Buyer's Guide

2019 GMC Terrain
Select a Different Model (11 Available): Denali AWD
Fair Market Price $ 37288
Fuel Economy 21 / 26 mpg
Cargo (Std/Max) 30/63 cu.ft.
Seating (Std/Max) 5/5
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  • Some models feel light and playful
  • Three turbocharged engines to choose from
  • Convenient and versatile cargo storage


  • Unconventional shifter divides opinion
  • Interior trim looks more expensive than it feels
  • Big wheels and stiff suspension on Denali deliver brittle ride

New for 2019 

A Black Edition is now available on SLE and SLT trims, which adds black 19-inch wheels and other exterior details for a subdued look. An optional Chrome package styles SLT models with bright aluminum wheels and exterior trim. A high-definition backup camera is optional, and a parking camera system available on Denali models gives a top-down view of the vehicle's surroundings. Adaptive cruise control and emergency pedestrian braking are added to an optional safety package. Smokey Quartz Metallic is a new exterior paint option.  

What's Standard

GMC's smallest crossover is the five-seat Terrain. It's got city style, with LED daytime running lights and a greenhouse design that gives the roof a floating look.

2019 Terrain SL: Entry-level SL trim rolls on 17-inch aluminum wheels and includes convenience features like keyless entry and start, one-touch-down windows, and heated side mirrors. Inside are manually-adjustable cloth seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A 7.0-inch infotainment display in the center stack includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a smaller 3.5-inch monochromatic display between the gauges shows key vehicle information.

4 Cool Features

Opting for higher Terrain trims adds luxury, convenience, and technology features that aim to make it competitive with premium crossovers.

  • All Terrains come with four USB ports: a type-A and type-C for charging and data in the front, and two charge-only standard ports in the rear. Two additional type-A USB data ports inside the center console are part of an optional infotainment package.
  • The Terrain has 29.6 cu. ft. of cargo area behind the second row, which expands to 63.3 cu. ft. with the second row folded. Pulling handy levers near the rear cargo doors drops the rear seats. The front passenger seat also folds flat to help accommodate items up to eight feet long. Hidden storage beneath the cargo floor adds a bit of extra space.
  • A programmable power liftgate, available on SLT and above, has a memory function that limits how high the liftgate opens. That's helpful if, for example, you park somewhere with a low ceiling that the liftgate could bang into.
  • The top-level Denali trim can be had with driver assist and safety tech, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist. A package adds a self-parking feature, plus a surround-view camera system that helps with fitting into tight spaces.

Performance and Fuel Economy

The Terrain's base engine on SL, SLE, and SLT trims is a 1.5-liter turbo-four. It produces 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque, and returns 26/30 city/highway mpg. Available on SLE and SLT trims, but standard on Denali, is a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 with 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, which gets 22/28 city/highway mpg. Both of those engines are linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission, and feature auto start-stop.

The  SLE and SLT Terrain can be had with an optional turbodiesel engine, making it one of the few diesel passenger cars on the market in 2019. That 1.6-liter I-4 makes 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission, and gets best-in-class 28/39 city/highway mpg. Front-wheel drive is standard for all Terrain models, with all-wheel drive optional, which reduces fuel efficiency by about one mpg in each measure.

What We Think

The Terrain is a competent crossover, if not without some quirks. In our First Drive we sampled a variety of configurations, including the base-spec 1.5 liter, front-wheel drive trim. "It felt refreshingly light and playful," and "delivers power quickly and smoothly on demand." The diesel, too, "proves sufficient to get you going in a hurry when you need it." Top-trim Denali gets the "robust" 2.0-liter turbo-four, but doesn't feel like a big step up from the 1.5. What's more, with specially tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels, its ride quality can feel stiff. The Terrain has active noise cancellation to reduce wind and engine noise, but it couldn't quiet the few rattles we heard in highway driving. All-wheel drive defaults to front-wheel drive, but won't automatically engage the rear wheels in the event of slippage—the car warns that AWD is needed, which then must be manually engaged with the selection knob.

The Terrain's shifter is controversial. GMC freed up space in the center console by assigning gear controls to buttons on the instrument panel. The driver pushes buttons to select park, neutral, or low, but pulls toggles to engage drive or reverse. Our staff was polarized by its function—some found it intuitive, others called it a deal-breaker. Regardless, be aware that the Terrain's shifter is unconventional.

Safety Ratings

IIHS crashworthiness ratings for the Terrain are all Good, the top designation. Front crash prevention earned the top score of Advanced; when equipped with an optional safety package it avoided a collision in the 12 mph test, and reduced speed by 22 mph in the 25 mph test. However, the standard HID and optional LED headlights earned a Poor designation, with the IIHS noting the units often provided inadequate visibility, and that the low beams created excessive glare. From the NHTSA, the Terrain earns a five-star (out of five) overall safety rating, which factors five-star frontal and side crash scores, and a four-star rollover score.

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl Turbo 2.0 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, 9 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode (9T50)
Denali AWD
Mid-Size Utility
Standard MPG
Body Style
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
Package Invoice Retail
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Corrosion Warranty Miles
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Full Warranty Miles
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IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Side
IIHS Overall Side Crash
NHTSA Rating Overall
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NHTSA Rating Rear Side
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NHTSA Rating Rollover
Amount Description Expiry Date
$0 3.64% Financing for a maximum term of 75 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models. 08-31-2020
$0 3.39% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 72 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models. 08-31-2020
$0 3.89% Financing for a maximum term of 84 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models. 08-31-2020
$4500 GM announces Customer Cash on select models. 08-31-2020