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Compact SUVs deliver car-like handling and a commanding view of the road. So, it’s no wonder why drivers are choosing fun vehicles like the 2020 Mazda CX-5 and the 2020 GMC Terrain to get their kicks.

Which of these models will give you the most thrills for you dollar? Well, a couple of significant factors come into play. What’s your definition of exciting driving, and which SUV will offer drivers the best overall package? 

Fun means many different things depending on your preferences and hobbies. While the 2020 Mazda CX-5 and 2020 GMC Terrain have you covered, each one is geared toward different lifestyles and serve different functionality. Find out which modle fits the narrative of your next adventures. 

Carve corners and dominate the open road in the 2020 Mazda CX-5

 Does taking on a hairpin turn give you the adrenaline rush you crave? If so, the quick and nimble 2020 Mazda CX-5 might be for you.

You won’t confuse this compact SUV for a sports car, but it’s the closest resemblance you’ll find in the class. Consumer Reports’ review of the 2020 CX-5 says “Unlike purely rational choices like the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester, there’s a bit of joie de vivre with the CX-5.”

Consumer Reports, which ranked the CX-5 the top compact SUV for 2020, gave the sporty model an 80/100 on its road test. The publication specifically noted its athletic handling and responsive steering.

The 2020 CX-5 also delivers plenty of pep to go along with its athleticism. It comes standard with a 187-hp four-cylinder engine. Drivers can opt for an available turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 250 hp with 93 octane fuel or 227 with 87 octane fuel, according to Mazda. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shifter and sport mode.

Meanwhile, the 2020 GMC Terrain provides a reliable driving experience with no frills. U.S. News & World Report’s review of the 2020 Terrain says “Nothing stands out – good or bad – when it comes to this compact SUV’s handling”

The 2020 GMC Terrain is a weekend warrior

If road trips and outdoor adventures are more your speed, then the 2020 GMC Terrain might speak to you more. The GMC’s compact SUV offers more cargo space than its competitor, but its biggest advantage is its towing capability.

The Terrain can haul up to 3,500 pounds while the 2020 Mazda CX-5 is limited to 2,000 pounds. That could mean the difference between towing a lightweight boat versus just a jet ski.

Like its rival, the 2020 Terrain also offers two engine options – a standard 170-hp turbo four-cylinder and an available 252-hp turbo four-cylinder. Both engines work in tandem with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Which compact SUV is the better buy?


The Worst GMC Terrain Problems Are Unreasonably Expensive to Fix

One of these vehicles may be speaking to you based on your hobbies and interests. However, if you’re still undecided, then you may be interested in which vehicle provides more value for the money.

Both vehicles have starting MSRPs around the $25,000 mark, but you’ll likely want to upgrade to a slightly higher trim for a well-rounded driving experience. 

The 2020 Mazda CX-5’s Touring trim is a great value play, as it adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto while packing a host of other desirable features.

Meanwhile, shoppers will likely want to skip over the 2020 GMC Terrain’s lackluster base engine and upgrade to the SLT trim. However, this is a costly option as it is listed $10,000 above the Terrain’s base model.

The 2020 CX-5 also holds an advantage over the 2020 Terrain in driver-assistance systems. Mazda’s compact SUV comes standard with blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert, which are available options on the Terrain.

Conclusively, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 is the better buy over the 2020 GMC Terrain. The Mazda CX-5 delivers more fun on a daily basis, and it simply offers extra value.