GMC redesigned the Terrain compact SUV last year, erasing its previous boxy, right-angles design in favor of a classier and more contemporary look, complete with the “floating roof” styling currently in vogue.
There are some additional features for 2019, including a new Black Edition model for SLE and SLT trim levels, an available chrome appearance package for the SLT, a 360-degree surround view camera available on the Denali trim, and an optional high-definition rearview camera. Adaptive cruise control and front pedestrian braking have been added to a driver assistance package, and there’s a new exterior color called Smokey Quartz Metallic.
SL, SLE, SLT and Denali are Terrain’s trim levels, with pricing starting at $25,995 (including destination charge) for the SL model. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.
The engine selection includes three turbocharged four-cylinders: a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter and a 1.6-liter diesel.
My tester was an SLT model equipped with the 2.0-liter engine, all-wheel drive and a standard nine-speed automatic transmission.
Opting for the larger engine boosts horsepower from the 170 delivered by the 1.5-liter to 252, and increases towing capacity from 1,500 pounds to 3,500 pounds. Naturally it also decreases fuel economy. With the 1.5-liter engine, you can expect 24 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for a Terrain with all-wheel drive. The 2.0-liter with AWD consumes fuel at the rate of 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
The best fuel economy comes from the turbodiesel engine, 28 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, but diesel-equipped models cost about $4,000 extra.
Some of Terrain’s most attractive aspects are its generosity of standard features, a remarkably quiet interior, the functionality inherent in a compact SUV, and a good alternative ride for people who want something different from the ubiquitous compact SUVs of other brands.
Terrain’s sporty behavior on winding roads is a big part of its appeal, and easy maneuverability in places like crowded parking lots is always a benefit of a compact SUV.
Second row seats fold down to provide up to 63.3 cubic feet of cargo space. When seats are upright, the rear cargo area measures 29.6 cubic feet. The front passenger seat can also be folded. If sliding second row seats are a priority for you, Terrain’s in trouble there because its second row seats don’t slide.
The Terrain’s all-wheel drive system isn’t a full time operation, and it doesn’t automatically kick during slippery road conditions. When you want extra traction, you have to engage the system yourself. Don’t worry, though. All it takes is the turning of a dial. You could just leave AWD on all the time, but fuel economy wouldn’t be quite as good.
Terrain’s automatic transmission operation is a bigger issue. Gear selection is via console-mounted switches that look like push buttons. So the impulse is to press on them, right? No, you must lift up on them. A confusing and unfriendly move on GMC’s part, but I got used to the switches after the initial rage subsided.
As for the operation of the transmission itself: impeccable.
My tester included the new Black Edition option ($795) offered on SLE and SLT models. The 19-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, darkened grille insert with black surround, and black mirror caps, roof rails and exterior accents give Terrain some extra visual appeal and personality.
The SLT tester’s base price included scads of comfort, convenience, entertainment and connectivity features. The total price was driven up by luxury-like additions, and a slew of driver assistance technologies, many of which are now being thought of as safety features in the automotive world.
2019 GMC TERRAIN AWD SLT
Base price, including destination charge: $33,595
Price as driven: $40,155
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.