Model Tested: 2018 GMC Terrain Denali AWD
Engine: 2-liter DOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder
Power: 252 horsepower, 260 lb. ft. of torque
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
EPA Ratings: 21/city, 26/highway, 23/combined
Base Price: $39,270
As Tested: $44,370
Overview: The 2018 GMC Terrain is an all-new compact crossover, with a new powerplant, transmission, downsized chassis and new body. The Terrain is the Chevy Equinox’s mechanical sibling. The Terrain comes in SL, SLE, SLT and Denali trim. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive available on everything but the SL. The new, turbocharged 2-liter is an option on the SLE and SLT, and standard on the Denali (our test vehicle). The Terrain competes in a tough, crowded market segment that includes the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rouge, its sibling Equinox, and others.
Walkaround: The Terrain’s styling borders on bland — neither attractive nor ugly — just another crossover. The large, rectangular grille has rounded edges. It’s chrome on the Denali but a more attractive black on lesser models, while a strip of chrome runs along the doors and over the window line. The triangular-shaped headlights appear to spy on each other over the grille. The rear end features a blacked-out rear window flowing into a wide, black band across the rear pillar.
Interior: The Terrain has about the same seating room as the RAV4 and the Escape. The cabin is somewhat disjointed, seemingly relying on the leather and aluminum trim to bind it together, with hard plastic common. The optional panoramic sunroof poaches 1.6 inches of headroom. The infotainment system features a 7-inch screen with large icons for a simple, clear and quickly responsive display without too much information or confusing features. The rear cargo area offers 29.6 cubic feet of storage and 63.3 with the seats folded — not exactly flat. There are also bins under the floor. The front passenger seat folds flat, providing room for everything from skis to 2-by-4s.
Behind the Wheel: The Terrain’s acceleration is authoritative for a four-banger, and the new nine-speed transmission is well matched with those 252 horses. Handling is sound, easily smoothing out bumps and bad pavement but seemingly more about comfort than cornering. The optional all-wheel-drive is simple — activated by a knob on the console, not a computer — with different traction modes.
Bottom Line: The Terrain Denali is GMC’s top-of-the-line compact crossover in a very competitive market segment.