2019 GMC Terrain

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2019 GMC Terrain Test Drive Review: Your One-Stop-Shop For Luxury And Utility

by Gabe Beita Kiser

There are a number of car companies out there with three-letter monikers that found a way to make it big despite the inherent clunkiness of that naming structure. BMW is the example that first comes to mind, followed by Mercedes' in-house tuning division, AMG. But none take advantage of the terse sounds three syllables make when bunched together as well as Gee-Em-See, known by normal people as GMC. General Motors' work truck division is known best for providing customers with utmost utility sprinkled with bits of chrome and leather seats to make sure the construction crew knows which truck is the site supervisor's.

But as the SUV market gathered heat, The General saw that it could bring GMC's brand hallmarks down to the passenger car level. 2010 saw the cute and cuddly Terrain come to market with its masculinity implied by trapezoidal wheel arches and blocky proportions, while femininity was exuded through its compact dimensions. And while the Terrain's external dimensions changed and got softer with 2018's release of the crossover's 2nd-generation, the basic recipe hasn't been altered one bit.

Read in this review:

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2019 GMC Terrain Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2018 Terrain?

The 2019 GMC Terrain forms part of the second generation launched late in 2017 as a 2018 model. For 2019 the Terrain has received minor updates. On the outside, GMC has added the sporty-looking Black Edition package (only available on SLE and SLT trims) which consists of a blacked-out grille, large 19-inch wheels in, you guessed it, black, and various black exterior trimmings. Cars with the larger eight-inch infotainment display get an upgraded rearview camera for the new year. The active safety package GMC calls the Driver Alert 2 package, available for the Denali and SLT trims, has been updated with a 360-degree camera, pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control.

Pros and Cons

  • Powerful turbocharged engines
  • Diesel fuel economy
  • Good infotainment system
  • Composed handling
  • The diesel engine is slightly unrefined
  • Gear selection on nine-speed auto isn't brilliant
  • Curious interior design features
  • Options are expensive

What's the Price of the 2019 GMC Terrain?

The GMC Terrain starts off with a base price of $25,000 for the FWD SL which is $900 more than the entry-level Ford Escape. The FWD SLE is the next car in the lineup and costs $28,100. The AWD SLE comes at a slight premium and costs $29,800. The SLT is at the higher end of the model range and in FWD configuration will cost you $30,900. Next up in terms of pricing is the first diesel in the lineup, the FWD SLT Diesel, which is priced at $31,800. The AWD SLT is next up and will set you back $32,600. The AWD SLE Diesel costs $33,600, the FWD SLT Diesel is $33,700, and the AWD SLT comes in at $35,500. The range-topping Denali comes in FWD and AWD specification and will set you back $37,800 and $39,500 respectively. All prices exclude licensing and registration, as well as a $1,195 destination freight charge.

Best Deals on 2019 GMC Terrain

2019 GMC Terrain Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
SLE Diesel
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Diesel
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
SLT Diesel
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Diesel
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2019 GMC Terrain Trims and Specs

2019 Terrain Exterior

2019 GMC Terrain Front Angle View GMC
2019 GMC Terrain Side View GMC
2019 GMC Terrain Rear Angle View GMC
See All 2019 GMC Terrain Exterior Photos


  • Length 182.3 in
  • Wheelbase 107.3 in
  • Height 65.4 in
  • Max Width 72.4 in
  • Front Width 62.3 in
  • Rear Width 62.5 in
  • Curb Weight 3,449.0 lbs

2019 Terrain Performance

2019 GMC Terrain Gauge Cluster GMC
2019 GMC Terrain Engine GMC
2019 GMC Terrain Exhaust GMC

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Diesel, 2.0L Turbo Inline-4, 2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

While the Terrain's $25,000 starting price makes it hard to rank it alongside luxury competitors like the BMW X3, our tester's $40,000 price tag did indicate that the crossover should at least convey some level of refinement to the driver. In that pursuit, it half succeeded, half failed. The GMC does a decent job of remaining highly controllable, with steering that's as linear and direct as a German military general but softer than margarine. The suspension insulates road imperfections well but feels two-dimensional, making the Terrain ride like a simple and passive beast, like a box on four wheels rather than an intelligent forward-thinking machine. But that simplicity makes it easy to predict how the Terrain will react on the road. Getting into its groove is easy, but not rewarding. On the highway, the Terrain's light and uncommunicative steering and easy maneuverability can complicate things, making the crossover feel twitchy and unsettled with slight steering inputs. That feeling is exacerbated by the GMC's large blindspot, a symptom of the thin rear-quarter windows. Around town and in the parking lot, though, the Terrain's driving style shines by fading into the background and allowing the driver's mind to wander.

2019 Terrain Interior

2019 GMC Terrain Dashboard GMC
2019 GMC Terrain Front Seats GMC
2019 GMC Terrain Rear Passenger Seats GMC
See All 2019 GMC Terrain Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Front Head Room 40.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.5 in

2019 Terrain Trunk and Cargo Space

2019 GMC Terrain Trunk Space GMC
2019 GMC Terrain Maximum Cargo Space GMC
2019 GMC Terrain Dashboard 1 GMC

2019 Terrain Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Is the 2019 GMC Terrain A Good SUV?

The GMC Terrain finds itself in an awkward place in GM's lineup because, in theory, it ranks above the everyman Chevrolet Equinox but underneath the luxurious Cadillac XT4. However, given that the Equinox can be loaded with luxury features and easily surpass the Terrain's $25,000 starting price, and that an XT4 stripped to the bone can be had for a little over $35,000, the Terrain resides in a niche that's technically covered by GM's other small SUVs. It therefore justifies its existence by pandering to customers who want a vehicle that's more luxurious than an Equinox but more utilitarian than an XT4 - the exterior design alone reinforces that narrative. If that's the car you're looking for, the Terrain is not a bad place to look. Just be sure to shop around because even though the Terrain's shortfalls don't outweigh its better attributes, there are plenty of other small SUVs that can do what this GMC does.

What GMC Terrain Model Should I Buy?

If our experience with the Terrain taught us one thing, it's that this crossover must be had with the 2.0-liter turbo engine and kept light on the features in order to make up for the engine's price. Our ideal Terrain would be a 2.0-liter SLE trim with front-wheel drive (since our needs dictate the rear wheels aren't going to need power often enough to justify the extra costs) painted in a $595 shade of Red Quartz Tintcoat. The $675 worth of options comes exclusively from the Bright Accent Package, though buyers with larger wallets should consider the Infotainment Package, which we only omitted because it requires adding the $1,375 Driver Convenience package first. In total, our ideal Terrain would come out to $32,310 including the $1,195 destination charge, though the total price drops to $28,810 after recuperating the $3,500 cash allowance GMC is offering on the Terrain.

2019 GMC Terrain Comparisons

Ford Escape Ford
Chevrolet Equinox
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
GMC Terrain175 hp24/29 mpg$29,900
Ford Escape 180 hpTBC$28,000
Chevrolet Equinox 175 hp26/31 mpg$26,600

2019 GMC Terrain vs Ford Escape

The Ford Escape is a five-seat crossover SUV that is more urban explorer than off-road conqueror. The starting price of the Escape is $895 less than the Terrain and tops out at $34,120 excluding options. Base models are powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 168 hp and 170 lb-ft. The Terrain's smaller turbocharged unit is the better engine here, but Ford also offers a turbo 1.5 further up in the range. The top of the range turbocharged 2.0-liter offers similar performance figures. Fuel consumption ranges between a combined 24 mpg and 26 mpg. The Escape offers more front legroom and has a better overall cargo capacity and better standard tech options, but the GMC has a more luxurious interior as standard. If it is outright space you're after, the Ford is the best bet, but the GMC has a few clever tricks up its sleeve that makes it a worthy contender.

See Ford Escape Review

2019 GMC Terrain vs Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox joins the Terrain in the valley of the bland SUV. Both are priced in the mid-twenty to the mid-thirty range, but the Chevy offers a cheaper base model. The mechanically related Equinox is powered by the same turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder which produces precisely the same amount of power in base trim, but you also get the option of 2.5-liter naturally aspirated and 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engines, as well as the 1.6-liter turbo-diesel. Gas mileage ranges between 28 and 24 mpg combined, more or less on par with the GMC. The Equinox has a slightly larger fuel tank, giving it the edge on fuel range. The base model Equinox has a shorter list of standard features in an effort to cut costs over the more premium Terrain, but as you move up the Equinox trim ladder you get all the same equipment for less money. With so much shared between the two, it makes sense to take the cheaper option and buy the Equinox.

See Chevrolet Equinox Review
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