A grey 2019 GMC Terrain is parked in the driveway of a modern house.

The Battle Between the 2019 GMC Terrain and the 2019 Toyota RAV4


Subcompact SUVs have been growing in popularity with families in recent years. Where a sedan-style car was once preferred, parents are now opting for vehicles with a little more cargo room, power, and capability on the road. SUVs are generally larger cabins built onto the chassis of a truck. This used to mean clunky handling and poor fuel efficiency. Improvements in SUVs and the dawn of subcompact and crossover vehicles have made these more powerful vehicles even more appealing to a large audience. Two such SUVs are the 2019 GMC Terrain vs 2019 Toyota RAV4.

If you’re like millions of Americans who are interested in buying a new SUV like the 2019 GMC Terrain or the 2019 Toyota RAV4 to haul the kids back and forth from school, extracurriculars, and on the occasions road trip, you can be confident with your decision. But just because both of these automakers have reputations that proceed them doesn’t mean that both the RAV4 and the Terrain are created equal.

If you’re wondering how the 2019 GMC Terrain and the 2019 Toyota RAV4 do when compared side-by-side, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn abgrey 2019 GMC Terraout these subcompact SUVs’ handling, engine options, design and cargo, and technology features.


Years ago, the handling on many SUVs wasn’t something to be envied. They had a tendency to tip around corners, jostle their passengers along uneven terrain, and be generally hard to maneuver through traffic. Smaller, lighter, and more “fit” vehicles like the Terrain and the RAV4 changed that narrative. Both of these SUVs hold their own in terms of overall handling capability.

The 2019 GMC Terrain is known for providing its passengers a consistently cushioned riding experience. No matter whether you’re driving around sharp bends in the road or on pavement that’s seen better days, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the Terrain’s ability to keep things smooth. Even though the GMC Terrain isn’t marketed as a “sporty” type of SUV, it holds its own when maneuvering around urban areas and through traffic. If you want a little extra control on slippery or icy roads, you can upgrade the 2019 GMC Terrain to get AWD.

Like the 2019 GMC Terrain, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 also gets superior handling reviews. The RAV4’s steering is known to be accurate and the cabin has very little body-lean when driving around bends at higher speed. This isn’t a category where we can determine any outright winner, but overall, the RAV4 rides smoothly and even does well when away from paved roads so these SUVs are about matched here.

Engine Performance

If you’re planning to haul around any number of children or all your families luggage and sporting equipment, you probably want to know what these vehicle’s engine options are like. Neither the 2019 GMC Terrain or the 2019 Toyota RAV4 are designed as sports vehicles, so you shouldn’t plan on doing any drag racing, but both will get you comfortably up to speed on the highway while fully loaded. Both SUVs are also known to have great fuel efficiency, though the RAV4 takes the win for highest MPG on the highway. The RAV4 only comes with a single engine options however, so buyers needing more power to meet the demands of their lifestyles will find themselves out of luck.

There are three engine options to choose from with the 2019 GMC Terrain. The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower. This engine is a great option for a family that just needs a daily driver and is more than able to keep up with long commutes or family excursions. However, if you want a vehicle that can do a little more on and off the road, opt for the upgraded 2.0-liter turbo-four engine to give your SUV a little more kick! This engine makes 252 horsepower and gives the Terrain even better acceleration and power.

Not only does the Terrain have both of these powerful engine options, it is also available with a refined diesel engine, something that sets it apart on the SUV market. This diesel engine option makes 137 horsepower and is more than capable of powering the Terrain. In terms of fuel economy, the Terrain holds its own when compared with many competitors. You’ll get an estimated 26 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway in the Terrain. The turbodiesel gets even better ratings, with 28 MPG city and 39 MPG highway.

A Black Edition 2019 GMC Terrain is parked in front of a building with lots of glass. Compare performance when looking at the 2019 GMC Terrain vs 2019 Toyota RAV4.

Unlike the Terrain, the RAV4 only comes in one engine choice, though it is a decent one in terms of fuel economy. The 2019 Toyota RAV4 features a 203-horsepower four-cylinder engine. It’s not as powerful as the Terrain’s turbocharged engine and is also known to be a bit loud. You will get about 26 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway in this RAV4.

Design and Cargo

One of the best parts of owning a new SUV is the ability to haul around just about anything you need. Whether it’s your families luggage on a road trip, all your sporting equipment, or a load of groceries in preparation for dinner party, an SUV won’t usually let you down. Both the RAV4 and the Terrain sit 5 passengers comfortably, but the Terrain offers more than 10 cubic feet more maximum cargo space compared to the RAV4.

The 2019 GMC Terrain’s interior can be upgraded for maximum comfort and ease. You can add in leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, and a heated steering wheel, which all make this SUV extra comfortable and convenient for its passengers. The front of the cabin is both spacious and relaxed and two average-sized adults can even fit into the back seats without a feeling cramped. This is a trait many competing SUV brands lack. You’ll find a total of 29.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which is plenty to fit in a few decent sized suitcases. For more cargo space, easily fold down the rear seats to create 63.3 cubic feet. Even the front passenger seat in the Terrain folds flat, making a maximum of 81 cubic feet and giving owners the ability to transport long items like kayaks if they need.

The Toyota RAV4 underwent a complete redesign in 2019 and some noticeable changes were made to the interior of the cabin. The cabin is sleeker now and plenty of soft-touch materials have been used to add comfort for passengers. Some hard plastic are still keeping the RAV4 from ranking highly in terms of having an upscale cabin, however. In the redesign, Toyota decided to downsize the total amount of cargo space in the RAV4, something buyers should consider when weighing their options. The initial cargo space behind the rear seats appears good at 37.5 cubic feet, but this only increases to a maximum cargo space of 69.8 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down.


Since the SUV market is so competitive, automakers have been pulling out all the stops to try to entice buyers. In the 2019 GMC Terrain, you’ll find plenty of standard and available features. These include standard features like GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system, a 7-inch touch screen, voice recognition, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, four USB ports, Bluetooth, a six-speaker sound system, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot! Available features include navigation, an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, HD radio, satellite radio, a seven-speaker Bose premium sound system, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, two additional USB ports, and wireless device charging.

Standard features in the 2019 Toyota RAV4 include Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a six-speaker audio system. Available features in this SUV include a moonroof or panoramic glass roof, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless device charging, an upgraded Entune system with 8-inch touch screen, navigation, four additional USB ports, satellite radio, and an 11-speaker JBL audio system.

Unfortunately Toyota only has Android Auto compatibility on select models and the 2019 Rav4 isn’t one of them. If you’re an Android user you will have more features available to you on the Terrain.