By on November 16, 2009

gmcterrain

Many people have questioned why General Motors needs so many brands. Why have both Chevrolet and GMC selling essentially the same vehicles? With the new GMC Terrain, we might just have an answer. Or not.

2010 GMC Terrain SLTThe GMC Terrain essentially replaces the Pontiac Torrent in GM’s burgeoning Crossover linuep. Where the Torrent was a rebadge of the first-generation Chevrolet Equinox, the Terrain shares everything under the skin with the second-generation Equinox. And yet it’s not a rebadge. The Equinox is blandly attractive, with a moderately aero shape that could have issued forth from the design studio of a number of manufacturers.

The Terrain, in contrast, is all bulky angles, battering-ram grille, and bulging fender flares. No one will mistake it for an Equinox, and it’s not attractive to my eyes. But for anyone who (still) desires the look of a Hummer, but with the mechanicals, packaging, and fuel economy of a car-like crossover, the Terrain is (with the partial exception of Mitsubishi’s failed Endeavor—155 units in October) the only current option.

With the interiors, GM has sprung for different IP fascias and door panels, but the payoff is considerably less than with the exteriors. The lines differ—for example, the Chevrolet’s outer air vents appear to be swapped left to right for the GMC—but the interiors do not feel any different as a result. Side by side comparison is necessary to note the differences.

In either case, the interior is a definite step up from that in the first-gen Equinox. The center stack—shared between the two models—is especially stylish, with its knobs and buttons arranged and shaped so you can tell them apart and find the one you’re looking for (memo to Honda). Vertical air vents flanking the center stack lent flair to the interior of the new Cadillac CTS, and they do the same here. Most of the interior plastics are hard, and some appear lower-rent than others, but this is typical of the price point. You weren’t actually expecting a well-finished cargo area, were you?

Red stitching on the door panels and seats and numerous faux aluminum trim bits nearly save the black cloth interior from a work truck ambience. Those seeking a less somber but higher maintenance interior should opt for the light grey cloth, which brings with it high contrast gray/black interior panels. Want some actual warmth, even luxury? Then spend the extra bucks for the SLT with the brown leather.

Thanks to the blocky exterior styling, the Terrain appears larger than the Equinox, even though the Chevrolet is actually a couple of inches longer. Both combine the width of a compact 2010 GMC Terrain SLTcrossover with the wheelbase and length of a midsize. This translates to the interior dimensions. Even exceptionally tall adults will feel comfortable in the rear seat, with a high cushion and abundant legroom–unless there are three of them. Seats front and rear are moderately firm and nicely contoured.

The driving position is largish SUV. While the cabin isn’t broad, you sit higher than in most compact crossovers and the instrument panel runs high and deep between massive A-pillars. The storage bin atop the IP cannot be reached without leaning far forward, and the base of the windshield might be in the next time zone. As a result, the Terrain doesn’t only look larger than it is. As with many GM vehicles, once underway it also feels larger than it is. Some people might consider this a good thing. GM certainly always has. Bigger is better, right?

Not necessarily. Anyone hoping for agile handling (you can always hope, right?) won’t find it. The Terrain’s handling is accurate and secure, with nicely weighted steering, good body control, and modest body lean. But agile or sporty it is not. GM leaves that for the imports.

The Terrain’s moderately firm suspension absorbs bumps well without any float, but transmits enough of the impact that you know you’re not in a luxury vehicle. Wind noise is low, tire noise not quite so low.

Then there’s engine noise. GM has convinced itself that engines with similar power ratings are interchangeable. So last year’s base engine, a 3.4-liter V6 good for 185 horsepower, has been replaced by a 2.4-liter four good for 182. Just three fewer horses, but can revs substitute for the lost liter? Can 2.4 liters move two tons?

That will have to be answered in a later review. The test vehicle had the optional V6. Though only 3.0 liters, thanks to direct injection it produces the same 264 horsepower as last year’s 3.6. Are you old enough to recall when Honda wowed the enthusiast world by getting 270 horsepower out of three liters in the Acura NSX? Well, now GM is squeezing nearly as much power out of a 3.0, on regular gas and without titanium internals.

Problem is, engines that peak at 6,950 rpm make more sense in sports cars than truckish crossovers. The 3.0 moves the Terrain fairly well at full throttle, if not as well as the torquier 3.6 moved last year’s lighter Equinox, but the amount and quality of the resulting engine noise suggests that you’re doing something you really should not be. Even during regular cruising the six-speed transmission must drop down a cog or three to handle barely-there hills or the slightest demand for acceleration. The engine broadcasts every such downshift with a dramatic increase in induction and exhaust drone, perhaps so you’ll know it’s doing its bestest. Not a good fit for the Terrain’s brawny exterior.

2010 GMC Terrain 3.0L Direct Injection V6Nor is the all-wheel-drive system. It should serve to get the Terrain out of the subdivision before the plow comes through, and does banish torque steer (which this less-than-torquey V6 nevertheless achieves in front-drive applications). But, without a low-range, skid plates, or any other non-aesthetic pretense towards off-roadability, the Terrain isn’t traversing any wild terrain. Beneath the skin, it’s just another tall car pretending to be an SUV, only with more pretense. The trail is conceded to the less aggressively styled, more compact Jeep Patriot. The Terrain is a superior Hummer H3 considering how most H3s are actually used.

The point of the 3.0, one might assume, is efficiency. And when you assume…how about we check the numbers? Well, what do you know: in every vehicle in which both the 3.0 and the related 3.6 are offered the 3.6 gets the same—or better—EPA ratings. The 3.0 might have a fuel economy advantage over the 3.6 in a 3,500 pound (or lower) vehicle. But GM has yet to so deploy it, and perhaps never will, instead using a turbo four in such applications. In the 4,188-pound AWD GMC Terrain, as in the similarly hefty Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS, and Cadillac SRX, the 3.0 simply makes no sense. Use this new engine in something much less massive, or kill it. Perhaps the 3.6 will at least find its way into a future Denali variant?

As it is, the GMC Terrain looks big, feels bigger, but has been deprived of an engine or drivetrain that can cash the checks the tough guy exterior writes. Rear seat comfort (for two adults) and legroom are exceptional, and the interior can be stylish as long as the black cloth isn’t selected. The ride and handling are good without being luxurious or sporty.

All in all, a good fit for what the typical two-row crossover buyer on a budget is seeking—except for the styling. All of the other plusses and minuses are shared by the Equinox, so your typical buyer will gravitate to the prettier Chevy. The Terrain undeniably serves a different, less common aesthetic taste—no look-alikes this time. This is the benefit of multiple brands—the Terrain’s styling is too polarizing for any company with just one offering in the segment. But are there enough people who prefer chunky to creamy in their crossover sheetmetal? Lackluster powertrain notwithstanding, GMC dealers are quickly selling every Terrain they can get—nearly 3,000 of them in October—so we seem to have our answer concerning the point of GMC.

[Michael Karesh owns and operates True Delta, a reliability and cost analysis survey site]

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71 Comments on “Review: GMC Terrain...”


  • avatar
    olivehead

    honda accord called.  it wants its steering wheel back.

  • avatar

    Given their popularity, I’d like to have reliability stats on the new Equinox and Terrain ASAP. February is possible.

    Know someone who has bought one? Please send them here for details about the Car Reliability Survey, and to sign up to help make these results happen:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    That is a whole lot of ugly – inside and out.
     
    -ted

  • avatar

    If this car was a dog I’d shave its ass and make it walk backwards.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    In this car you see the point of GMC, much as in the Regal you see the point of Buick: not as brands per se, but as a way to soak up production capacity and amortize costs.
     
    Truly, I was surprised to see GM try and make Buick into it’s car volume soak: I expected a Cruze and Malibu with square wheel wells (much like Pontiacs were Cavaliers/Cobalts and Malibus with cladding and vertically split grille).  That they’re misguided enough to use their Lexus-pretender as a volume soak is telling.

    That said, it’s a nice trucklet. The problem is, so is the Equinox. The larger problem is that, in ways that people care about, the RAV/4 is also a very good trucklet, and the 3.5L variant solidly kicks the crap out of every other small crossover in this price bracket, and quite a few that cost much more.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I agree, the RAV4 is a neat little piece, but I’d personally stick with the four and save some money. I rented one and found it perfectly acceptable acceleration-wise, even at Denver’s altitude. Besides, Toyota engines are happy as hell when you rev the whee out of them.

      But I’d say that it looks a LOT cheaper inside than either the Equinox or Terrain (in particular, I found the Chevy’s center stack to be extremely well executed, versus the RAV4′s Tonka Toy look and feel) and then there’s that stupid tailgate that opens on the wrong side.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I agree, the RAV4 is a neat little piece, but I’d personally stick with the four and save some money. I rented one and found it perfectly acceptable acceleration-wise, even at Denver’s altitude.
         
        I’d agree with you, too, but the 3.5L doesn’t cost much more, hardly uses much fuel and just blasts every other small ute out of the water, up to and including the 3.6L Equinox (and the CX-7,  RDX, and X3).
         
        But I’d say that it looks a LOT cheaper inside than either the Equinox or Terrain (in particular,
         
        This is true.  I don’t think it matters, though.***
         
        The problem (for GM) is that the RAV doesn’t look bad as much as it looks simple next to the Chevy’s extravagance: Toyota  is going for the “Japanese stereo” look**, where GM is going for old-school luxury.  Car enthusiasts will prefer GM’s take, but I don’t think that the buying public really cares that the silver-painted plastics in the Toyota are hard because, quite frankly, the plastics are hard on a good stereo, an iPod and/or any number of modern appliances.
         
        Personally, I think the Chevy’s interior is overwrought, where the RAV is simpler (seriously, check the big, simple buttons for the climate and audio).  I don’t think the prevailing market really cares about soft-touch plastics where you don’t rest an elbow, nor do they care about faux leather stitching, plastic-wood appliqué or chrome.   As long as the gaps are even and the controls work well, buyers are ok and we car enthusiasts are mired in an image of luxury that isn’t really applicable.
         
        GM took the criticism of it’s old cars, which were full of hard, badly aligned plastic that looked like a Playskool imitation of leather and replaced it with what looks like actual leather and wood.  This is ok, but the only reason you have the look of leather or wood is because you’re aping horse carriages of more than a century ago.  Toyota and Honda, meanwhile, realized that a) they don’t need lux up every car because people buy them based on their mechanical reliability and b) the current car-buying generations don’t care for dated approximations of luxury.  GM’s interiors never would have been a problem, either, but for the mechanicals underneath.  You can forgive the interior of the 97-02 Corolla, for example, because the car is bulletproof; the same interior quality on the contemporary Cavalier was just urine-flavoured icing on the mechanically crap cake.
         
        Kudos to GM for fixing a problem, but they’d probably have been better off diverting funds to a Hyundai-style 10-year warranty.  It’d certainly help them because, nice as this car is, it’s going to sell for less of MSRP than the RAV.
         
        But to each their own…
         
        Don’t misread me: I actually really like the Equinox and Terrain, and I’d consider it if I was in the market and especially if it gets the Two-Mode system from the Vue.  I just think it’s another example of GM not quite getting what the real problem is, though less so than the CTS Wagon is.
         
        ** Honda is even more serious about this.  The plastic texturing on every modern Honda makes me think of a mid-range stereo.
        ***  The other problem is that the Equinox’s interior is better than the larger, much more expensive Traverse.  That is a problem, especially if GM wants to keep selling Traverse LTZs.
         

  • avatar
    don1967

    The Baby Escalade front end is okay, but everything else is just screamin’ for some pink paint and BARBIEGRL vanity plates.   This is what happens when you try to make a cheap CUV look like an SUV.

  • avatar
    dmrdano

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder buyer.  But I still do not understand maintaining the GMC nameplate.  They only compete with Chevy.  I would have killed GMC and made Pontiac the nameplate for all rebadged imports (Opal, Holden, etc.), as well as the Vibe and other such half-breeds.

  • avatar

    I was thoroughly prepared to see this thing shouted down as the new Aztek.

    But then I started getting emails from TrueDelta members interested in the Terrain. They wanted a crossover that had the appearance of a real SUV. They didn’t want one that looked like a car, just taller. 

    This eliminates pretty much everything but the Terrain. Which enough people clearly like–dealers literally cannot keep them on the lots. Try to even find one to test drive.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      There’s also the Escape and Tribute.

      …pause…

      Ok, I stopped laughing now. 

      I don’t think it’s really ugly as much as it’s a little overdone.  I’m also not surprised to know that people are beating down the doors for it: the Escape still sells well, as does just about every other non-premium small crossover, and GM still has a large dealer network by which to move these things.  What I am astounded by is how long it took GM to even field an entry (the Vue was their first, and it showed up long after Ford, Toyota and Honda made lots of hay) let alone a competitive one (the current Equinox).

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I don’t think this car is even in the same galaxy of weirdness as the Aztek…it’s merely not to everyone’s tastes.

  • avatar
    Sigsworth

    My tax dollars went for this? When I saw the picture I cried. Really.

  • avatar

    Sigsworth,

    Depends on whether you want those dollars to pay for pretty sheetmetal or earn money. They’ll earn a great return on this one.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Seems the Equinox would be the better (looking) bet for sure…the Terrain isn’t to my taste looks-wise, but I don’t think it’s ugly per se.

    I haven’t driven one, but I did check out an Equinox at my local dealer last Sunday, and it’s a nice-looking piece. I’ll agree with Karesh on the hard-plastic interior, but it’s well executed, and frankly, even Honda does that in this class.

    Worth noting: the back seat on this vehicle is VAST – far bigger than the last RAV4 I rented. I like the cargo/seating flexibility.

  • avatar

    The vastness of the back seat highlights a major shortcoming of Cadillac’s new SRX. I drove the SRX the same day, and must wonder what GM was thinking in giving it a cramped back seat. Because the SRX platform is shared with Saab, and cramped back seats are part of the Saab DNA?

    • 0 avatar
      ChristyGarwood

      Michael, I like your straight forward review style.

      Regarding the vastness of the Terrain’s backseat, it is my personal opinion as a GM employee, that GM designed the sliding rear seats for flexibility between cargo space and passenger legroom. If you are a parent transporting kids to a hockey game perhaps, they don’t need legroom but their equipment needs to fit in the cargo area.  Then later in the evening when you are picking up adult friends to go out to eat, you slide the seats aft to give them lots of leg room and easy ingress/ egress.  

  • avatar
    KixStart

    From the article: “Both combine the width of a compact crossover with the wheelbase and length of a midsize. This translates to the interior dimensions.”

    By the numbers, the shorter Rav4 has a significant edge in interior room over the Traverse/Terrain.  FreedMike’s comments suggest that the numbers are misleading but… still… I’m familiar with the current Rav4 and it’s no slouch in interior space.

    Maybe FreedMike lost some weight since testing the Rav4?  :-)

    And I do not ordinarily use the term ugly without the “but that is largely a matter of taste” disclaimer but in this case… It’s ugly.  Period.  It has the fullsize “brute force” features of the larger GMC vehicles but on that small frame… It’s like Jimmy Durante’s nose without Jimmy Durante’s charming and witty personality.

    Still, maybe some people just like “ugly” or they have such a need to be in your face with their SUV-ette that they will buy this.  It takes all kinds to make a world.

    • 0 avatar
      ret

      This is a bit of a cliche, but this vehicle is MUCH better looking in person than i any photo I’ve seen.  All ofthe overdone SUV-ish bits don’t stand out as much, and those weird cuts over the wheel wells flow a lot more smoothly into the rest of the vehicle.  It really is a matter of taste, but MK is right that this vehicle will appeal to every single potential H3 owner out there.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      By the numbers, the shorter Rav4 has a significant edge in interior room over the Traverse/Terrain.  FreedMike’s comments suggest that the numbers are misleading but… still… I’m familiar with the current Rav4 and it’s no slouch in interior space.
      Maybe FreedMike lost some weight since testing the Rav4?  :-)

      I wish…seriously, the Equinox has about an inch and a half more rear legroom than the RAV4 – 39.9 versus 38.3.  Mainly, it’s because the Equinox has an adjustable rear seat. If you need more passenger space, you move it all the way back and get huge back seat room, and you move it up to maximize cargo space, at the expense of legroom. I think that’s a great feature for people who need cargo/passenger space flexibility.

      The old Malibu Maxx had the same system – it was probably the ONLY good thing the car had.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        “The old Malibu Maxx had the same system – it was probably the ONLY good thing the car had.”
        The Maxx had a lot of great things going for it. On a 112″ wheelbase and the aforementioned sliding back seats, you had an incredible amount of passenger room. I could routinely fit my 6’4″ buddies in the back seat of our Maxx and have plenty of legroom (and headroom) left over. The standard rear sunroof was a delightful feature, it kept the otherwise long interior cabin from becoming too dreary. The 3.5 (pushrod no less!) V6 was stout enough to easily smoke the tires on dry roads. On the freeway, we routinely got high 20′s/low 30′s in fuel mileage. The hatchback is a great feature on cars this size. I see that BMW and Honda are starting to realize the virtues of them on midsize cars again. It’s a feature that should have never gone away. Too bad they have to put them on their higher-cost models, less expensive cars like that would eat away at small SUV’s, at least for the way most of them are driven.
        It sounds like you have had zero experience with a Maxx, too bad. They were unique cars. I’ll be looking for another one.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          It sounds like you have had zero experience with a Maxx, too bad. They were unique cars. I’ll be looking for another one.

          I was unfortunate enough to spend a week in one. I liked the back seat flexibility, and as you say, the rear sunroofs were nice, but that car was AWFUL to drive. No-feel electric steering, tacky interior, and coarse engine.

          Yecch.

          The new Malibu is light-years better. I’d say they should do a wagon version, but that kind of erases the rationale for the Equinox, and midsized wagons don’t sell (witness: Mazda 6, Honda Accord).

      • 0 avatar
        canuckchuck

        The RAV4 has the moveable rear seat slide as well.  Same feature as on the Lexus RX.
         

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    This thing is a whole lotta ugly. HUMMERS looked better than this. It looks overly bottom heavy, blocky and there is too much stuff for a vehicle this size.

    It looks like one of those weird late 1950′s automobiles that you wondered how they could have made it out of the factory with such a bizzare appearance.

  • avatar

    I’m starting to think that the TTAC readership isn’t into the “macho SUV” thing. Have there been previous clues?

    KixStart: the RAV4 offers plenty of rear legroom. The Terrain offers even more. The RAV4 feels like a much smaller vehicle from behind the wheel, which cuts both ways. And it’s interior is even more plasticky. The Terrain feels more solid and substantial.

    • 0 avatar
      dmrdano

      I don’t know if there is an anti-SUV sentiment as much as a mock-any-American-car sentiment, especially a Chrysler or GM.  It may or may not be deserved, but it seems that nothing the formerly respectable American nameplates can do these days gets anything but derision.  Of course, if the companies would quit giving so many easy targets…

  • avatar
    Bancho

    I saw both the Terrain as well as the Equinox at the Seattle Auto Show over the weekend and the Equinox is absolutely the better looking vehicle. The problem with the Terrain is that it look as if GM just took every macho cliche they could find and chucked it at this thing. I do agree with the sentiment that H3 buyers could find something to like here. For everyone else the Equinox actually has a much more cohesive design and surprisingly enough wears the “signature Chevy grill” much better than most other vehicles it’s been slathered on.

    On a positive note, however, the Terrain/Equinox are both much nicer than the previous iterations and the interiors are attractive. The fact that the rear seat can slide forward/back is nice too since you can decide whether to prioritize cargo/passenger comfort based on your current need (wasn’t that a feature the Malibu Maxx had first?).

    • 0 avatar
      dmrdano

      I wouldn’t say first, since my Caravans have had it since always.  It is a feature I use a lot!  I know it is common to all the minivans, and uncommon in other cars.  But I also had it in my ’89 Dodge Colt Vista.  Really nice.

  • avatar
    Roundel

    Putting aside the fact that GMC should not continue to exist.. I think there is a place for this vehicle in the world.
    Call me an old fashioned man, but I don’t really like the looks of the CRV, Rav-4 etc. I prefer the handsome boxy Patriot, this design fits in. I don’t think its as clean a design as the Patriot is, in terms of just boxiness. The chunky front end and wheel wells look a little excessive. But I have not seen the vehicle in person, so I will wait for final judgement.
    It looks competent enough for me. The interior looks leagues ahead of the Rav-4.
    I think it will sell well.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      And it’s different enough from the Traverse not to do much cannibalization.  Additional sales, and more volume for the platform, with minimal incremental engineering costs.  If GMC is going to continue to exist, this is the way to make it worthwhile.

  • avatar
    john.fritz

    GM has convinced itself that engines with similar power ratings are interchangeable. So last year’s base engine, a 3.4-liter V6 good for 185 horsepower, has been replaced by a 2.4-liter four good for 182. Just three fewer horses, but can revs substitute for the lost liter? Can 2.4 liters move two tons?
     
    I would say the answer to both questions is a resounding No. This is part of the point I tried to make in a different post. Of course, another reader pointed out that four cylinder engines are ‘adequate’. Adequate for who?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I can’t speak for this car, but I did rent a RAV4 with a four-banger, and while it was no Enzo, it was certainly OK for around-town, even with four people aboard. Obviously, if you want no-effort power, you’ll pop for the six, but I was pleasantly surprised by the four. The Honda CR-V, which is the best selling car in this segment, is also offered in a four-cylinder only.

      Then again, Toyota and Honda have a way with engines and transmissions.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        The Toyota has a weight advantage of perhaps 400lbs over the Equinox/Terrain.  That would undoubtedly change the performance of a 4-banger of ca 180 hp from “marginal” to “OK.”

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      How about you try driving it before making the decision?  I have read several reviews that were very pleased with the 2.4L DI acceleration.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Adequate for me for the past 10 years and 188K miles. We towed home about 400 lbs of trailer and ~600 lbs of firewood this weekend plus four people, a dog and clothes/gifts/food for the holiday over two TN mountains. Never dropped below 45-50 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. This was with a 1999 CR-V and a Brenderup 1205S trailer with a top.
      On flat ground we ran anywhere from 55-70 mph depending on the speed limits. I also got about 23 mpg loaded and 26 mpg unloaded (empty trailer).
      This is in a ’99 CR-V with a manual five speed tranny and a 146 hp 2.0L four cylinder.
      All the big engines provide is acceleration and big gasoline bills.
      They don’t go any better on flat ground at steady speeds except when they are so large they lope along at 1800 rpm. An advantage I suppose until I recall that driving my in-laws Saturn Outlook 3 days ago with the big V-6 it constantly locks and unlocks the torque converter. I mean CONSTANTLY. Every little hill.
      Right before it unlocks at a light throttle ~55 or so I can feel/hear the driveline starting to tremble or lug. I suppose if I drove it like other people and constantly moved my foot into the throttle to cause it to unlock sooner it would be different but I prefer to drive with a light and steady gas pedal foot and my CR-V manual tranny allows that.
      The Outlook demonstrated the hunting problem about automatics which I despise. The computer ought to get out of the lockup and stay out after so many locking cycles in so many minutes. Wait several minutes and fewer accelerator movements before locking in again.
      I drove it again this weekend and went from really enjoying the tranny/engine combo to despising it as much as any other auto-box I have driven.
      This Terrain is not likely a purchase I’d make b/c of it’s large size and I suppose I couldn’t order it with an auto tranny. It’s ugly to me. Too chunky. Too “in your face”.
      I sat in a new CR-V recently. If it drove as well I’d consider it again. Only problem is that there is not a manual tranny available here. Guess us folks that prefer a third pedal are a thing of the past. I’d like to see the current Vue up close too. And the Rav4.

  • avatar
    revolver1978

    I don’t mind the front, at least it looks different for the class. The bulging rectangular fender flares are really, really bad. Puts me to mind of the JEEP Compass.
    I saw one in downtown Pittsburgh the other day – with the exception that it lokosed like it should site higher off the ground, it does look amrignally better in person. The fender fares looked just as bad in black though.

  • avatar
    CV

    I like the the look of the Equinox better, and would like to see a review of the 4-cyclinder, front wheel drive model to find out if it’s not too slow and if it really gets 22/32 mpg as is advertised, or something close to that.
    Michael, I’ve read the turning radius of these vehicles is 40! That seems like a huge amount of real estate when the Equinox/Terrain isn’t that big. Did seem that unwieldy to you? Why couldn’t GM reduce that dimension to something a bit more agile?

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    if this car was a woman i’d make it wear a burka… and walk 5 paces behind me… allah u ackbar

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    TonjJZX:  “if this car was a woman i’d make it wear a burka… and walk 5 paces behind me”
    Not if you lived in an area with landmines.  Then you’d make her walk 5 paces in front of you.

  • avatar
    WetWilly

    Pictures really don’t do justice to how horrendous this thing looks.  I don’t mind how Hummers look, but this thing just screams “wannabe” at the top of its lungs.
    At the auto show I had a chance to look at the 2011 Kia Sorento and the Equinox/Terrain.  GM should be really thankful that people still stereotype Kias, because the Sorento was way nicer inside, is less expensive, and gets better mileage with a larger and more powerful V6.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The 3.0L is a terrible engine that ruins everything it powers.

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    And again with GMC.
    While I can’t argue with 3000 units last month, I have to ask again – why couldn’t those same three thousand units have been Equinoxes? Is the price premium over the Equinox (which, if the MSRP is any indication, is rather small) large enough to justify the expense of separate design, parts, and promotion for this model? Furthermore, the equipment disparity between the Equinox and Terrain seems so negligible that the Terrain’s styling is its only strong suit. Thus, this vehicle’ s sole merit is being fashionable, which is a rather precarious advantage. Perhaps offering the 3.6, as Michael mentioned, only in the Terrain would help the equipment problem?
    On a less serious note, count me in on hating the styling of this thing. It’s very fitting that the going-away view (sans the stupid/obligatory chrome jewelry) is the only palatable angle to me.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I have always believed that GMC had the best idea for brand within GM, but lousiest execution.  GMC wants to be the DeWalt of trucks — professional grade.  In my book that would mean actual product differentiation that would mean this was a quality piece of equipment built to last a couple of decades.  So it would have a beefier engine, transmission cooler, built in engine block heater, better rust proofing, more options for cargo management, a real spare tire, etc.
    Susan:  Why don’t you actually differentiate GMC with real product features that are aligned with the brand and which consumers might actually desire, rather than simply change the styling?
     

  • avatar
    NickR

    I worry about GMs move to the 3.0L V6.   From what I understand they are moving to replace all but the hipo 3.6L V6 (in the CTS & Camaro) with the 3.0L.  From what I’ve read, the reports are at best mixed whereas the 3.6L seems to be fairly well regarded. 

  • avatar
    klossfam

    I’m surprised these new GM CUV/SUVs get the semi-positive reviews they do…I drove a new Equinox LT (AWD/2.4L) to Montreal a couple months back and after 750 miles at the helm, I realize the General still doesn’t get it.  This platform is questionable a best…Ride is far to firm and choppy for the high level of body roll (the worst of both worlds) and the 2.4 REALLY struggles to move this RAV4 wide/Highlander long pseudo SUV.
    It would make far more sense if you were inclined to buy a FWD/4-banger version to get a Highlander 2.7L for close to the same price…The Honda CR-V and RAV4 are both shorter by nearly half a foot BUT better by a country mile.  The true competitor  is a Hyundai Santa Fe and it ALSO blows away the Terrainox…I drove conservatively and got 24 mpg…I can get a true 23 mpg in my 08 Highlander Ltd AWD, go 0-60 in 7.0 seconds and tow a 5,000 lb trailer…
    With the old TTAC 5-Star formula, the Terrainox is no more than a “2″…

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Yeah it’s barely above average, but give GM it’s dues, this vehicle actually looks like it should belong in the GMC lineup – big grill, no dicking about styling. More than could be said for many of the vehicles in the Chevrolet lineup.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Sinistermisterman-You are correct.  I should say it has a couple strong points.  I really liked the switchable US/Canada units of measure (even the speedo needle jumps to correct km/h when switched on the fly – cool to watch).  Smart because ONE model for North America vs two “slightly different” models.  Seating position was good and the interior detailing and materials were a step up from Toyota (the RAV4 is cheap inside, and so is the Highlander)…Still, amazed by how overweight this thing is for WHAT it is…the Malibu is a far better example of what GM CAN do as are cars like the CTS…

  • avatar
    Bonneville2000


    “…but the amount and quality of the resulting engine noise suggests that you’re doing something you really should not be.


    Just a point of clarification: The Terrain’s engine noise levels are actually quite good when compared to others with perceived low noise levels. In side-by-side engineering noise tests the GMC Terrain’s 3.0L direct injection V-6 engine is 3-8 dBA lower in noise levels across the complete engine speed range than the Lexus IS350 3.5L V-6 direct injection engine. Engine noise is something we diligently worked to get right with this brand new direct-injection 3.0L V-6. Is there room to improve? Always, but thought you would want to know how it actually stacks up in the pack. Thanks.  Tom R. GM

  • avatar
    davey49

    Love the way the Terrain looks. I prefer boxy and angular to swoopy bubble.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    Most likely I’ll never buy one, but it is frustratingly disappointing to see that GM still cannot accept the fact that people want high quality interiors with soft-touch plastics, not something that looks like it was built from Fisher-Price after parts.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Sometimes the fancy soft interiors are nice and sometimes I still prefer the hard plastics.
      Our ’99 CR-V has good quality but hard plastics. It and the seats have worn very well. The plus side is that it is easy to clean when the Sports-Utility-Vehicle is used for sporty outings like camping and hauling and getting dirty type trips.
      Has been excellent with small children who can ruin a well detailed car in 5 mins without any snacks or drinks within reach! LOL. I think they are like animals which spread plant seeds with their fur. My kids spread crumbs and dirt.
      I’d like to have a plush interior – someday. Not now though.

  • avatar
    blautens

    At Enterprise in the Atlanta airport, they walk you out and show you the selections in SUVs:
    GMC Terrain
    Chevy Equinox
    Jeep Liberty
    Chevy Traverse
    Ford Explorer
    I made snide comments about the GMC Terrain, but two guys in my group made positive comments about it like they won the lottery and picked it.
    So some people find it attractive. But attractive or not, it’s porky…why are so many small GM and Ford CUVs so heavy?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      EXACTLY! Why so porky? If I want a small vehicle then I want a lightweight vehicle as well! That’s the whole point of driving small! I want a vehicle that was designed around a four cylinder engine and ~150 HP. An available V-6 would be optional, not mandatory nor necessary if designed right.
      This is why we keep going back to import vehicles. They are designed for four cylinders first. Any V-6 additions are for the North American market and the American idea that four cylinders ain’t enough. Whatever…
      I was SHOCKED to see the Jeep Liberty sporting 3.7L of V-6 and needing it and the resulting fuel mileage. My first gen CR-V isn’t much different in size.

  • avatar

    Nice review Michael. I was shocked to see you mention the Jeep Patriot’s capabilities in even a vaguely positive tone–”The trail is conceded to the less aggressively styled, more compact Jeep Patriot”.
    I believe you referred to the thing as a “sheep in wolf’s clothing” on Epinions. Although to be fair I’m pretty sure you were talking about the engine in that review.
    Never mind that. I like this thing’s styling but not its lack of low-range, overwrought styling, and high(er than many superior competitors) price. All three of the American makes have a CUV with vaguely masculine styling (even the Escape is fairly tough looking nowadays), this one is just the most over-the-top brutal about it. It isn’t terribly refined in its masculinity at all, sort of like a pubescent teenager that gives mean looks to everyone to try to look big and tough.
    My uncle described the interior not just as cheap, but as brittle and fragile, as if the interior would fall apart. Any feelings like that?

  • avatar
    ASISEEIT

    I really don’t care about G.M.’s new vehicle, cross over, trucket or what ever but, I would like to know why the morons at G.M. CAN’T build a SMALL hybrid vehicle!!!!!!! Is it that they really are morons? The last hybrid advertisment I watched on television was an Ecalade hybrid!!! What’s next a hybrid bus? or how about a hybrid motorhome that gets 4-mpg instead of 3-mpg!!! The only rational conclusion is that G.M. wants their north American operations to be smaller, alot smaller!!  I have heard G.M. doesn’t make money on small vehicles because of labor costs but that too is bull excreta since G.M. could build it in mexico or Korea or one of many G.M. plants outside the U.S.— Well we’re back to the moron excuse!

  • avatar
    ASISEEIT

    You know I was just browsing this website and noticed a shit-load of G.M. advertisements. I also noticed the majority of comments are bashing G.M. products!  Well my question was going to be , Do you think they’re reading the comments and taking them serious? Then reality filtered back and the realization of the “Brain Dead” mentality at G.M. became clear, NO THEY’RE NOT!!!!

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    psarhjinian – EXACTLY!

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Very well said about the applications of the too small displacement 3.0 liter SIDI V6. The 3.6 makes much more sense in any of these 4000 LB plus vehicles. As for the exterior well there is always the Equinox which looks somewhat normal if a little bland and Korean.

  • avatar
    DetroitsaRiot

    A Four is a full size Truck?? Watch out for engine issues…..

  • avatar

    Michael, 100% agree with your review. Recently rented one on a Montana vacation. Although it had more luxury features than our Subie Forester, I’ll still take it over the Jimmy. Can’t abide that suspension slop and the seemingly more anemic engine response.


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