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2013 GMC Terrain Denali Debut

Three more syllables, 37 horsepower, and a boatload more luxury are exactly what this crossover needed.

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What's New

The Denali sub-brand is to GMC what the Designo package is the Mercedes-Benz or BMW Individual is to the discerning BMW shopper. If you don't like the Terrain, a new soft-touch dashboard, better leather, a blinged-out exterior with new 19-inch wheels, and all of the other high-end bells and whistles aren’t going to sway you. But if you like the GMC Terrain but thought it was deserving of a nicer interior to match its chunky, rugged-looking exterior, the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali is probably just your cup of tea. GMC's announcement that it would be dropping the lackluster 3.0-liter V-6 found in 2012 vehicles for the much better 3.6-liter unit found in the Cadillac SRX made the announcement of the Terrain Denali all the better.

Who It's For

We wouldn't go as far as to say the GMC Terrain Denali is a luxury vehicle, but it certainly has its share of premium features. With the V-6 engine and all-wheel drive, it'll likely cost around $40,000, putting it within aim of the Volvo XC60, Audi Q5, and in-house rival Cadillac SRX. In fact, it'll even have the same engine as the Cadillac, albeit down seven horsepower from the Cadillac to 301 in the Terrain Denali. But the GMC will also be available in front-wheel drive and with the economical four-cylinder engine already available in other Terrain models. All of them will be aimed toward customers who may want the luxury feel without the ostentation harnessed in a specific upscale badge.

Key Features

The 2013 GMC Terrain Denali stands out from its lesser siblings most noticeably with that Remington razor-inspired grille. But it also has:
  • Contrasting red stitching in its new, better-quality black leather interior.
  • A soft-touch dashboard with red French stitching.
  • Mahogany wood inserts and "Denali" embossed in the front seats.
  • Available lane departure warning, crash avoidance, and other safety features packed in the crossover.

What We Think

We're not the biggest fans of the standard 2012 GMC Terrain, although we can understand its appeal. With an upgraded interior and much-improved engine, two of our biggest gripes over the last version were solved. But why should you have to pay extra for a soft-touch dash in a crossover that will already take the better part of $30,000? And is a luxury package with some more chrome and bigger wheels really worth the extra cash?

The Terrain has been a runaway success, and we think the Denali version will only complement sales. We're just wondering why modest upgrades were just cause for an all-new trim level and what is likely to be a decent-sized price bump.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: New York 2012