The 2018 GMC Terrain is all-new, with GMC downsizing its smallest crossover to better compete in the compact class. A sleek design, choice of two turbo four-cylinder engines or a fuel-efficient diesel, and improved handling are offset by less headroom and cargo space, as well as a limited set of advanced safety features.

Best Value

With a lineup that offers four trim levels and three engines, pricing begins at $25,990 for the entry-level SL trim and tops out at over $45,000 for a fully-loaded Denali model (prices include a $995 destination charge).

We'd pass on the base SL and midrange SLE and opt for the SLT. It offers all three engine options, a leather interior, a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen with in-vehicle apps and satellite radio, plus access to the widest range of advanced safety features.

  • Model: 2018 GMC Terrain SLT
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 252 horsepower / 260 pound-feet of torque
  • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
  • MPG: 22 city / 28 highway
  • Exterior color: Graphite Gray Metallic
  • Interior color:Medium Ash Gray/Jet Black
  • Options: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine ($1,845), Graphite Gray Metallic Paint ($395), Power Glass Sunroof ($1,495), Driver Alert Package I ($840, lane change alert, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking assist, safety alert rear seat), Driver Alert Package II ($495, low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic high beams).
  • Base Price: $32,315
  • As Tested: $36,890

Performance Pros

GMC Terrain
  • The two turbocharged gasoline engines – a 170-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder and a 252-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder – offer energetic acceleration and lively performance.
  • The new nine-speed automatic transmission operates smoothly, especially when paired to the 2.0-liter turbo.
  • The 137-hp 1.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine posts excellent fuel economy numbers, getting an EPA-estimated 28 miles per gallon in the city, 39 on the highway, and 32 combined.

Performance Cons

  • The nine-speed automatic lacks both paddle shifters and any kind of manual control.
  • Turbodiesel-equipped models have a tow rating of just 1,500 pounds.
  • At a $2,845 premium, turbodiesel-equipped models are noisier, slower to accelerate, and engine vibrations can be felt through the pedals and rearview mirror at low speeds.

Interior Pros

  • There's plenty of room in the back seat for two adults – even three on shorter trips.
  • The interior ergonomics are very good, with clear instrumentation and an intuitive infotainment system and controls.
  • Even the base 7.0-inch infotainment system includes Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE wi-fi.

Interior Cons

GMC Terrain
  • Interior space, down from last year, is now less than the Honda CR-V.
  • The hard plastic door panels and cheap-looking switchgear are out of place on a $37,000 crossover.
  • Cargo volume, at 29.6 cubic feet, trails both the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V.

Our Favorite Thing

Lighter weight, better handling, and new turbo engines with more useful torque make the latest Terrain a more competitive performer in the compact crossover class.

Our Least Favorite Thing

Even with its excellent fuel economy, it's hard to justify the $2,845 additional cost of the turbodiesel, considering its increased noise, low-speed vibration issues, and subpar 1,500-pound tow rating.

Right For

GMC Terrain

Eco Friendly – In addition to its sleek new design, five-passenger capacity, and crossover versatility, all Terrains feature active grille shutters for improved fuel economy. Eco-conscious buyers will appreciate the diesel engine's efficiency that, although hardly Prius-like, still delivers an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models.

Wrong For

Safety Focused – Although a rearview camera is now standard across the lineup, the safety alert rear seat, blind-spot detection, rear park assist, and rear cross-traffic alert systems are unavailable on the SL model, optional on the SLE and SLT, and standard only on the range-topping Denali trim. In addition, advanced active safety features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning – all standard on the RAV4 and the CR-V – aren't available at all on the Terrain.

The Bottom Line

Although towing capacity is limited and interior space is down from last year, the latest GMC Terrain is a big step up from the outgoing model with better performance, smooth handling, and a more appealing design, making it a true contender in the compact crossover class.