The mid-size crossover SUV category offers the comfort and size of an SUV, but on the platform of a car, giving it the look and feel of a large hatchback. The unibody construction typical of passenger vehicles is used instead of the truck platform which tends to be body-on-frame. This provides high ground clearance and car-like handling along with a higher level of fuel economy.
The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2012 GMC Terrain are some of the best in the class, with a reasonable price-point, excellent fuel economy, and good value for the money. The mid-size crossover SUVs are perfect for small families with 1-2 children who may need to take an extra friend on occasion. While they can be offered with a third row, that area of the vehicle tends to get cramped and eats into cargo space a great deal when it’s available.
The overall attractive design of the Equinox wins out over the truck-like, boxy feel of the Terrain. While the Equinox truly seems to be a SUV, the Equinox looks and drives more like a truck – possibly to appeal to the male contingent who are required to drive it due to needing the additional space.
Where the Terrain’s interior looks fairly stylish, it is not especially spacious and some of the trim is a little chintzy; while the Equinox offers spacious seating throughout and attractive design. The Terrain may be trying just a little too hard to look like a truck, and ends up driving like one as well as having that traditional boxy look. The outward visibility from the cabin leaves something to be desired in the Equinox, and the steering mechanism is a bit clunky.
The Equinox has a very versatile layout, but the ‘Premium’ Pioneer sound system doesn’t deliver up to expectations.
Safety Options and Ratings
While a primary focus for both offerings, the Terrain higher trim packages have a rearview camera and lane departure warning and forward collision alert. Both vehicles suffer from significant blind spot flaws due to the large C-pillars in the front. Both crossovers receive the highest ratings for safety.
The Terrain prices run slightly higher than the Equinox, even though they came off the same GMC production line. Nearly everything else is identical in the two models except for design and look.