The Honda CR-V and GMC Terrain are two compact SUVs with a lot in common. Most car reviewers agree that both give buyers a big dose of practicality. The CR-V is a popular compact SUV, with the kind of rounded exterior styling that’s typical in the class. The GMC Terrain can’t match the sales number of the CR-V, but it offers styling that’s squared off and truck-like – something that’s rare in a small SUV. Are sales and styling the only things that set these two compact SUVs apart? Let’s take a closer look and see if the Honda CR-V or GMC Terrain is the better small SUV for you.

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2014 Honda CR-V LX 2WD

2014 GMC Terrain SLE 2WD

185 horsepower




EPA-Estimated Annual Fuel Cost


104.1 cubic feet

Passenger Volume


37.2 cubic feet

Cargo Space


3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty


3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and 5-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty

Rearview camera, Bluetooth, conversation mirror, USB and auxiliary audio ports

Standard Features

Rearview camera, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary input ports 


Current Rank



Base Price


With a lower starting price and a slight edge in interior space, it’s pretty easy to see why the Honda CR-V outranks the GMC Terrain. The CR-V has slightly more horsepower than the Terrain, and it also has a slightly higher performance score. Test drivers love how maneuverable it is. The CR-V also has a slightly higher reliability rating than the Terrain does, though the Terrain offers a powertrain warranty that allows for more mileage. 

[See Honda CR-V pictures]

So, what do Terrain buyers get with their extra cash if they’re not getting better performance or more interior space? Test drivers rate the interior of the Terrain highly, saying that it has a pleasing layout and exemplary materials. The Terrain also has a slightly higher safety score in our rankings than the CR-V does.

[See GMC Terrain pictures]

Upper trims of the Terrain also separate it from even the most expensive CR-V. The high-end GMC Terrain Denali gives buyers plenty of tech features, as well as an interior that reviewers say is similar to that of a luxury car. The CR-V’s interior, no matter how many options you add, just doesn’t get that kind of praise. If you want a luxury feel to your CR-V, you’ll need to shop the CR-V’s corporate cousin, the Acura RDX. Also, if you want more power in the CR-V, you’re out of luck. It only offers one engine. The Terrain, on the other hand, has an optional six-cylinder.

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Both the Honda CR-V and GMC Terrain are great compact SUVs. If you want reliable, enjoyable and basic family transportation, go for the CR-V. If you want an upscale interior and high-end optional features – and are prepared to pay for them – go for the Terrain.

[Compare the Honda CR-V and GMC Terrain for yourself]

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