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  • 2018 GMC Terrain SLT

    Posted on May 4th, 2018 ninarussin

    Compact crossover has the versatility for active lifestyles

    By Nina Russin

    2018 GMC Terrain

    2018 GMC Terrain

    GMC is one of two automakers that focuses exclusively on building trucks and understanding what its buyers want in terms of functionality: hence the term, ‘professional grade.’

    In the ever-increasing pool of compact crossovers, the new second-generation Terrain stands out as a very good package at an affordable price. Features such as a fold-flat front passenger seat and available hands-free liftgate make it a lot easier to load large items such as bikes and kayaks inside.

    At the same time, GMC includes important active safety technology such as forward collision warning with autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, intelligent headlamps and blind spot monitoring, as well as infotainment features such as a 4G LTE Wi Fi hotspot.

    Base price for the upscale SLT grade is $31,320 excluding the $995 destination charge. Options on the test car include panoramic sunroof, power hands-free liftgate, driver’s seat memory and power front passenger seat, an infotainment system including an 8-inch color touchscreen, OnStar and navigation, Bose audio system, red exterior paint and the active safety features listed above. Final MSRP is $38,070.

    Test drive in southern Arizona

    2018 GMC Terrain

    2018 GMC Terrain

    Over the past week I had the opportunity to drive the Terrain throughout much of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Chandler, Arizona as well as roads through the Gila River Indian Community to the south. The Terrain’s new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and nine-speed automatic transmission did an excellent job of combining the power necessary for navigating crowded urban thoroughfares with good fuel economy: 28 miles-per-gallon according-to the EPA.

    General Motors has long had the reputation of producing exceptionally well-engineered transmission. The nine-speed automatic in the Terrain is a case in point, progressing seamlessly through the gears with no hunting or harsh downshifts. While the engine can’t compete with large displacement blocks for raw power, it has good acceleration in critical areas such as the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range drivers use merging into highway traffic and off-the-line.

    2018 GMC Terrain

    2018 GMC Terrain

    A four-wheel independent suspension delivers a comfortable ride for both rows of passengers, absorbing bumps and vibrations from imperfect road surfaces without feeling mushy. The electric power assist steering system is well-tuned, with plenty of assist at low speeds and positive on-center response on the highway.

    Four-wheel disc brakes stop the Terrain in firm, linear fashion. Low-drag brake calipers reduce parasitic energy loss to improve overall fuel economy.

    The car’s large C and D pillars produce some blind spots around the perimeter, but blind spot monitoring and the standard rearview camera keep the driver aware of vehicles in adjacent lanes and obstacles around the car’s perimeter.

    2018 GMC Terrain SLT

    2018 GMC Terrain SLT

    General Motors continues to use haptic feedback- vibration through the seat cushion- to alert the driver as part of its cross-traffic alert system. Personally, I find the system annoying. An audible alarm would work just as well and be less distracting.

    At night, high-intensity discharge headlamps produce bright beams of light that are close to daylight, lighting up the path on dark suburban and rural roads. Standard remote vehicle start enables owners to pre-heat or pre-cool the interior in temperature extremes.

    Well-equipped interior

    2018 GMC Terrain SLT Interior

    2018 GMC Terrain SLT Interior

    The Terrain’s well-equipped interior contributes to the car’s premium feel, with standard leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated front seats. I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust with plenty of lower lumbar support for longer drives.

    Dual-zone automatic climate control keeps front-row occupants comfortable in temperature extremes. Both the gauge cluster and center stack screen are easy to read in bright sunlight and after dark. I found the infotainment system intuitive to operate with a combination of touchscreen commands and traditional knobs for simple functions.

    OnStar is both a convenience and a life-saver, giving the driver access to off-site services for emergency response but also navigation. In situations where it is either impractical or unsafe to program a traditional navigation system, the driver can push a single button to contact the operator for turn-by-turn directions downloaded into the vehicle.

    Fold-flat second-row seats and the fold-flat front passenger seat create a cargo floor long enough to hold pretty much anything an athlete might travel with, from bicycles to kayaks, skis, snowboards and camping equipment.

    Standard safety

    The GMC Terrain comes with six airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring with tire fill alert and teen driver monitoring.

    GMC builds the Terrain at its plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico

    Like: A stylish compact crossover with the versatility to function well for buyers with active lifestyles.

    Dislike: Haptic feedback through the seat as part of the cross-traffic alert system is distracting.

    Quick facts:

    Make: GMC
    Model: Terrain FWD SLT
    Year: 2018
    Base price: $31,320
    As tested: $38,070
    Horsepower: 170 HP @ 5600 rpm
    Torque: 203 lbs.-ft. @ 2000 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: No
    Fuel economy: 26/30 mpg city/highway

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