By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 6/23/2011
With GM's latest division shuffling, the GMC brand takes on a new role by filling a need for high-end trucks, SUV s and crossovers. To this end, the 2011 GMC Terrain takes the company down a path it's never traversed: That of the compact crossover utility vehicle. Based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Equinox, the Terrain shares no visual similarities with its Chevrolet cousin. This is another important milestone for GMC, a division that was once seen as a clone of Chevrolet (at one point, the two even shared the Suburban nameplate.) In the Terrain, GMC has created a rugged looking compact, deceiving in size and with impressively good fuel economy. Loaded with features and priced to compete with segment leader such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the Terrain is an appealing choice for those who like their trucks to look like trucks, even when they're not really trucks.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for five-passenger CUV that gets great gas mileage yet has the rugged look and feel of a mid-size GMC truck, the Terrain deserves a long test drive.You May Not Like This Car If...
The 2011 GMC Terrain's four-cylinder engine probably won't impress many GMC loyalists who will likely opt for the 3.0-liter V6. The Subaru Outback 3.6R has similar horsepower and fuel economy numbers, but offers a much more robust all-wheel drive system as well as more ground clearance.What's Significant About This Car?
The 2011 GMC Terrain's optional 3.0-liter v6 engine is now E85 compatible, and the standard OnStar 9.0 receives improved voice recognition technology.Driving It Driving Impressions
Quiet is the name of the game inside the 2011 GMC Terrain, and quiet it is. Extensive use of acoustic laminated glass, active noise cancellation technology, and triple-sealed doors culminate to create an interior that is nearly Lexus like at highway speed. Power for the Terrain is supplied by a robust in-line four cylinder engine that is more about fuel efficiency than power and speed; if the later is important, the 3.0-liter V6 has power to spare yet still returns fuel economy figures in the mid-20s.Favorite Features
Heated Cloth Seats
Heated seats aren't often seen without a leather interior. These seats can be programmed to begin warming when the vehicle is turned on via remote start, which always makes for a more comfortable start to the day on a cold winter morning.
Moveable Second Row
The entire second row can be moved forward or back eight inches, allowing for taller passengers to gain more legroom and for parents to pull kids in car seats significantly closer.
Although the 2011 GMC Terrain is vastly different than the Equinox on the outside, the two share a nearly identical interior layout. GMC uses more high-end materials, with more soft touch surfaces and satin metal trim; the Terrain also boasts a larger standard equipment roster. GMC's signature glowing red dash lighting is particularly handsome and illuminates just about every conceivable switch or button, making it easy to find and operate even the simplest functions when darkness falls. Clever features abound, such as the white surround ring for the USB port (it makes it easier to see and use) and the programmable power rear hatch. The standard rear-vision camera is a great help when backing up prompting us to wonder why it is not standard on all cars and trucks.Exterior
The 2011 GMC Terrain is the antithesis of the rounded, cutesy CUV. Sharp angular shapes and a massive chrome grille unashamedly declare the Terrain's GMC roots. Square-ish bulging wheels wells mimic those found on the Silverado pickup truck, and look fitting when filled with the Terrain's optional 19-inch wheels. The Terrain's 112-inch wheel base is significantly longer than most competitors, providing more rear seat room and a smoother ride. Despite its truck-like appearance, the Terrain is not much higher off the ground than a standard car, making entry and exit almost effortless. Sturdy roof rails supply a perch for bikes, kayaks or a cargo shell, and the large rear hatch is tall and wide making short work of loading large, bulky items.Notable Standard Equipment
The base 2011 GMC Terrain comes equipped with features like a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with six speed transmission, 17-inch wheels, rear-vision camera, a USB port, six airbags, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, and a sliding rear seat that can move fore/aft nearly eight inches. Inside, ambient lighting sets the interior's mood, and Active Noise Cancellation – the usage of sound waves through the car's speakers to counteract loud exterior noises – means that the car is also quiet.Notable Optional Equipment
Want a little more oomph under the hood? Add a 264-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. Want larger wheels in those bold wheel wells? Upgrade to the 19-inchers. Looking to keep the kids quiet on a long trip or just while out running errands? Add the rear entertainment system with two independent screens. Also available is a seven-inch touch-screen navigation system, a ten gigabyte music storage hard drive, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, and a programmable rear liftgate that can be set to open to a lower height.Under the Hood
Motivating the 2011 GMC Terrain is either a 182-horsepower in-line four-cylinder or a 264-horsepower V6. Both benefit from direct injection and are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions, and see excellent fuel economy numbers.
2.4-liter in-line 4
182 horsepower @ 6700 rpm
172 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (FWD), 20/29 (AWD)
264 horsepower @ 6950 rpm
222 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD, gasoline), 12/18 (FWD, E85), 16/22 (AWD, gasoline), 12/17 (AWD, E85)
The 2011 GMC Terrain SLE has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) close to $25,000, while the SLT runs closer to $29,000. Adding all-wheel drive will set you back $1,750 on either model. Competitors of the Terrain include the Dodge Journey, Honda CR-V and the Jeep Liberty, all of which cost less than the Terrain, but come with less standard equipment. To ensure that you get the best price on the Terrain, be sure to check out the Fair Purchase price on kbb.com, which will give you an idea of what people in your area are paying for theirs at the local GMC dealership. A Terrain will hold its value exceedingly well over the years, far better than the Journey and the Liberty, and nearly on par with the segment residual leader, the CR-V.