First Drive: 2010 GMC Terrain
This 2012 review is representative of model years 2010 to 2013.
By Steve Siler of Car and Driver
While the General is in the process of honorably discharging half of its global brands, its remaining army must hold down the fort in an automotive battleground only marginally less vast than in prerecession days. This means that each of the four remaining GM brands will see an expansion of duties, including heretofore truck-only GMC, which, for the first time in its 107 years, has not one but two crossover offerings: the three-row, eight-passenger Acadia and now the smaller, five-passenger Terrain.
Equinox in a Tux
Thus, choosing between the Chevy and the GMC boils down to which you consider to be better-looking. Sharing only the windshield and a few other ancillary bits (such as door handles) with the Equinox, the Terrain is crisp and boxy where the Equinox is curvy, yet to most eyes that have seen it in person, the Terrain's styling works just as well. Surprisingly, the blunt shape has the same coefficient of drag as the previous-generation Corvette's. If there is anything that might stir up controversy about the design, it's the dominant grille, followed by the squared-off wheel openings — both of which tie the Terrain to other GMC offerings but don't work as well on the Terrain. Other than those, there's little any of us find disagreeable.
Ditto inside. All Terrains come with unique upper-dash designs, gauges, graining, and red contrasting stitching. The futuristic center-stack controls are shared with the Equinox, although nighttime illumination — which includes lights for cubbies, floor areas, and door pulls — is rendered in red and white versus the Chevy's ice blue.
Identical Road Manners
Neither Cheap Nor Pricey
Options themselves are quite reasonably priced, but there are a lot of them that can take the price of a loaded Terrain well into the upper-$30,000 range. The gutsy V-6 is only a $1500 upgrade; a dual-screen DVD entertainment system is $1295; the trailering package costs $350; chrome-clad 19-inch wheels are $900. Add all that onto the top-shelf SLT2 model, along with the available touch-screen navigation system ($2145) and all-wheel drive ($1750), and the price climbs to nearly $38,000, which seems either reasonable or extreme, depending on what you are cross-shopping it against. If you see the Terrain as an alternative to a nice Honda CR-V or leather-wrapped Toyota RAV4, à la Equinox, it's sort of pricey. But if, as does GMC, one sees it as competing with loaded mid-sizers like the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge, the Terrain is midpack to bargain-priced.
Don't be surprised to see an even pricier Denali model enter the picture sooner rather than later, equipped with things like LED lighting, premium materials, and real wood trim. That model should reinforce GMC's upscale positioning and further differentiate the Terrain from the Equinox, although it would run the risk of standing on sales of the newly introduced Cadillac SRX. Meanwhile, what GMC offers with the Terrain is certainly a respectable, credible, and slightly upscale alternative to the Equinox.
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):