GMC Terrain

The 2021 GMC Terrain is an exciting contender in the mid-size crossover segment. It uses the same platform as the Chevrolet Equinox and shares a general aesthetic with both the Acadia and the latest Chevrolet Malibu, though its unique styling helps to set it apart. The Terrain's rocker panels are integrated into the doors, narrowing the area over which a passenger must step. The body is stiffened with single-piece side stampings plus high-strength steel in critical areas.

The Terrain is powered by a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that delivers 170 horsepower with an impressive 30 mpg on the highway. A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard for all trims. Front-wheel drive is the standard drivetrains, but all-wheel drive is available.

Storage areas are everywhere in the cabin, including an oversized glovebox, an expanded center console with pass-through storage underneath large enough for a laptop computer. The rear seats feature MultiFlex, which allows the seats to move back and forth a total of eight inches for the best rear legroom in the segment.

Standard equipment on base SL includes Bluetooth, a rearview camera, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, StabiliTrak stability control, traction control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, six air bags, an anti-theft system, a 7-inch touchscreen display, and integrated navigation. Power windows, door locks, remote keyless entry, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, as well as power mirrors and automatic headlamps round out the generous standards list.

The upscaled SLT trim includes luggage rails, a 7-speaker stereo system, heated power front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and remote start standard.

The Terrain Denali is immediately recognizable by its unique wheels, chrome grill, satin chrome accents and unique headlight and tail light design. Inside, the Denali comes with black leather seating surfaces with contrasting stitching, a soft touch instrument panel with French stitching, smoked mahogany wood trim and 8-way power adjustable front seats.

Safety equipment across all trims includes, an active lane departure system, forward collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, while the Denali trim also adds front and rear parking sensors, a blind spot warning system and rear collision warning.

Editors' Review

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It's about time GMC launched a new Terrain. After nine years on the market, the original was looking and feeling every bit its age by the time it was put out to pasture. The slightly more luxurious cousin of the Chevrolet Equinox, the Terrain sets itself apart by way of beefier exterior looks, exclusive cabin touches and unique technology features to set itself apart.

The differences between the Terrain and its Chevy counterpart are even more apparent when you step up to the Denali trim level, mostly in the way of extra chrome and more standard niceties. The problem, however, is that if you get too carried away checking option boxes, the Denali's price tag can creep up to uncomfortable heights. In the case of my test car, that means an as-tested price of $44,370 for what's essentially a nice-ish compact crossover.

More stylish

With its Ebony Twilight Metallic paint job, the Terrain Denali receives a surprising number of compliments. Some on the Roadshow staff aren't fond of all the chrome slathering the grille, rockers, roof rails, mirror caps and door handles, but the elements really do pop, catching the attention and approval of folks in parking lots and gas stations.

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The Good Swift handling reflexes. Imposing looks with added flash from chrome trim. IntelliLink infotainment system is responsive, intuitive and feature-rich with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities.

The Bad Transmission hunts for gears on downshifts. Adaptive cruise control isn’t available. Some interior trim isn’t up to snuff for a $44,000 vehicle.

The Bottom Line The GMC Terrain Denali may be worth the price of admission for people who value flashy exterior style and sportier handling, but people expecting a more luxurious ride for the money will want to look elsewhere.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 8
  • Design 6.5
  • Media 8.5

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