.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the NX Series (103.2 vs. 71.6).

The Terrain has 2.6 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more rear headroom, 3.6 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the NX Series.

Cargo Capacity

The Terrain has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the NX Series with its rear seat up (29.6 vs. 17.7 cubic feet). The Terrain has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the NX Series with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 54.6 cubic feet).


The Terrain’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the NX Series’ (1500 vs. 0 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Lexus NX 300h AWD is only 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 NX Series doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.


Both the Terrain and the NX Series offer available heated front seats. The Terrain Denali also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the NX Series.

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 NX Series 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 NX Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.


The GMC Terrain outsold the Lexus NX Series by 44% during 2017.

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

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