After spending a weekend in the 2016 GMC Terrain Denali AWD I discovered a few things. The first was that the Terrain is a comfortable and capable compact SUV, and the second is that while it is aging gracefully it’s also ready for an update.

At first glance the GMC Terrain Denali has a commanding and beefy look with its distinctive grille and raised “power dome” hood. In fact, I may be dating myself here, but it kind of reminds me of the Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots from the 1970s. Regardless, our test model with an as-listed price of $41,880, came in the friendly and pleasing White Frost Tricoat, a $995 option, one of two new premium exterior color options for 2016.

Aside from appearance or exterior color, our tester was a decent five-person hauler with surprisingly comfortable front bucket seats and roomy sliding rear seats. While the Terrain can only hold five it is a spacious due to the fact that it lacks a third-row. The standard sliding rear allows you to position the bench allow for either more legroom or more load space. In my case, I had a tall passenger sit in the rear seat and there was ample room for him to stretch his legs, plus enough headroom to easily accommodate his 6 foot 2 inch height.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2016

Optional V6 power

The 2016 GMC Terrain Denali comes standard with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, but our test model was equipped with the optional 3.6-liter V6, which costs an additional $1,500, and puts out 301 horsepower with a 272 lb-ft of torque. With the V6 engine our tester was rated at 16 city mpg/23 highway mpg and 18 mpg combined. After driving the Terrain Denali over the course of a weekend which involved a few shopping trips, a long drive, and hauling passengers in and around town the peppy V6 is the way to go.  It easily weaves in and out traffic and is able to maintain cruising speeds without much effort.

While the Terrain had just the right amount of get-up-and-go the one thing it was lacking was a turning radius. Parking lots and U-turns are difficult for the Terrain since it requires multiple attempts at backing up and repositioning just to pull in to a spot, or to make simple turns.

Also: Class of 2017 - New Cars Ready to Roll

The GMC Terrain has remained mostly unchanged since its debut in 2009. For 2016 the Terrain’s exterior styling was revised with the power dome hood, LED daytime running lights, chrome-accented grille, plus new 18- and 19-inch wheel designs. There are also new interior color choices for 2016. And this refresh definitely makes the Terrain more appealing and a sensible choice in its segment.

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