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Losing Weight and Gaining Tech: 2018 GMC Terrain SLT


As crossovers follow the trend of size over matter, General Motors on the other hand has been on a downsize kick, and with the all-new GMC Terrain, it had nowhere to hide when GM pulled out the scissors. Now, properly fitting in with the compact crossover segment, how does the new Terrain stand up against some of the more popular Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5?


The new Terrain is definitely a much more appropriately designed crossover over its processors chunky establishment. The streamline enterprise properly fits today’s modern display of contemporariness. All models come standard with bright, HID Headlights and rear LED accent lights. Seeing our mid-level trim, it came handsomely outfitted with 18-inch machine finished wheels that fit its profile well.


Riding on a new platform shared with Chevrolet’s new Equinox, the Terrain is a happy little thing with a superior foundation and ride quality that can match even some of the more premium crossovers on the market. It uses three new powerplants including two turbo’s and one diesel engine similar to the Chevrolet Cruze we recently tested. The brute of the bunch is the new 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four engine at a mere $595 premium. However standard across the board, excluding the fully upscale Denali, is a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder.


Considering our $31,395 mid-level SLT trim hadn’t forgone for the more powerful engine, the 170-horsepower work horse had its work cut out for it. Especially considering the 1,000-mile road trip we had in store for it. Taking over 10-seconds to 60 mph, it become evident that the Terrain’s small engine isn’t much of a speedy Gonzales  – which can work in our favor. With its all-new 9-speed automatic transmission, it explores the city streets more with ease as the gears flow from one to the other. On a busy highway, we noticed that its new gearing and significant turbo lag showcased a bit of disappointment as the transmission struggled to find the right gear for passing and by the time it made up its mind, it was already too late.


Seeing that the Terrain’s home turf fits more with the grocery getting and school runs, its well-engineered chasses supported confidence and a savory ride. The Terrain handle itself with ease carrying a pleasantness to the weighted steering wheel that never acquired a bored attitude. While it may not match the athletic ability of the Mazda, its carries a positive outcome that can be favored by most drivers.IMG_3977.jpg

With the new engines replacing the Terrains old gas-guzzling V-6 and 2.4-four banger, it is much more fuel conscious. After spending over 12 hours on the highway and fighting against some very strong winds, the Terrain managed to see 27 mpg combined. While that may fall one short of the EPA, we gather the Terrain could do better if we weren’t fighting so aggressively with Mother Nature as if she was our in-law.


Our SLT model being in the center of the trim line, it was so heavily optioned that we almost question why not have gotten the Denali. With a price tag just over $38,000, the Terrain was very well equipped with all the premium features we expect in a modern car. The nicely appointed brown leather is a pleasant display from the average black that is found in most cars and exhibits a tasteful atmosphere. The interior is handsomely designed with a rugged appreciation, yet comfortably appointed with an array of soft touch materials and premium quality, tactile controls and functionality.


The Terrain is following a certain trend from other manufactures of a gearless gear lever with dash mounted buttons – while everything is fine and dandy with timeliness of the response time, the buttons present a bit of a distant challenge having to reach and then there’s the low range manual mode that more for show than functionality. This does however, streamlines the interiors design, opening up for more storage capacity and a continuous, airy flow.



The Terrain encompasses new technology as well a whole new infotainment interface with more up-to-date ups, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity. It even offers the ability to practically go shopping online through the comforts of its 8-inch touch screen display at a $1180 upgrade that will also include OnStar Connected, HD Radio and an upgraded 7-speaker Bose premium sound system.  Both front and rear passengers get two USB ports. With the $840 Driver Alert Package I and $495 Driver Alert Package II, the Terrain carries all the up-to-date safety features like Lane Change Alert, Blind Zone Alert, Rear Park Assist with Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Keep Assist. Topping it off, the $1250 Preferred Package upgraded our comfort with Memory Driver Seat, semi-power adjustable passenger seat, and hands free power lift tailgate where you just have to wave your foot under the rear bumper to activate.


With the Terrain’s downsized floor plan, it still continues to be one of the largest compact crossovers in its class. This means more passenger comfort for front and rear occupants as well as more storage capabilities. However, with a price tag nearing the $40k range, it’s a tall order for such a small engine considering the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are $4,000 less. However, by upgrading to the Denali for a mere $1,000 more, that could sway more in favor of our opinion.IMG_3925.jpg

Vehicle Specifications:
2018 GMC Terrain SLT: $31,320
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $38,070
Performance Specs:
1.5-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder – 170-Horsepower, 9-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±10.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 26/30/28 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 26.4 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±380 Miles


  1. Agreed with you, the Denali seems like a logical move if you’re going to drop $ on the SLT. I like the idea of a ‘downsized floor plan’ while making good use of space. Too often, today’s cars are getting overly big.

    • I do like GMC direction with downsizing their products. Everything has gotten too big. But GMC is making it a premium price to go smaller, I hope that doesn’t have a negative effect in the long run.

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