Farewell thrifty oil-burner. The GMC Terrain went through a huge redesign in 2018 and has remained mostly unchanged since. The 2020 GMC Terrain makes one huge under-the-skin update in eliminating the thrifty, albeit unpopular, diesel engine that allowed it to tout one of the highest non-hybrid fuel economy ratings in the segment. This key update leaves just a pair of turbocharged four-cylinder engines: the standard 1.5-liter that makes 170 horsepower and the optional 2.0-liter with 252 hp.
Deletion isn’t all GMC did to shake up the 2020 Terrain, as it also gets new standard safety tech on all trims and an updated suspension on Denali models.
Staring is permitted. While it's improving with the stylish new Toyota RAV4 and the Mazda CX-5, the compact crossover segment remains relatively vanilla in terms of styling. The GMC Terrain’s striking appearance is a nice detour from this segment’s standard looks with its shapely headlights, bold grille, and floating roof. Even next to its platform-mate, the Chevrolet Equinox, it stands out.
Move into the range-topping Denali trim, and this style jumps up a few pegs with its 19-inch Ultra-Bright wheels, LED headlights, chrome mirror caps, chrome door handle surrounds, unique chrome grille, and more.
Plenty of comfort at all levels. The GMC Terrain may be a compact by stature, but it rides like a larger, more premium vehicle. Its suspension is compliant and absorbs bumps and potholes with relative ease, even with the larger wheel options. The latter owes a lot to the updated suspension in the Terrain Denali, which allows it to maintain a soft ride despite its 19-inch wheels.
We must also give the interior plenty of credit for all the comfort you’ll find. Soft-touch materials are abundant throughout the cabin, the seats boast ample padding in the front and rear, and the rear seats offer an adult-friendly 39.7 inches of legroom. Add to this standard active noise cancellation, and the Terrain’s comfort levels border on luxurious, especially in the Denali trim.
Cargo also rides in comfort in the Terrain with its 29.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats and 63.3 cubes with the rear seats folded. This easily beats the CX-5’s 59.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, but it falls short of the more cargo-friendly Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester.
Feature overflow, but it comes at a price. The GMC Terrain has no issue with its standard features, as its base SL trim comes loaded to the gills with a 7-inch touchscreen, 17-inch wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless ignition, two USB charging ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE wi-fi.
While most of these features are common in its competitors, except Android Auto in the Google-phobic RAV4, what sets the Terrain apart is its standard active noise cancellation that keeps even the base Terrain’s cabin whisper quiet.
Moving into the higher trim levels, like the SLT and range-topping Denali, adds even more premium features. The SLT adds heated leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen, remote ignition, and more.
The Denali goes even further with Ultra-Bright 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, a hands-free power liftgate, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, a Bose audio system, and more.
While the features in the SLT and Denali area great, their respective MSRPs of $32,395 and $39,495 including destination are very high for the class.
Safety was a focal point for the Terrain, as GMC made its Pro Safety package standard across the board. This gives all Terrain models standard automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Final thoughts. The 2020 GMC Terrain offers all the roominess and standard features most families need, and its rear seats can also handle adults comfortably, making it a nice middle-ground for any family.
That said, if the higher trim levels are calling, you may want to reconsider, as the Terrain Denali tickles the price range of the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. The Toyota RAV4 Limited and the Mazda CX-5 Signature offer most of the features of the Terrain Denali but cost thousands less.
Shoppers seeking a utility vehicle with better fuel economy will find what they need in the RAV4 Hybrid and the upcoming Ford Escape Hybrid.
Check prices for the 2020 GMC Terrain »