Don't take our word for it, we tested a V-6, all wheel-drive 2010 GMC Terrain SLE and found that it hits 60 mph in 8.1 seconds and runs the quarter mile in 16.3 seconds at 85.0 mph. Not bad, except that the 4229-pound, front-drive 2009 Ford Edge Sport, equipped with a 265-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, stops the clock in 7.3 seconds and 15.8 seconds at 88.3 mph.

Nissan's 2009 Murano SL, also equipped with a 265-horsepower V-6 and all-wheel drive, does even better. It matches the Edge's 0-60-mph time and is two-tenths quicker in the quarter mile - 15.6 seconds at 91.6 mph.

Surely the turbo four-banger-equipped Mazda CX-7 GT couldn't also beat the Terrain, but it does. This 3939-pound all-wheel-drive runabout needs only 7.7 seconds to 60 mph and ran the quarter mile in 15.8 seconds at 89.7 models.

In braking, the Terrain is more competitive. From 60 mph, the Terrain needs 122 feet to come to rest, which puts it behind the CX-7 (119 feet) but ahead of Edge (123 feet) and Murano (128 feet). With 0.75g lateral acceleration and 28.7-second/0.58g run through our figure-eight cones, Terrain is again at the back of this pack.

Of course, performance numbers tell only part of the story, as Detroit editor Todd Lassa explains, "The transmission is geared for optimum fuel efficiency, which means the engine performance is nothing to write home about." Indeed, the AWD Terrain's V-6 returns an EPA estimated 17/24 mpg city/ highway mpg, which is pretty good for an AWD 4135-pound SUV. Those numbers essentially equal the Edge (17/24 mpg) and the FWD Murano (18/23 mpg) and are significantly better than the CX-7 (16/22 mpg). It should be noted that both the Mazda and Nissan drink premium unleaded, while Terrain takes regular.

Terrain's on-road behavior is noteworthy as well. "I'm impressed with the ride/handling balance of this crossover. No excessive roll in the corners - very controllable. Predictable steering with good feel and feedback. And the ride doesn't beat you up. It's as smooth as anything in this class - way better than the Ford Escape," says Lassa.

Associate online producer Kirill Ougarov agrees, "The AWD version felt more planted on the road thanks to better weight balance, and the suspension on all variants is dialed in well, providing a smooth and comfortable ride without being too floaty or disconnected."

Editor at large Arthur St. Antoine is even more impressed, picking the Terrain over its more expensive, upmarket cousin. "Quite a pleasant drive. Prefer this rig by far to the SRX. The chassis is far more poised, steering is smooth and direct, the interior is generally simpler with controls more intuitive to use. Seems much bigger inside than the Caddy too."