If GM didn’t put the old Terrain out of its misery, another automaker would have in this highly competitive segment.
GMC has been on a role lately being the brand that rolls out GM’s new SUVs that are replacing the slowly aging models. First was the Acadia, which gave way to the new Traverse that was unveiled at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Now, at the same show, GM has decided to give us a glimpse into its new and attractive SUV lineup by debuting a refreshed GMC Terrain. Like the new Traverse, the Terrain drastically ups the game over its predecessor and sets the precedence for the next generation of its Chevy equivalent, the Equinox.
Gone are the Chevy HHR looks of the old model and in its place is a curvaceous body that follows strong bones framing the body underneath. Like the Acadia, the Terrain gains an octagonal grille and an LED-laden front end that looks attractive, a virtue that its main competitor, the Honda CR-V, doesn't have. The mini SUV's good looks, aided in part by the Denali package and its bevy of chrome accents, are easy on the eye, which is a good thing because the options list is expansive and taxes the eyesight. Available are SL, SLE, SLT and Denali trims with engines ranging from an all-new 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine, a 1.5-liter turbocharged gas unit, and 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine to top off the range.
All of these are mated to a nine-speed automatic, which can route power to the front wheels or all four wheels. An Electronic Precision Shifter eliminates a physical shifter and replaces it with buttons, a practice we've found questionable in the past. AWD models reserve the ability to cut power to the rear in the city to save gas. Despite being a baby SUV, the Terrain is still a luxury vehicle and must feel like one, so GMC outfitted it with soft touch materials, real aluminum accents, a power lift gate, noise cancellation, a Bose sound system, and a heated steering wheel to complement the seating surfaces. Practicality prevails with secure storage bins under the floor of the rear storage area to prevent theft.
On the road, driver’s safety is increased with aids such as surround vision forward collision alert with following distance indicator, low-speed forward automatic braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and the child-saving safety alert seat. It may not drive for you, but the amount of back seat driving on the Terrain's part will make you think it wants to. This long awaited refresh drastically improves on the outgoing model, which first saw the light of day in 2009. If you can stand to wait a bit longer, then expect the new Terrain in dealerships come late 2017 badged as a 2018 model so that you can have a few months to brag to the neighbors about its newness.