2018 GMC Terrain SUV Crossover Review & Ratings

Review & Ratings of the 2018 GMC Terrain SUV Crossover

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There are three engine options for the 2018 GMC Terrain crossover sport utility vehicle. The standard setup for most trims is a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 with an output of 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. An alternative to that is a diesel-fueled 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 with an output of 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. The setup reserved for the top-of-the-line Denali trim is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with an output of 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The two gasoline engines come with a nine-speed automatic transmission while the diesel engine has a six-speed automatic transmission. All three engines can be configured with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. With an all-wheel drive, Denali trim under testing, the bigger gasoline engine showed minimal turbo lag. The power delivery was nearly instantaneous and that resulted in reaching 60 mph in under seven seconds. The transmission didn’t skip a beat, especially when opening up the throttle further. In winding roads, the Terrain did not exhibit excessive body roll. Despite the suspension leaning towards comfort, it remained poised at reasonable speeds. On the downside, the steering effort was inconsistent and it firmed up by increasing the speed. It also felt disengaged and there was a delay in the vehicle actually turning. The brakes of the SUV performed well, having stopped this crossover SUV from 60 mph in 126 feet. The brake pedal was soft initially but firmed up eventually. The bite from the calipers was linear and shakiness was nonexistent even under panic braking.


The base SL trim of the 2018 Terrain comes standard with keyless entry and ignition, four USB ports, 110V power outlets, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system. The SLE trim builds on the preceding trim and adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror and more package options. The Driver Convenience package includes a power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, automatic climate control and remote engine start. The Infotainment I package includes a bigger 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, digital instrument cluster, SD card reader and additional USB ports and 110V power outlets. The Driver Alert I package includes heated mirrors and several advanced safety and driver aids. The SLT trim includes features from the Driver Convenience and Infotainment I packages as standard. The Driver Alert II includes more advanced safety and driver aids. The Infotainment II package includes an upgrade to a seven-speaker Bose sound system. The Preferred package then adds a power liftgate, driver seat memory settings, power-adjustable passenger seats and a heated steering wheel. The cream-of-the-crop Denali trim comes standard with the Preferred and Driver Alert I packages and LED headlights. The Advanced Safety package includes a couple more advanced safety and driver aids. The Comfort package then adds heated rear seats and a wireless charging pad. For all trims configured in all-wheel drive, there is a control knob that can engage between all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive in real time.


The 2018 Terrain was tested by the NHTSA and it scored five stars in the frontal crash test, four stars in the side crash test and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it earned a four-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It was also tested by the IIHS and it earned a “Good” score for crashworthiness and “Superior” in front crash prevention. However, its headlights were rated “Poor” for crash avoidance and mitigation. Advanced safety and driver aids that come as standard include cruise control, a rearview camera, and a teen-driver monitoring system. Additional features are added in packages and they are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning and mitigation, automatic braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, automated parking system and a 360-degree camera.


The 2018 Terrain has a length of 182.3 inches, a width of 72.4 inches, a height of 65.4 inches and a wheelbase of 107.3 inches. The Terrain has been redesigned for 2018 and moves away from the angular aesthetic. Now there are aerodynamic lines throughout the whole body and the new silhouette looks more fluid. The wheel size of the SUV starts at 17 inches for the base trim and bigger diameter wheels only become available for the SLE and higher trim levels. The sunroof and roof rails can only be added beginning with the SLE trim. The Denali trim has its own wheels and exterior styling that keep it apart from the rest of the trims.


The doors open wide enough and getting inside seemed less of a step-up onto a higher platform. Legroom is more than adequate although the taller professional athlete may be compromised. The headroom for the first row is generous but it reduced for the rear area because of the tapering roof. Up to five people can sit inside and the cushion of the seats remained supportive without inducing fatigue on longer trips. The shape of the seats narrow for both the back and bottom though. Another contributor to this was the fairly stiff leather upholstery that wasn’t as pliable out-of-the-box. Even with the softer suspension setup, the ride quality is hampered by impacts from road imperfections. While it remained compliant on smooth pavement, bumps and cracks were clearly transmitted throughout the chassis. Road and wind noise was better attenuated with a more streamlined body for the 2018 model.


There is 29.6 cu-ft of space behind the second row of seats, and folding those seats down opens up 63.3 cu-ft of space for loading cargo.

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