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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 GMC Terrain

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Expert's Rating


MPG 21 City / 31 Highway
  • Good fuel economy
  • Lots of cargo room
  • Quiet and smooth ride
  • Unrefined transmission
  • Mushy brake pedal feel
  • Big rear blind spot
, Automotive Editor -
The GMC Terrain offers excellent fuel economy, loads of stand-alone options and a surprisingly low price making it one of the top picks in the compact crossover class.


Though “compact crossover” may not be your first thought when GMC comes to mind, the automaker has been a strong competitor within the class thanks to models like the Terrain. Introduced in 2010, the Terrain’s main problem has been the lack of a more powerful V6 option. Likely putting an end to this critique, the 2013 GMC Terrain is available with a direct-injected 3.6L V6 that has over 300 hp at the ready. The standard engine is a 2.4L 4-cylinder that, like the V6, is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Though not quick by any means, the 4-cylinder does get an impressive 22/32 mpg city/highway.

The Terrain can be had in front- or all-wheel drive configurations, the former being standard. Also new for 2013, GMC is finally offering a Terrain in the top-level Denali trim.

The other four trims, in order of increasing base price, are the SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1 and SLT-2. All trims are fitted with a four-wheel independent suspension while the Denali’s is treated to a few upgrades. Both the front and rear seating is given ample room for passenger comfort and the rear can easily be folded to maximize cargo space. Standard equipment includes common options like a rearview camera and Bluetooth capability. A new option on the 2013 model, GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system is able to integrate with smartphone applications. Having a low base price coupled with luxurious options helps the Terrain in attracting a wide array of car-buyers. Also helping spread the Terrain’s net-of-appeal is the in-between size, providing the room of a midsize without the feel of one.

Facing stiff competition, the Terrain has advantages in its’ upscale interior cabin that is big on technology and space, although, it still falls short in performance despite the improved V6. Leading in the fun-to-drive aspect, the Ford Escape also has good fuel-mileage on two- and four-wheel drive models. Yet the technology features on the Ford can be tricky and frustrating. The all-new Toyota RAV4 is no longer available with a V6 yet has more cargo space than even the roomy Terrain. For customers seeking value, the similar Chevrolet Equinox is offered at a lower price with the same new V6 as the Terrain, though there is less standard equipment as well.

Finally available with an adequate V6, the 2013 GMC Terrain has the right engine to go along with its’ high-tech interior.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 GMC Terrain
Starting price

2013 GMC Terrain SLE-1

Recommended for: Shoppers looking for a functional and fuel-efficient crossover.

Though still having plenty of standards, a key difference between the Terrain SLE-1 and other trims is that the SLE-1 has few options to choose from. For example, the SLE-1 is the only trim without even the option of the V6 engine, dual exhaust tips or the 2.4L’s 1500 lb trailering equipment. Yet it does come with cloth seats, two buckets up front and a 60/40 split rear bench. Besides being foldable, this functional rear seat can move fore and aft plus recline. A 7-inch high-resolution touch screen controls the six-speaker audio system that can receive input from USB/Auxiliary ports. Also, the touch screen is called upon to reveal all that is behind you when the standard rearview camera is active.

2013 GMC Terrain
Starting price

2013 GMC Terrain SLE-2

Recommended for: Buyers content with cloth-seating but wanting the V6 engine.

While not standard, the Terrain SLE-2 is available with the V6 engine, which GMC has given a 3500 lb towing capacity. Standards include premium cloth seats, driver 8-way power seat adjuster and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted cruise and audio controls. SLE-2 drivers get automatic air-conditioning with climate control and a total of four 12-volt auxiliary power outlets. Remote keyless entry is standard with remote vehicle start optional. Along with IntelliLink, an eight-speaker Pioneer audio system is installed to complement the touch-screen and navigation is available. Eight cup-holders help keep the five-passenger Terrain free of spills and are easily seen by way of ambient lighting.

2013 GMC Terrain
Starting price

2013 GMC Terrain SLT-1

Recommended for: Those seeking the lowest priced Terrain that still has leather-seating.

Moving up to the SLT level is when the list of standard equipment grows much longer. Features equipped on the Terrain SLT-1 include perforated leather seating, heated driver/front passenger seats, and remote vehicle start. An available Safety Package consists of forward collision alert, lane departure warning and ultrasonic rear parking assist. Outside mirrors are heated and power adjustable but must be manually folded if desired. Rails with a nice charcoal finish are installed up top for luggage. Except for the front-windshield and two forward-most side-windows, a solar ray deep-tint is applied to all the glass for increased privacy. The optional power liftgate can be customized to open to the owner’s preferred height.

2013 GMC Terrain
Starting price

2013 GMC Terrain SLT-2

Recommended for: Consumers not wanting to pay for the Denali but desiring similar features.

The Terrain SLT-2 is still pricey but not like the Denali and allows consumers to choose from some exclusive features. Only available on the SLT-2 and Denali are chrome door handles, chrome rear skid plates and the rear seat entertainment system including DVD player, dual 8-inch monitors and two wireless headphones. 18-inch chrome-clad wheels are standard as well as the Chrome Appearance Package that consists of, among other things, luggage rail chrome inserts and chrome side-mirrors. More ambient lighting is added to reveal the door pulls and door storage when the sun is gone. SiriusXM satellite radio is included as well with a three-month trial of SiriusXM Travel Link.

2013 GMC Terrain
Starting price

2013 GMC Terrain Denali

Recommended for: Drivers who have been waiting on a Terrain in GMC's top-level trim.

Usually reserved for GMCs elite trucks and SUVs, the Denali trim is known throughout the automotive world for its’ luxurious offerings. Starting with the suspension, Denali drivers experience a better ride and handling thanks to dual-flow front dampers. Appearance upgrades are similar to the SLT-2 chrome package except satin chrome is used instead. Already coming standard with the Safety Package, the Denali trim adds an exclusive blind zone alert system; there for those times you may forget to check the blind zone yourself. Interior additions include the leather-wrapped steering wheel with mahogany wood tones and 8-way power for the driver and passenger seat as well. Aluminum polished sill plates are found just inside the doorjamb and the perforated leather seats are embossed with a Denali logo.

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