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One could easily describe the Toyota RAV4 as a modern classic. Older models, such as the 2004-2005 Toyota RAV4, are still lauded on the resale market as one of the best-value SUVs under $5,000. Meanwhile, the 2020 GMC Terrain has upped its game since its redesign for 2018, making it a formidable foe.

The compact SUV segment is one of the most competitive out there. The 2020 RAV4 and 2020 Terrain are value-packed buys, providing many standard features at competitive prices. The 2020 Toyota RAV4 starts at an MSRP of $25,950, while the 2020 GMC Terrain begins at an MSRP of $25,000.

With this reasoning, the Toyota RAV4 and GMC Terrain are two compact SUVs to keep in mind during your car-buying endeavors.

The 2020 RAV4 is a well-rounded athlete

The 2020 Toyota RAV4’s sleek, angular profile captures the eye quicker than the 2020 GMC Terrain’s conservative design. That doesn’t seem to be a coincidence based on the performance of the vehicles.

Toyota Racing Development got its hands on the RAV4 to introduce a new RAV4 TRD Off-Road trim for the 2020 model year. This trim level adds rugged capability via a retuned suspension, enhanced rebound control, and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.

Standard models don’t have quite the same pop. However, the Toyota RAV4 holds its own on the road, regardless. Its standard 203-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offers enough juice for most daily driving situations, and it delivers an EPA-estimated 30 MPG city/highway combined.

Then, there’s the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which comes in at a starting MSRP of only $28,350. This model boasts an impressive EPA-estimated 40 MPG city/highway combined and comes standard with all-wheel drive. 

The 2020 GMC Terrain lags behind with its most-efficient engine, managing an EPA-estimated 27 MPG city/highway combined. Notably, the 2020 Terrain doesn’t offer a hybrid option at all.

The 2020 GMC Terrain hits the mark in crucial areas

Where the 2020 Toyota RAV4 shines in performance and fuel economy, the 2020 GMC Terrain comes up in half measures. The 2020 GMC does have strong points. However, its downfall lies in its inconsistency.

Drivers won’t likely be impressed by the standard 170-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. However, the available 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder delivers 252 hp, which is more brawn than any 2020 RAV4 can muster.

According to Consumer Reports, the 2020 GMC Terrain also holds an edge over the 2020 Toyota RAV4 in predicted reliability. Additionally, the publication lists brake performance as one of the Terrain’s most vital attributes.

However, the 2020 Terrain also has its fair share of issues. Consumer Reports notes that the Terrain’s ride is quite stiff and that the compact SUV has a “low-rent interior.”

Which model puts your money to work


The 2020 GMC Terrain Has 1 Important Advantage Over the Honda CR-V

Compact SUVs are insanely popular vehicles and attract a wide range of buyers. Some buyers gravitate toward the raw power of the 2020 GMC Terrain’s available 252-hp engine. Meanwhile, the 2020 Toyota TRD Off-Road will capture the attention of weekend warriors.

However, the largest segment of compact SUV buyers is growing families, and that’s where the 2020 RAV4 holds the most significant advantage. U.S. News & World Report named the RAV4 its Best Compact SUV for Families for 2020.

Those looking to get the most out of their SUV purchase will likely stretch their dollar further in the 2020 Toyota RAV4. It dominates its rival in fuel economy, has a more potent standard engine, and it offers an affordable hybrid option. Despite having more available power, the 2020 GMC Terrain is still playing catch-up.