By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
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)
The 2012 GMC Terrain SLE has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) close to $26,000, while the SLT runs closer to $30,000. 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 Subaru Outback, all of which cost less than the Terrain, but come with less standard equipment. To ensure that you get the best price on the 2012 GMC Terrain SUV, 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 2012 GMC Terrain will hold its value exceedingly well over the years, far better than the Journey and the Compass, but still well behind the segment residual leader, the Honda CR-V.
By Doug Danger (CA) on Thursday, May 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Can't really think of any."
Cons: "See below...too much to list here."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We bought a new 2010 Terrain after our last two family cars were Ford Explorers. The main reason for the switch was the highly touted gas mileage. We are trading it in at 56,000 miles as it has been nothing but a disappointment. The gas mileage averages 21-24mpg verses the 28 we were told we would get with the AWD. We could live with that. What we can't live with is a transmission that does not downshift to handle coming down mountain roads. You either have to manually put it in low or ride the brakes. The worst part is even calling it a SUV. It has no ground clearance and it is built so cheap that my wife hit a rabbit last year and it did $1,800.00 worth of damage to the front bumper and wheel well. Last week the AC went out and we found that a small rock had been thrown up and knocked a hole in the AC condenser. A SUV should have a certain degree of plating in protecting the undercarriage. There are more blind spots on this vehicle than any I have ever encountered. The backup camera does show you whats behind you but makes things that are ten feet away look like they are thirty feet away. The audio controls and for that matter all the controls on the front control panel are confusing and hard to adjust while you are driving. If you actually need an SUV, this is not the vehicle for you. If you are never off the flat blacktop and want to say you drive an SUV, the Terrain might fit the bill."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By az on Monday, May 13, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Competitively priced, luxurious interior feel"
Cons: "Some advanced features limited per XM subscription"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased the Terrain Denali in November 2012. When I first started looking to buy a new car, I considered almost every possible option, new and used, in my price range of $30-$45k. I ultimately narrowed down my list of options to those with AWD because I wanted something that handled well in the winter above all else. When it came to pricing out a well-equipped vehicle, I was left with few appealing options in my price range. I could have gone with a lower-trim level in a luxury crossover or sedan, or a fully-loaded domestic crossover or sedan. After settling on the Terrain Denali, I was a bit skeptical that it would meet my expectations after I had given strong consideration early in the process to some other, more popular models. Six months later, I could not be happier with the Terrain. The interior is comfortable and quiet, the technology is intuitive and straight-forward, and the overall driving performance is smooth. I have had one issue with the suspension that was fixed under warranty, but the Terrain has otherwise completely exceeded my expectations."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Shep (IL) on Tuesday, May 07, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "It is a nice car to own, it drives very nice."
Cons: "We previously owned Cadilac CTS, its not a Caddy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"It handles great, is very comfortable, is spacious. It gets good gas mileage. I feel that we got a very nice vehicle for the price range."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By johnc (NC) on Sunday, April 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Auto Lift Gate remote start good seats good ride"
Cons: "none at this time only 3 weeks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Good looks,,1st 2 tanks of gas 23 and 24.7 miles per gallon Rides like a car and very good seats both front and rear good cargo room love the auto open lift gate. So far very happy with it. Will come back in a month or two for a update"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By just me (VA) on Monday, April 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "cup holders"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Now for my reasons why this car should be pulled or recalled: At times, when I am slowing down for a light and that light happens to turn green and I go from slowly cruising/breaking to cruising/giving it a little gas, it "poops" like someone said. And it's a pretty bad jerking motion that the first time I thought I had gotten bumped from behind and each time I do wonder was that the engine or did someone hit me this time. It happens all the time and having been hit from behind, it's a little bit of a PTSD issue for me, but nonetheless, it's embarrassing and shouldn't be happening."
10 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Designing and loving it! (VA) on Monday, April 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, cupholder size, roomy"
Cons: "poops, engine noise & rattling, nav is terrible"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I'll start with what I do like about this car. For one, it's pretty comfortable. I have lower back issues and I appreciate being about to adjust the driver’s seat in so many ways. Although in the passenger seat, I don't find it comfortable. The only time I sit in the passenger seat is for long road trips (ugh!) I just have to use pillows for lumbar support. I also like the color choices, I have white with grey interior and I love it! I appreciate the dash system and components, although I am not too happy with some of the features, we'll get to that in a minute. Let’s see, the other things I really like are all pretty much standard stuff, child lock, window lock, lift gate (love), the little things make me really happy. I love that the cup holders can hold the 1-1.5 liter water bottles. There are way too many cars with the tiny cup holders that served no purpose for me. Oh, the back is pretty roomy. I've had some big guys and they were able to sit without their knees going through the driver and passenger seat and without having to pull the driver and passenger seat forward much."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful