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Buying a vehicle can be a daunting task. This struggle is compounded when you’re shopping for a model in a crowded class. Enter the compact SUV market. With so many options to choose from, shoppers can easily get lost in the shuffle. Options like the 2021 Ford Escape and the 2021 GMC Terrain can be challenging to choose between. That’s why we are here to help. 

The compact SUV sector is rife with household names. From the Honda CR-V to the Toyota RAV4, it’s almost impossible not to see one of these machines around every corner. 

However, you shouldn’t ignore the Ford Escape and GMC Terrain. These models also fit in with the popular crowd and are excellent contenders in the class. 

Name recognition can play a lot into the success of a vehicle. This could be why cars such as the Escape and Terrain have such a loyal consumer base. But if you were to pit these two American vehicles against one another, which one would come out the victor? The answer may surprise you. 

Let’s take a look at everything the 2021 Ford Escape and the 2021 GMC Terrain have to offer. These much-loved models are worthy challengers. Let’s see which one comes out on top.

What we love about the 2021 Ford Escape 

A blue 2020 Ford Escape parked on display
The 2020 Ford Escape on display | Photo via Ford

You can typically place SUVs in one of two categories, rugged and family-friendly. The 2021 Ford Escape fits in the latter. It won’t ‘wow’ you with its off-road capabilities, but it makes for a great commuter SUV or family vehicle.

The Escape edges out the 2021 GMC Terrain in several different categories crucial to families on the go. The 2021 Ford Escape is surprisingly roomy for a compact SUV. It has slightly more passenger volume than the Terrain and an extra five cubic feet of max cargo space. This additional room is especially evident in the cargo hold behind the rear seats. The Escape offers 39.2 cubic feet in this area, whereas the Terrain has just 29.3.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Ford Escape is also a more versatile performer. Its standard 181-hp 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine won’t blow the roof off the doors, but it delivers a stellar fuel economy rating. 

The EPA hasn’t released the gas mileage numbers for the 2021 Ford Escape at the time of this writing. But this powerplant achieved an EPA-estimated 30 MPG city/highway combined during the 2020 model year. In comparison, the 2021 GMC Terrain’s standard 170-liter 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine gets 27 MPG combined, according to EPA estimates.

Ford also allows buyers to opt for more power or even better fuel efficiency. The available 2.0-liter turbocharged engine delivers 250 hp. Meanwhile, Ford offers a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Escape, both of which produce a total system output of 221 hp.

What we love about the 2021 GMC Terrain

A black 2020 GMC Terrain Denali driving down a road
The 2020 GMC Terrain Denali in action | Photo via GMC

Like many GMC models, the Terrain promotes the philosophy that you should go big or go home. Its lower-level trims aren’t too distinguished. The only significant advantage that the Terrain has over the 2021 Ford Escape is that it comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But in typical GMC fashion, the Denali is a wonder to behold.

The 2021 GMC Terrain Denali comes with an enhanced suspension that offers more control and comfort. It’s also decked out with premium features like wireless charging, a heated steering wheel, front parking sensors, and more.

Additionally, you can add an array of available features. These include a sunroof, ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, and parallel park assist. Plus, you can even treat your back-seat passengers to heated rear seats, which aren’t offered on the 2021 Ford Escape.

There’s no escaping announcing which SUV is the winner 

Purchasing a vehicle is no easy task. With automakers consistently working to give you their best, it’s no wonder why we have such great SUVs to compare against each other. There is a clear winner when it comes down to the 2021 Ford Escape vs. the 2021 GMC Terrain. 

The 2021 Ford Escape offers more power and fuel efficiency, not to mention it is incredibly spacious. These are all aspects that can’t be ignored when purchasing a vehicle. At the very least, we think it’s worth a test drive to check it out for yourself.


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