5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

190 lbs.

298 lbs.

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

12 lbs.



5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Compression

51 lbs.

104 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

264/236 lbs.

249/289 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the GMC Terrain is safer than the Chevrolet Trax:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

357 lbs.

388 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

630 lbs.

672 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches




Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

46 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Terrain the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 157 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Trax was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.


To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Terrain has a standard 700-amp battery. The Trax’s 525-amp battery isn’t as powerful.


The Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 32 more horsepower (170 vs. 138) and 55 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 148) than the Trax’s 1.4 turbo 4-cyl. The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 114 more horsepower (252 vs. 138) and 112 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 148) than the Trax’s 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the Chevrolet Trax:



Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

10.8 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.7 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

18.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

78.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Terrain’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Trax doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Terrain FWD’s standard fuel tank has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the Trax (14.9 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Terrain AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Trax (15.6 vs. 14 gallons).

The Terrain has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Trax doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


A nine-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Terrain, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Trax.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Terrain 2.0T’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Trax:

Terrain 2.0T


Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

9” drums

Opt Rear Rotors

10.6 inches

The GMC Terrain has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Rear drums are standard on the Trax. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Terrain stops shorter than the Trax:



60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

130 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Terrain has larger standard tires than the Trax (225/65R17 vs. 205/70R16). The Terrain’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Trax (235/50R19 vs. 215/55R18).

The Terrain’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Trax’s standard 70 series tires. The Terrain’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Trax’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Terrain has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Trax. The Terrain’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the Trax.

The Terrain has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Trax doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the GMC Terrain has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Chevrolet Trax has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Terrain’s wheelbase is 6.7 inches longer than on the Trax (107.3 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Terrain is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Trax.

The Terrain Denali AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the Trax LT AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Terrain Denali AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Trax LT AWD (27.5 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Terrain SLE has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Trax (6.9 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the Terrain to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Terrain SLT/Denali’s minimum ground clearance is 1.7 inches higher than on the Trax (7.9 vs. 6.2 inches).


The front grille of the Terrain uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Trax doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Terrain uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Trax doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Terrain has 10.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Trax (103.2 vs. 92.8).

The Terrain has .4 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 2.7 inches more front hip room, 3.1 inches more front shoulder room, 4 inches more rear legroom, 1.1 inches more rear hip room and 2.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Trax.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Terrain’s rear seats recline. The Trax’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Trax with its rear seat up (29.6 vs. 18.7 cubic feet). The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Trax with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Trax doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Terrain (except SL) offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Terrain SLT/Denali, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Trax doesn’t offer a power liftgate.


The Terrain has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Trax has no towing capacity.


When two different drivers share the Terrain (except SL/SLE), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Trax doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Terrain (except SL/SLE)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Trax doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Terrain’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Trax has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The Terrain’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Trax has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

On a hot day the Terrain’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Trax can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Terrain detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Trax doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Terrain has standard extendable sun visors. The Trax doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Terrain’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet only offers heated mirrors on the Trax LT/Premier.

When the Terrain with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Trax’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Terrain SLT/Denali has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Trax offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Terrain and the Trax offer available heated front seats. The Terrain Denali also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Trax.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Terrain Denali keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Trax doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Terrain’s optional (except SL/SLE) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Trax doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Terrain (except SL)’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Trax doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Terrain (except SL)’s optional automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Trax doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Both the Terrain and the Trax offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Terrain has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Trax doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Trax doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

With standard voice command, the Terrain SLT/Denali offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Trax doesn’t offer a voice control system.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the GMC Terrain Denali has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Trax doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Terrain Denali’s optional Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Trax doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

The Terrain will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Terrain will retain 45.99% to 49.47% of its original price after five years, while the Trax only retains 41.97% to 42.46%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Terrain is less expensive to operate than the Trax because typical repairs cost much less on the Terrain than the Trax, including $28 less for a water pump, $61 less for front struts, $224 less for a timing belt/chain and $85 less for a power steering pump.


The GMC Terrain outsold the Chevrolet Trax by 27% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos