On the one hand, the 2010 GMC Terrain is an old-school GM badge job, an unabashed Chevrolet Equinox knockoff with the same platform, features and powertrains. But unlike many old-school GM badge jobs, this one is fundamentally a really good vehicle, so we're willing to cut it some slack. Indeed, the Terrain and its Equinox sibling look set to shake up the small-to-midsize crossover SUV segment that Honda and Toyota have long dominated.
The 2010 Terrain benefits from the same updates as this year's redesigned Equinox. Under the hood is a torquey base four-cylinder that offers best-in-class fuel economy and competitive acceleration. There's also an available direct-injected 3.0-liter V6 that's similarly competitive in terms of fuel economy and power. Inside, the Terrain boasts a snazzy center stack and attractive control layout that make its rivals' cabins seem dull and unimaginative by comparison. An abundance of acoustic insulation and an innovative noise-canceling system also make the Terrain one of the quietest compact crossovers around.
The Terrain isn't quite fault-free. Its maximum cargo capacity, for instance, isn't as generous as that of some competing models. But otherwise it's pretty hard to find fault with GMC's new SUV. The 2010 GMC Terrain offers just about everything that shoppers in this segment are looking for, and it's one you'll definitely want to cross-shop along with established models like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 GMC Terrain is a midsize crossover SUV available in four trim levels: SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1 and SLT-2. Standard equipment for the SLE-1 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a trip computer, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories, power front seat height and lumbar adjustments, a sliding and reclining backseat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a back-up camera integrated into the rearview mirror, OnStar and a six-speaker CD stereo with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The SLE-2 adds roof rails, 18-inch alloy wheels on V6 models, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, automatic climate control and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system.
The SLT-1 has the aforementioned plus 18-inch alloy wheels, remote engine start, leather upholstery and heated front seats. The SLT-2 ups the ante with chrome exterior trim details, a unique grille, driver memory functions, a sunroof, a power liftgate and rear parking sensors. Additional options, depending on the trim level, include a hard-drive-based navigation system (with larger rearview camera display and 40GB of music storage) and a rear-seat entertainment system. Some of the extra features found on the upper trims can also be added to the lower trims as options.
Powertrains and Performance
Every GMC Terrain comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine producing 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. Optional on all but the SLE-1 is a 3.0-liter V6 good for 264 hp and 222 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive; all-wheel drive is optional across the board.
Fuel economy is impressive. A four-cylinder Terrain with front-wheel drive achieves an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. All-wheel drive lowers these estimates to 20/29/23 mpg. A Terrain V6 with front-wheel drive gets 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined, with all-wheel-drive versions dropping only incrementally to 17/24/20. The maximum tow rating when properly equipped is 3,500 pounds with the V6.
The 2010 GMC Terrain comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and OnStar. Rear parking sensors are optional.
Interior Design and Special Features
The GMC Terrain's cabin is remarkably stylish, particularly by the standards of this typically utilitarian segment. The slick-looking dashboard design is reminiscent of the related Cadillac SRX, and the Terrain's high-tech navigation and entertainment options only heighten its appeal.
In terms of accommodations, the Terrain's backseat is roomy for this class and conveniently reclines and slides fore and aft (to allow easier access to child seats or to expand cargo capacity). Cargo space behind the backseat is 31.4 cubic feet, and that figure grows to 63.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. That's about 6 cubes shy of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but still bigger than smaller crossovers like the Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue.
The 2010 GMC Terrain accelerates well with the new four-cylinder engine, and its 32-mpg highway rating with this engine is most impressive. This engine should satisfy most folks, but for those wanting more there's the optional V6. The optional mill is a bit short on low-end torque relative to the RAV4's standard-setting V6, but otherwise it's one of the strongest engine choices you'll find in this segment. On the move, the new Terrain is impressively quiet, and the ride is comfortable. However, we'd suggest sticking with the smallest possible wheels, as the larger ones increase impact harshness. Handling capabilities are nothing special, but most drivers should be satisfied by the vehicle's all-around competence.