GMC introduced the Terrain compact SUV for model year 2010, and it has become the brand’s second-best seller, following the Sierra pickup.
The five-passenger Terrain is popular with women, with 44 percent of the buyers being female. Exterior styling is given as the No. 1 reason for choosing the Terrain, although practicality, power, and efficiency are also high on the list, along with safety and comfort.
For 2016, Terrain offers five trim levels, priced from $24,900 for the base SL to $31,745 for the SLT, and $35,100 for the premium Denali model, which elevates technology and performance to Professional Grade. Denali has been the designation for the finest GMC vehicles since 1999, with advanced safety features, the latest technology, and first-class amenities.
The 2016 Terrain Denali includes premium perforated-leather upholstery with the Denali logo embossed on the front seatback; Satin-chrome door handles, outside mirrors, skid plates, rocker moldings, and luggage roof rails; a signature grille with satin-chrome surround; leather-wrapped steering wheel with mahogany woodgrain inserts; unique 18- and 19-inch wheels; programmable, height-adjustable power liftgate; Side Blind Zone Alert; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Lane Departure Warning; and Forward Collision Alert.
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Six exterior colors are available for the Denali: Summit White; Ebony Twilight Metallic, Iridium Metallic and Quicksilver Metallic for $395 each; new Crimson Red Tintcoat, $495; and new White Frost Tricoat, $995.
Standard interiors are Jet Black and Light Titanium, with silver metallic on the steering wheel, vents, upper center stack, and door handle surround; and dark gray metallic on the lower center stack. Smoky chrome trims the shift knob and surround, cupholder trim and door handles. A new Light Titanium/Jet Black interior combination is available for Denali.
For 2016, GMC has made a few changes to the Terrain, some affecting all models, some affecting only Denali. A new front fascia with striking C-shaped lower chrome trim accentuating the vehicle’s wide stance gives Terrain a more contemporary front-end appearance.
Other cosmetic updates include a new power-dome hood and revised center stack with updated control graphics; and the CD player has been replaced by a storage shelf. There are new LED daytime running lights on uplevel models; chrome-accented grille designs for SLE, SLT and Denali; a new 18-inch aluminum wheel design for non-Denali models; and new 19-inch aluminum wheel design for Denali.
The lineup has changed slightly for 2016, with SL replacing SLE as the base model, SLE (SLE-1 and SLE-2) moving to midlevel, and SLT becoming a single trim. Other changes do not affect the Denali, with some models receiving features previously available only on Denali, such as Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
My Denali was Ebony Twilight with the Jet Black interior. The Denali grille had three segments, with a distinct texture featuring ovoid octagon-shaped openings. The new chrome trim on the front, the Satin Chrome Package, and the machined wheels with six split spokes – painted silver metallic in the pockets – were eye-catching.
The Terrain in all trims comes with seating for five – two in the front and three in the rear. No third row seat is offered; but GMC does have a larger three-row crossover, the Acadia.
My tester replaced the standard engine 182-horsepower, 2-4-liter four-cylinder engine with a 301-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 ($1,500, with premium exhaust tips). It’s connected to a six-speed automatic transmission.
This combination is EPA rated at 16 mpg city/23 highway/18 combined. I managed to achieve 20.1 with mostly rural road/Interstate highway driving.
Entry was lit by illuminated sill plates, red in the front, white in the rear. The cabin was roomy, with 37.8-inches headroom and 41.2-inches legroom in the front, and 39.2-inches headroom and 39.9-inches legroom in the rear. The rear seats were comfortable, with fore and aft movement and three reclining positions.
The 60/40 split seatbacks folded to open up the cargo space from 31.6 cubic feet in the upright position to 63.9 cubic feet with both sides folded flat. A Cargo Package for $280 included a convenience net, retractable heavy cloth cargo cover, and black roof rack cross rails.
We had plenty of cubbies for our stuff, with a pocket on the passenger side of the front center console, a phone/French fry slot on the center console, a deep lighted cubby with a removable/repositionable tray, power outlet and USB/auxiliary port under the center armrest, a cubby with a power outlet under the center stack, and the new sloped shelf replacing the CD slot.
Denali comes with lots of connectivity features, including OnStar with a five-year Basic Plan and six months of service with Automatic Crash Response, navigation, and more; 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot; GMC Intellilink; and hands-free smartphone integration with Bluetooth audio streaming for Pandora, Stitcher, and more; and voice activated audio controls. XM Radio is standard, as is a color touch-screen audio system with a seven-inch screen and MP3 player.
An optional Color Touch Navigation system added $495, and included Radio Data System and, outside temperature. A Power Sunroof cost $995; and a Trailering Equipment Package was $365.
With options totaling $4,430, plus $925 freight, the total sticker price of my striking Terrain Denali was $41,080.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com.