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2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 GMC Terrain

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  • 2021 Ford Escape

    A grey 2021 Ford Escape is angled left.

    Starting at

    $25,555*

    2021 GMC Terrain

    A white 2021 GMC Terrain SLT is angled right.

    Starting at

    $25,000

    28/34Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)25/30
    181-250Horsepower (hp)170
    3,500Max Towing (lbs)1,500

    There was a lot that happened at the turn of the century, and as we welcomed in a new millennium, we also welcomed the Ford Escape into driveways across America. SUVs were just beginning to gain popularity at that point, but as the years went on, more and more models would emerge, giving the Escape a run for its money. About a decade after the Escape made its debut, GMC tossed its hat into the compact SUV ring with its Terrain model, accentuated with sleek style, a strong build, and loads of GMC attributes throughout. If you're shopping for your next vehicle and you're interested in a small SUV, both the Escape and the Terrain are willing to put it all on the line to be your top pick when it comes to capabilities, design, and safety... some of the key elements when deciding on a vehicle. When comparing the 2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 GMC Terrain, it's undoubtedly obvious that one outperforms the other in these areas and beyond, so let's get to know each model to find out if the Escape has what it takes to continue its reign.

  • Capabilities

    A white 2021 Ford Escape SE is driving past a brick building after winning a 2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 GMC Terrain opposition.

    How your vehicle performs is utterly one of the most important elements during your travels, especially when you find yourself frequently behind the wheel during any given day. From driving the kids to school to commuting for work, running errands around town to taking a road trip to visit friends, your vehicle impacts your ride more than you may think. When it comes to performance capabilities, the 2021 Ford Escape and the 2021 GMC Terrain deliver solid rides, but one SUV just performs better. Delve into the capabilities found within these lively SUVs to see which is the top pick.

    Engine Performance

    In order to be able to deliver intense capabilities, especially those found in many SUVs on the road today, your vehicle needs to be armed with a strong engine. The 2021 Ford Escape offers not one but three capable powertrains to choose from to make getting the ideal vehicle for you easier than ever. Its 1.5L turbocharged three-cylinder engine delivers impressive power with 181 horsepower and exceptional efficiency, being able to get up to 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway. Opting to upgrade to the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder allows for a boost of power with 250 horses driving this machine to be able to burst from 0-60 mph in a cool 5.7 seconds. For even more efficiency, choose from two hybrid options, including a plug-in option, pairing a 2.5L four-cylinder engine with a set of electric motors for some serious driving fun.

    Unfortunately, the only engine you have to choose from in the 2021 GMC Terrain is a turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder, which provides it with 170 horsepower. With no option to upgrade to a more powerful engine and no hybrid options available, you're vastly limited with this particular GMC model. You will, however, be able to enjoy favorable fuel efficiency, as the Terrain gets up to 25 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway, which is still less than you're able to get in the Escape.

    Driving Dynamics

    In addition to being able to enjoy power and options when you're riding around in the 2021 Escape, you'll also notice that the Escape can offer you even more during your travels. With all-wheel drive with AWD Disconnect available, you're able to utilize front-wheel drive only when the system determines that all-wheel drive isn't necessary, which allows for energy-saving capabilities, maximizing your efficiency wherever you're traveling. The 2021 Escape also showcases three Selectable Drive Modes, which provide increased control and handling when you're traveling on various terrains. Choose between Eco, Sport, Normal, Slippery, and Deep Snow/Sand, allowing you to traverse more roadways with ease, which makes the Escape a crowd favorite among many different types of drivers. Plus, with its 2.0L EcoBoost engine, you're able to tow up to 3,500 lbs when properly equipped, making your next camping trip a breeze when you're riding in the Escape.

    Again, you may be slightly disappointed with the 2021 Terrain. Due to only having one engine to choose from, you're in for less capability across the board, including towing capability, as the Terrain can only tow up to 1,500 lbs. Although it's not as strong as the Escape, the Terrain is available in all-wheel drive, which is helpful, especially if you're navigating bad weather driving conditions.

    The Winner

    It's fairly evident which compact SUV is the better option. One look at the numbers, and you'll see that the 2021 Ford Escape vastly outperforms the GMC Terrain. Not only can you enjoy more power, you're also able to choose from two hybrid options to ensure that you're taking advantage of the most efficient ride possible. Unfortunately, the 2021 GMC Terrain just can't keep up with the Escape, having only one engine, lackluster towing capabilities, and no hybrid options to choose from, leaving us wanting more. When you want a vehicle that can deliver a smooth ride, ample power, and intense driving capabilities, the 2021 Ford Escape is a winner.

  • Design

    A blue 2021 Ford Escape is shown from the side parked outside a cabin.

    Not only do you want a vehicle that looks nice, but you also want one that can accommodate your driving needs. Whether you're searching for more space to fit all of the gear you're traveling with or a vehicle that offers unmatched comfortability so that you're able to relax during your long commute, the 2021 Ford Escape and the 2021 GMC Terrain will surely impress you. Discover the design elements found throughout these two compact travelers to decide which model outshines the other.

    Style & Function

    Even at first glance, you'll love all of the elements found in the 2021 Escape, from its polished exterior to its stylish interior. Unbelievably versatile, the Escape provides ample legroom throughout, offering 40.7 inches in the second row, which is more than many of its competitors, in addition to copious amounts of cargo space to handle more during your journey. Second-row sliding seats, 60/40 split-fold down seating, and more storage options inside make the Escape a must-have companion during your travels. Plus, with a number of trims available, you'll be able to get exactly what you want in a vehicle, especially if you're seeking maximum luxury. Enjoy upscale features, like genuine leather seating materials, a heated steering wheel, and more when you choose a higher level trim. When you want maximum convenience, its hands-free power liftgate makes it easy to maneuver anything into your Escape without missing a beat.

    You're also met with an expansive cabin in the 2021 GMC Terrain; however, you'll find your fair share of cheap materials as well. If you don't want to ride around with chintzy materials surrounding you, you're more than welcome to upgrade to the elegant and upscale Denali model, but you better be prepared to pay more for it... much more. Like the Escape, you'll be able to find a multitude of storage solutions throughout and convenient ways to stow your items through 60/40 split-folding seats and a fold-flat front seat. All in all, the GMC Terrain is a nice vehicle to look at, especially when you opt for the Denali model with a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and sophisticated design elements, but enjoying the best ride possible comes with a price.

    The Verdict

    With all that you're able to enjoy in the 2021 Ford Escape, it's no surprise that it's our pick over the 2021 GMC Terrain when it comes to design. Unfortunately, the Terrain doesn't offer as many options, only providing you with four basic trims to choose from, which makes it tough to ride around in elegant comfort. The Escape not only offers plenty of room throughout and loads of ways to customize its seating arrangements, it also delivers affordable beauty, which appeals to buyers across the board.

  • Safety

    A red 2021 Ford Escape is shown from a high angle driving on a wet road.

    Staying safe on the road is more than simply paying attention to where you're going. With more and more drivers on the roadways than ever before, it helps to have a vehicle that's watching out for you, even when others around you get distracted. The 2021 Ford Escape and the 2021 GMC Terrain both offer sophisticated safety systems designed to protect you and your passengers in a variety of different situations. See how these two SUVs perform in the area of safety.

    The Priority - Safety

    Not only has the 2021 Ford Escape earned five stars in crash testing by the NHTSA, it has also been named a 2021 IIHS Top Safety Pick. Through Ford's Co-Pilot360 technology, drivers are able to take advantage of a number of safety features, including a Lane-Keeping System, as well as a Rear View Camera to help you see in difficult areas. You'll also have increased confidence, even in tough parking conditions, through the available Active Park Assist 2.0 feature, which provides some much-needed help, especially with parallel parking. Ford makes it easy to stay safe on the road and beyond with its top-of-the-line tech, designed to make your ride safer and you more confident behind the wheel.

    The 2021 GMC Terrain is also outfitted with its fair share of safety features; however, due to poor headlamp performance, it was not named an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2021. You'll find common options like Side Blind Zone Alert to increase visibility in pesky blind spots and available features like Adaptive Cruise Control to help you stay at a safe pace and distance from those around you during your journey. For even more convenience and assurance, opt for available HD Surround Vision to provide a better view of what's around your vehicle, which is especially helpful when parking, backing up, and navigating through traffic.

    Safety First

    Both the 2021 Ford Escape and the 2021 GMC Terrain offer standard and available safety features to help maximize your drive, but one SUV just performs better here. There's no match for the 2021 Ford Escape and all of the intelligent safety and driver-assist features it brings to drivers everywhere. Safety should always be on your mind, which makes the 2021 Escape a top performer when it comes to staying safe on the road and beyond.

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