GMC’s Terrain compact crossover has moved into its second generation for 2018, with a roomier interior, lots of new technology and its first diesel engine, which was under the hood of our test vehicle.
Prices of the 2018 Terrain start at $24,995 (plus $995 freight) for the base SL front-drive model with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, and range as high as $39,695 for the Denali all-wheel-drive version with a turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder.
In between are the front-drive 1.5-liter SLE ($28,295); all-wheel drive 1.5-liter SLE ($31,345); front-drive SLE Diesel ($31,995); all-wheel-drive SLE Diesel ($33,795); front-drive 1.5-liter SLT ($31,795); all-wheel-drive 1.5-liter SLT ($33,495); front-drive SLT Diesel ($34,595); and all-wheel-drive SLT Diesel ($36,395, our test vehicle for the week; and the front-drive 2.0-liter Denali ($37,995).
All three of the available engines are turbocharged: the 1.5- and 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinders, and the 1.6-liter diesel four-cylinder.
Base is the 1.5-liter gasoline engine, with 170 horsepower and 203 foot-pounds of torque. The 2.0-liter gasoline engine has 252 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque; while the 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder diesel cranks out 137 horsepower and 240 foot-pounds of torque. The diesel is also offered in the Chevrolet Equinox, a sister vehicle to the Terrain, and in the Chevrolet Cruze sedan.
Standard with the gasoline engines is a nine-speed automatic transmission, while our diesel engine came with a six-speed automatic.
EPA fuel-economy ratings are impressive for the diesel, at 28 mpg city/39 highway with front-wheel drive, and 28/38 with all-wheel drive. During our week in the SLT Diesel all-wheel drive, we averaged 33.7 mpg, with about two-thirds highway driving.
Ratings for the 1.5-liter engine are 26 city/30 highway with front drove, and 24/28 with all-wheel drive. For the 2.0-liter engine, they are 22/28 and 21/26.
To shift the transmission, the Terrain has funky pull-push buttons in the lower center of the dash for “Park,” “Drive,” “Reverse,” and “Neutral.” GMC says this arrangement was intended to provide more storage room in the center console by replacing the conventional transmission shifter with these electronically controlled “intuitive pushbuttons and pull triggers.”
GMC calls it Electronic Precision Shift, and my first time in the new Terrain it took me a while to figure out where the gearshift was. I was looking for a traditional column- or center-console-mounted shifter.
The buttons are easy to operate, though, and for safety’s sake, you do have to pull out on them to put the vehicle into gear. That prevents accidentally bumping the Terrain into “Drive” or “Reverse” while fooling with gadgets and such in the center console.
The Terrain also comes with GMC’s driver-controllable Traction Select system, with settings for varied driving conditions. The all-wheel-drive models, like our SLT Diesel tester, include a front-wheel-drive mode to minimize drag and boost fuel economy when all-wheel drive isn’t needed.
The Terrain has room for up to five passengers, and no third-row seat is offered to expand passenger capacity.
Standard features even at the base level include the Traction Select system; LED daytime running lights and taillights; leather-wrapped steering wheel; flat-folding front passenger seat; 17-inch wheels; and keyless open with pushbutton start.
Moving two steps up to the SLT trim brought us perforated leather seats, heated steering wheel and heated/ventilated front seats, 18-inch machined-aluminum wheels with gray painted pockets, a chrome grille, fog lights, roof rails, LED turn signals in the outside mirrors, and premium chrome accents.
Also included were an eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, self-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, a 110-volt power outlet and two USB ports (data/charge) up front and two USB charge-only ports for rear passengers.
Included at no extra charge on the SLT Diesel was the Preferred Package, with hands-free rear power programmable liftgate; memory settings for the power driver’s seat and outside mirrors; a six-way power front passenger seat with power lumbar; and universal garage/gate opener.
In the center of the dash was an eight-inch multi-color touch-screen for the GMC Infotainment/Navigation system with Bluetooth streaming audio for music and select phones, compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and satellite radio.
The navigation was extra on our tester, part of the Infotainment Package II ($1,180), which also brought a Bose seven-speaker audio system, HD radio, and OnStar Connected Navigation. The rearview camera system showed its image on the eight-inch screen.
We also had the Driver Alert Package I ($840), with Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist and the Safety Alert Seat.
The Skyscape Sunroof ($1,495) was included, also required addition of the Driver Alert Package II ($495), which added Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and Following Distance Indicator.
In the instrument panel was a Driver Information Center with 4.2-inch color screen, providing vehicle information such as oil life and tire pressures, and trip information, including fuel range, average fuel economy, instant fuel economy, average vehicle speed, compass direction, and digital speed readout.
Eight exterior colors are offered: Summit White, at no extra charge, and six premium colors for $395 each, including the Quicksilver Metallic on our tester; and one for $495, called Red Quartz Tintcoat.
Our vehicle’s perforated-leather seats were Jet Black with Brandy inserts. Other interior colors available are Jet Black with Medium Ash Gray inserts, and all Jet Black.
The tester also came with the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. An unlimited data plan through AT&T is offered for $20 a month. The OnStar Basic Plan is standard across the line at no extra cost for the first five years.
The new Terrain has a roomier interior and lots of standard and available new technology. The cabin has also been extensively restyled, with a low windshield base that gives a larger outward view.
Among new interior features is the kneeling rear seat. Its bottom cushions tilt forward when the split-folding seatbacks are lowered, allowing a flat floor for easier loading of cargo. The front passenger seat also folds down to allow for hauling long items if there is no passenger in the front.
We had more than enough power with the diesel engine for a long road trip that included some mountain driving. Passing was easy, as the low-end torque from the diesel kicked in just when we needed it for quick pickup.
The diesel engine is a bit noisy at idle, but isn’t all that noticeable at highway speeds. One of our passengers did remark while sitting at a traffic signal that “the engine sounds weird.” She didn’t know it was a diesel, just that it sounded different.
There was plenty of room in the cargo area for groceries and cat supplies. Behind the rear seat there is 29.6 cubic feet of cargo space; that expands to 63.3 cubic feet with the rear seat folded flat, and 81 cubic feet with the front passenger seat folded down.
Rear passengers had a 12-volt power outlet and two USB charging ports available in the rear of the front center console, along with A/C vents. A pull-down center armrest was available when there was no middle passenger, and it had two cupholders. There are small single bottle holders in each door.
There are two decent-size side-by-side cupholders in the front center console for the driver and front passenger. In front of them is a tray for smartphones, and behind is a covered console box.
The Terrain was surprisingly quiet inside, even at highway speeds. Conversation between front and rear passengers was easy – no one had to raise their voices.
Ride and handling were typical for a modern crossover, smooth and carlike, with no real complaints. Everyone was comfortable, front and rear, although we didn’t put anyone in the rear middle position.
Standard safety features included electronic stability control with traction control, front seat-mounted side air bags, outboard roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for both rows of seats, the GM teen-driver system, a theft-deterrent system, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, and tire-pressure monitoring.
Total sticker price for our 2018 Terrain SLT Diesel all-wheel drive was $41,400, including freight and options.
2018 GMC Terrain
The package: Compact, five-passenger, five-door, front- or all-wheel-drive, four-cylinder gasoline- or diesel-powered crossover utility vehicle.
Highlights: The second generation of GMC’s compact crossover has arrived for 2018. It’s completely redesigned inside and out, with more safety and connectivity/comfort features. Two turbocharged gasoline engines and a turbo diesel engine are available.
Negatives: No third row of seating offered for increased capacity; no V-6 engine offered.
Engines: 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline, turbocharged; 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, gasoline, turbocharged; 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder, diesel, turbocharged.
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic (gasoline engines); six-speed automatic (diesel).
Power/torque: 170 HP./203 foot-pounds (1.5); 252 HP./260 foot-pounds (2.0); 137 HP./240 foot-pounds (diesel).
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Length: 182.3 inches.
Curb weight range (base): 3,440-3,815 pounds.
Cargo volume: 29.6 cubic feet (behind rear seat); 63.3 cubic feet (rear seat folded).
Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds (1.5-liter; diesel); 3,500 pounds (2.0-liter).
EPA fuel economy: 26 mpg city/32 highway/28 combined (front-wheel drive).
Fuel capacity/type: 14.9 gallons, regular unleaded or diesel (front drive); 15.6 gallons, regular unleaded or diesel (all-wheel drive).
Base price range: $24,995-$39,695, plus $995 freight.
Price as tested: $41,400, including freight and options (SLT Diesel, all-wheel drive).
Major competitors: Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Dodge Journey, Jeep Cherokee, Volkswagen Tiguan, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Outback.
On the Road rating: 9.2 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.