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  • 2010 GMC Terrain

    Posted on December 11th, 2009 ninarussin

    GMC’s smallest sport-utility vehicle is big on active lifestyles

    By Nina Russin

    2010 GMC Terrain

    2010 GMC Terrain

    The Terrain is GMC’s newest, and most compact sport-utility vehicle: built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Equinox. Both cars come with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder or V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission.

    Whereas the Equinox focuses primarily on value, the Terrain carries forth GMC’s “professional grade” strategy with more aggressive styling, and convenience features that appeal to truck enthusiasts. The truck’s front-end design is similar to treatments on the Acadia and Yukon: GMC’s mid- and full-sized sport utility vehicles.

    The test car is the SLT-2: the more upscale of two available grades. Base price for the all-wheel drive model is $31,000, not including a $745 destination charge. The 3-liter V6 engine is a $1500 option, as are 19-inch chrome wheels: an upgrade from the standard 18-inch brushed aluminum rims ($900). A towing package ($350) gives the Terrain 3500-pound capacity, meeting our minimum ALV standards.

    While the V6 can’t compete with the four-cylinder engine’s 32 mile-per-gallon fuel economy, I think it’s a better choice for buyers who live in climates with bad winters. The bigger engine has fifty more foot-pounds of torque, which makes a big difference in low-end acceleration. In other words, the V6 is better equipped to crawl out of a snow drift, and has enough power to accommodate a full-load of passengers plus athletic gear.

    Though the bigger engine adds weight to the chassis, it produces much better acceleration in the twenty-to-fifty mile-per-hour range, critical for merging into high-speed traffic. The transversely-mounted six-speed automatic transmission maximizes power without harsh downshifts.

    The hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering system in the V6 model has better response than the electric unit in the four-cylinder. The V6 has better on-center response at speed, making it easier to do the occasional emergency lane change. A forty-foot turning radius is adequate for making U-turns on wider roads.

    Weight balance is biased towards the front. Since the all-wheel drive system automatically transfers torque to the wheels with the best traction, it reduces the tendency to understeer. Four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel antilock braking stop the car in a firm linear fashion, on wet or dry roads.

    Ground clearance is 7.8 inches: enough to clear a few inches of snow or small obstacles on an unimproved road. While some buyers might prefer more ground clearance, the lower chassis height enhances the Terrain’s aerodynamic efficiency, and keeps the center of gravity low for better highway performance. I also found the Terrain to be one of the easier sport-utility vehicles to climb in and out of.

    Visibility is the Terrain’s biggest Achilles heel. Thick D pillars create large blind spots in the back corners, while big side mirrors create similar blind spots in front. The location and thickness of the B pillars severely limits over-the-shoulder visibility to the left of the vehicle. I found it difficult to see passenger cars in adjacent lanes on the highway.

    I was curious to find out if the visibility problem was limited to small drivers. I asked a six-foot, five-inch tall friend to get behind the wheel. He noticed the same obstructions to the back and sides of the Terrain, but was able to compensate better for the front mirrors.

    Luxurious interior

    GMC Terrain Interior

    GMC Terrain Interior

    The SLT grade comes well equipped with comfort and convenience features: leather upholstery with heated front seats, a USB-compatible audio system with XM satellite radio, rearview camera, tilt and sliding sunroof and Bluetooth interface.

    An eight-way power driver’s seat with two-position memory allows multiple family members to share the car. An audio system upgrade on the test car ($1500) adds voice-activated navigation.

    GMC engineers have significantly improved the fit-and-finish of their vehicles. Quality throughout the Terrain interior is on par with more expensive products.

    The navigation screen displays the rearview camera image when the driver shifts into reverse. I find the central screen easier to see than the image in the rearview mirror on cars without navigation.

    A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel allows smaller drivers to maintain an unobstructed forward view. Steering wheel-mounted audio controls minimize driver distraction.

    The center stack in the Terrain angles upwards, making the displays easier to see in a variety of lighting conditions. Unfortunately, the angle also makes the controls harder to reach, so I was grateful for the redundant buttons on the steering wheel.

    The control knobs on the center stack are small, which could be a problem for passengers wearing gloves. A mouse device combines multiple functions to keep controls to a minimum.

    A deep center console bin includes a removable tray for smaller items, USB and auxiliary ports. There are three twelve-volt power points: at the base of the center stack, behind the center console and in the cargo area.

    The overhead console includes reading lamps, sunroof controls, and controls for the power rear liftgate.

    Access and egress to second-row seats is excellent. The seats have manual controls to slide fore and aft, maximizing legroom for the rear passengers. The middle seating position has enough head and legroom for a small adult. When it’s not in use, passengers in the outboard positions can fold down an armrest with additional cupholders.

    Second-row seats fold flat in a 60/40 pattern using levers on the outside edges of the seatbacks. The Terrain easily meets our bicycle-friendly standards. A tonneau cover is part of an option package that also adds roof rack crossbars and a rear cargo net ($245).

    The power liftgate makes it easier to load up the cargo area with large items. The Terrain has a reasonable lift-over for a sport-utility vehicle. A rubber rear bumper protector makes it easier for passengers to load items onto the roof rack.

    Standard safety

    The Terrain comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, stability and traction control. Ultrasonic rear parking assist sounds an audible alarm when sensors detect obstacles to the back of the vehicle. Standard OnStar automatically notifies the police and medical personnel if the airbags deploy.

    GMC builds the Terrain at the assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario Canada.

    Likes: A versatile compact sport-utility vehicle with four-season capability, a spacious cargo area and the ability to tow small trailers.

    Dislikes: Poor visibility to the rear, left side and front corners.

    Quick facts:

    Make: GMC
    Model: Terrain SLT-2
    Year: 2010
    Base price: $31,000
    As tested: $36,885
    Horsepower: 264 Hp @ 6950 rpm
    Torque: 222 lbs.-ft. @ 5100 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: No
    Towing: Yes
    Fuel economy: 17/24 mpg city/highway
    Comments: Fuel economy listed is for the all-wheel drive model. Base price does not include a $745 destination charge.

     

    133 responses to “2010 GMC Terrain”

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