By Rick Popely on August 25, 2013
"Can you compare the GMC Terrain to the Subaru Outback?"
Though the Outback is officially a wagon, it mimics the look of an SUV, has standard all-wheel drive and provides more ground clearance than most crossovers. If it looks like one and performs like one, there is no reason it can't be on the same shopping list as the Terrain.
The Outback stacks up quite well against similar-size crossover SUVs such as the Terrain (a kissing cousin of the Chevrolet Equinox), and it offers some advantages in ride and handling because it is derived from the Subaru Legacy sedan. The Terrain, though also based on a car platform, feels more trucklike and is less maneuverable in tight spots.
Even with standard all-wheel drive, four-cylinder Outbacks have EPA estimates of 24/30 mpg city/highway with the continuously variable automatic transmission. The four-cylinder Terrain's fuel economy estimates are 22/32 mpg with front-wheel drive and 20/29 mpg with all-wheel drive. Though four-cylinder Outbacks aren't sprinters, they feel livelier and more responsive than four-cylinder Terrains.
The Terrain looks larger than the Outback, but at 185 inches bumper to bumper is actually 4 inches shorter. The Terrain has a much longer wheelbase (distance between front and rear wheels), 112.5 inches versus 107.9, which usually translates into more passenger space. That's not the case here: The Outback's interior has 105.4 cubic feet of passenger space, compared with 99.6 for the Terrain. The Outback also has more cargo space, 71.3 cubic feet versus 63.9.
Ground clearance is 8.7 inches on the Outback and 6.9 inches on the Terrain. Though that has benefits, such as when driving through deep snow, it makes getting in and out of the Outback more challenging for some, so you should check that out while shopping.
Pricewise, the Terrain is probably more expensive than comparable Outback models in base form, though how many options you choose can change the math. See here for a side-by-side comparison of Terrain and Outback specifications. Once you choose specific models of the Outback and Terrain, this helpful feature will spell out how they compare for size, standard equipment and optional features.
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Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on TalkZone.com . Email Rick