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2018 GMC Terrain Diesel AWD SLT Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


ENGINE: 1.5-liter turbocharged diesel 4

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 137 hp @ 3,750 rpm/240 lb.-ft. @ 2,000 rpm

WHEELBASE: 107.3 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.3 x 72.4 x 65.4 in.

TIRES: P225/60R18

CARGO CAPACITY: 29.6/63.3 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)

ECONOMY: 28 mpg city/38 mpg highway/25.2 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 15.6 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 3,815 lbs.#/HP: 27.8


COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura MDX, Ford Flex, Dodge Durango

STICKER: $39,270 (base)

BOTTOM LINE: The GMC Terrain, and its Chevrolet brother the Equinox, are good-sized SUVs with a host of good features. The Terrain has a surprise or two, though.

It took me a while before I fully realized that the GMC Terrain I was driving had diesel power. I recall the days when a diesel-engined car had a certain rattle. In fact, we have a neighbor in an older Mercedes-Benz diesel that I can hear coming from a block away.

But the Terrain diesel is gasoline-engine quiet. Not that it’s silent, mind you, but the traditional diesel rattle is gone.

Our tester was powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged diesel that pumps out 137 horsepower at a low 3,750 rpm and a healthy 240 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm. Therefore, performance is decent, if not spectacular.

As empty-nesters, my wife and I have no outstanding need for a SUV, so the Terrain’s compact size would fit the bill. Ride quality is almost sedan-like and its overall size isn’t too large. Yet, for those occasions when we would want to carry stuff, as when headed to or from our daughters’ houses, there is plenty of cargo capacity. The numbers are 29.6 cubic feet of cargo with all the seats up and 63.3 cubic feet with the second-row seats down. This would be a great vehicle for carrying a golfing foursome and all their gear, for example.

What sets the Terrain apart form any other vehicle I have driven is its gear selection process. No “three on the tree” or T-shaped handle in the center of the console, the Terrain is equipped with five buttons at the base of the center stack. Now, these aren’t all normal pushbuttons. Park and Neutral are pushbuttons, but reverse and drive are “pull buttons.” In addition, there is a low with + and - for semi-manual shifting. Shifting using these buttons requires some thought, but it reduces the possibility of engaging the wrong gear. I liked the arrangement, but a consensus of people I spoke with indicated a love-hate relationship. You gotta try it.

Ride quality is good. The terrain handles well on twisting roads with minimal lean. The suspension is firm, but not hard.

The driver faces a clear instrument panel with some novel features. One is the rear seat warning that we have encountered in other GM vehicles. If you open the back doors for any reason, when you later shut off the Terrain an alert sounds and a message appears one the dash to check the back seats. This is a good idea, because we have left food there, and it’s a good reminder if you have children in the back.

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We set the i.p. up with a digital speedometer alongside digital analog gauges.

The default infotainment screen is audio on the left, and a map on the right, with a digital clock and outside temperature along the bottom. Most infotainment screens turn blank when you shut them off, but this one retains the clock and outside temp. GM’s IntelliLink infotainment system is set up for Android Auto and Apple Car Play compatibility.

At the base of the center stack, below the shifters, is a large cubby with USB and AUX outlets. Four wheel drive controls are located on the center console along with the heated or cooled seat switches that we didn’t check in warm weather.

Front doors have multiple storage that includes bottoms to the door pulls, a small cubby underneath the door pulls and a larger one at the bottom that’s good for water bottles.

The GMC Terrain is a solid package with good cargo capacity and a decent sized exterior profile. The diesel engine is a plus.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

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