New 2019 GMC Terrain SUV New 2019
GMC Terrain SUV

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

The 2019 GMC Terrain puts this compact-crossover SUV into the second year of its second generation. Sister to Chevrolet’s Equinox, the Terrain, like other GMC vehicles, is pitched a touch more upmarket. This is demonstrated by the elegant (for a crossover SUV) styling and underlined by the lush Denali trim level. Engines run to a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter and a 1.6-liter diesel -- all turbocharged 4-cylinder units. They’re complemented by a chassis that favors ride comfort over cornering precision, which is as it should be in this kind of vehicle. GMC reduced the size for this generation, so it doesn’t have as much passenger or cargo space as some rivals. Nor do the rear seats slide forward and back, but they fold flat, as does the front-passenger seat. Overall, the 2019 Terrain stands strong against competition like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5.

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You'll Like This SUV If...

…the idea of a stylish, well equipped compact-crossover SUV with useful power appeals (in which case, pass on the 1.5 and go to the 2.0-liter or the diesel). The now-usual advanced driver aids are available, as are features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration.

You May Not Like This SUV If...

…you prefer a traditional lever for the automatic transmission. Having nine forward gears is laudable -- from acceleration and freeway cruising points of view -- but selecting Drive, Reverse, etc., is done with buttons on the center console. It’s something that takes getting used to, but the first few quick 3-point turns could be stressful.

What's New for 2019

The 2019 Terrain now offers adaptive cruise control with pedestrian detection. A high-definition rearview camera becomes available, along with a 360-degree camera system for the Denali. The SLT trim is eligible for a Chrome package (various exterior elements all suitably shiny), while a Black Edition brings the Goth vibe to SLE/SLT trims.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

As we hinted, the base 1.5 turbo is merely adequate. The diesel engine (paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission) has a substantial amount of torque (that thrust when accelerating), but not particularly impressive towing talents: 1,500 pounds. The 2.0-liter gasoline engine is the pick of the three and can even pull 3,500 pounds. Around town, the Terrain is comfortable and quiet. Get it on a mountain road and it’s nimble enough in corners to be neither a chore nor a bore.

Favorite Features

DIESEL POWER
While acknowledging that diesel isn’t so popular right now, the remarkably smooth engine in the new Terrain makes almost as much torque as the range-topping gasoline unit, while achieving an average of 32 mpg with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Drivers expecting to cover long stretches of freeway should really consider this option.

FLEXIBLE CARGO AREA
We mentioned earlier about the 2019 Terrain’s smaller cargo area compared with its predecessor. But it is a smart space, especially with that fold-flat front-passenger seat offering extra versatility for carrying longer objects, plus a useful amount of under-floor stowage as well.

Vehicle Details

Interior

Like most of the competition, the 2019 Terrain’s cabin is perfectly functional and comfortable without necessarily being that luxurious. There are hard plastics in the lower areas of the dashboard and doors, even in the supposedly upscale Denali model. The embroidered headrests and stitched dashboard covering in that trim level are nice, however. The interior design seems arguably haphazard overall, but there’s no disputing the excellent sound insulation.

Exterior

Look at that rear pillar giving the illusion of a floating roof. It’s an idea first seen on the Nissan Maxima, then the Murano. Then the Lexus RX and now this. So it’s a current fad. But it works well enough on the new Terrain. The rest of this compact-crossover SUV has some sharp lines, highly stylized headlights with LED accents, and a variety of grilles. Regular models get a simple design while the Denali has something brighter and more ornate, plus extra chrome for the mirror caps and lower rocker panels.

Notable Standard Equipment

The entry-level 2019 GMC Terrain SL comes with the turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. It’s not eligible for the other two engines, all-wheel drive, or many desirable options. But it still comes with a lot of equipment, including 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry/ignition, leather-wrapped steering wheel, active noise cancellation, active grille shutters, infotainment system with Bluetooth phone and music streaming, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, four USB ports and a 7-inch touch screen, plus a rear-seat reminder in case you’ve forgotten you have three kids instead of two.

Notable Optional Equipment

Those wanting the diesel engine are limited to SLE and SLT trims, which is no big hardship. They come with dual-zone automatic climate control and the option of driver-assistance features. The SLT has a powered tailgate, 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, power-adjustable/heated front seats, leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and self-dimming side mirrors. The Denali trim has almost everything as standard that might be optional in the lower trims, such as a Bose audio system, driver’s-side memory settings, navigation, 360-degree camera system, and wireless device charging. Among the Denali’s few extras are heated outboard rear seats, ventilated front seats and automatic high beams.

Under the Hood

Propulsion for the 2019 Terrain comes from either a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine making 170 horsepower, a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine generating 137 horsepower but a more interesting 240 lb-ft of torque (which is a diesel strength), or a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit developing an energetic 252 horsepower. All three are turbocharged and may be paired with front- or all-wheel drive (FWD, AWD). The gasoline engines have a 9-speed automatic transmission, while the diesel has a 6-speed automatic. Fuel economy follows a predictable pattern, with the diesel being excellent, the 1.5 being good and the 2.0 coming in as acceptable.

1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
203 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/30 mpg (FWD), 24/28 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
252 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg (FWD), 21/26 mpg (AWD)

1.6-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
137 horsepower @ 3,750 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/39 mpg (FWD), 28/38 mpg (AWD)

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Pricing Notes

The 2019 GMC Terrain starts at $26,990, including a destination charge of $995, as the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). One reason for not going with the SL is that it can’t be equipped like the higher-trim levels, and features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance and parking sensors are too useful to ignore. Consider the SLE. For $30,090, it has more equipment, along with the availability of AWD ($1,700), diesel power ($3,705), or the muscular 2.0-liter engine ($1,750). The SLT is priced from $32,890; the Denali comes in at $39,790. Except for the extra cost of the diesel -- the only other diesel in the class is the mechanically similar Chevrolet Equinox -- these figures are in line with the Terrain's competition. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see local transaction prices for the 2019 Terrain, and bear in mind that resale values tend not to be as strong as those for Honda and Toyota.

OK, so what's next?
I'm interested in this car. What's for sale near me?
I'm interested in this car, and I'd like to trade in my current car while I'm at it.
Then again, maybe I should be thinking about a used GMC Terrain.

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