Terrain vs Mazda CX-5

June 1st, 2024 by

New GMC Terrain Front View

The industry’s best-selling category is compact crossovers. For millions of households, they offer an ideal balance of space, utility, efficiency, and cost. As a result, almost every brand’s compact crossover is its best-selling model. So, if you opt for one of the best-selling models in this segment, expect to have to differentiate from vehicles identical to yours in the mall or home store parking lot. Fortunately, there are other very good options. As Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com) points out,  “a few alternatives to the sales leaders that are just as good. Two of which include the 2024 Mazda CX-5 and 2024 GMC Terrain.” KBB.com’s comparison of these two alternative choices is followed in this GMC of Rochester post.

New Mazda CX5 Front View

Both the CX-5 and Terrain designs are far from new, yet they still have an attractive, contemporary appearance and up-to-date features. Both models reflect their brand’s background, with the CX-5’s styling similar to Mazda’s small passenger cars, while the Terrain carries the design cues of GMC’s trucks and large SUVs.

The size of both vehicles is nearly identical. The most prominent difference is the Terrain’s one-inch longer wheelbase, which leads to two more inches in overall length. In the cabin, the passenger stats of head, leg, and shoulder room are within an inch of each other. Also similar is the cargo space, but only when the 2nd-row seat backs are up (29.1 cubic feet vs Terrain’s 29.6). Fold the seat backs down, however, and the Terrain has a distinct maximum cargo space advantage with 63.3 cubic feet compared to 59.3 for the Mazda.

New GMC Terrain Interior Cabin View

When it comes to power, the CX-5 and Terrain take turns in the lead. The CX-5 boasts 187 horsepower, which exceeds the Terrain’s 175 horsepower.  But the Terrain counters with a peak torque of 203 lb-ft. compared to 187 for the CX-5.  They get there quite differently, with the CX-5 going with a conventional 2.5-liter normally aspirated inline-4, combined with a 6-speed automatic, which sends power to all four wheels as all CX-5s have AWD.  By contrast, the Terrain features a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-4, which is paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission and a choice of FWD or AWD, on the SLE and SLT, while the AT4 and Denali models are AWD only.

New Mazda CX5 Rear ViewWhile both the engine and transmission would lead one to think the Terrain would have greater fuel mileage, EPA says otherwise. The Terrain is rated at 24 / 29 / 26 (city/highway /combined) for FWD models with just a one mpg drop for AWD at 23 / 28 / 25. The CX-5 is rated at 26 / 31 / 28 for the CX-5 with the standard engine. On three of its eight trims, the CX-5 includes a turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine with 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque.  Unsurprisingly, this has a lower fuel economy rating than all above at 22 / 27 / 24.

Both models have an overall 5-star rating from the NHTSA. Mazdas have never been known for being quiet, and KBB.com specifically pointed to the Terrain’s available active noise cancellation as providing a more serene cabin experience than the CX-5. When it comes to off-road capability, the CX-5 also has no counterpart to the off-road-focused Terrain AT4 model, which features all-terrain tires, an off-road drive mode, and hill descent control. 

New GMC Terrain Rear View

KBB.com did not declare a winner in their comparison, stating: “If you want an SUV that looks tough on the outside while offering comfort and luxury on the inside, the GMC Terrain is your choice. However, if you want something fun to drive on flat surfaces, the Mazda CX-5 may be the best option here.” If you are among the many households considering a compact crossover, the GMC Terrain should be on your consideration list. If you are near the Southeast of the Twin Cities, GMC of Rochester has a Terrain waiting for your test drive.