GMC Terrain: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

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The GMC Terrain is just a macho-er looking version of Chevrolet’s roomy Equinox. What do you need to know before you buy a GMC Terrain? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.

The Chevrolet Equinox is GM’s fuel efficient, small CUV. Except that it isn’t really all that small. General Motor’s GMC brand decided to build a tougher looking version and sell it for a few grand more. That vehicle is called the GMC Terrain.


GM’s Theta platform has graced us with vehicles like the Saturn Vue, the Pontiac Torrent, the Saab 9-4X, and even the Suzuki XL7. Okay, so maybe these car’s don’t necessarily make you think “high quality,” but the platform is actually pretty good. Ride quality is decent, safety marks are high, and because the underpinning has been around for so long, most of the design quirks have been worked out, meaning you won’t be spending all of your time at the shop.

One of the major pluses of the Terrain is its size. It’s over 185 inches long and has a massive 112.5 inch wheelbase — both huge dimensions for the segment. As a result, second row seating feels downright cavernous, especially with that rear bench slid all the way back.


Plus, gas mileage isn’t bad, either.

What’s New About The 2015 GMC Terrain


The first generation GMC Terrain launched in 2010 with a 3.0-liter V6 and a 2.0-liter Ecotec inline 4. Since then, the 3.0-liter has been replaced by a more powerful, more efficient direct-injected 3.6-liter V6, some new safety gadgets have been introduced, and the in-car communication system has been freshened up. But otherwise, the 2015 Terrain isn’t much different from the car that launched five years ago.

Which One We’d Buy

The Terrain comes in a bunch of different varieties: SL, SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, and SLT-2. If we were looking for a larger crossover with good fuel economy, we’d probably just get the L model Chevrolet Equinox and forego the GMC entirely.


But if the Terrain’s styling has you hooked, then we’d recommend the base SL trim. While the small inline 4 is a bit sluggish and tends to want to downshift quite often, it scores eight whole miles per gallon higher than the V6 model on the highway. And if you’re shopping for a crossover, fuel economy is paramount. The base model offers the basics: backup camera, power windows and locks, AC, cloth manually adjustable seats, and that’s about it. But if you’re looking for cargo volume, safety, and decent fuel efficiency, the $22,120 (plus $925 destination fee) Terrain SL may just be the ticket. [Build Your Own]

Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $24,070 - $33,070 Max Advertised Towing Capability: 3,500 pounds [V6]

MPG: 22 city/ 32 hwy / 26 combined [2wd I4] Engines: 2.4-liter I4, 3.6-liter V6

Curb Weight: ~3,850 - 4,050 pounds IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick

Transmissions: 6-speed automatic transmission

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, FWD/AWD

Photo credit: GMC