The GMC Terrain, a 5-passenger crossover SUV, has often been a big vote-getter in KBB's "10 Best" list when the subject was small, smart and stylish SUVs capable of giving competitors like the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-7 a run for your money. Arriving this fall, the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali is making a high-style run at an even bigger share of your new-car budget.
It's true that the Terrain Denali is primarily a fashion show, but it's a full-on fashion show. At the front, the badass chrome Denali grille steals the entrance. Satin chrome exterior accent trim is a subtle, but elegant, difference from the non-Denali models. The Denali wheels - 19-inch for V6 models, 18-inch for the 4-cylinder - are a little too subtle, but the squared chrome-finish exhaust tips - single on the 4-cylinder Denali, dual on the V6 version - add just the right amount of upscale bite to the look of the vehicle.
Where the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali really starts cooking is on the inside. The Jet Black leather in the seats and door panels, as well as the "soft-touch" dash material, is finish-stitched in deep red (very nice), while the whole of the interior bathes in red accent lighting. The interior gem of the Terrain Denali is the thick, leather-and-mahogany steering wheel. Illuminated "Denali" doorsill plates remind you what Terrain you're driving, while 8-way power seats for the driver and front passenger remind you that it's good to have money.
Landing a Denali version of the GMC Terrain also nets you a rolling "Best of" in GMC technology. The standard goodies include voice and touch-screen control over the info and the tainment of the Bluetooth-integrated infotainment system, which includes streaming Pandora and Stitcher, plus slick iPod integration and Gracenote music-identifying database. Navigation and rear-seat entertainment systems are extra-cost options. The standard Denali safety-sitting service includes all of these warning systems: Forward-collision, lane-departure, blind-spot, rear cross-traffic. Suffice it to say that if you are about to hit something, you will be warned.
Coming in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive forms, the standard Terrain's best foot forward has always been a front-drive model with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. The reason is simple: 32 mpg on the highway. That right there'll stop a lot of arguments about which 5-passenger SUV to buy. Any sport-utility box on wheels that gets over 30 miles to the gallon of regular gas makes a pretty strong case. The 2013 GMC Terrains - new Denali included - are also offered with a new 3.6-liter V6 that makes more power than last year's 6-cylinder engine (301 hp vs. 264 hp), and manages to log the same fuel-economy figures as the less-powerful 2012 model.
Pricing information for the new Terrain Denali will come when the Denali version takes its place beside the rest of the 2013 GMC Terrain line-up this fall.