My most recent test was of the 2014 GMC Terrain, courtesy of Ryan Green over at Weld County Garage. Ryan is the internet manager there and has been employed at “The Garage” for eleven years. He tossed me the key fob and dealer license plate; immediately my wife Ruth and I were off on a road trip to Nebraska.
GMC has produced the Terrain since 2009, when the mid-size crossover SUV was introduced as a 2010 model at the New York International Auto Show. The vehicle shares its drivetrain and platform with Chevrolet’s Equinox, but has styling that is substantially different than that of the Chevy. It’s been a hit, selling almost 100,000 units last year, with the General Motors twin products leading all manufacturers in this segment.
The Terrain that Ruth and I made the trip in was the SLE-2, with upgraded cloth upholstery in black and beautiful extra-cost ($495) Carbon Black metallic paint. M.S.R.P. came to $30,890, including freight ($895), power sunroof ($900), and chrome alloy wheels/door handles/mirrors ($795). The tires mounted on those chrome, five-spoke wheels were Michelin Latitude P235/55R18 all-season radials.
Power for the SLE-2 is provided by a 2.4 liter, DOHC 4 cylinder engine with 182 horsepower and 172 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with overdrive and manual shift mode. The EPA fuel economy ratings are 22-city, 32-highway, and 26 mpg overall. I checked out the fuel mileage on my trip back from Hastings (392 miles) and calculated 33.75 mpg in gentle highway driving. My test Terrain was a front-wheel drive model with an 18.8 gallon fuel tank.
The interior of the Terrain has seating for five and 31.6 cubic feet of luggage space behind the 60/40 second row seating. That volume is doubled when the second row seating is folded down. For and aft sliding and reclining capability is a feature of Terrain’s second row bench seat. The front buckets were supportive for me and worked well on the extended journey from Nebraska. A Pioneer 8-speaker premium stereo was on hand in the Terrain with satellite radio, an Intellilink system (Bluetooth, smartphone integration, Pandora, etc.) with 7” screen, tilt/telescope, power mirrors/windows/locks, and cruise control.
Highway driving was excellent in the Terrain, with guidance, ride, and wind noise all acceptable. Handling is nimble, and I particularly liked the electric power steering. Since I am fond of Terrain styling and felt comfortable driving the machine, I’d have to say that the reason they are so popular is evident to me. Were I to be in the market for a mid-size crossover SUV, the Terrain would be a candidate for my purchasing dollars.