The popular midsize GMC Terrain for 2016 comes in a variety of models, but the one that stands out — and brings the most features — is the top-of-the-line Denali luxury version, named after the tallest mountain in Alaska.
The Terrain was the latest GMC vehicle to get the Denali designation, which also has been applied to GMC’s pickup truck line, the Acadia large crossover, and the Yukon full-size sport utility.
Denali models aren’t for everyone. The 2016 Terrain Denali with all-wheel drive that we tested last week pushed the cost envelope for this crossover, with a base price of $35,925 (plus $925 freight), and a total sticker of $41,280 for our tester, which included $4,430 in options.
You don’t have to spend that much for a nice Terrain, though. Prices begin as low as $23,975 for the base SL front-drive version for 2016. Other front-drive trims this year are the SLE-1 ($27,000); SLE-2 ($28,500); and SLT ($30,820).
All-wheel drive can be added to any model except the SL for an additional $1,750. That includes the Denali, which starts at $34,175 with front-wheel drive.
The Denali concept has a list of special features that come on every model across the GMC lineup. They include such extras as chrome wheels and trim in the grilles and body-color moldings, with the Denali name displayed prominently on the outside of each front door.
Denali models come with special premium materials, including soft leather upholstery and mahogany wood trim. Other premium features are added as well, such as upgraded audio and ventilated front seats.
In all trim levels, the Terrain seats up to five people – two in the front bucket seats and three on the rear bench. No third row seat is offered – you have to move up to the Acadia for that.
Along with the usual Denali interior and exterior features, the Terrain model comes with exclusive 18-inch satin-chrome aluminum wheels as standard equipment. But our tester came with the 19-inch Denali wheels ($400) that are offered with the optional V-6 engine (also on our test vehicle, $1,500. Including chrome dual exhaust tips).
Standard on the Denali is the same 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine found in other Terrain models, with 182 horsepower and 172 foot-pounds of torque, connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. GM made sure to offer the four-cylinder engine at all trim levels to accommodate people who want the better fuel economy, but added amenities as well.
For the extra $1,500, though, we got the 3.6-liter V-6, which also comes with a six-speed automatic. It has 301 horsepower and 272 foot-pounds of torque.
Mileage ratings are 22 mpg city/32 highway with the four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. The four-wheel-drive model with the four-cylinder has ratings of 20 city/29 highway.
With the V-6, EPA ratings are 17/24 with front drive, and 16/23 with all-wheel drive. During our test, with a mix of about 60/40 highway/city driving, we averaged about 20.7 mpg.
Antilock disc brakes are standard, along with electronic stability control and traction control, and six air bags: dual front, roof-mounted head-curtain side and seat-mounted front side.
The infotainment system included on the Denali has 4G LTE Wi-Fi data connectivity, voice-command ability, iPhone controls, Bluetooth phone connection and audio streaming, and Internet radio apps such as Pandora and Stitcher.
Some tweaks for 2016 included new front and rear fascias with C-shaped lower chrome trim; LED daytime running lights; a new instrument panel center stack; and a chrome-trimmed gear shifter.
High-tech safety features on our Denali model with no extra charge included Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Zone Alert, Rear Park Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a backup camera.
Available Denali exterior colors include Summit White (no extra charge), Quicksilver Metallic ($395 extra), Iridium Metallic ($395), Crimson Red Tintcoat ($495), White Frost Tricoat ($995), and Ebony Twilight Metallic ($395), which was the color of our tester.
Our interior came with soft-touch Jet Black leather on the seats and door inserts, and red accent lighting. Cloth upholstery is standard on models without leather.
There were also a leather-wrapped steering wheel with smoked-mahogany wood accents, Denali logos embossed on the front seatbacks, eight-way power driver and front-passenger seats, and the optional power sunroof ($995).
We also had a color touch-screen IntelliLink navigation system ($495); trailer-towing package ($365, dealer installed); and the cargo package ($280), with a cargo cover, convenience net and luggage-rack cross rails.
The V-6 engine adds a real kick to the Terrain, but you could leave off this option and stick with the four-cylinder and still have decent power — unless you have a trailer to tow.
Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds with the trailering package and the V-6 engine. With the four-cylinder engine and optional tow hitch ($55), the Terrain can tow up to 1,500 pounds.
Terrain’s programmable power tailgate can be adjusted to a lower height to make it easier to reach for short people, or to clear garage doors or other obstructions when it’s in the open position.
The standard sliding rear seat can be moved forward or rearward a total of eight inches to give passengers more legroom or give the cargo area more space, whichever is necessary at the moment.
There is a 60/40-split-folding back on the rear seat that can be lowered to increase cargo space. With the seatback in place, there is 31.6 cubic feet of storage; with the seat folded, that expands to 63.9 cubic feet. The seatback also has a three-position reclining feature.
For all of your gadgets, there are four 12-volt power outlets inside the vehicle, including one in the cargo hold.
GMC’s IntelliLink system, which works in tandem with OnStar to add infotainment options to the vehicle, links through a smartphone. It can all be operated by voice commands. Features include text message support and Siri Eyes Free. The text message support allows the driver to be alerted to new messages, and the system will read them aloud.
Android phones can be linked to use the steering wheel controls to access voice-command features, including the calendar, text message review and response, making calls and playing music.
Automatic climate control is standard on Terrain SLE 2, SLT and Denali models, along with a seven-inch touch-screen audio display and USB and auxiliary inputs. A premium Pioneer audio system with subwoofer and amplifier comes on the SLE 2, SLT and Denali.
Standard is electric power steering, along with power windows/mirrors/door locks and cruise control. The remote-start system allows the car to be started using the remote-control key fob so its interior can be warmed up or cooled down before passengers get in.
The Terrain does not offer keyless entry and pushbutton start, as most of its competitors do. You’ll have to insert the key in the ignition to start the vehicle, and push the buttons on the key fob to lock or unlock the doors.
Rocker panels are integrated into the doors to make it easier to enter and exit, a design that prevents getting pants legs dirty. A flush-fitting windshield and rear glass are designed to help reduce wind noise inside the vehicle. The door sills are illuminated to help prevent stumbling in the dark.
Lots of storage areas are provided, including an oversized glove box, a bin above the center stack in instrument panel, and a closed bin under the front center armrest that is big enough to hold a laptop computer.
The “floating” center instrument stack was designed to make it easier to operate the climate-control and audio systems. Satellite radio is included on all models.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 GMC Terrain
The package: Midsize, five-passenger, five-door, front- or all-wheel-drive, four-cylinder or V-6 powered crossover utility vehicle.
Highlights: GMC’s newest compact crossover arrived for 2010, and two year ago a high-end Denali model was added to the lineup. It has unique wheels and styling, lots of extra amenities, a choice of four- or six-cylinder engine, and an option for four-wheel drive.
Negatives: No third row of seating offered for increased capacity; no keyless entry or start available.
Engine: 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder; 3.6-liter V-6 ($1,500 option).
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Power/torque: 182 HP./172 foot-pounds (I-4); 301 HP./272 foot-pounds (V-6).
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Length: 185.3 inches.
Curb weight: 3,853-4,049 pounds.
Cargo volume: 31.6 cubic feet (behind rear seat).
Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds (I-4); 3,500 pounds (V-6), with optional trailering package.
EPA fuel economy: 22 mpg city/32 highway (I-4, 2WD); 20/29 (I-4, AWD); 17/24 (V-6, 2WD); 16/23 (V-6, AWD).
Fuel capacity/type: 18 gallons, regular unleaded.
Base price range: $23,975-$35,925, plus $925 freight.
Price as tested: $41,280, including freight and options (Denali all-wheel-drive with V-6 engine).
Major competitors: Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Ford Edge, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Venza, Dodge Journey, Jeep Cherokee, Volkswagen Tiguan, Nissan Murano, Subaru Outback, Volvo XC60/XC90.
On the Road rating: 8.7 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.