Auto Review: 2014 GMC Terrain

GMC Terrain Front View

GMC Terrain features a bold front end and broad fender flares for a muscular, confident appearance.
GMC Terrain features a bold front end and broad fender flares for a muscular, confident appearance. | Source

Introduction to the 2014 GMC Terrain

Crossover utility vehicles - CUVs - have been around for some time - since the 1970s in fact, but they have only recently come into the spotlight in the automotive marketplace. Offering the utility of a regular body-on-frame SUV (4 wheel drive capability, high ground clearance and high seating for good visibility, among other things) with the more car-like handling, better fuel economy and comfortable ride offered by vehicles with unibody construction, CUVs fit neatly in between those two market segments, deftly bridging the gap between minivans (remember those?) and SUVs.

2104 GMC Terrain Interior

High quality materials and stylish touches mark the interior of the GMC Terrain
High quality materials and stylish touches mark the interior of the GMC Terrain | Source
Generous rear seat area of GMC Terrain
Generous rear seat area of GMC Terrain | Source
Cargo capacity for Terrain is 31.6 cubic feet behind the rear seat, 63.9 cubic feet with rear seat folded.
Cargo capacity for Terrain is 31.6 cubic feet behind the rear seat, 63.9 cubic feet with rear seat folded. | Source

Equipment and Features

Terrain is GMC's entry to the mid size CUV market and competition is fierce. Competitors include the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sportage and Ford Edge, among others. Terrain comes in several trim levels, from the entry-level SLE-1 and SLE-2, to the more upscale SLT1 and SLT-2,( with each offering increasing levels of comfort and convenience features) until we reach the top of the line Terrain Denali package.

Standard powertrain in all Terrain models regardless of trim level is the same - a 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 172 lb/ft of torque and gives Terrain a towing capability of 1.500 pounds. Fuel economy with this engine is rated at 22 city/32 hwy with the front wheel drive models. Optional on all but the base SLE-1 is a 3.6 liter V6 engine rated at 301 horsepower and 272 lb/ft of torque, increasing the tow capacity to a respectable 3.500 pounds. Fuel economy for this engine is rated at 17city/24 hwy. The four cylinder has enough power to merge onto expressway traffic easily and zips along nicely enough, and should suit all but the most demanding drivers very well. For those with larger trailers to pull, or who tend to haul heavy loads, the V6 might be the better choice. A 6 speed automatic transmission is the only available transmission on all models of Terrain.

Standard Features on Terrain include:

4 wheel anti-lock brakes, StabiliTrak vehicle stability control, Traction Control, tilt/telescope steering column, rear-vision camera, color touch-screen sound system with Sirius/XM satellite radio, CD/MP3 capability, 7inch diagonal screen, auxiliary input, USB port and 6 speaker sound, Bluetooth, OnStar, keyless entry system, halogen projector-beam headlights and PassKey Theft-deterrent system.

Some available features include:

8 way power seats, heated seats, power sunroof, roof rack, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seating, Ultrasonic rear parking assist and InteliLink audio system with hands-free smartphone integration, Pandora and Stitcher apps.

GMC Terrain also won the approval of the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, with an overall 4-star rating for its crash-worthiness and safety, due to its sturdy construction, reinforced steel safety cage design and standard front and rear airbags.

Interior Styling of GMC Terrain

Quality materials give Terrain a very upscale-appearance
Quality materials give Terrain a very upscale-appearance | Source
Terrain's 7 inch color touch screen allows a very user-friendly control of the audio system's Sirius/XM satellite radio functions
Terrain's 7 inch color touch screen allows a very user-friendly control of the audio system's Sirius/XM satellite radio functions | Source
Efficient cockpit layout puts vital information within easy view of the driver
Efficient cockpit layout puts vital information within easy view of the driver | Source
GMC Terrain provides a comfortable, safe environment for driver and passenger alike
GMC Terrain provides a comfortable, safe environment for driver and passenger alike | Source

GMC Terrain Styling Impressions

Terrain gets high marks for styling, both inside and out. With its bold grill and bulging fender flares, Terrain projects a level of broad-shouldered, muscular confidence. The interior is upscale and spacious with ambient lighting on the center console (which is deep enough to fit a laptop computer - I tried) and attractive materials surrounding high-tech features such as the 7 inch color touch screen audio system. Seats are attractive cloth (leather optional) buckets in front and 60/40 split rear bench and provide a good level of comfort and support for both daily driving as well as long trips. The rear seat also adjusts fore and aft, with a travel of nearly 8 inches to allow for the best fit of comfort to capacity, and the rear seatbacks even recline to afford rear seat passengers greater comfort while traveling. The styling of GMCs Terrain takes a backseat to no one!

Driving Impression: GMC Terrain

For the purposes of this review, we drove a 2014 GMC Terrain SLT-2, well-equipped, with all-wheel-drive and the V6. The added horsepower seem to give Terrain a certain agility, a quickness, not noticed with the far more common four cylinder powertrain. The relatively mild winter weather we've experienced so far this year in the midwest gave us little opportunity to test Terrain's AWD capabilities, but it was nice to know they were there and gave greater confidence when driving on wet pavement during a recent rainy evening. The power-assisted steering (traditional pneumatic assist on the V6 models, GM's new electric assist on the four cylinders) provides a respectable level of feedback without being too heavy at low speeds. The black cloth bucket seats and 8 way power adjust allowed us to find a comfortable seating position behind the tilt/telescope wheel. Brakes were confident and sure, providing good stopping distances with decent feel. Handling was expected to be better than a traditional SUV, and it was, with the unibody chassis soaking up most road surface irregularities with ease. Suspension damping was spot-on, providing a good compromise between comfort and confidence. GM's unique QuietTuning technology - with triple-sealed doors, acoustic-laminate on the windshield and front door glass as well as tweaks to the interior materials provided a calm, quiet ride. This is one CUV that is as well-suited to long road trips as it is to errands.

GMC Terrain Rear View

Rear of Terrain provides good visibility for the driver, as well as low lift-over height for rear storage
Rear of Terrain provides good visibility for the driver, as well as low lift-over height for rear storage | Source

2014 GMC Terrain Overview by CarREVIEW

Wrap-up: GMC Terrain

With more standard equipment and better safety ratings than Ford Edge, and greater rear-seat headroom and more cargo space than Kia Sportage, Terrain makes a compelling argument for itself. The Honda CRV - with no V6 option - can't match Terrain's tow capability or cargo-handling. The Terrain is a standout in the crowded mid-size CUV market segment.

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About the Author

Dan Petreikis is a professional Sales Consultant at Harbor Buick/GMC in Portage, IN. He is an independent writer and reviewer for HubPages, maintains several blogs and has written articles for Yahoo! Voices among other sites. He currently lives in Chicago, but can often be found lurking the aisles at Harbor Buick, assisting customers.

© 2013 Daniel Petreikis

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