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 Monica on Wednesday, April 09, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Transmission showing signs of problems
Pros: "Nice features"
Cons: "Powertrain doesn't last long"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I loved the features on our Terrain (heated seats, sunroof, push button open hatch and leather seats) but thats abaout it. When I took my Terrain recently to get brakes done and suspension (after a bad winter in the tristate and all the bad roads) I was informed that my transmission was starting to show signs that it was going bad. Now this is only after having it a year and a half as i traded in my Chevy Equinox for this vehicle for almost the same reason. Since GM only gives a 3-5 yr 36,000 mile warranty on their vehicles, i was left with the choice of going to a dealer and trading in my vehicle. After many discussions I was able to finally get my husband away from GM vehicles (after 3 falied attempts at their SUV line) and get a Kia/Hyundai which have the best warrantee on the market. GM will need to invest some money into their powertrain and warrantees before i would consider going back."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By sonlop on Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "Back seats need ventilation."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I absolutely love my terrain, as long as there is less than 4 people in the car or it is not hot. I purchased my terrain because I wanted a bigger vehicle than a car and absolutely love it, but 90% of the time I am the only person in the vehicle. It is reliable and I have never felt unsafe in this vehicle. If you are a mother purchasing this car please consider that there is no ventilation in the rear seats and when you are sitting in the front two seats you would never feel how hot it gets in the back of the car until you ride back there yourself. Also the middle seat in the back seat is not meant for trips longer than 30 minutes, it is very uncomfortable. We took a 5 hour trip in the car and we were suffocating and when we turned up the AC so it could reach those in the back seat, those in the front were extremely cold. For 2 or less people in regular temperatures the car is wonderful!"
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Roberto on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "room, functionality, mileage"
Cons: "engine a little rough"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Roomy with a comfortable ride. Four cylinder is a little rough but returns good mileage and has been reliable."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By htl on Saturday, March 01, 2014
I own this car
Reason: Uncomfortable ride and wind noise - My approximate mileage is 8,500
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Purchased this vehicle new. Only has 8500 miles on it and I'm tired of it already. The ride is far too stiff, the 4 cylinder feels too underpowered, the radio is too complicated and all the buttons are too close together and similarly shaped. I have to take my eyes off the road if i want to do anything besides temperature, fan speed, or volume. It is a well designed and beautiful interior, however it isn't functional."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Txt on Wednesday, February 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great all-around vehicle"
Cons: "Lacks a rear-seat vent"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this vehicle. I've never had any problems with it. It drives nicely and has lots of space in the back seat. It's very comfortable, looks nice, and has great amenities! I can take the whole family, including two large dogs and there is space for all the kids' equipment. My one suggestion would be to add a vent to the back seat for faster heating/cooling of that space, but since the heat and a/c both work so well, it's not a major concern."
12 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By T-bird on Wednesday, February 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "It's good on the highway."
Cons: "Bad turn radius. Awkward key design. Hate it."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Car simply does not live up to standards. I don't like it. I know it's a small thing, but the key design is awful. It is too thick to fit well on a standard key ring, even more difficult if you have a few other keys that need to be in the same place; an awkward design. The turn radius on the car is terrible. We test drove it on highways near the Dealer. Dealership happens to be located away from town. Don't know what I was thinking!! I have driven numerous vehicles in tests. My husband was with me and I didn't take the time to truly run it through my usual test criteria. I should have. I'm too practical to lose a ton of money by trading out of a nearly new car, but this one makes me consider it strongly. I just hate it."
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful