An all-new platform, a turbodiesel, and a push-button shifter headline the new generation

GMC has pulled the covers off its all-new, 2018 Terrain. It follows the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox into a new generation of GM’s small crossover, with both sharing the same platform, same three engine options, and advanced safety systems. This is no hacked-up badge-engineering job, however. The GMC is definitely more premium thanks to its upscale, avant-garde styling, and classy interior with high-end materials. The Terrain even adopts a push-button gearshift to free up center console space. And yes, GM’s new 1.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder is available and the Denali continues as the range-topping trim.

The Terrain will remain a two-row crossover with a transversely mounted engine powering the front wheels or all four wheels. That’s where the connection to the outgoing Terrain stops. Nearly everything from the lug nuts up is new, including its D2XX platform.

Outside, the Terrain is said to expand on GMC’s new design language ushered in by the 2017 Acadia. Sharp lines, crisp angles, and premium details help separate the GMC apart form its GM cousins and anything else in the compact crossover segment. The Terrain is offered in four trim levels – the SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali. GMC expects the Denali trim to continue its respected 25-percent take rate among buyers. Like other GMC models, different grille designs and wheel options will separate the trim levels, with the Denali getting the iconic cheese-grater chrome grille and large 22-inch chrome wheels.

Helen Emsley, executive director of Global GMC Design, said, “It is a striking design with functional beauty. There’s confidence and optimism in its stance, with exceptional attention to detail that speaks to GMC’s rise as a premium brand.”

As for powertrains, a 170-horsepower, 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder is the entry-level engine. A 2.0-liter turbo four offers more grunt, at 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The range-topping engine is the new 1.6-liter turbodiesel. It makes 136 horsepower and a respectable 236 pound-feet of torque. While it’s less powerful than the 2.0-liter, it is expected to earn a higher EPA fuel economy rating. The two gasoline four-cylinders come mated to a nine-speed automatic, while the turbodiesel get a six-speed automatic.

AWD models can be switched into FWD mode for fuel savings, or left in automatic AWD mode, which detects slippery conditions and automatically activates the rear axle for added traction.

Inside, the GMC offers a spacious and well-conceived interior with a very functional layout. The traditional shift lever was ditched in favor of a push-button sifter located low on the center stack. Dual-zone climate controls, heated and cooled front seats, and GMC’s latest IntelliLink infotainment system software are all present.

Safety systems include GMC’s Surround Vision camera system, Forward Collision Alert, Low-Speed Forward Auto Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and GM’s Safety Alert driver seat.

Continue reading for more about the 2018 GMC Terrain

Why It Matters

The Terrain is an important vehicle for GMC, especially in these days of SUV and crossovers dominating the market. Folks are clambering to two- and three-row unibody crossovers and dumping sedans for the larger interior volume, higher ride height, and perceived safety and utility.

2018 GMC Terrain Hits the Gym, Adopts a Modern Look High Resolution Exterior
- image 700644
2018 GMC Terrain Hits the Gym, Adopts a Modern Look High Resolution Exterior
- image 700643
2018 GMC Terrain Hits the Gym, Adopts a Modern Look High Resolution Interior
- image 700645
2018 GMC Terrain Hits the Gym, Adopts a Modern Look High Resolution Interior
- image 700646
The Terrain is an important vehicle for GMC especially in these days of SUV and crossovers dominating the market.

GMC says it has sold more than 700,000 Terrains in North America since it went on sale for the 2009 model year. That’s impressive seeing as that was directly in the Great Recession and that the Terrain has see few updates to reflect current market demands since then.

GMC will undoubtedly be better off with this new model filling company coffers with much-needed profits. And by the looks of things, the new Terrain should sell very well. GMC expects to have the 2018 Terrain in dealer showrooms by the summer of 2017.

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read More
About the author

Press Release

GMC today introduced the all-new 2018 Terrain and unveiled the next chapter of GMC design via a boldly styled and intelligently engineered successor to the brand’s popular compact SUV. The Terrain offers greater refinement and versatility to adapt to customers’ unique needs, and it’s packed with more available advanced safety technologies than ever before.

GMC offers customers the widest range of choices yet, with three all-new available turbocharged propulsion systems, including a new turbo-diesel. Two new efficiency-enhancing nine-speed automatic transmissions are matched with the gas engines — a first application for the GMC lineup.

Continuing the momentum of owning 25 percent of GMC’s overall retail sales, Denali returns to the Terrain with greater exclusivity than ever, offering a distinctive range-topping design and uniquely refined features.

“GMC’s strong growth over the past decade is due in large part to Terrain,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of global GMC Sales and Marketing. “The all-new Terrain builds on that success, leveraging GMC’s proven premium SUV experience to shake up the largest vehicle segment, with a strong blend of design, functionality and engineering excellence.”

The 2018 Terrain goes on sale this summer in SL, SLE, SLT and Denali models, maintaining the momentum created by the first-generation model, of which more than 700,000 have been sold in North America since it went on sale in 2009.

2018 GMC Terrain Hits the Gym, Adopts a Modern Look High Resolution Exterior
- image 700491

Bold, modern design

The new Terrain’s bold exterior signals the next chapter of GMC’s design language, evolving the brand’s signature cues with stronger, sharper and more sculpted elements such as the grille and lighting features. Its shape was refined in the wind tunnel to help ensure the distinctive profile cuts through the air with optimal efficiency and quietness.

“It is a striking design with functional beauty,” said Helen Emsley, executive director, Global GMC Design. “There’s confidence and optimism in its stance, with exceptional attention to detail that speaks to GMC’s rise as a premium brand.”

Elevating GMC’s new design, the all-new Terrain Denali will feature its signature chrome grille along with Denali-specific accents including body-color fascias and lower trim, plus chrome roof rails, door handles, side mirror caps and body-side molding. Additionally, LED headlamps and 19-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels are standard on Denali.

All other models feature signature LED daytime running lamps and tail lamps. Bi-functional HID headlamps are standard on SL, SLE and SLT. Additionally, 17-inch wheels are standard on SL and SLE, with 18-inch wheels available on SL and SLE, and standard on SLT.

2018 GMC Terrain Hits the Gym, Adopts a Modern Look High Resolution Exterior
- image 700485

Turbocharged propulsion choices

A range of three all-new turbocharged engines, including an all-new 1.6L turbo-diesel, provides more choices when it comes to performance, efficiency and capability in the all-new 2018 GMC Terrain. New 1.5L and 2.0L turbocharged gas engines are matched with two unique new nine-speed automatic transmissions, with the 2.0L turbo engine offering stronger acceleration and a higher degree of performance than its 1.5L counterpart.

GMC’s new Electronic Precision Shift enables more storage room in the center console by replacing the conventional transmission shifter with electronically controlled gear selection consisting of intuitive push buttons and pull triggers.

The Terrain comes standard with GMC’s driver-controllable Traction Select system, which has choices for different driving conditions. Elements such as the throttle responses are optimized for the selected driving mode. AWD models include a FWD mode that disconnects the AWD system to minimize drag and optimize fuel economy, while the AWD mode offers all the benefits of an active AWD system.

2018 GMC Terrain Hits the Gym, Adopts a Modern Look High Resolution Interior
- image 700488

Refined, versatile and purposeful interior

Like the exterior, the new Terrain’s interior makes a statement and serves as a fundamental component of the vehicle’s heightened emphasis on refinement and functionality. Elements such as authentic aluminum trim, soft-touch materials on the instrument panel and doors and standard active noise cancellation are premium features seamlessly integrated into the interior design for a luxurious customer experience.

The Terrain Denali heightens the GMC experience throughout the new interior with a unique trim tint color and Denali-specific logos and piping on the front seats. Denali customers will benefit from additional standard features including a heated steering wheel, navigation, Bose premium 7-speaker sound system and a hands-free programmable power liftgate.

An expanded center console with pass-through storage underneath and side-by-side cupholders adds to the Terrain’s functionality. A new fold-flat front passenger seat and flat-folding rear seat help Terrain offer greater versatility for stowing longer items and make it easier to load cargo. There are also new under-floor compartments in the cargo area for more secure storage.

GMC keeps passengers connected with 7- and available 8-inch-diagonal infotainment systems, featuring compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and a standard OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (data plan purchase required after limited trial period) that can accommodate up to seven mobile devices. Owners can also manage their vehicles remotely with the industry-leading myGMC mobile app via their compatible smartphones. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are subject to their terms, privacy statements and data plan rates, and require a compatible smartphone.

Every new Terrain comes standard with five years of the OnStar Basic Plan[1] at no additional cost. Among other benefits, this connectivity plan features OnStar Smart Driver, an opt-in service designed to help GMC owners maximize their vehicle’s overall performance, reduce wear and tear, monitor fuel efficiency and become better drivers — all factors that add to the overall ownership experience.

2018 GMC Terrain Hits the Gym, Adopts a Modern Look High Resolution Exterior
- image 700486

Expanded range of safety features

An expanded range of available active safety technologies is designed to enhance driver awareness and even help make it easier to park and maneuver in low-speed situations. The features include radar- and camera-based adaptive technologies that can provide alerts to potential crash threats, allowing the driver to react and make changes to potentially avoid them, including:

New Surround Vision
New Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator
New Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking
New Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
New Safety Alert Seat

The new Terrain also features GMC’s new Rear Seat Reminder[2] and Teen Driver[3]. Rear Seat Reminder alerts drivers to check the back seat as they exit their vehicles under certain circumstances, while Teen Driver allows parents to set controls and review an in-vehicle report card in order to help encourage better driving habits, even when adults are not in the vehicle.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: