The new Terrain sits firmly in the Compact Market and can compete with more expensive offerings

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The GMC Terrain hit the market in 2010 as GMC’s smallest SUV, but because of its odd size, it lingered between the compact and midsize segments, often being called a “tweener” by some. It soldiered on for six years without any change until 2016 when GMC did a mild update. Even then, it wasn’t up to competing well and common complaints included that it was inferior in terms of technology and design. So, to remain relevant, GMC had to start working on the next-gen model, and it finally debuted at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show as a 2018 model. With the new generation comes a sleeker and stylish exterior design that leaves the SUV’s old, boxy nature in the past. It gets some new technology that includes LED daytime running lights, HID headlamps on some trim levels, and an updated infotainment system that finally brings it into the modern ages. Under the hood, you’ll find the option of three different turbocharged four-bangers, one of which is a diesel and a pair of all-new nine-speed automatic transmission. But, more importantly, it rides on GM’s new D2XX architecture which should mean a lower curb weight and a stronger framework.

Speaking of Framework, that D2XX platform is the same architecture that underpins models like the Chevy Bolt, Chevy Cruze, 2018 Chevy Equinox, and even the Buick Envision – that’s right, these days buying an SUV means you get the same basic framework that is found in cars. As rumors suggested prior to its debut, the option of a V-6 engine dies off with the current generation, but those turbocharged four bangers should offer superior fuel economy. But, this new-gen model brings a lot more to the table than we can talk about here, so take a virtual walk with me, and we’ll go into the finer details before this baby hits showrooms.

Updated 5/3/2017: Pricing has been announced for the new GMC Terrain, with the entry-level model starting out at just $25,970, while the range-topping Denali trim starts out at $38,495. Check out the prices section below for more details.


2016 GMC Terrain Wallpaper quality
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2016 GMC Terrain
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2018 GMC Terrain High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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I was sitting in the crowd at Detroit when GMC finally let us see the new Terrain (shown in the top images) for the first time. Right away, I knew the GMC had finally learned that the boxy look that plagued models a few years ago was horribly outdated. Gone are the wide, square wheel arches, ugly exterior lights, and square grille. The old model (shown in the bottom images above) was hardly geometrically sound, and here we are looking at the Terrain the way it should have been designed in the first place.

Everything is new up front, starting with the hood that is now angled more downward in the front and features a number of curved lines to add a muscular look. The real muscle, however, comes in the form of those sharp and raised lines that define the outside edges of the hood. That hood sits flush with the upper edge of the grille, which happens to feature a chrome surround and three chrome louvers that help emphasize its overall sport nature. Flanking the grille is a new pair of headlights that are a wild departure from the current model featuring a “C” shape of sorts with a single projector in the middle that is surrounded by an LED strip meant to serve as the daytime running lights. The headlights overlap onto the front fenders just a bit, providing ample room for integrated side markers within the same lens. Down below, GMC refrained from using the massive, fake vent designs that are plaguing a lot of new cars and went with smaller cutouts that are just a little bigger than the fog lights they support. A chrome stripe runs between each of the cutouts, juking upward to follow the upper lines of the air dam. That air dam, by the way, is new for the Terrain and replaces that weird little slot used on the front fascia of the outgoing model.

2018 GMC Terrain High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2018 GMC Terrain High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2018 GMC Terrain High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2018 GMC Terrain High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Everything is new up front, starting with the hood that is now angled more downward in the front and features a number of curved lines to add a muscular look.

Moving over to the sides, there’s plenty of refreshing change. For starters, those big, ugly, and square wheel arches are gone and are not more integrated into the body for a sleeker and more refined look. A single sharp body line connects the headlights to the taillights, while the low portion of the doors are smooth like we saw on the outgoing model. The side skirt trim does have a little character, however, so there is a little something going on down there. The most important aspect of the side profile is the beltline, which is now staggered and gets progressively higher as you move closer to the rear. This does two things for the overall look. For one, it provides a much better, but more importantly, it leads the way to a unique look for the rear quarter glass. See, that rear quarter glass is much smaller in height, but significantly longer, extending all the way to the glass of the rear door. It also blends in nicely with the rear hatch, giving the appearance that the rear quarter glass wraps all the way around the rear, at least at a quick glance, anyway.

The rear glass of the hatch is actually shorter than the outgoing model, which is something that you would think hampers rear visibility, but it’s just the right size to provide a clear view behind you. The tail lamps are a major departure, taking a shape similar to that of the headlights and featuring a similar C-shaped LED strip that functions as a taillight. The hatch does serve as a home for a small lens that includes the reverse lights, but GMC refrained from linking them together with a big, dumb chrome strip. Instead, the GMC emblem is now a bit larger, brighter, and is mounted directly to the rear hatch. Meanwhile, the license plate recess now gets a chrome stripe above it that’s less gaudy. The rear fascia isn’t quite as tall on the new model, and GMC decided to lengthen those rear reflectors, curve them, and move them to the outside corners – a much better look. The exhaust outlets look like they have carried over unchanged, but they are actually a bit smaller, something that is allowed thanks to the new, smaller drivetrain options that we’ll discuss a little later on.

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The GMC Terrain is actually a little bit smaller now, and sits firmly in the compact segment.

One other thing that is important to note is that the GMC Terrain is actually a little bit smaller now, and sits firmly in the compact segment. And, if you look at the side profile, you can see that the roof now has a downward slant in the rear, which is something most automakers are doing these days but also features longer roof racks that make use of the full length of the roof. This means that there is the potential to carry more cargo on top compared to the outgoing model, which is great considering it’s smaller than the outgoing model.

Competing Designs

With GMC being a semi-luxury brand, falling inferior to Cadillac but is still nicer than your every-day Chevy, we have to think a little bit outside of the box in terms of what it really competes with. Pitting it against compact offerings from Audi or BMW wouldn’t be fair as they are significantly more expensive, while other options from brands like Ford or Honda are significantly inferior in terms of pricing, comfort, and amenities. But, there are two models that do float the bill if you’re cross-shopping, and that’s the Acura RDX and the Lincoln MKC. They start out a few grand higher on the pricing scale but fit in well in most other areas, so let’s see what they offer as far as exterior design goes.

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2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC
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Lincoln nearly found itself laid out on the guillotine during the financial crisis of the mid-2000s but managed to pull through and reinvent itself at the same time. One such fruit of that survival is the MKC, which came to the market for the 2015 model year. With only a couple of years on the market, the MKC has yet to see its first refresh, but its design is still worthy of competing with the new Terrain. Where the Terrain has a single-framed grille, the MKC uses a dual grille that resembles a pair of angel wings. The foglights are LED in nature but are oriented horizontally within the fake corner vents in the front fascia. The lower portion of the front end has a bubbly look, but the hood is as muscular and defined as that of the Terrain, while the side profile is quite similar with the exception of the waistline which isn’t jagged like that of the Terrain. The roof racks on the MKC don’t elevate off of the roof as much, which is better for aerodynamics but makes securing cargo a little more difficult. Around back, the MKC has an oddly shaped hatch that’s wider at the bottom than at the top. The taillights are mounted to the rear hatch only and have a winged looked similar to that of the front grille. The exhaust outlets are integrated into the rear fascia for a cleaner look and there’s a skid plate, something the Terrain doesn’t have.

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2016 Acura RDX High Resolution Exterior
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The RDX entered its second generation for the 2013 model year but still has a fairly fresh look as it got an update in 2016. As far as looks go, the RDX is toned down in comparison to the Terrain or the MKC and has an overall smooth style to it. The nose is graced with a fairly large grille that has a big chrome louver in the middle and black mesh top and bottom. It, like a lot of other models on the market, has massive fake corner vents. They have black mesh, but aren’t functional and house the large fog lamps. The side profile has mild body lines, and the waistline runs parallel to the lower edge of the vehicle. Around back, things are pretty basic. The taillights are split between the rear quarters and the rear hatch – just like on the Terrain – while two mild body lines flank the lower edges of the light and extend toward the lower hatch to add a bit of character. A sharper body line runs along the side and follows the contour of the wheel wells before wrapping around the fascia to add a little more definition out back. The rear fascia itself mimics the front fascia a bit with a pair of vents that also house the rear reflectors. The RDX comes standard with LED headlamps and LED strips for daytime running lights.

Exterior Dimensions

Acura RDX Lincoln MKC GMC Terrain
Wheelbase (Inches) 105.7 105.9 107.3
Length (Inches) 184.4 179.2 182.3
Width (Inches) 73.7 73.4 72.4
Height (Inches) 65.0 65.2 65.4
Track (front/rear) (Inches) 63.1/63.4 62.4/62.5 62.2/62.2


2018 GMC Terrain High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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2016 GMC Terrain
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The new Terrain features just as much change on the inside as it did the outside, however, there are is a couple of things that hasn’t really changed. First off, the instrument cluster is still a semi-digital unit with a small TFT screen positioned between two primary gauges with fuel and temperature gauges above. And, despite an all-new dash design, GMC kept the center HVAC vents the same shape but made them a bit smaller. Weird. Finally, the cup holder setup might look different, but if you look closely, the only thing that changed is how it’s integrated into the center console, being rotated 90 degrees to sit sideways. It even has the same chrome trim.

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Despite an all-new dash design, GMC kept the center HVAC vents the same shape but made them a bit smaller.

Moving on to all of the newness we have to discuss, the most noticeable thing that hits you when you open the front doors is the new dash design. Where the old model was ugly, curved downward in the front, and had a weird leather insert in the middle, the new generation features an innovative dash layout that is flatter on top with a sharp drop-off on the passenger side. Oddly, the dash actually sits about a quarter of an inch lower than the surrounding trim, including that at the base of the windshield. This gives the dash a much longer look but also provides for a two-tier wraparound appearance where the dash meets the doors. Where the refinement really comes into play is above the infotainment display and the instrument cluster where the overhangs are much shorter, and on the ends of the dash where the HVAC vents are more rectangular than before. The passenger side of the dash also gets a small storage cubby, an innovative way to make good use of available space.

The steering wheel in the new Terrain is actually a bit smaller and features a much smaller airbag. The side spokes are longer and feature more controls, while the two lower spokes are more spread out. It still has that odd silver trim that matches the trim on the dash and around the door handles, but the chrome trim about the updated GMC logo in the center is a nice touch. The center console didn’t seem to be any thinner or wider, but this is where things get a little weird. There’s a small cubby up front that may offer wireless phone charging, while the farther back you get the side-by-side cupholders and a control knob that is becoming more and more common on vehicles these days. So, where in the hell is the shifter?

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Well, as it turns out, GMC has taken a lot of heat for it initially. See that combination of buttons and pull switches above the cubby and below the HVAC controls? That’s your shifter. For park and neutral you have to push a button while engaging reverse or drive requires pulling outward on their respective buttons. Given the backlash FCA saw with its “confusing” shifter lately, it’s a pretty bold move for GMC to fix something that wasn’t exactly broke. Then again, I tend to believe that FCA’s shifter solution wasn’t confusing and that people are just losing common sense and logic, but to each their own I suppose. Finally, the armrest on the center console is now shorter but still opens up to provide a small storage area.

As you can see from the images, the door panels now feature wider arm rests – something that I found to be much more comfortable compared to those on the outgoing model. The armrest itself is wrapped in a contrasting leather while the rest of the door panel is finished in the primary trim color, making up for too much contrast in the first generation. The front seats are comfortable and offer a fair amount of support for your back and posterior, however, you’ll probably want to upgrade to models that have adjustable supports if you take longer trips. The front passenger seat back can fold all of the way forward to make room for more cargo, while the rear seats – with a 60/40-split – do the same. Unfortunately, they don’t fold down flat into the floor, and because of the padding, they don’t sit perfectly flat with the rear cargo area either. It’s not all that big a deal, and shouldn’t really affect the amount of cargo you an ultimately haul. But, if you have OCD tendencies, you might find that this bugs you a bit.

The other thing that I do want to point out here is that the rear cargo area and the all of the seatbacks are hard surfaces. This has a couple of different benefits, with the obvious being that you don’t have to worry about staining the carpet in the rear, and cleanup is extremely simple if something spills back there. But, secondly, it will make loading things – like wood or even document boxes – easy, as you can simply slide them in without worrying about damaging the carpet or seatbacks. All told, the interior is much better looking and set up better for those who might actually use the Terrain from some sort of utilitarian purpose, but what about the technology? It was a big issue with the first-generation model as it couldn’t hold its own against any of the competition in this department, so let’s have a closer look at that next.

What the Competition Offers

2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC
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2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC
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The interior of the MKC is unmistakable as an American vehicle. The dash is relatively flat on one side but curves downward on the passenger side. There’s a storage bin on top of the dash right in the center, while the infotainment and HVAC controls are situated within the center stack. What’s interesting here is that the nose of the dash extends in a purposeful way to give front passengers easy access to the various controls. The instrument cluster is a semi-digital unit with the tachometer being a 180-degree gauge and the speedo being a 360-degree gauge. A small TFT display is located in between to offer some vehicle information and the adjustment of some vehicle settings. The interior is typically two-tone in nature with a darker, contrasting color about chest level, while the carpet also offers more contrast. There are small doses of wood trim on the dash and door panels, which is something you won’t find in the Terrain as we know it now but may be available in the range-topping Denali trim. The door trim panels offer a unique look and are pleasing to look at while seating is fairly comfortable and spacious for an SUV this size. There’s a 700-Watt sound system with a total of 14 speakers and an ambient lighting system that offers the choice of seven different that glow from things like the cup holders, door handles, wheel wells, and some storage pockets.

2016 Acura RDX Interior
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2016 Acura RDX Interior
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When it comes to the Acura RDX, you’ll find that the cabin is very Honda-ish and not quite as luxurious as models like the Terrain or the MKC. As such, you won’t find any ambient lighting system or even an advanced instrument cluster. The cluster features two 360-degree analog gauges and a small display up top. But, where the instrument cluster lacks a technological edge, the intuitive dual displays in the center stack (on upper trim levels) offer something you can’t get in the Terrain or MKC. Like the MLC, the center stack hovers above the center console and is easy to reach, which makes using the middle touch screen a breeze. Heated seats come standard in all models while the front seats are also ventilated. The seats don’t have as interesting a design as the other models we’ve discussed here, but you’ll find them quite comfortable. But, if you want navigation and voice recognition, you’ll have to opt for the Advance or Technology packages, which will up the price a bit. All told, the interior is pretty on par with the Terrain, however, you won’t find as many soft-touch surfaces, and it doesn’t have that fold-down front seat.

Acura RDX Lincoln MKC GMC Terrain
Headroom front/rear (Inches) 38.7/38.1 39.6/38.7 40.0/38.5
Legroom front/rear (Inches) 42.8/36.8 40.9/39.7
Shoulder Room front/rear (Inches) 58.7/57.2 56.0/55.3 57.2/55.5
Hip room front/rear (Inches) 55.7/53.8 54.4/52.8 54.4/51.8
Passenger Volume (cu ft) 103.5 97.9 TBA
Cargo Volume Behind Second Row (cu ft ) 26.1 25.2 29.6
Cargo Volume Behind First Row (cu ft) 61.3 53.1 63.3

All Things Tech

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You’ve surely noticed that GMC stuck with the traditional and American way of integrating the infotainment display right into the center stack, but did it address its functionality? Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to play around with the system while I was in Detroit at the show, but entry-level models get a seven-inch display while an eight-inch screen is optional and ultimately standard on the range-topping Denali model. GMC has yet to divulge full information on the audio system, but we know the Denali gets a seven-speaker Bose system (big surprise there, right?) while the lower models likely get a six-speaker system that is fairly inferior but still decent enough for most of you.

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All models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity, while OnStar and a 4G LTE hotspot are standard as well. After the trial period, you’ll need to purchase a data plan to keep that hotspot working, but the OnStar system comes with a basic plan for five years. Other OnStar plans should be available for purchase, but the standard plan does get you OnStar Smart Driver that will monitor your habits and the condition of the vehicle and send you reports on a regular basis. GMC says it is designed to maximize the vehicle’s overall performance and help you become a better driver, but that really remains to be seen and I’ll reserve judgment until I actually see it in action.

As far as safety and driver assistance technology goes, the Terrain is available with a number of standard and optional features depending on the model. GMC has yet to release specifics regarding which features are standard and which are optional, but you’ll find that entry-level models will have the basics while the range-topping Denali is likely to come standard with most of the following options:

  • 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

Outside of these options, GMC as added the increasingly common idiot alert known as “Rear Seat Reminder” to help you remember that you have your little ones with you because, you know, common sense isn’t common anymore. There’s also a feature called Teen Driver that is pretty innovative, allowing parents to set controls and review an “in-vehicle report card” that displays information regarding the teen’s driving habits. On that note, young drivers, don’t get into the habit of having a heavy foot; your parents will know you were hauling ass down the highway.

Technological Competition

2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC High Resolution Interior
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Let’s be honest here, technology is pretty much the same across most models in each segment, but some models come with things others don’t, so it’s important to know exactly what you’ll get while cross-shopping models that you’re considering. When it comes to the Lincoln MKC, you’ll find that it’s packed with some pretty decent technology that rivals that of some more expensive vehicles. Things like Approach detection, intelligent access, and active park assist all make life a little bit easier while ambient lighting and peaceful space make things more comfortable. Then you’ve got the THX audio system, active noise control, and an available navigation system that is on par with that of the Terrain, if not better.

2016 Acura RDX Interior
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The Acura MDX, on the other hand, also features a number of features like make life easier and driving safer. The driver’s seat is a 10-way adjustable unit while passengers get a four-way system in lower trim levels and an eight-way in upper trim levels. Heated front seats are standard as the keyless access system, smart entry, and push button ignition. Like the MKC, there’s an active sound control system. Upper trim levels come standard with a navigation system, lane-keep assist system, and a 10-speaker ELS premium audio system. In lower trim levels, you’ll have to make due with Acura’s premium, seven-speaker system.

Keep in mind that the things I’ve mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many more features available in all the models we’ve discussed here. With that said, remember that some features are optional or limited to certain trim levels, so be sure to check each manufacturer’s respective website or speak with your local dealer to know exactly what you can expect from whatever trim level you’re considering purchasing.


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Now that the GMC Terrain is nestled snuggly in the compact market, you’ll find yourself out of luck if you’re hoping for a V-6. For that, you’ll have to jump up to at least the Acadia, or you can move up to the significantly more expensive Yukon for a V-8. But, that’s probably not why you’re here, so let’s get back to the topic. The new Terrain will be available with three different four-cylinder engines, two of which are powered by gasoline and one that is power by diesel.

The entry-level unit is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder, while the range-topping engine – the one that you’ll find in the Denali trim – displaces 2.0-liters. The diesel offering is a 1.6-liter that will likely fall in between the two gasoline mills as far as horsepower goes, but will probably be superior in the torque department. Currently, the new Terrain is in the pre-production stage, so GMC has yet to release full specifications or fuel economy figures for any of the engines, but we do know that that GM did develop two new, nine-speed automatic transmission for the gasoline mills. The gearbox that mates to the 2.0-liter is said to offer stronger acceleration and better performance than the other new nine-speed that mates with the 1.5-liter. There’s no word as to what transmission will mate with the diesel, but I think it’s safe to assume it will get the same unit as the 2.0-liter gasoline mill to compensate for all of the extra torque.

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Then there’s that new Electronic Precision Shift system that replaced the standard shifter we all know with that weird button setup in the center stack, but what’s more important, is the Traction Select system. It comes standard on all trim level of the Terrain and allows you to choose which traction mode to use for certain driving conditions. AWD models have the option called “FWD Mode” that electronically disconnects the rear axle. It’ said to reduce drag and increase fuel economy. When in AWD mode, the vehicle is still primarily front-wheel drive but is considered active, so torque will be distributed between the front and rear based on front-wheel slippage, among other things.

With that said, I want to point out that GM currently offers 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter gasoline mills in the new currently Chevy Malibu, so it’s quite possible that these are the same engines that you’ll find in the new Terrain. In the Malibu, the 1.5-liter offers up 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque while the 2.0-liter delivers a cool 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. Should these engines be the ones offered in the Terrain, they will both offer a fair amount of power for an SUV this size. But, this is all speculation and, even if they are the engines in question, they could be tuned to deliver more or less power. Take it all with a grain of salt until we can bring forth official information.

Engine 1.5L turbo DOHC DI 2.0L turbo DOHC DI 1.6L turbo-diesel
Horsepower 170 HP 252 HP 137 HP
Torque 203 LB-FT 260 LB-FT 240 LB-FT
Transmission Hydra-Matic 9T45 nine-speed automatic Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed automatic Hydra-Matic 6T45 six-speed automatic
Curb weight 3,327 TBA TBA

Tough Decisions

So, when it comes to engine options and performance, not all models are created equal. The Acura RDX, for example, is only available with a V-6, while the Lincoln and Terrain can only be had with four-bangers. But, each model has its own benefits and downfalls, so let’s talk a little more about it.

Going with the Lincoln MKC will give you the option of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 2.3-liter four-cylinder. The former offers up 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque while the latter brings 285 ponies and 305 pound-feet to the party. Both make use of a six-speed automatic transmission, but the 2.3-liter offers maximum torque at 2,750 rpm, 250 revolutions lower than that of the 2.0-liter. The 2.0-liter can be had in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, but going with the 2.3-liter means you don’t get an option and are stuck with all-wheel drive. Fuel economy for the 2.3-liter is pretty basic with it being rated at 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 combined, not too bad for an AWD vehicle. The 2.0-liter, on the other hand, can be had with auto stop/start technology that helps increase fuel economy a bit. When equipped with FWD and auto stop/start, the 2.0-liter is rated at 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. 2.0-liter equipped AWD models with the auto stop/start function attains 19 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. AWD models with the smaller engine that lack the auto stop/start function pulls the same figures as the AWD version with the technology, but is rated for 22 mpg combined – kind of makes that auto stop/start function a bit redundant, doesn’t it? And for what it’s worth, the MKC is rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds when properly equipped.

When it comes to the Acura RDX, you only get one engine option – a 3.5-liter, 24-valve, V-6 that delivers 279 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. The engine offers variable cylinder management and variable valve timing but is rated to run on premium fuel with a rating of 91 octane or higher. All-wheel drive is available as an option on all trim levels but isn’t available as standard equipment. All models use a six-speed automatic tranny, but it does come with paddles for those who like to do something with their hands while they drive in the city. When equipped with all-wheel drive, the RDX sends up to 100 percent of the engine’s power to the front wheels but, when needed the up to 40 percent is sent to the rear wheels. All trim levels with two-wheel drive are rated at 20 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. AWD models come in a little lower at 19,27, and 22, respectively. The RDX can pull 1,500 pounds at most, equal to what we expect from the new Terrain (based on the outgoing model) and 500-pounds less than that of the MKC.

Lincoln MKC 2.0 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Acura RDX
Engine type 2.0L GTDI I-4 2.3L GTDI I-4 3.5-liter V-6
Horsepower 240 HP @ 5,500 RPM 285 HP @ 5,500 RPM 279 HP @ 6,200 RPM
Torque 270 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM 305 LB-FT @ 2,750 RPM 252 LB-FT @ 4,900 RPM
Transmission 6-Speed SelectShift® automatic 6-Speed SelectShift® automatic 6-Speed Automatic
Curb Weight 3,823-3,997 Lbs 3,997 Lbs 3,737-3,907 Lbs
Fuel economy 21/28/23 18/25/21 20/28/23
Towing capacity 3,000 Lbs 3,000 Lbs 1,500 Lbs


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So, the GMC Terrain did actually shrink and is now firmly planted in the compact segment, but that doesn’t mean that pricing will shrink as well. In fact, now that the Terrain can actually compete with other semi-luxury models like the Acura RDX and Lincoln MKC, pricing did actually increase a bit, but not so much so that the Terrain loses its biggest selling point – the fact that it competes with these models in all other aspects, but still offers a fairly lower price in comparison. With that said, the entry level Terrain SL, which is only available in front-wheel drive, starts out at $25,970. The SLE trim is available in FWD or AWD and with a gasoline or diesel powerplant. Pricing for these models starts out at $28,795 with FWD or $30,545 with AWD. The Diesel starts out at $32,565 with FWD or $34,315 with AWD. The SLT trim is setup the same way with the FWD gasoline model commanding $32,295 while the AWD variant will set you back $34,045. Move up to the diesel, and you’ll be asked to pay $35,140 with FWD or $36,890 with AWD. Finally, the Denali is available with FWD for $38,495 or $40,245 if you want all-wheel drive. In comparison, the Terrain still offers a significant over its Acura and Lincoln counterparts, and it’s certainly worth your consideration if you’re shopping for a new whip in this segment.

Terrain SL and SLE Starting MSRPs
Terrain SL FWD $25,970
Terrain SLE FWD $28,795
Terrain SLE Diesel FWD $32,565
Terrain SLE AWD $30,545
Terrain SLE Diesel AWD $34,315
Terrain SLT Starting MSRPs
Terrain SLT FWD $32,295
Terrain SLT Diesel FWD $35,140
Terrain SLT AWD $34,045
Terrain SLT Diesel AWD $36,890
Terrain Denali Starting MSRPs
Terrain Denali FWD $38,495
Terrain Denali AWD $40,245
Acura RDX (FWD) $35,670
Acura RDW (FWD) with AcuraWatch™ Plus Package $36,970
Acura RDX (FWD) with Technology Package $39,370
Acura RDX (FWD) with Technology Package and AcuraWatch™ Plus Package $40,670
Acura RDX (FWD) with Advance Package $42,320
Acura RDX (AWD) $37,170
Acura RDX (AWD) with AcuraWatch™ Plus Package $38,470
Acura RDX (AWD) with Technology Package $40,870
Acura RDX (AWD) with Technology Package and AcuraWatch™ Plus Package $42,170
Acura RDX (AWD) with Advance Package $43,820
Lincoln MKC Premiere $32,880
Lincoln MKC Select $35,880
Lincoln MKC Reserve $39,645
Lincoln MKC Black label $45,635

Other Options to Consider

The Terrain is no longer teetering between the compact and midsize segment, so cross shopping is a bit easier, but being a semi-luxury model you’ll find it’s superior to other compact models in its price range and that the models it competes more evenly with are typically priced a bit higher. This should help make choosing the Terrain an easy decision (assuming you can get past the dumb shifter idea and lack of a V-6) but let’s take a look at a couple of other models that are worthy of competing despite their slightly higher price point.

Infiniti QX50

2016 Infiniti QX50 High Resolution Interior Exterior
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2016 Infiniti QX50 High Resolution Interior Exterior
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Now, you could argue that the QX30 would be a more suitable competitor as it has a starting price of $29,950, but it’s not quite as large. So, when it comes to size and cargo room, you really need to cross-shop the QX50 unless the price is really the main thing that you’re focused on. The QX50 has been around since 2007 and saw a generation shift for the 2014 model year followed by an update for the 2016 model year that brought about a refreshed look and extended second-row legroom. On the power front, it is likely to be far superior to the terrain offering 325 horsepower from a 3.7-liter V-6 to go with fuel economy figures of 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. As far as pricing goes, it starts out at a hefty premium compared to the entry-level Terrain at $34,650 but offers similar technology and features comparable to that of what we expect in the range-topping Terrain Denali.

Read more about the Infiniti QX50 here.

Lexus NX

2015 Lexus NX High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2015 Lexus NX High Resolution Exterior
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The Lexus NX is another one of those more expensive models, but it competes fairly well in every other department. The NX was introduced in 2014 as a 2015 model, so it’s a baby in the market, but coming from a brand like Lexus, you know it offers decent luxury and is reliable. Entry-level models, known as the NX Turbo, come standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg in the city, 28 on the highway, and 25 combined. AWD is an option for all trim levels and standard on the NX 300h. The 300H is a range-topping model that utilizes a naturally aspirated, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder with just 194 horsepower on tap. Its fuel economy ratings are much better, however, earning an EPA-estimated rating of 33 mpg in the city, 30 on the highway, and 31 combined. Pricing starts out at $35,285 – significantly more expensive that the Terrain’s estimated price point – and increases to as much as $39,720 for the range-topping NX 300H – a figure that will be much closer to that of the Terrain Denali.

Find out more about the Lexus NX here.


2018 GMC Terrain High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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There’s a lot to be impressed about when it comes to the new Terrain, but it’s not without its faults. The body is significantly more attractive, while the interior is much more functional with technology that is on point with what more expensive competitors are offering. There is a huge improvement in materials inside, and the fit and finish of the trim panels have improved significantly as well. To put it simply, it doesn’t feel as cheap on the inside, which is a plus as it still lingers in that semi-luxury category.

It might have a lower price point than the models that I’ve compared it to here, but that’s the big advantage it has because as far as tech, luxury, comfort, and – in most cases – performance goes, the Terrain is very much a stiff competitor, and that’s why it’s worthy of at least your consideration when you’re shopping for a new compact SUV in the Luxury segment. Furthermore, because of its low price, you may find that it’s an attainable upgrade that’s within your budget if you were looking at less luxurious models from Chevy, Ford, or Even Honda and Toyota. But, I’ll leave that decision up to you.

  • Leave it
    • No V-6 engine
    • What’s with this stupid shifter idea?
    • Rear seats don’t fold completely flat
Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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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 High Resolution Exterior
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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 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 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 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.

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