The 2019 GMC Terrain is a perfectly fine compact SUV with an elegant cabin, good fuel economy and lots of standard features. However, this segment is so competitive that the Terrain doesn’t really stand out. Its starting price is also higher than many rivals.
The five-passenger Terrain got a makeover for 2018 and gets just a few tweaks for 2019.
It’s available in four trims: SL, SLE, SLT and Denali. Starting prices range from $25,000 to $39,500. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available on all but the SL trims. Unfortunately, several tech and safety features aren’t available on the lower trims.
There are three available engines. The base Terrain is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 252 horses and 260 pound-feet is available. A 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder diesel engine is available on the SLE and SLT trims. It produces 137 horses and 240 pound-feet of torque. The gas engines are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission while the diesel gets a six-speed automatic. There’s no gear shifter; rather you use a gear selector buttons on the center stack.
My tester has the turbo 2.0-liter four-banger. It’s pretty quick off the line and does fine in most daily driving situations. The Terrain stays planted when cornering and has no trouble accelerating to freeway speeds. While it’s doesn’t have the athletic chops of the Mazda CX-5, the Terrain is pleasant to drive and shines in delivering a smooth and quiet ride, even over rough and bumpy roads. It’s also easy to maneuver in tight parking lots. The nine-speed shifts smoothly and quickly. Visibility is not good to the rear due to the relatively small back window and thick rear pillars.
Fuel efficiency is decent for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with a combined rating of 23. I got 23 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
When properly equipped, the Terrain can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The attractive interior features mostly upscale materials. Seats are comfortable and roomy in both rows; even two adults will be comfortable in the back which isn’t always the case in compact SUVs. Controls are logically laid out and easy to reach.
Standard features include proximity keyless entry, push-button start, rearview camera, premium cloth upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, four USB ports, Bluetooth, six-speaker audio system, IntelliLink infotainment system with seven-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Also standard is Teen Driver which lets you set speed and audio limits for your young drivers.
Available features include leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, heated steering wheel, upgraded infotainment system featuring an eight-inch touch screen and navigation, satellite radio, HD radio, Bose premium audio system, additional USB ports, 110-volt power outlet, and wireless device charging.
Several advanced driver assistance and safety systems are available on higher trims including a surround-view camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, low-speed forward automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, a safety alert seat, automatic park assist, and rear parking sensors,
The IntelliLink infotainment system is easy to figure out with its logical menus and responds quickly to voice and touch commands.
The Terrain has less cargo space than many rivals. There are 29.6 cubic feet of cargo space with both rows in pace and 63.3 cubes with the second row folded. However, the front passenger seat folds down, providing more space and giving you flexibility in hauling passengers and gear, especially long or bulky items.
The 2019 Terrain earns a top overall score of five out of five stars in NHTSA crash tests.
Comfortable, quiet and upscale interior
Good fuel efficiency for the class
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard
Lots of available driver assistance and safety systems
Front passenger seat folds down, providing more cargo space
Top NHTSA crash rating
Starting price is more than many rivals
Several driver assistance and safety technologies only available on higher trims
Poor visibility to the rear
Less cargo space than many competitors
My tester starts at $32,600. Driver Alert Package I is $445 and adds lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist and safety alert seat. Driver Alert package II is $745 and adds adaptive cruise control, low speed forward auto braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, headlamp control with Intellibeam auto high beam, front pedestrian braking and following distance indicator. The more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is $1,495 and also comes with dual exhaust with bright tips and dealer-installed roof rack cross rails. The Preferred Package is $1,250 and adds a power hands-free rear liftgate, heated steering wheel, front passenger seat with six-way power and two-way power lumbar adjustments, memory package for the driver seat and outside mirrors and universal home remote. Infotainment Package II is $1,180 and adds the GMC infotainment system with navigation and voice recognition, premium Bose audio system with amplifier and seven speakers, and HD radio. Black Edition is $795 and adds gloss black roof side rails, 19-inch gloss black painted Aluminum wheels, darkened front grille, black center caps, mirror caps, exterior accents and trim badging. Trailering equipment with wire connection is $450. GMC interior protection package is $200 and adds all-weather floor mats in the front and second row and an all-weather mat in the cargo area. Destination charge is $995 bringing the grand total to $40,155.
The 2019 Terrain costs more than some competitors and isn’t the most athletic performer in the class but its upscale, comfortable interior, smooth ride and decent fuel economy may make it worth a look. There are so many great choices in the compact SUV/crossover category that you’ll want to comparison shop before making a final choice.