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 Ron on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value. Well constructed. Peppy engine."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Not a single issue with this car in over 2.5 years. I took it in to the dealer right before the warranty ran out to see if they could find a problem. Of course nothing was discovered wrong with it. That little 4 cylinder engine is a work horse, and surprisingly peppy. The only issue I have is the gas mileage is not as good as I was lead to believe. It averages about 24 Mpg, and I thought it would be in the 26-27 range."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Zak on Monday, June 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quiet, smooth, nicely equipped for the money."
Cons: "Expensive to maintain, poor MPG, poor cargo area."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Car does very good in snow. V6 has good power, but I only get 12 mpg city, 19 highway. 4 cyl. did not have any power, even with only 2 people. Tires are too expensive, must be T-rated for some reason, and with AWD you must replace with same manufacturer for one tire, or buy 4 if tire treadwear is under 50% because circumference must be the same or it will ruin the tranny. Oil change costs twice as much because it requires synthetic oil. These three facts were not mentioned to me when I bought it. Best price I can find for my tires is $235 plus mounting, etc. Drove it to Fla. from PA twice, and ride & handling was very good and quiet. Not very good storage behind back seat, but back seat slides up or back about 8 inches for legroom or more room for suitcases. Standard rear back up camera is convenient. Cloth seats are very durable. Smooth, quiet, & responsive handling."
10 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By bobincorona on Thursday, June 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fuel economy roomy quiet cabin"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Purchased the terrain for a family trip to Texas last year and have been impressed with the vehicle from the first day"
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By papa on Thursday, June 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,700overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good acceleration and comfortable seats"
Cons: "Went backwards on interior design of the details"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Comfortable seats, good ride and acceleration with the 6 cylinder. Harsh shifts both up and down. Noisy engine from outside. I replaced a Pontiac Torrent with the Terrain. The Terrain comes up short compared to the older Torrent. One closing handle on the lift gate, two on the Torrent. If the handle had a pass through it could be used to tie down the lift gate. This is important because the Torrent front passenger seat folded flat to accommodate longer items, not the Torrent."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By doorjam on Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Priced, value and style excellent"
Cons: "A little tight on steering and HP."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"had since January 2012 and love driving it. great vehicle for travelling with just wife. could do better on MPGs but I admit to being a little heavy on the "GO" pedal. Bought 20' camper this summer and concern about tow weight of 3500 gvwr and hoping to solve it with more Horsepower. Very low mileage due to being retired and own two other vehicles, so very little driving during the week. Looking at possibly 2014 Terrain with added HP. Currently have SLT2 with 19" wheels with NAV and TOW package with 264 rated HP."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Jen on Tuesday, June 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Runs great, power and looks good! American made!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have had this car for two years and love it!! Wouldn't rather have anything else and love the safety ratings!! Great car and good on gas, for an SUV."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful