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2010 GMC Terrain Review

Hulking Looks, Mellow Ride

In short: A more efficient slimmed-down SUV

MC distinguished themselves with gargantuan gas guzzlers like the Suburban, but the gutsy General Motors division is redefining its image by downsizing their entry level SUVs. And though the 2010 Terrain features Hummer H3-inspired exterior proportions, beneath its muscular sheet metal is clever engineering intended to enhance fuel economy.  

The Terrain comes in four trim levels, and a 264-horsepower, 3.0 liter V6 is available for $1,500 at each tier except the most basic. Opt for the standard 182 horsepower inline 4 cylinder powerplant with front wheel drive, and the Terrain achieves 22 mpg city and an impressive 32 mpg highway, which trounces the Ford Escape Hybrid. 

A steering wheel and an interior dash view of the 2010 GMC Yukon Terrain Computer and controls on the interior dash of the 2010 GMC Yukon Terrain

The top-end model we tested featured an attractive two-tone Brownstone leather interior, a handy power liftgate, a rear-seat DVD system, and navigation radio. Though a considerable distance from the Terrain’s starting price of $24,995, our tester proved quiet, pleasant, and well-equipped, though a few characteristics revealed how it strives towards its impressive fuel economy goals. For starters, the smooth-shifting six-speed may tend to swap cogs imperceptibly, but its downshifts are reluctant and slow. Also, low rolling resistance 18-inch tires transmit more harshness and road noise than you might expect, and that sensation was exacerbated when we sampled a Terrain running on 19-inch wheels. 

But friendly amenities negate those pesky road manners. Between the front seats is a storage compartment large enough to house a laptop, and utility-friendly features include rear seats that slide 8 inches fore and aft, and fold down to offer 64 cubic feet of storage. A convenience package features remote start and heated seats, while standard features include a rearview camera and remote keyless entry.

The future of the oversized SUV is hazy. But if automakers keep their efforts aimed at rides like the GMC Terrain, they’ll likely build sport utes that will—at the very least—keep buyers intrigued in the genre.

Warranty/Service: 5-year/100,000-mile transferable powertrain limited warranty with no deductible; 5-year/100,000-mile 24/7 roadside assistance; 5-year/100,000-mile courtesy transportation.

Base Price: $24,995 / As Tested: $36,135

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: Front engine, front or all-wheel drive, five passenger SUV

Engine: 2.4 liter 4-cylinder (standard), or 3.0 liter V6
Horsepower: 183 (4-cylinder), 264 (V6)
Torque: 172 lb-ft (4-cylinder), 222 lb-ft (V6)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Curb weight:
3,788 lbs
Wheelbase: 112.5 in.
Length/Width/Height: 185.3/72.8/66.3 in.
Turning circle: 40 ft

vented 4-wheel disc with ABS, hill-hold
Suspension: independent, strut type coil springs (front), independent trailering arm with three lateral locating links and coil springs (rear)

Traction: Stability control, traction control

0-60 mph: N/A
Top Speed: N/A

EPA City:
17 (AWD V6), 22 (FWD 4-cylinder)
EPA Highway: 24 (AWD V6), 32 (FWD 4-cylinder) 

Safety: Six airbags, 4-wheel ABS, OnStar

Likes: Ford Escape Hybrid-topping highway fuel economy; nicely finished interior in top trim, mean looks don’t suggest thrift

Dislikes: the cockpits of lower end models lack polish, optional 18” and 19” wheels look great but transmit bumps harshly, transmission could be more responsive

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 Photography: Basem Wasef

PAR123109 Updated: (01/14/10 AR)