We wrote last weekend about GMC's 2010 Terrain small crossover, meant to do battle with the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. At 30 mpg highway with its base 2.4-liter four-cylinder, the Terrain trumps the former by 3 mpg highway, the latter by 2. We're especially interested to see how this engine delivers its torque in the lower portion of the operating range, as the CR-V and RAV4 feel adequately torquey down there, offering a compelling mix of efficiency and drivability.
The Terrain's six-speed auto should help, giving the direct-injected four plenty of ratios to choose from to make the most of its 182 hp. But as always, the proof will be in the driving, and GMC has yet to deliver a four-cylinder SUV that can match Japanese vehicles' refinement and verve. (Remember the S-15 Jimmy with the 2.5-liter Iron Duke four? We do.)
We got up close and personal with a Terrain at its NYC unveil today, and were relatively impressed. However, the dashboard surface was nowhere near soft to the touch, and the plastics surrounding some cubbies and pods felt flimsy. They told us it was a pre-production unit, so again, we'll reserve final judgment on interior fit/finish and quality. But why release something that's half-baked?
While this may be a ground-breaking small SUV for General Motors, we're left with the nagging feeling that, in key areas, it may not stand up next to its foreign competition.