2018 Terrain New Car Test Drive
The 2018 GMC Terrain compact crossover is all new, from the downsized chassis, to the all-turbo/9-speed powertrain, to the new body that moves from macho to mundane. The Terrain is much like the Chevy Equinox, with the same footprint, but sheetmetal that's sculpted into bold scoops and creases, and bigger fenders.
The compact crossover is a tough class. Terrain competes not only against its near-twin Equinox, but also Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, and others. Terrain's acceleration is smart, its handling sound, and its ride well tuned.
For 2018, the excellent 3.6-liter GM V6 engine gets disappeared. Its 301 horsepower will be missed in a vehicle as heavy as the Terrain, at 3500 pounds. Its replacement is a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 making 252 horsepower, with vivid acceleration but a big thirst, achieving 24 mpg EPA Combined with fwd, 23 mpg with awd.
The base engine gets retired too. The old one was a 2.4-liter I4 with direct injection, making 180 horsepower and getting 25 mpg. The new one is a turbocharged 1.5-liter making 170 horsepower, but with more torque and fuel mileage of 28 mpg with fwd, 26 mpg with awd.
If the stats of the new engines don't sound so impressive, look at it this way: the new 252-horsepower I4 gets just 1 less mpg than the old 180-horsepower one.
There's also a diesel engine that gets better fuel mileage, 32 mpg with either front- or all-wheel drive. It's entertaining in a grown-up way, but less energetic.
The new 9-speed automatic transmission pairs beautifully with the new engines, but lacks manual control, with audio controls where we wish there were paddle shifters.
GMC Terrain comes as SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive available ($1750) on every model but the SL. The turbocharged 2.0-liter is an option on the Terrain SLE and SLT, and standard on the Denali.
Terrain SL ($25,990) is equipped with premium cloth, power features, active noise cancellation, air conditioning, cruise control, keyless ignition, 17-inch wheels, 3.5-inch digital display between the gauges, and rearview camera. There is a 7.0-inch touchscreen for audio, OnStar and in-car data hardware, two USB ports, and auxiliary jack, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Terrain SLE ($28,815) adds dual-zone automatic climate control. A trailer-tow package is an option on the SLE with the 2.0-liter turbo engine.
Terrain SLT ($32,315) gets leather seats and an 8.0-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, blind-spot monitors, a 110-volt power outlet, remote start, power driver seat, heated front seats, panoramic sunroof.
Denali ($38,515) adds a handsfree tailgate, a power passenger front seat, HD radio, seven-speaker audio, navigation, 19-inch wheels, LED headlamps, and a bundle of safety equipment including forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warnings, and rear parking sensors. The forward-collision warning bundle remains an option, as are surround-view cameras and automatic park assist. So are wireless smartphone charging, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.
The turbodiesel is available in SLE and SLT trim.