By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
The 2012 GMC Terrain crossover SUV straddles the fence between a compact and mid-size SUV. Although it does not offer a third-row seat, the 2012 GMC Terrain is intended to lure away customers looking at the RAV4, as well as the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Escape. Riding on the same platform as the Chevy Equinox, the Terrain displays a decidedly more truck-like appearance, an important link to its GMC heritage. The oversized wheel arches and massive grille make the 2012 GMC Terrain appear much larger in photos than it is in person. Yet, despite its compact SUV size, the Terrain offers an impressively large interior, as well as the best highway fuel economy in the segment (rated at 32 mpg for front-drive, 4-cylinder models). If the GMC Terrain SUV's strong styling and narrow windows don't offend your visual senses, there is a lot to fall in love with in this compact crossover SUV.
If you're thinking you'd like a reasonably sized crossover SUV that gets great gas mileage, has room for five but also has a bit of an attitude, the 2012 GMC Terrain compact SUV deserves a spot on your shopping list.
If you're looking for a powerful V6 engine option and capable all-wheel-drive (AWD) setup, the 2012 GMC Terrain may meet only half your criteria. While its V6 is a strong engine, the only terrain the Terrain is designed to tackle is that of the paved nature. Mild off-road adventures might be better served in a vehicle such as the Subaru Outback wagon or Jeep Patriot.
The 2012 GMC Terrain receives an updated 2.4-liter engine that is now E85-compatible. Later in the model year GMC will make available IntelliLink, a service that allows customers to customize the touch-screen radio and use voice commands to operate various functions. IntelliLink uses USB and Bluetooth to connect the user's smart phone to the radio, making it possible to stream apps such as Pandora and Stitcher.
Driving Impressions With the proliferation of Bluetooth-enabled devices becoming increasingly more commonplace, the 2012 GMC Terrain SUV's impressively quiet cab is an unexpected bonus. 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. Powering the 2012 GMC Terrain SUV is a competent 4-cylinder engine admittedly better at impressing with its fuel economy than its passing prowess. For those more appreciative of power, a 3.0-liter V6 is available, delivering 264 horsepower yet still earning fuel-economy ratings in the mid 20s.
Heated Cloth Seats
Heated seats aren't often seen without a leather interior. The seats in the 2012 GMC Terrain 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.
If there is a place where the Terrain's Chevy roots are exposed, it's the nearly identical interior it shares with the Equinox. To differentiate the two models, GMC employs more high-quality materials and soft-touch areas, as well as satin metal trim. Compared to the Equinox, the Terrain offers more standard features, but retains the same available interior color schemes of black, gray and brown/black. GMC's signature glowing red instrument panel looks particularly fetching in the Terrain, with backlighting for just about every conceivable switch or button. Even the USB port features a lighted surround making it easier to locate in the dark. There's also a new touch-screen radio that uses smart-phone-like icons to operate the screen functions. Cool features we thought were above what most in this segment offer include an available power rear liftgate and a standard rearview camera.Exterior
The 2012 GMC Terrain compact SUV shuns the rounded, wavy look so popular among small crossover SUVS today, opting instead for a rugged, almost Hummer-like profile. Strong angular wheel arches and a huge 3-bar grille with block GMC lettering and chrome cap are the first things that will catch your eye, but definitely not the last. Optional 19-inch wheels make a bold statement, as do the sturdy roof rail racks perfect for holding kayaks, bikes, skis, surfboards or a cargo carrier. The 2012 GMC Terrain isn't terribly tall off the ground, making it easy to get in and out of, as well as to reach the roof. The long 112-inch wheelbase creates a more stable and comfortable ride, as well as opens up the interior for superior legroom both front and rear.
The base 2012 GMC Terrain compact SUV comes equipped with features like a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 6-speed transmission, 17-inch wheels, rearview 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.
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 7-inch touch-screen navigation system, a 10-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.
Motivating the 2012 GMC Terrain is either a 182-horsepower in-line 4-cylinder or a 264-horsepower V6. Both benefit from direct injection and are mated to 6-speed automatic transmissions, and see excellent fuel-economy numbers.
2.4-liter in-line 4
182 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (front-wheel drive), 15/22 (E85, front-wheel drive), 20/29 (AWD), 14/20 (E85, AWD)
264 horsepower @ 6,950 rpm
222 lb-ft of torque @ 5,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (front-wheel drive, gasoline), 12/18 (front-wheel drive, E85), 16/22 (AWD, gasoline), 12/17 (AWD, E85)
By kevfell on Saturday, October 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Perfect size for 5 or fewer."
Cons: "Factory tires are terrible. Need to replace."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After replacing the factory tires with better tires, this car rides great! It's the perfect size for those that want a 5-seat, medium size SUV. The Denali version has everything one could want. I drive this much more than our expensive European car. It has decent fuel economy, handles very nice and is comfortable."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Dana on Monday, October 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful, fun, classy looking"
Cons: "The A/C.Back doesn't cool down.Vents only up front"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I am absolutely in love with my Terrain! It's got an amazing body style, inside is beautiful! The only down side I have is there is no air or heat in the back! I live in California where the temperature gets 110 + degrees in the summer. With no AC vents anywhere but the front, it makes it awful for anyone who is in the back seat. For my son to ride I have to remote start it a few times in order for it to be cool enough for him to not be drenched in sweat within a few minutes of getting in. If this Terrain had air vents in the back it would be absolutely perfect! It doesn't snow here so heat isn't much of an issue."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By ruth on Monday, October 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,543overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great all around"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I am tall and I like the additional height of the vehicle (compared to a car)and ease with getting in/out. Handles great. Great fuel mileage around town and long distance."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By LadyGC on Tuesday, September 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Isn't top heavy, smooth drive"
Cons: "No back seat a/c adjuster"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"It was the style and 22/32 miles per gallon that sold me on the Terrain, but it is the performance and how well it handles the road is why I'll purchase the Terrain again. I do a lot of highway driving (60K miles in less than 18mons) so I wanted something that was comfortable on the road with decent gas mileage. The Terrain has more than met my expectations...it also doesn't hurt that it looks fabulous with the chrome front design. Great mid-size SUV!"
13 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By Rhino on Thursday, September 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,500overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Interior and comfort"
Cons: "Countless Mechanical issues"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought by 2010 Terrain in Oct 2009. It has been a love hate relationship since. I love the interior and the room and the amenities however have had nothing but mechanical problems- timing chains replaced 2X's, Water Pump, New Engine at 60,000, manifold and now after 28,000 miles on the new engine the transmission is shot. I have been stranded out of state 2 times due to a broke down car. Have had to travel back and forth to retrieve the car. Was stranded extra days out of town while waiting for parts. The Terrain is not a reliable vehicle mechanically."
12 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By sbair77 on Friday, September 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks great, good MPG, nice interior"
Cons: "Lacks a little power, drivers seat uncomfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased my 2010 GMC Terrain as a certified pre-owned vehicle. All I can say is I love the vehicle overall. Looks great, rides great, pretty good MPG for a 6 cyl AWD SUV. The drivers seat is a little uncomfortable for me, and I do wish there was more power under the hood. Those are the only 2 things I can say that I do not like, but then I am sure the MGP (I get over 21 mpg on average) would be drastically lower if there was much more power. I am not a big fan of leather - so that may be why the seat is not very comfortable for me, but it is easier to clean and lasts much longer than cloth. I do not have any issues with getting around in the snow (thank you AWD) and use the bluetooth all the time - great feature as well. Sound system is very good and the placement of all the controls is perfect too. Backseat folds down 100% or 60/40 split when I need to haul something around and I also have the tow package for small trailers. Overall - Awesome vehicle!"
9 people out of 11 found this review helpful