2017 Terrain New Car Test Drive
Launched as a 2010 model, the GMC Terrain compact crossover SUV has not been redesigned since. Mechanically identical to the Chevrolet Equinox, 2017 GMC Terrain has adopted an even more masculine demeanor with the addition of a Nightfall edition.
Sharp body lines and creased features make the boldly square-jawed Terrain stand out. Not everyone favors the rough-and-ready look, but its brash design definitely makes an impression, whereas many crossovers blend into each other.
GMC Terrain offers a choice between a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine that makes 180 horsepower, or a throaty 301-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6. Both engines mate with an adroit-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission, and both can have either front-drive or optional all-wheel drive.
The direct-injected, 2.4-liter four-cylinder is a familiar GM workhorse of an engine, while the V6 is found in the far bigger GMC Acadia. With the abundant go-power of the V6, a Terrain can tow as much as 3,500 pounds, meaning light boats, snowmobiles, motorcycles.
Earning good marks in both ride and handling, GMC Terrain competes against a host of compact crossovers, including the top-ranked, strong-selling Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Apart from poor rearward visibility, the Terrain comes across as a viable contender, and the rearview camera that comes standard helps alleviate those obstacles to clear vision. Some blind spots are caused by the Terrain's fixed back-seat headrests, which cannot be folded down or removed. We recommend opting for rear parking sensors.
On the safety front, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Terrain Good scores in all crash-tests, including the difficult frontal small-overlap collision. As a result, it was named a Top Safety Pick. Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Terrain a four-star overall crash-test rating, including four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact.
Terrains can be equipped with some of the latest safety technology, including blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and forward collision alert.
The 2017 GMC Terrain comes in SL, SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT, and Denali trim levels. Terrain SL ($24,995) has front-wheel drive, four-cylinder engine, fabric upholstery, remote keyless entry, tilt/telescoping steering column, rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, six-speaker audio, and 18-inch wheels. The 6-speaker touchscreen audio system has a CD player and USB port. Also standard is OnStar 4G LTE with a wi-fi hotspot. Terrain SLE-1 ($28,225) adds body-color heated power mirrors and satellite radio. Terrain SLE-2 ($29,725) adds automatic climate control, a power driver's seat, chrome luggage rails, GMC's IntelliLink 7.0-inch touchscreen, and Pioneer 8-speaker audio.
GMC Terrain SLT ($31,845) gets perforated leather-appointed seating, heated front seats, remote start, and a chrome exterior appearance package. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.
The GMC Terrain Nightfall edition package ($795) adds a charcoal grille with black accents and surround, black 18-inch wheels, black front/rear fascia accents, including black luggage rails. The Nightfall package is offered on Terrain SLE-2 and Terrain SLT models, with four body-color choices.
GMC Terrain Denali ($35,200) features perforated leather-upholstered seats, softer-touch dashboard, woodgrain-trimmed steering wheel, chrome door handles and skid plates, and satin-metallic trim. Active-safety features include blind-zone monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning, and rear park assist.
All-wheel drive ($1,750) and V6 engine ($1,500) are available for most trim levels. Navigation and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system also are optional, as is the Open Road package.