2019 Mazda CX-5 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-5 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-5 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-5 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.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda CX-5 is safer than the GMC Terrain:

CX-5

Terrain

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

82

159

Leg Forces (l/r)

160/307 lbs.

363/349 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

156

376

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.6 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mazda CX-5 is safer than the GMC Terrain:

CX-5

Terrain

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

81

109

Chest Movement

.5 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

126 G’s

195 G’s

Hip Force

189 lbs.

357 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

208

288

Hip Force

524 lbs.

630 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

40 G’s

Hip Force

435 lbs.

730 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-5 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 45 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Terrain was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The CX-5’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Terrain’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the CX-5’s reliability 32 points higher than the Terrain.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 21st in reliability. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.

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.

Engine

The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 17 more horsepower (187 vs. 170) than the Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 260) than the Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 31 more horsepower (168 vs. 137) and 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 240) than the Terrain’s 1.6 turbo diesel.

As tested in Motor Trend the CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

CX-5

Terrain

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.6 MPH

89 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

CX-5

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/30 hwy

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/27 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

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 2.5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Terrain doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mazda CX-5 higher (7 out of 10) than the GMC Terrain (3 to 5). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Terrain every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Terrain:

CX-5

Terrain

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The CX-5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the CX-5 flat and controlled during cornering. The Terrain’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 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-5’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Terrain w/17” wheels’ (36 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The CX-5’s turning circle is 5.6 feet tighter than the Terrain w/19” wheels’ (36 feet vs. 41.6 feet).

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Terrain SLE (7.5 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the CX-5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The CX-5 is 3.2 inches shorter than the Terrain, making the CX-5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has .1 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front hip room, .5 inches more rear headroom and 3.5 inches more rear hip room than the Terrain.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume than the Terrain with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 29.6 cubic feet).

Towing

The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Terrain’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

The CX-5 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed 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-5’s front and rear power windows all open or close 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 Terrain’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

The CX-5’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.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Terrain’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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-5’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Terrain’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature 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-5 Grand Touring/Signature’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-5 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the CX-5 with a number “1” 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-5 will be $640 to $7467 less than for the GMC Terrain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The GMC Terrain isn't recommended.

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 2 of the last 2 years. The Terrain has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the GMC Terrain by 32% during 2018.

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

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