Small SUVs are a great choice for a lot of drivers; they offer many of the conveniences and features of an SUV while more easily fitting into our lives than some of the larger models out there. As they have become increasingly popular, there have been a lot of different ones released onto the market, which can make it difficult to decide which one to buy. If we look at the 2019 GMC Terrain vs 2019 Toyota RAV4, then we can see the Terrain has several distinct advantages.
For one thing, you can get much more power in the GMC Terrain due to a choice of three different engines – the Toyota RAV4, on the other hand, has only a single engine available. This translates into much greater potential towing capacity, so if you have a trailer or camper you want to haul behind you for tailgating or camping, then the GMC Terrain is the clear winner. There is also a number of interior, entertainment, and safety features found on the Terrain that are lacking or simply not as good with the RAV4.
But don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself…
More Powerful Engine Options
When comparing two vehicles, certain things can be seen as a matter of opinion or personal preference, which is totally understandable. Engines, however, are typically not one of those things – these issues are quantifiable differences in terms of horsepower and torque. We can look at the numbers and see what is more powerful, and in that regard, the 2019 GMC Terrain is the clear winner.
First, let’s start with the Toyota RAV4. It has a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that provides up to 203hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s actually pretty good for a small SUV and provides fairly decent performance overall. But here’s the problem: that’s the only option available. If you want a more powerful engine in your RAV4, then you’re out of luck.
The 2019 GMC Terrain, on the other hand, not only has a more powerful engine available but also gives you three different engines to choose from. In general, the engines in the Terrain are designed for higher torque than horsepower, but if you want more of both, then you’re still covered. The starting engine in the 2019 GMC Terrain is a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine that offers up to 170hp and 203 lb.-ft. of torque. As you can see, that’s less horsepower than the Toyota engine, but more torque, and there are still two more options.
If you need even more torque for better towing capacity, then there is an available 1.6L Turbo Diesel 4-cylinder engine that provides up to 137hp and 240 lb.-ft. of torque. There is certainly a trade-off there, but the pulling power of a turbo diesel engine cannot be denied. Finally, if you want more of everything, then there is a 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder engine available that offers up to 252hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque for the best overall performance. As you can see, that’s much more overall power than you can get in the RAV4.
Greater Towing Capacity
But what does all that mean? Comparing numbers is all well and good, but if it doesn’t really translate into any meaningful difference then it’s all just academic. Well, in this case, there is something more to those numbers. Horsepower and, especially, torque typically translate into towing power, so higher numbers means greater towing capacity.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 has a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 lbs. That’s not bad for a small SUV and can cover a lot of situations, but remember that includes the weight of a trailer or camper. If you have a lot of camping supplies or you’re a serious tailgater, then that might not be enough – not to mention professionals who need more towing power for lugging around a trailer full of lumber or drywall.
On the other hand, due to its more powerful engines, the 2019 GMC Terrain has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. A quick glance will reveal that that’s more than double the trailering potential of the RAV4. That’s the point of being able to choose a more powerful engine with a lot more torque. For a small SUV, that’s an incredible amount of towing capacity and should handle just about any job – as well as the vast majority of weekend fun.
More Impressive Entertainment System
One thing worth noting right from the start, the entertainment system in any vehicle is going to depend a great deal upon the trim level and packages you choose. With that in mind, however, we can look at the best possible system available in each of these vehicles and see how they compare. Entertainment and the sound system might not be your first concern when picking a small SUV, but it makes a difference to me.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 has a pretty decent starting sound system, and the best available upgrade is a 6-speaker sound system that is good but won’t blow away your neighbors. On the other hand, the 2019 GMC Terrain has an available 7-speaker Bose premium audio system that will definitely impress your friends and family – and sound amazing whether you’re on the freeway going across town or hitting the open road.
Better Interior Options and Comfort
You’re going to spend a lot of time in your SUV, so it needs to be comfortable. While both the RAV4 and the GMC Terrain have great features like leather-trimmed seats and heated steering wheels available, there are a few details that make the Terrain stand out just a bit more. For example, the 2019 GMC Terrain has an available 8-way power adjustable driver seat and a 6-way power adjustable front passenger seat. The Toyota RAV4 has a similar 8-way adjustable driver’s seat but only a 4-way adjustable passenger seat. That may seem like a small difference initially, but in the long run, your passengers are going to appreciate a more comfortable experience.
More Safety Features
To be fair, both the 2019 GMC Terrain and the Toyota RAV4 are very safe vehicles that include a wide range of available safety options. However, there are a few things you can get with the Terrain that aren’t found with the RAV4 and those options can make a big difference over time.
For example, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 features hill start assist to help you with safely starting your vehicle on an incline. However, it does not have a hill descent control or assist feature to help you with safely driving downhill. The 2019 GMC Terrain, on the other hand, does have hill descent control functionality to help you stay safe when driving down a steep incline.
The 2019 GMC Terrain also has a teen driver system that lets you set up a specific key for a young driver. Anyone using that key will have certain systems restricted or activated, such as limiting music volume, to help encourage safe driving habits. There is even an in-vehicle report card you can check to see how a new driver is doing, which helps you target areas that need improvement and raise a better, safer driver. The Toyota RAV4 has no such teen driver system.
Overall, the 2019 GMC Terrain and Toyota RAV4 are both solid small SUVs, but the Terrain simply beats out the RAV4 in some important ways.