The GMC Terrain is a chunky, boxy bruiser in the crossover market. With its squared-off styling--even the fender flares are at right angles--it resembles few of its competitors, and its bold, chrome-ringed grille sets off a large GMC badge to ensure that it won't get lost in a crowd.
The Terrain features a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, or a 3.0-liter V-6. This latter engine is a necessity for hauling around the Terrain's copious weight, which is substantially more than its competitors--and as a result, it returns midrange combined fuel economy and acceleration. Yet once it's moving, the Terrain returns solid handling manners and up to 32 mpg on the highway in front-wheel drive models with the four-cylinder engine. The V-6 is now E85 biofuel capable, and comes with an "eco" mode to manage its all-wheel drive system for maximum economy.
The Terrain's interior is the newest that GM has to offer, with cutting-edge design and tasteful aluminum-look trim. A backup camera and touch-screen audio system are standard on all models, a Terrain exclusive, while Bluetooth, eight-speaker sound system, remote starter, 18-inch wheels, and a power liftgate are all available on different models.
Engines: Ecotec 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter V-6
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Models: SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, SLT-2
The Terrain, along with its Chevrolet Equinox sibling, debuts GM's crash alert system, which is a forward collision system that monitors traffic and speed conditions, alerting the driver with beeps and dashboard lights if a crash is imminent. A touch-screen audio system is also standard on all models for 2012, with satellite radio and MP3 capability. GMC IntelliLink is available as an option, which includes smartphone integration with hands-free voice activation, as well as Bluetooth and Pandora Internet radio. The Ecotec 2.4-liter engine is now E85 biofuel compatible.
The Terrain is big, bold, and, for a compact crossover, not easily forgettable. A three-deck chrome grille demands attention and the overall shape is as solid as the Terrain's two-ton weight. The most memorable styling indulgence is the Terrain's square wheelarches, which give it a broad-shouldered look. An attractive option package includes 19-inch chrome wheels.
Inside, the 2011 Terrain is sleek, if somewhat confining, a surprise considering its large exterior stance. Red ambient lighting throughout the cabin illuminates a thoroughly modern dash. Fold down the MultiFlex sliding, 60/40 rear seat and the Terrain will swallow 63.9 cubic feet of cargo.
Performance & Handling
The Terrain wins high marks for handling with a well-honed chassis and solid steering. Its optional 3.0-liter V-6 engine delivers 264 horsepower, and is backed by a six-speed automatic. The Terrain's heavy curb weight dulls highway acceleration and city fuel economy, but its highway EPA rating is at the top end of its class.
The Terrain includes standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, along with GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Six airbags are standard, including dual front air bags, head curtain side air bags for all rows, and seat-mounted side air bags to protect occupants' midsections.
EPA Fuel Economy
2.4-liter inline-4, front-wheel drive: 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway
2.4-liter inline-4, all-wheel drive: 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway
3.0-liter V-6, front-wheel drive: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway
3.0-liter V-6, all-wheel drive: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway
- Solid handler
- Programmable power liftgate
- Standard rearview camera
- Good mileage
You Won't Like
- Heavy for a crossover
- Overwrought styling
- Cramped interior
Solid crossover could use a diet
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Edge
- Nissan Murano
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Mazda CX-7
- Chevrolet Equinox