Rugged looks, but it loses big under the hood. The second-generation GMC Terrain hit showrooms in 2018 with a more rugged look, plus it featured an optional 252-horsepower 2.0-liter engine for those craving more power. Recently, that potent engine has left, leaving the Terrain looking rugged but lacking the power to back it up.

Looks great, but it lacks power. The 2022 GMC Terrain is a sharp-looking crossover with its C-shaped LED lighting, bold grille, strong body lines, and unique glasshouse shape. Inside, it’s just as sharp with toned-down styling and a truck-inspired steering wheel surrounded by tasteful metallic accents. Add the Denali package, and the Terrain suddenly becomes a near-luxury cruiser.

All those great looks are let down by ho-hum powertrain options. The Terrain once had an optional snappy 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. That’s gone, leaving it with just a 1.5-liter turbo four-pot that wheezes out 170-hp and 203 pound-feet of torque. In a crossover that can exceed 3,600 pounds, this simply isn’t enough power.

Are you planning to tow? Forget about it in the Terrain, as it can tug just 1,500 pounds.

Buyers seeking more pop can find this in the 227-hp Mazda CX-5 or 250-hp Ford Escape, though neither is an overly capable tow machine.

Slick infotainment, but why is the transmission interface so funky? The 2022 GMC Terrain comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that houses standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This is a leg up on many competitors that still leave you tethered with all-too-often-glitchy USB cables.

Buyers who are more focused on screen size can get a standard 10.3-inch screen on the CX-5.

With such a great infotainment system, it’s baffling how GMC royally messed up something as simple as a transmission. The touch-and-toggle transmission, uniquely located on the center stack, may be confusing for some drivers. We believe it has a steep learning curve and can be described as frustrating at best.

Plenty of standard safety gear, but gas mileage is living in the past. The 2022 GMC Terrain is completely up to date in the safety department. It comes standard with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and active lane control. Optionally, buyers can add blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control. This puts it right up there with its competition, though the Toyota RAV4 gets standard adaptive cruise.

The Terrain is behind the times in fuel economy at up to just 26 mpg city, 30 highway, and 27 combined. That’s not terrible, but it's one mpg highway behind the CX-5 and five mpg highway behind the RAV4. Plus, there’s no hybrid option for thriftier buyers.

Final thoughts. Crossover buyers who are tired of the normal swoopy design will find a sense of ruggedness in the Terrain that almost rivals the RAV4. This makes it an excellent alternative for buyers who are downsizing from a blockier full-size SUV.

However, with its lackluster powertrain and so-so fuel economy, some buyers may prefer to move on to something more capable, like the CX-5 or Escape. Or those looking for fuel economy may go for one of the numerous hybrids on the market.

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