2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 GMC Terrain

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mazda CX-3 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The GMC Terrain doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

The CX-3 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Terrain doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the CX-3 and the Terrain 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 and lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-3 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Terrain was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

The CX-3’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Terrain’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 18th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. GMC is ranked 25th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-3 gets better fuel mileage than the Terrain:

 

 

 

MPG

CX-3

 

FWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/34 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/32 hwy

Terrain

 

FWD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/30 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

AWD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/28 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/26 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda CX-3 uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Terrain with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-3 stops much shorter than the Terrain:

 

CX-3

Terrain

 

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The CX-3 Sport’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Terrain’s standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Terrain Denali AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the CX-3’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Terrain w/17” wheels’ (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The CX-3’s turning circle is 6.8 feet tighter than the Terrain w/19” wheels’ (34.8 feet vs. 41.6 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda CX-3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 to 850 pounds less than the GMC Terrain.

The CX-3 is 1 foot, 2 inches shorter than the Terrain, making the CX-3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ergonomics

The CX-3 Grand Touring has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Terrain doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-3’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Terrain’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The CX-3’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Terrain’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-3 Grand Touring has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Terrain doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The CX-3 Grand Touring’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Terrain’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CX-3 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the CX-3 with a number “8” insurance rate while the Terrain is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-3 will be $3471 to $9723 less than for the GMC Terrain.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Mazda CX-3, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

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

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