That last sentiment was echoed by many staffers, and, indeed, perhaps the Terrain's biggest strength is how much room it provides for passengers and cargo. When compared against the aforementioned competitive set, the Terrain trails the Edge by only one tenth of an inch in rear-seat headroom and beats the bunch in rear-seat legroom. With the rear seats up, the Terrain dominates again with 32.4 cubic feet; fold the second row forward, and it falls to third with 63.7 cubic feet.

Overall, comfort in GMC's new CUV is good, but there are some issues with the controls, says St. Antoine. "Seats offer good lower-back decent lateral support and the steering wheel is nice. Manual +/- button on shifter lever isn't great for spirited driving-seems like an afterthought-but it's useful enough for hill descents and such."

"Could there be a worse place to put up- and downshift buttons? They're small buttons on the side of the shifter, " concurs assistant Web producer Carlos Lago. He adds, "While the touchscreen works, its distance from driver's seat renders it useless, unless you're Stretch Amstrong. You have to lean away from the seat to reach buttons and it's an ocean-of-similar-looking-buttons situation."

Nor is everyone is a fan of the styling. While Lago sees Decepticon in the Terrain maw, St. Antoine draws parallels with Autobot leader Optimus Prime. "Why is the grille larger than a Peterbilt's? Is this how GMC attempts to say 'serious truck here'?" he wonders. Lassa is a bit more charitable, "Styling is growing on me just a bit (like a fungus). It's not as bad as the Pontiac Aztek." Ouch.

So how does GMC's first attempt to crack this burgeoning market go over? Pretty smoothly if you think CUVs should be strong-jawed, squared-off, gas-sippers. Not so great if you put a premium on styling and performance. St. Antoine puts it best: "Huge inside, with a first-class rear seat, big cargo space, and value pricing - overall the Terrain is a very solid machine."

2010 GMC Terrain SLT AWD
Base price range $29,995 (ext)
Price as tested $32,450 (est)
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door, SUV
Engine 3.0L/264-hp (est)/222-lb-ft (est) DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (dist f/r) 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 8.1 sec
Quarter mile 16.3 sec @ 85.0 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 112 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.75 g (avg)
MT figure eight 28.7 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy econ 17/24 mpg (est)
CO2 emissions 0.99 lb/miles (est)