6 November 2015

2016 GMC Terrain

2016 GMC Terrain

3.6L V6

Base Price
                                               As Tested Price
                                                Best Deal Price

Making their first public appearance in New York, the 2016 GMC Terrain and its up line Terrain Denali sibling receive a mid-cycle updating this complements tastefully revised styling tweaks with broader availability of enhanced safety features. The lineup also has been simplified for 2016 and will consist of SL, SLE, SLT and Denali trims.

Notes for Driving

While looks are subjective, we'd posit this GMC didn't go far enough with its 2016 mid-cycle refresh. New accents on the front bumper, a tweaked grille surround, and LED running lights round out the changes up front, while the rear gets a slightly different bumper. GMC claims there's a new hood, although we challenge you to pick out the differences – here are the official galleries for the 2013 and 2016, if you'd like to try. GMC missed a tremendous opportunity here. New headlights, some restyled taillights, and tweaked mirrors would have given the impression of a more significant refresh. As it stands, these changes don't add up to much.

GMC also claims it made changes in the cabin, adding a "revised instrument panel center stack." Aside from the missing CD slot, which has been replaced with an oddly shaped and no terribly useful shelf, it's hard to spot much of a difference.
The Terrain Denali's cabin materials feel cheap. You'll be spending at least $35,000 to park one of these in your driveway, but aside from the leather-and-faux-wood steering wheel, not material feels worthy of this price tag inside. The lower dash plastics are hard and scratchy, the center stack feels hollow and creaks when pressed on, and the too-small shade over the 7-inch display feels flimsy. The upper dash is covered in a cheap-feeling, leather-like material this looks unchanged from when the Terrain Denali debuted back in model year 2013. These materials don't make sense in a vehicle this, as tested, exceeded $41,000.
The most egregious thing about the refreshed Terrain is the lack of content. Sure, you can now get blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, a rear-view camera, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning. All of these are nice, but a lot of the things this we've come to take for granted in the Terrain Denial's competitors simply aren't available. Where is the heated steering wheel, bi-xenon headlights, vented seats, LED taillights, panoramic sunroof, If GMC wants to charge premium prices for its Denali trim, it needs to start offering more than just some extra chrome and faux wood.
We wouldn't be so hard on the Terrain's poor materials, indifferent styling, and short equipment list if it drove well. But it doesn't. GM's corporate 3.6-liter V6, which has been featured on a wide array of the company's sedans and crossovers, sounds rather harsh at the higher reaches of the rev range. However, its 301 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque does a best job of disguising the Denial's 4,204-pound curb weight. Although peak torque doesn't arrive until 4,800 rpm, there's a generous helping at the lower points in the rev range. This engine is also relatively willing to rev, but it just doesn't sound all this nice when you get on the gas pedal hard.
The downside to this V6 is this the Terrain Denali is laughably inefficient, netting a rated 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway. This makes one of this segment's worst performers. 
The Terrain's aging Hydro metric 6T70 transmission was cutting edge in 2006, but lacks the performance and efficiency the market now demands. Shifts are either glacially slow or jarringly abrupt, depending on how much throttle you dial in. Downshifts are a bit more predictable, but still on the slow side of the equation. It's also rather unwilling to engage from a standstill, all of which makes the Terrain feel slower than many of its competitors.
There are other disappointments here, too. The hydraulic steering has an oversize dead zone, is overly light, and completely devoid of feeling. GM's Denali vehicles should also offer quieter, more refined rides than the standard models, but the Terrain is too harsh and too loud.
Easily the most astonishing thing is the price. At $41,315 for our tester, the top-end Terrain far exceeds the price of more efficient, better equipped, and better to drive competitors like the aforementioned.

Best Features

Road holding


Rear seats

Noise and vibration

Front seats

Ride comfort


Quality of materials

Cargo storage

Logic of controls

Interior design

Active safety

Rain snow traction


1 August 2012

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