The 2021 GMC Terrain, entering its fourth model year since its last redesign, comes without many changes. The compact crossover SUV adds a few active safety features as standard equipment, including automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist.
The Terrain languishes near the bottom of the compact crossover class. More and more mainstream brands are starting to offer upscale trim levels and high-end features, which puts the Terrain in an awkward position. Competitors like the Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4 offer a lot of the same features, but are much cheaper.
Choosing Your GMC Terrain
GMC offers the Terrain in four trim levels: SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali. Prices start at $26,195 including destination for the SL trim and go up to $39,495 for the Denali.
The SL, SLE, and SLT come with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as standard. Moving up to the Denali brings a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, which is also a $3,095 option on the SLT.
|Engine Type||Horsepower||Torque||Max Towing||Fuel Economy (Combined)|
|1.5L Turbo 4-Cylinder||170 hp||203 lb-ft||1,500 pounds||27 mpg|
|2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder||252 hp||260 lb-ft||3,500 pounds||Not Yet Rated|
Both engines are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard throughout the lineup, while the SLE, SLT, and Denali trims can be upgraded with all-wheel drive for $1,600.
We wish GMC would offer the more powerful 2.0-liter engine as an option on lower trims instead of saving it for the SLT and Denali trims, as the base engine is a letdown. While fuel economy figures for the larger engine aren’t available, we think it’s well worth the upgrade, bringing 82 more horsepower and 2,000 pounds more of towing capacity.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
All Terrain trims have seating for up to five passengers. Cargo capacity is rated at 29.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats and a total of 63.3 cubic feet behind the front seats. These figures are less than competitors, as both the RAV4 and the Honda CR-V offer larger cargo areas.
GMC has added more standard safety features for the 2021 model year. Automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist are standard. You also get a Teen Driver system.
The SLE and SLT are available with the GMC Pro Safety Plus Package that costs $695. It brings adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. On the SLT trim, the package costs $645.
The Denali Premium Package ($1,445) is only available on the Denali, and it includes adaptive cruise control, automatic parking assist, and a surround-view camera.
The Terrain comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, wi-fi hot spot, and four USB ports. The SLT and Denali get an 8-inch touchscreen and satellite radio, while the range-topper also adds standard navigation and wireless charging.
The Infotainment Package I ($895) on the SLE trim brings the larger 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, a 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster, and satellite radio. The SLT trim is offered with the Infotainment Package II for $1,180 that includes navigation, HD radio, and a seven-speaker Bose audio system
The SL is more of a lease special, as it’s a stripped-down model. Standard features include heated exterior mirrors, 17-inch wheels, keyless open, and automatic headlights. On the inside, it comes with cloth upholstery, four-way manually-adjustable front seats, and single-zone climate control. It’s only available in three colors, and anything else besides Summit White is an extra $495.
The SLE trim may be a large increase in pricing over the SL, but it adds more convenience features and the ability to add a few optional packages. The SLE is available in a total of seven colors, but six of them cost $495.
The $995 Elevation Edition package brings 19-inch black wheels, black exterior trim pieces, and a dark front grille. The available Driver Confidence Package ($1,375) includes remote start, roof raisl, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way driver power seat, and heated front seats.
The SLT is where the Terrain starts to feel luxurious. Over lower trims, it comes with heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather upholstery, a handsfree liftgate, a heated steering wheel, remote start, and 18-inch wheels.
The Dark Accent Package brings black trim pieces and a dark grille for $1,250.
The range-topping Denali trim comes with the larger 2.0-liter engine, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, a six-way power front passenger seat, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, chrome trim pieces, dual exhaust outlets, navigation, and a wireless charger.
The available Denali Premium Package makes the trim feel more upscale with heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and more safety features.
The 2021 GMC Terrain isn’t our favorite crossover on the market, but the SLT trim is the strongest option in the lineup. It can be optioned with the available turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and comes with features consumers expect to see with a $30,000 price tag.