2010 GMC Terrain
Manly enough to win?
BY Edward Loh

WE LIKE: Smooth ride, passenger and cargo room.
WE DON'T LIKE: Butch styling, lackluster acceleration and handling.

GMC wades into the competitive midsize crossover market with the all-new unibody Terrain. GMC has traditionally offered tweaked GM vehicles and the Terrain is no different. It rides on the same 112.5-inch wheelbase of the Chevy Equinox, though it's shorter in length (185.3 inches versus 187.8) and wider (72.8 inches versus 72.5). Powerplants are also shared and include a standard direct injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder for SLE models and an optional D.I. 3.0-liter V-6 in SLT trim. Each engine gets its own six-speed automatic and can be paired with front or all-wheel drive.

The Terrain's styling is unique and includes a heavily chromed, three-bar grille and beefy, squared-off fenders and wheelwells. Whether you find it hairy-chested or ham-handed, the Terrain is definitely striking and not likely to be confused with any other crossover. In keeping with the manly theme, designers barbecued the family-friendly interior, giving dash and seating materials names like Jet Black and Brownstone and accenting dials and buttons with red backlighting.

Four-cylinder numbers are on par with Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but the problem is GMC's marketing mavens include more upmarket CUVs like the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano in the Terrain's competitive set. These have more potent V-6 engines that render the Terrain SLT noncompetitive in outright acceleration.

Of course, that tells only part of the story, as Lassa explains: "The transmission is geared for optimum fuel efficiency, which means the engine performance is nothing to write home about." According to EPA estimates, the front drive I-4, AWD V-6 Terrain should return 22/32 and 17/24 city/highway mpg respectively. That's pretty impressive, especially since both use regular unleaded.

The Terrain offers other surprising advantages. "I prefer this rig by far to the SRX. Chassis is far more poised, steering is smooth and direct, and the interior is generally simpler and much bigger than the Caddy. Overall a very solid machine," says St. Antoine. Clearly, but is it manly enough to win SUV of the Year?


2010 GMC Terrain
Base price range $24,250-$30,600
Price as tested $32,310; $32,450*
Vehicle layout Front engine, FWD/AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 2.4L/182-hp/172 lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4; 3.0L/264-hp/ 222-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 3863 lb(56/44%);4135 lb(57/43%)*
Wheelbase 112.5 in
Length x width x height 185.3 x 72.8 x 66.3 in
0-60 mph 9.2; 8.1 sec*
Quarter mile 16.9 sec @ 82.4 mph; 16.3 sec @ 85.0 mph*
Braking, 60-0 mph 127; 122 ft*
Lateral acceleration 0.74; 0.75 g (avg)*
MT Figure Eight 29.0 sec @ 0.56g (avg); 28.7 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)*
MT observed fuel econ 17.6; 15.7 mpg*
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 22/32; 17/24 mpg*
CO2 emissions 0.76; 0.99 lb/mile*
*SLE; SLT AWD
RATINGS
Engineering ***
Design **
Interior/Functionality ****
Performance ***
On-road refinement ****
Off-road ability **
Value ***
BOTTOM LINE
CUV that emphasizes comfort over performance.