2020 GMC Terrain

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2020 GMC Terrain Review: Compact Luxury or Just Overpriced?

The smallest offering within GMC's SUV range, the second-generation Terrain compact crossover, offers a distinctive design and a comfortable driving experience, albeit at an elevated cost that is on the pricier side of the segment. Starting at $25,000 for the SL and topping out at $39,900 for the fully-loaded Denali with all-wheel-drive, the Terrain doesn't come cheaply. Highlights include a cosseting ride, an attractive interior with plush seating, an increased level of standard safety features, and impressive gas mileage. However, in a segment rich with talented competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5, the Terrain's underpowered base engine, below-average cargo capacity, and comparatively high price prevent it from scoring best-in-class honors.

Read in this review:

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2020 GMC Terrain Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Terrain?

A major criticism of the 2019 Terrain range was the lack of standard features for the price. For 2020, this has improved somewhat, as the range now benefits from a slew of standard driver-assistive safety features. Every trim level gets automatic emergency braking, lane keep assistance with lane departure warning, low-speed forward collision warning, a following distance indicator, and front pedestrian braking. Also standard are IntelliBeam headlamps - the vehicle's high-beams are turned on and off automatically depending on how dark it is and whether other traffic is detected. The previously available diesel engine option falls away for 2020, while Denali models get a revised suspension to enhance the ride quality. There's also a new Denali Premium Package with features heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats, amongst other luxuries, and some changes to the color palette for this year model.

Pros and Cons

  • Classy and comfortable cabin
  • Smooth, refined cruising ability
  • Improved level of standard safety features
  • Distinctive design remains fresh
  • Admirable fuel efficiency
  • Expensive in this segment
  • 1.5-liter entry-level engine is sluggish
  • Below-average cargo capacity
  • Awkward push-button gearshift

What's the Price of the 2020 GMC Terrain?

GMC's Terrain range starts off with the base front-wheel-drive SL at an MSRP of $25,000, exclusive of tax, registration, licensing, and a destination freight charge of $1,195. Next up is the FWD SLE and it costs $28,400. The FWD SLT is a significant step up in standard equipment and it costs $31,200 in 1.5-liter form and $33,045 with the 2.0-liter engine. The fully-loaded Denali AWD variant tops the range and costs a hefty $38,300. All-wheel-drive is available on all models besides the SL and costs an additional $1,600.

Best Deals on 2020 GMC Terrain

2020 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
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 GMC Terrain Trims and Specs

2020 Terrain Exterior

2020 GMC Terrain Front View GMC
2020 GMC Terrain Front View 1 GMC
2020 GMC Terrain Rear View GMC
See All 2020 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

2020 Terrain Performance

2020 GMC Terrain Front View 2 GMC
2020 GMC Terrain Side View GMC
2020 GMC Terrain Rim GMC

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0L Turbo Inline-4, 2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

With a clear preference for cosseting rather than entertaining, the softly sprung Terrain rides comfortably and makes for an excellent SUV for long-distance driving. Even when opting for pricier models with larger wheels, the Terrain soaks up the majority of surface imperfections and feels composed and refined.

While the steering system is direct and light enough to easily maneuver the SUV around town, it is largely devoid of feedback. The Mazda CX-5, for instance, provides a much more engaging experience. However, for the purposes of transporting a family and their paraphernalia around, the GMC will suit the needs of most owners. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available as an option on all models but the SL. Models equipped with all-wheel-drive can send power to the rear wheels only once the driver has engaged this mode using a console-mounted knob. This process does feel a bit archaic when many rivals will automatically default to all-wheel-drive should slippery conditions be detected. Also proving an annoyance is the button-operated transmission shifter which is tricky to use when executing rapid forward and reverse maneuvers, such as when parallel parking or executing a three-point turn. Overall, the Terrain proves to be an accomplished cruiser but certainly isn't the SUV to buy if sharp dynamics are high on the agenda.

2020 Terrain Interior

2020 GMC Terrain Dashboard GMC
2020 GMC Terrain Seats Folded GMC
2020 GMC Terrain Central Console GMC
See All 2020 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

2020 Terrain Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 GMC Terrain Luggage Space GMC
2020 GMC Terrain Maximum Cargo Space GMC
2020 GMC Terrain Maximum Cargo Space 1 GMC

2020 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 2020 GMC Terrain A Good SUV?

Improved as it may be with more standard safety features, the 2020 GMC Terrain hasn't changed all that much and it fails to excel in any one particular area. This is a problem when stacked up against GM's own Chevrolet Equinox which, although less comfortable, is a better value proposition. While the Terrain rides well, both the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 provide a more rewarding, balanced driving experience, along with superior cargo capacity and interiors that are made from more expensive materials. While the fully-loaded Denali variant can be specified with an array of premium features, it begins knocking on the door of luxury SUVs like the Cadillac XT4 and Lexus NX 300. Far from a dud compact SUV, the Terrain will likely please GMC loyalists with its distinctive styling and rugged feel from behind the wheel, but there are undoubtedly more accomplished competitors in this class.

What GMC Terrain Model Should I Buy?

The most worthwhile option on the Terrain is one you can't see: the 2.0-liter engine. Its added power over the 1.5-liter makes the Terrain a far more pleasant crossover to pilot, so this is the first upgrade we'd recommend. Unfortunately, that rules out both the SL and SLE. The 2.0-liter SLT with front-wheel-drive is, therefore, the sweet spot in the range, as it has enough power and standard features onboard, without feeling shortchanged in any area; additionally, delving into the options list doesn't feel as essential as it does on the cheaper trims. As the Denali's price sees it competing - price-wise - with some luxury SUVs, it's the SLT that works out as the more sensible option.

2020 GMC Terrain Comparisons

Chevrolet Equinox Chevrolet
GMC Acadia GMC
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
GMC Terrain175 hp24/29 mpg$29,900
Chevrolet Equinox 175 hp26/31 mpg$26,600
GMC Acadia 228 hp22/29 mpg$36,800

2020 GMC Terrain vs Chevrolet Equinox

The GMC's mechanically-similar twin, the Chevrolet Equinox, shares the same pair of turbocharged engines as the Terrain. The result is very similar, too, as the Equinox suffers from poor performance for models using the 1.5-liter engine. Starting at $1,200 less than the equivalent Terrain, the Equinox is lighter on the wallet and maintains this advantage all the way to the top-of-the-range Premier model. Both SUVs offer similar ride and handling characteristics, but the GMC's added cost does present itself in the cabins: it's the Terrain which has a better built and more luxurious-feeling interior, although neither are class-leading in these respects. Although the GMC feels a little more premium, it doesn't feel special enough to justify the extra cost over the Equinox.

See Chevrolet Equinox Review

2020 GMC Terrain vs GMC Acadia

GMC's Acadia is a worthy alternative for buyers considering the Terrain. For starters, three of the Acadia's trims can be bought for less than the top-of-the-line Terrain Denali. Of course, with the Acadia's bigger size comes more space for passengers - it can seat either six or seven depending on the chosen seating layout. Cheaper models use a rather lackluster naturally-aspirated engine, but a 2.0-liter turbo and a V6 are also available. Like the Terrain, the Acadia rides comfortably but lags behind key competitors in terms of cargo capacity. The Acadia's cabin is good but not great, offering little more than added interior space over the Terrain's. Still, size counts and the Acadia backs up its extra seating capacity with less rounded, more aggressive styling than the Terrain - if these factors matter to you, it's well worth a look.

See GMC Acadia Review

2020 GMC Terrain Popular Comparisons

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