2018 GMC Terrain Review


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2018 GMC Terrain Overview

Readying the second act of a vehicle is a difficult task for any automaker, especially if said vehicle was very popular. GMC faced this dilemma when it came time to redesign the Terrain crossover—as GMC’s second-best-selling model behind the Sierra full-size pickup, it made up 25 percent of the brand’s overall sales in 2016. GMC introduced an all-new Terrain at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, and unlike the outgoing model, which personified GMC’s ‘Professional Grade’ tagline with its upright front end and boxy fender flares, the 2018 model goes for a softer, more compact look.

For 2018, GMC’s designers cut 5 inches from the Terrain’s overall length to bring it closer in size to its compact-crossover competitors, and many of its exterior lines have been massaged for a smoother look. A pentagonal grille is flanked by a set of C-shaped headlights up front, and in a fairly unique styling choice, a pair of blacked-out D-pillars give the illusion of a floating roof. 17-inch alloy wheels come standard on SL and SLE trims, while the SLT gets a set of 19-inchers. The Denali gets a number of special design touches, such as a multi-dimensional grille, body-color rocker panels and wheel arches, and sharp-looking 19-inch wheels.

The new Terrain’s interior looks and feels far more premium than that of the outgoing model, with an abundance of soft-touch materials throughout and real aluminum trim. The Denali trim further adds soft leather upholstery, wood trim, and unique color offerings. A point of differentiation between the Terrain and its main competitor, the Chevrolet Equinox, is a new push-button transmission selector—situated above the center console, the selector has buttons for Park and Neutral and pull switches for Reverse and Drive. Additionally, this allows the Terrain to offer more space in the center console for storage. In terms of cargo room, the Terrain offers 29.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 63.3 cubic feet with the seats folded. If you need to carry longer items, you can even fold the front-passenger seat flat.

Technology offerings in 2018 Terrain are quite impressive— all trims get the latest version of GMC IntelliLink, a 7- or 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi. Navigation is available on the lower trims and standard on the Denali. The Terrain will also let the driver start and lock the vehicle remotely, check the vehicle status, schedule maintenance, or call for a tow truck via the myGMC mobile app.

Under the hood of the Terrain are three new turbocharged powertrains. A turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque serves as the base engine, and next up is a 1.6-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder good for 137 hp and 240 lb-ft. Finally, a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 252 hp and 260 lb-ft rounds out the powertrain lineup. Unlike the Equinox, the Terrain pairs both of its gas engines with a 9-speed automatic transmission, while the turbodiesel sticks with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Both front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems are available, and AWD models feature the ability to decouple the rear wheels to improve fuel economy.

The Terrain’s safety credentials see a noticeable improvement for 2018. Available for the first time on the Terrain are GMC’s new Rear-Seat Reminder and Teen Driver systems. Rear-Seat Reminder alerts the driver to check the back seat when exiting the vehicle to help prevent leaving kids or valuable items. Teen Driver gives parents the ability to set up a special key with speed and volume limits and provides a report of how far the vehicle went and whether the antilock brakes or stability control were activated. Optional active safety equipment includes a surround-view camera system, low-speed automatic braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Pricing for the 2018 GMC Terrain hasn’t been announced yet, but we anticipate it to be slightly higher than the Chevrolet Equinox, which begins at $24,475 with destination. Expect to see the 2018 Terrain at your local GMC dealer this summer.


Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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