With the Chevrolet Equinox being GM’s favorite ‘player’ to tackle the battle in the compact crossover segment, it does not mean that its mechanical twin brother, the GMC Terrain, is losing the game. Last year, GMC managed to sell 86,020 Terrains, and it has put it in the 15th place on the most sold compact crossover in the United States.
GMC first introduced the handsome little crossover in 2010. Since day one, the Terrain was a 5-seater small SUV that would sit on top of the same GM Theta platform found in the Chevy Equinox and the Cadillac SRX.
With the launch of the second-gen model in 2018 and several upgrades since then, the Terrain has gotten more mature than ever. Despite the similar design, GMC has equipped the 2021 Terrain with more standard safety and driver assistant features, adding peace of mind for its customers.
GMC has kept it simple this year by offering the 2021 Terrain with only one engine option. It is the same 1.5-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged unit from the Chevrolet Equinox. Here, it produces 170 hp at 5600 rpm and 203 lb-ft of torque at 2000-4000 rpm. Mated to this engine is a 9-speed automatic transmission that channels its power to either the front wheels or all four wheels.
Accelerating from 0-60 mph takes around 9 seconds, which is not particularly thrilling; however, the economy is decent with a claimed 25 MPG/city and 30 MPG/highway. With its 14.9-gallon fuel capacity, you can expect a range of 402 miles on a single tank. Despite the small size, this engine is also capable enough for a 1,500 lbs. standard towing capacity.
Previously, Terrain customers had the option of a more powerful 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged unit, good for 252 hp and 260 lb-ft. However, GMC decided to discontinue this engine last year due to low demand. Notably, the company said that the 1.5-liter turbocharged unit was a more popular choice, and hence it is the sole engine offering for this year.
As a compact crossover, the Terrain’s size is truly on the practical side. Specifically, it is similar to the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, measuring 182.3-inches long, 72.4-inches wide, and 65.4-inches high. The wheelbase is at 107.3 inches, and it has a ground clearance of 6.9 inches, perfect for some light off-roading. The Terrain also has a curb weight of 3,449 lbs.
On the inside, the Terrain is available in a 5-seater configuration. Moreover, it has a relatively spacious passenger volume at 99 cubic feet, although its cargo area is on the smaller side, with just 30 cubic feet of space. At least it has a front-to-back flat load floor once you fold every passenger seat, creating a long empty space able to take 8-feet long objects.
Currently, you can buy the GMC terrain in SL, SLE, or SLT trim. The base SL is available only in FWD configuration, while the other two trims have an AWD option. There is also the top-of-the-range Denali trim that will be available later this year.
2021 GMC Terrain SL
Starting price: $26,195
Like its mid-size brother, the GMC Acadia, the SL is the base trim of the 2021 Terrain.
The base model comes as standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels, Black mirror caps, HID headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED taillamps, deep-tinted rear glass, heated power outside mirrors, and a manual liftgate.
Inside, you will get front bucket seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a Jet Black color interior trim. On the tech front, it features a 7-inch diagonal GMC infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
Furthermore, there is a 12-volt auxiliary power outlet at the front and cargo area, a six-speaker audio system, keyless entry, push-button start, and OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability as standard.
2021 GMC Terrain SLE
Starting price: FWD – $29,595, AWD – $31,195
The SLE is the current middle trim, available in either FWD or AWD configuration.
From the outside, there is not much of a difference compared to the SL model, except for the standard roof rails, body-colored mirror caps, and a few more exterior color options available.
Additional features from the SL trim are dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and remote start feature. Meanwhile, buyers can opt for the Medium Ash Gray/Jet Black color.
2021 GMC Terrain SLT
Starting price: FWD – $33,695, AWD – $35,295.
The SLT is the highest-end trim, featuring some nice upgrades. It is also available in either FWD or AWD configuration.
On top of the SLE’s features, you’ll find bigger 18-inch aluminum wheels, foglamps, hands-free power liftgate, and heated power auto-dimming outside mirrors.
The SLT adds the Infotainment Package I. It includes an 8-inch GMC Infotainment with a sat-nav, 110-volt power outlet, more USB ports, and HD Rear Vision Camera. It also has some leather upholstery, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, a driver’s memory seat, a heated steering wheel, and ambient interior lighting. There is also another color option for the interior – the Brandy/Jet Black.
2021 GMC Terrain Denali
Starting price: TBD
GMC has just recently launched the Denali trim. It should be available for purchase later this year. The Denali will be the highest-end trim.
Not much information is available yet, but we expect features to carry over from the SLT trim with more standard packages. It would also have a few styling upgrades, such as a signature Denali grille and bigger 19-inch alloy wheels.
GMC did reveal that it would have the Denali Premium Suspension, although not the exact price figure. However, considering the price differences between the current trims, we estimate $37,000 for the FWD and $39,000 for the AWD.
GMC does not discriminate on safety attributes amongst Terrain’s trims. As standard, GMC has equipped the 2021 Terrain with Pro Safety Plus Package on all models.
This safety-oriented package includes Intellibeam® headlamp system, Auto Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Rear Park Assist, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indicator, and Forward Collision Alert. Moreover, it has 6 airbags, Hill Descent Control, an electronic stability control system with traction control, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System as standard.
Thumbs up for GMC for prioritizing safety for its Terrain’s passengers.
Elevation Edition Package
The Elevation Edition package includes a darkened front grille, black mirror caps, roof rails, gloss black 19-inch aluminum wheels, and black exterior accents. This package is available for an extra $795.
Infotainment Package I
The Infotainment Package I includes an 8-inch diagonal GMC Infotainment System with a sat-nav system. Moreover, there is a 110-volt power outlet, more USB ports, and HD Rear Vision Camera. Although available as standard on the SLT trim, you can get this on the SLE trim for an extra $895.
Infotainment Package II
Meanwhile, you can upgrade the SLT trim with the more advanced Infotainment Package II. It includes an HD Radio and 7-speaker Bose® premium sound system and costs an extra $1,180.
GMC will secure you with a limited warranty covering three years/36,000 miles, a powertrain warranty covering five years/60,000 miles, and complimentary maintenance on the first visit.
Despite the appealing safety features and infotainment system, the price of the 2021 GMC Terrain is unfortunately on the expensive side. At this price, it might be a good idea to consider other top players in the segment, such as the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V.
However, if you like what the 2021 GMC Terrain has to offer, I would recommend getting the SLE variant as the price is the most justified of the bunch. You’ll also get pretty much the same Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity on a smaller 7-inch infotainment screen.
And if that’ not enough, you can always fit it with the Infotainment Package I and get a little more bang for your bucks.
Terrain FWD SLE/SL
Terrain FWD SLT
Terrain AWD SLE
Terrain AWD SLT
Terrain FWD/AWD Denali
|Body Style(s)||Sport Utility Vehicle|
|Horsepower @ RPM||170 @ 5600|
|Torque @ RPM||203 @ 2000 – 4000|
|Fuel Injection||Direct Injection|
|Fuel Economy – City||25 MPG|
|Fuel Economy – Hwy||30 MPG||28 MPG||30/28 MPG|
|Fuel Economy – Combined||27 MPG||26 MPG||27/26 MPG|
|Passenger volume (cu.ft.)||103.2|
|Cargo volume (cu.ft.)||63.3|
|Curb weight (lbs)||3449||3487||3622||3659||3537/3609|
Wheels & Tires
|Wheel size||17 “x 7.0”||18 x 7.0||19 x 7.5|