2023 GMC Terrain vs 2023 Toyota RAV4

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  • 2023 GMC Terrain

    A silver 2023 GMC Terrain Denali is angled left.

    Starting at

    $29,900 [a]

    2023 Toyota RAV4

    Starting at

    $27,575

    203Torque (lb-ft)184
    YesTeen DriverN/A
    9-SpeedTransmission8-Speed

    The 2023 compact crossovers from Toyota and GMC have proven to be quite competitive within the segment, offering potential shoppers a lot of great features for a great price. However, if you're looking for specific features from your compact SUV—such as luxury, certain tech enhancements available when off-roading, and specific safety features—you may be surprised to find that some of these are only available for the 2023 GMC Terrain. That's what we will cover here in this comparison of the 2023 GMC Terrain vs 2023 Toyota RAV4, highlighting the differences and benefits you get from one over the other in specific categories.

    For 2023 both vehicles offer a slate of brand-new features that are sure to entice those looking for a sleek and quality compact SUV. For the Toyota RAV4, many of its new features are exclusive to its hybrid iterations. However, some of the new features for the base RAV4 include an all-new infotainment suite with a larger display, upgrading the outgoing model year's seven-inch touchscreen with an eight-inch touchscreen as standard and an available 10.5-inch HD touchscreen on premium trims. Additionally, the digital driver display has been updated, with an available 12.3-inch HD cluster now available on select premium trims. The 2023 Toyota RAV4 is available in multiple trims, including the LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited.

    The 2023 GMC Terrain has been updated for the model year with three brand-new exterior colors—Volcanic Red Tintcoat, Deep Bronze Metallic, and Sterling Metallic. An all-new special Denali Black Diamond Edition has also been added to the line-up, which includes a SkyScape power sunroof, 19-inch aluminum painted wheels with After Midnight finish, and all of the features from the Denali Premium Package. The Denali has also seen a performance boost for 2023, upping the 1.5L turbocharged engine to 175 hp. The all-new eBoost electronic brake assist has been added, along with restyled 19-inch Gloss Black wheels for the Elevation Edition. The trims for 2023 include the SLE, SLT, AT4, and the Denali.

  • Off-Roading

    Both compact SUVs have been designed to handle some light off-roading tasks, with trims specifically geared toward those who want to venture off the beaten path and onto the roads less traveled. This is evident with the 2023 Terrain's AT4 trim and the 2023 RAV4's TRD Off-Road trim. The RAV4 also has the Adventure trim for overlanding, but this serves more as a casual version of the TRD Off-Road trim.

    Off-Road Features

    When it comes to off-road capabilities, both SUVs are nearly on par with one another; this includes traction selection systems and drive mode options to take advantage of their all-wheel drive capabilities. They also have protection features for the under-carriage, such as skid plates, and you can store equipment on the rooftops of both the RAV4 and Terrain with the TRD Off-Road and AT4's roof rails. However, they differ in one key area with their off-road features, and this is an area where the Terrain manages to take the lead over the RAV4: the heads-up display.

    GMC HUD

    Comparing the 2023 GMC Terrain to the 2023 Toyota RAV4 in terms of off-roading shows a slight advantage in favor of the AT4 thanks to its integrated technology, which includes a digital heads-up display to track telemetry without ever taking your eyes off the road. The six-inch display is fully customizable and projects the necessary information right in front of the driver. This is an essential tech feature for those who go off-roading and want to focus on the trail and any obstacles in front of them while also keeping track of the vehicle's health. Combine this with the AT4's standard implementation of HD Surround Vision—enabling you to see nearby objects with a 360-degree view of the vehicle—and you can easily see how effective the Terrain can be at off-road traversal.

  • Luxury

    The interior of a 2023 GMC Terrain Denali is shown from the driver's seat.

    When it comes to luxury, the 2023 GMC Terrain and the 2023 Toyota RAV4 get into fascinating territory. For Toyota's RAV4, the compact crossover is available in the Limited trim, which is the luxury model of the RAV4 for the 2023 model year. For GMC's Terrain, the SUV is available in the Denali trim, a high-class luxury model for the 2023 Terrain. Which, however, provides you with the better luxury features?

    RAV4 Style

    Well, the RAV4 comes with 19-inch multi-spoke Super Chrome alloy wheels, LED lighting array, and a power-lift tailgate. A one-touch power-tilt moonroof, privacy glass, and active grille shutters are also all standard on the RAV4. Inside, you have heated and ventilated seats, with an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat and two-position memory settings with lumbar support, and a four-way power co-pilot seat with SofTex upholstery. Ambient lights, HomeLink universal transceiver, and dual-zone automatic climate control all come standard.

    Denali Luxury

    On the side of the 2023 GMC Terrain Denali, you have a chrome grille, LED lighting array, and 19-inch bright machined aluminum wheels with dark gray painted accents in all-season tires. Chrome accents, tinted-rear glass, and a hands-free power programmable liftgate all come standard on the Terrain Denali. Available SkyScape power sunroof, heated power outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, and IntelliBeam all add to the appeal. Where the Denali really shines for the Terrain is inside, where an eight-way power driver seat with lumbar support and a six-way power co-pilot seat come standard—a clear send-up from the four-way power co-pilot seat in the RAV4.

    Terrain Grandeur

    But the GMC Terrain continues to bolster trend-setting features, with a standard inclusion of dual-zone automatic climate control, two-way adjustable front row head restraints, OnStar connected services, Google Built-In support with navigation, and wireless connectivity for all passenger devices. The standard-trim Terrain also has heated and available ventilated front seats with French-stitched decorative leather upholstery and real burnished aluminum accents, giving it an added level of luxury you won't find on the RAV4. If you want to drive with unparalleled comfort and style, the Denali trim offers the extra oomph that Toyota simply can't match.

  • Safety

    A black 2023 GMC Terrain Denali is shown from the front during a 2023 GMC Terrain vs 2023 Toyota RAV4 comparison.

    The 2023 GMC Terrain and the 2023 Toyota RAV4 become very competitive regarding safety, and a striking array of high-end safety features is available on both compact SUVs, spearheaded by a litany of tech made available from the GMC Pro Safety suite and the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5.

    Sensor Suites

    Both vehicles offer some great tech when it comes to safety, with forward-thinking features like the full-speed range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control on the RAV4 and the Adaptive Cruise Control and Following Distance Indicator on the GMC Terrain. Lane departure warnings, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, and forward collision alerts are all available on both SUVs. While the competition between the two is tight when it comes to safety, the 2023 GMC Terrain still manages to pull ahead of the RAV4 in one key area: Teen Driver.

    Terrain's Teen Driver

    The Teen Driver mode has been a consistent ace-up-the-sleeve of GMC regarding general safety in their vehicles. Most parents prioritize safety—especially those with fifteen-year-olds itching to get behind the wheel—and having the right safety features is sometimes the difference between a near-miss and an accident. The Teen Driver mode comes with built-in safety checks to ensure teens practice good driving habits, and it produces a report card for parents so they can view how their teen did while they were out driving. This gives the Terrain a much more family-oriented vibe when it comes to overall safety and planning ahead for aging teens. While the RAV4 and Terrain are very similar in the safety department, the Teen Driver mode easily gives the Terrain the decided advantage regarding safety.

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