New & Used GMC Terrain: In Depth
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The GMC Terrain is a mid-size crossover that’s closely related to the Chevy Equinox. Relative to the other truck-based GMC models, the Terrain is a bit smaller, less expensive, and has car-like driving feel.
See our 2014 GMC Terrain review for pricing with options, specifications, and gas mileage ratings.
Pricing that starts under $30k makes the Terrain a competitor for a wide band of crossover utility vehicles--everything from the Ford Escape and Hyundai Santa Fe to the Toyota Venza and Subaru Outback, as well as the Chevy Equinox, with which shares its platform and powertrains.
With the Terrain, GMC has its smallest vehicle, and also its most fuel-efficient offering, thanks to a four-cylinder engine. It seats five, and has a useful sliding second-row seat that gives it more flexible cargo and passenger space than most other vehicles in its class.
The blocky, rugged-looking Terrain is available with a range of powertrain options: either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and four- or six-cylinder engines. All models come with direct injection technology to help boost performance and curb fuel consumption, and all versions sport a six-speed automatic transmission.
The base 2.4-liter model features the first four-cylinder engine in a GMC crossover or SUV since the 1980s. It develops a peak output of 182 horsepower. It also delivers a best-in-class fuel economy rating of 21 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. To achieve this drivers must activate the Terrain’s “ECO” mode: at the push of a button, the Terrain’s torque converter in its automatic transmission lowers the lockup speed to 1,125 rpm to help save fuel.
Through the 2012 model year, the upgrade engine in the Terrain was a 3.0-liter V-6 engine with 264 horsepower on tap. This particular engine was a downsized version of the 3.6-liter V-6 found in several other GM products and in the Terrain it returned a fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. For 2013, GMC replaced the smaller-displacement V-6 with the full 3.6-liter version, good for 301 horsepower--but with identical fuel economy ratings (with a 16/23-mpg rating on all-wheel-drive models).The 2013 model year brings a new Denali edition that adds a soft-touch dash cap, a mesh grille, and a choice of either the four- or six-cylinder engine, and either 18- or 19-inch wheels with those engines, respectively. The Denali also gets a leather interior, wood trim on the steering wheel, and a power passenger seat. Denali Terrains also have some exclusive safety features such as blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts--while all Terrains get new dual-action shocks that soften its ride considerably. Overall, we gave the 2013 GMC Terrain a rating of 8 based on its styling, its four-cylinder gas mileage and improved ride quality.
Standard and available features include a rearview camera, a power tailgate, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and MP3 playback, and a touchscreen-driven audio system with satellite radio and IntelliLink, a system that links smartphones to the audio system, enabling mobile apps like Pandora.
Production of the GMC Terrain takes place at GM’s CAMI assembly plant in Ontario, Canada. The Terrain shares its Theta platform with several crossover models in General Motors’ worldwide vehicle fleet, including the former Saturn Vue and Pontiac Torrent, as well as the Chevrolet Equinox and Opel Antara sold overseas.