2011 GMC Terrain Review

Terrain

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Average user score
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Based on 7 reviews

2011 GMC Terrain Overview

After winning generous praise upon its debut last year, little changes for the 2011 GMC Terrain. The five-passenger, family-friendly compact crossover SUV retains its serene and stylish cabin, smooth handling, top fuel economy, and the impressive list of standard features and technologies that critics and owners so loved in the 2010 version. And the only addition is better voice-recognition instruments for OnStar.

The 2011 Terrain comes in four trim levels – SLE1, SLE2, SLT1, and SLT2 – which are all available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. All Terrain trims come standard with a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder (I4) engine (182 horsepower, 172 lb-ft of torque) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This four-cylinder gets 22 city/32 highway mpg (20/29 with AWD), excellent numbers for this class.

A beefier 3.0-liter V6 (264 horsepower, 222 lb-ft of torque) is also available, although it does come with the same six-speed transmission. The I4 engine seems best suited for the Terrain, a crossover that leans more toward a station wagon (carrying the kids and groceries on urban or suburban roads) than an off-road vehicle. The V6 gets 17 city/25 highway mpg, a significant drop from the I4. But if you need to tow any weighty cargo with your Terrain, the V6 does have a 3,500-pound towing capacity, compared to 1,500 pounds for the I4.

One of the Terrain’s real highlights is that you don’t hear much from its engine once inside the cabin. Crossovers have gotten a reputation for being loud and unrefined, but that’s not the case here. GMC has loaded the Terrain with acoustic insulation and noise-reducing technology similar to that found in high-end headphones. Couple that quiet with a pleasing suspension and you get a very comfortable ride (as long as you stick with the 17- or 18-inch tires and avoid the 19-inchers).

While the Terrain is pleasing to drive in both tight spaces and on the highway, it doesn’t provide a thrilling ride. Acceleration is average (a front-wheel-drive I4 Terrain was clocked from zero to 60 in 9.4 seconds), the steering lacks some feel, and the brake pedal is a touch soft. Still, the Terrain handles like a well-behaved car.

The Terrain truly shines on the interior. The cabin design is modern and polished without being gaudy and stands out in a class where interior styling is often forgotten. The Terrain receives copious praise for its back seat, which both reclines and slides to provide plenty of room for car seats or adults. The front seats are plenty comfortable for long trips. Maximum cargo space is 63.7 cubic feet.

The base SLE1 trim level is the base, but it comes standard with goodies like cruise control, heated mirrors, foglights, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and a six-speaker stereo with CD, satellite radio, and an iPod/USB interface. The SLE2 adds automatic climate control, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, roof rails, and upgraded cloth upholstery.

Move up to the SLT1 level and you get heated front seats, remote engine start, 18-inch wheels, and leather upholstery. The high-end SLT2 adds rear parking sensors, a sunroof, exterior chrome trim, and a power tailgate.

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After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.

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    GMC Terrain Questions

    Has Anyone Had Their Differntial Clutch Go Out Causing Transfer Case Proble...

    Has anyone had their differntial clutch go out causing transfer case problem? Absolutely no warning. 5 years old 2011 GMC Terrain 6 cylinder AWD. From what I'm beginning to see it maybe a GM problem...

    2 views with no answers yet

    The Light Sensor For The Headlights Lights Up When I Lock The Doors

    When I get out of my 2011 GMC Terrain & lock the doors, the light sensor in the center of the dash turns red for about 10 secs then starts flashing, This continues until I unlock the car.

    1,599 views with 2 answers (last answer 2 months ago)

    My Interior Door Handle Light Is On Continueosly. It Is Draining The Batter...

    10 views with 1 answer (last answer 2 months ago)

    I Have Owned A 2011 Terrain Since Oct. 2014 And Have Not Had Any Problems U...

    45 views with 2 answers (last answer 3 months ago)

    Right Rear Door In My 2011 Gmc Terrain Will Not Open From The Inside Or Out...

    The right rear door has been closing hard for a while and the last time we closed it, it got stuck in the closed position. It will not open from the outside or inside. Inside door panel is off but...

    57 views with 1 answer (last answer 8 months ago)