General Motors has turned into a lean and mean car company and it shows in some of their latest vehicles including those proudly wearing the GMC badge. New to the lineup is the 2010 GMC Terrain that shares its underpinnings with the Chevrolet Equinox.
The new GMC Terrain is cleverly set off from its not-so-distant cousin in the exterior department. General Motors was bold with the styling of the GMC Terrain giving it an oversized grill, squared accents in the bodylines and somewhat of a reused rear-end from earlier GM products. From there the difference in the Terrain’s characterization from the Equinox ceases to exist with the exception of small interior details or the addition of the many available options. The options list on the Terrain is much longer than available with the Equinox which will somewhat differentiate GMC from Chevrolet.
GMC is known for building a tried-and-true truck and they continue to be professional grade even when it comes to their least priced vehicle. The new Terrain is very sure footed for a small to midsized SUV. The ride is very smooth and even refined similar to a midsized car with a long wheelbase. Actually, our test car, despite only having 1500 miles on the clock, was one of the smoothest riding vehicles that I have been in this year. Maybe it has something to do with the new Michelin Latitude tires wrapped around the optional 18 inch machined aluminum wheels or the 112.5 inch wheelbase.
The new GMC Terrain is not expensive but it is not cheap either. The pricing difference in a fully loaded Terrain vs. one that is “comfortably” equipped can vary upwards of $13,000 north of the base price. The GMC Terrain is already $1800 more than the Chevy Equinox and options such as wood trim, navigation and chrome 19-inch wheels will put you into baby Denali territory.
The choice of engines can be a major deciding factor when choosing a small SUV. You have to ask yourself if you are going to be towing a relatively light load or do you have 3 medium to large sized kids to tote around town. All of this stuff actually makes a difference in choosing the 182hp and 172lb-ft of torque 4-cylinder engine or opt for the V6 with 264hp and 222lb-ft torque. Our test vehicle was equipped with the 4-cylinder engine which was surprisingly peppy much due to the gearing of the 6-speed automatic. This was an excellent choice as the engine and transmission work well together in the front-wheel-drive setup. The all-wheel-drive option rather throws a wrench in this perfect marriage as it adds extra weight and lowers the fuel consumption.
Fuel consumption is a major selling point for the Terrain and Equinox. A class leading 32mpg highway (4-cyl) is pretty much unheard of for a non-hybrid SUV. This is something GM is well deserved of bragging rights.
One major complaint about our test car was the lifeless electric steering. You should not be able to steer any SUV with just one finger. The electric steering provides hardly any feedback. Thankfully the V6 model adds hydraulic steering, which provides substantial feedback and a more enjoyable driving experience.
Inside of the GMC Terrain is a decent interior with lots of plastics that do a good job simulating quality interior pieces. The buttons are well laid out. I do have to admit, it took some getting used to the dashboard cluster LCD readout controls being located in the center console. This was one of those unnatural button placements. Otherwise, all other controls are where they should be including the integrated rear seat DVD entertainment system that worked seamless with the normal audio controls.
Safety features such as stability control, traction control, dual stage airbags, and even OnStar are all standard on the Terrain. It is almost common place to find virtually the same standard safety features on new SUV’s especially due to the higher roll-over risk. Although, stability control is not as intrusive in the Terrain as found on other small SUV’s. Surprisingly you can slide around a bit before the computer puts an end to your fun but it keeps all 4000lbs in check.
General Motors dumped a lot of good craftsmanship into their new vehicles and it shows. The cabin is always quiet other than the slight whine you get from the 4-banger in spirited driving. Fit and finish is good and on par with other competitors. Speaking of other competitors, the Terrain is matched up against the Nissan Murano, Toyota Rav-4, Hyundai Santa-Fe and even the Ford Edge. If you are in the market for a small to midsized SUV and you want top quality, a long list of available features and versatility all for a relatively low price, then the GMC Terrain is for you.
Our SLE-2 test vehicle included the convenience package, rear entertainment system, sunroof and 18-inch machined aluminum wheels bringing the price to $29,475.
Price: Base $25,950 As-Tested $29,475
Type: Compact SUV
Where Built: Canada
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles
Length: 185.3 in.
Width: 72.8 in.
Wheel Base: 112.5 in.
Ground Clearance: 6.9 in.
Curb Weight: 3829 lbs.
Gross Weight: 4960 lbs.
Front Head Room: 39.8 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.1 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 55.7 in.
Rear Head Room: 39.2 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 55.3 in.
Rear Hip Room: 51.3 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.2 in.
Rear Leg Room: 39.9 in.
Luggage Capacity: 31.6 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 64 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5
Base Number of Cylinders: 4
Base Engine Size: 2.4 liters
Base Engine Type: Inline 4
Horsepower: 182 hp
Max Horsepower: 6700 rpm
Torque: 172 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4900 rpm
Maximum Payload: 1162 lbs.
Maximum Towing Capacity: 3500 lbs.
Drive Type: FWD
Turning Circle: 40 ft.
0-60mph: 8.2 seconds
Fuel Tank Capacity: 18 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 22 mpg / 32 mpg / 26 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 396 mi. / 576 mi. / 468 mi.