GMC’s Terrain compact AWD is one of the the best looking crossover’s on the market, especially the Black Edition SLT that has glossy black wheels, roof rails, darkened front grille, black center caps, outside mirrors and the one we were privileged to test.
Terrain has suave, yet macho looks. And the Black edition with its glossy metalflake-look paint, blacked-out wheels and trim, turn it into a “today” crossover in which owners of similar crossover/SUVs are spending big bucks on aftermarket products to give their vehicles the same appearance. A one-up for GMC.
Offered in SL, SLE, SLT and Denali, our SLT tester was an eye-grabber. The SLT’s perforated leather interior sported gold stitching for a classy, upscale contrast and a look more commonly found in pricey Euro sedans.
The front seats are heated/cooled and are nicely supportive with ample lateral support. But the first thing you’ll likely notice is the absence of a shifter for the automatic transmission. Fix your eyes on the simple and easy to use HVAC controls then let them drift downward. There, a horizontal line of push and pull buttons are for operating the gearshift. While push buttons on vehicles with auto transmissions have been around for years, Terrains’ Drive and Reverse gears require the driver to pull them. Very different and opposite of the Park, Neutral and Low gear selections that require a push. Evidently GMC wanted to make room on the console for the AWD system that offers AWD, Off-Road, Tow/Haul and 2WD modes. So the shifter buttons were the choice, but the directional operation is different.
Terrains’ interior sports an 8-inch touchscreen with voice control, offers a variety of apps including Nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capability. The 2019 model has been upgraded over the 2018 model with a HD 360-degree “birds eye” view camera system, and extra sound proofing to name a few.
A bin on the lower part of the vertical stack is nice to stow small items, or, an optional wireless phone charger can occupy the space. There’s also a 4.2-inch driver information display tucked between the gauges that, among a host of operational messages, notifies the driver if a child or package is left in the back seat upon shutting off the engine. It does this by recognizing even the slightest weight on the seat bottoms.
Safety wise, and upon approaching a vehicle in front and at speed, the drivers’ seat-bottom buzzes to notify of an imminent crash.
After a low 18-inch step-in into the comfy back seats that can accommodate three in a pinch, leg and headroom are relatively spacious.
Back in the cargo area, that has a hands-free liftgate and a low 29-inch liftover, there’s 29.6 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seatbacks upright. That translates into an area measuring 35 inches deep, 43.75 wide and 30.5 high. Flip the seatbacks and cargo capacity increases to 63.3 cubic feet for a load depth of 64 inches. But that’s not all. Flip the front passenger seat and there’s 81 cubic feet of space to carry extra long items that won’t fit with the rear seats folded. That in itself is a commendable feature that more crossover/SUVs should adopt. And to stow small items out of sight, there’s a 6.5-inch deep bin beneath the cargo floor and atop the spare tire.
Terrain is offered with a choice of three engines. The base engine is a 1.5-liter, turbocharged inline-4 cylinder with 170-hp and 203 lb/ft of torque with EPA mileage estimates of 24/28 mpg; optional 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4 with 252-hp and 260 lb/ft of torque and EPA’s of 21/26 mpg; and a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder diesel with 137-hp and 240 lb/ft of torque carrying EPA’s of 28/38 mpg. These are all with the AWD option as FWD is also offered on all trim levels. The 1.5L and 2.0L are paired with a 9-speed automatic trans whereas the diesel comes with a 6-speed automatic.
We tested the 2.0L turbo four and it moved the 3,756-pound vehicle with no haste, especially when the turbo kicked in. And it has an impressive 3,500-pound tow rating, or 2,000 pounds more than the diesel powertrain.
Shod with Hankook 19-inch tires, Terrain rides smoothly and quietly. With an undercarriage clearance of 7.9 inches, it should be able to maneuver through some relatively deep snow, mild back roads, mud and sand if driving on the beach to surf fish.
Handling wise, the suspension admirably soaks up road imperfections with ease. Road pocks marks and tar strips are mere ripples inside the cabin. And Terrain parks easily thanks to a tight 41.6 foot turning radius.
Now all this luxury, comfort and utility doesn’t come without a price. Endowed with a very long list of standard features and safety enhancements, the options list is also lengthy. For example, the base price of $32,600 escalates when adding; Driver Alert Package ($445) that includes lane change alert, blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist and safety alert seat; Driver Alert Package II adds adaptive cruise, low speed forward auto braking, forward collision warning, lane keep assist (automatically steers the vehicle back within the lines), auto high beam, front pedestrian braking and following distance indicator. The 2.0L engine fetches an extra $1,495 but includes dual exhausts and roof rails. The Preferred Package ($1,250) will give you the hands free liftgate, heated steering wheel, power passenger seat, memory seat package and universal home remote.
The Infotainment Package II ($1,180), adds the infotainment system with Nav and voice recognition, Bose audio, and HD radio. Black option will add $796 to your tab while Trailering Equipment ($450); Ebony Twilight Metallic paint ($395); GMC Interior Protection ($200) with floor and cargo mats, and delivery ($995), will set you back $40,550.
Many of these safety options are already included in the base price of several competitive vehicles. And these seriously drive up the bottom line on the Terrain.
To its credit, Terrain received some seriously good government safety ratings. The feds gave it a full five stars as an overall score; five each for driver/passenger frontal crash; front/rear seat side crash and four for rollover.
While Terrain is the sister car to Chevy’s Equinox, this GMC version is by far more attractive and more comfortable to drive and ride in. It’s definitely a top pick among crossover/SUVs.
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