GMC's strong-selling compact crossover continues to woo buyers with rugged good looks and strong family values. This year's updates ensure the Terrain stays fit to battle in this hotly contested slice of the market.

Pricing and Equipment

The Terrain comes in five trim levels (SL, SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT, Denali) ranging from $24,995 to $36,415, which differ mainly in interior appointments and convenience features. The popularly equipped SLE series ($27,485–$28,985) is designed to satisfy the broadest swath of buyers.

  • Standard equipment includes a rearview camera, a power driver seat, and a color touchscreen sound system with satellite radio. Higher-end features like leather upholstery and navigation require an upgrade to the SLT ($33,990). The plush Denali, with its exclusive trim features and wheels, attracts plenty of attention from buyers despite its premium price.
  • All models are eligible for a V6 engine ($1,900) and all-wheel drive ($1,750).

Performance Pros

GMC Terrain Gear Shift

The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces an acceptable 180 horsepower. All models with the 2.4-liter get a new electric power steering unit and active noise cancellation to filter engine sounds out of the cabin. The available 3.6-liter V6 serves up 301 horsepower for dramatically improved acceleration. Both engines run with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Performance highlights include:

  • Handling/steering: The Terrain's suspension has been tweaked for more confident handling and a calmer ride. We found the changes to be especially evident on rough pavement, where minor impacts are easily dispatched.
  • V6 Performance: With the 3.6-liter under its hood, the Terrain goes from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which puts it even with luxury-sport crossovers costing thousands more.
  • Efficiency While the standard four-cylinder needs about 9 seconds to hit 60 mph, it does deliver 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving. That's better than we expected given the Terrain's overall huskiness for this class.

Performance Cons

  • While the Terrain possesses solid road manners, you won't be tempted to hit the backroads for a thrill. We can think of several competitors with sportier bones that are more stimulating to drive.
  • As powerful as it is, the V6 does no better than 20 mpg in combined driving, about what you would expect from a seven-passenger crossover, not a five-seater like the Terrain.

Interior Pros

GMC Terrain Interior
  • The Terrain's plush and spacious interior just might be the main reason for its enduring popularity. The sliding rear seat has up to eight inches of travel, making it easy to get the right mix of cargo and passengers room.
  • To us, the Denali interior looks and feels as upscale as you can get without stepping up to a luxury brand.

Interior Cons

  • Along with the muscular exterior styling comes smaller-than-average window area, so outward visibility can sometimes be a problem. We suspect that's why a rearview camera is standard.
  • The Terrain rides higher than most crossovers, something that's not readily apparent until you load the cargo floor. Hoisting vacation gear over the rear bumper gets old in a hurry.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The Terrain's smooth driveability and hushed cabin make for an outstanding long-distance vehicle. You won't tire of the road or the highway efficiency of the base engine.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The four-cylinder's active noise cancellation does what it can to keep the peace, but V6 models are still noticeably quieter, even without the same technology.

The Bottom Line

GMC has kept the Terrain remarkably competitive against a flood of newer family crossovers.