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Rough Terrain

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, Sep 27, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

2011 GMC Terrain SLE
GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2

By Harold Osmer GMC’s Terrain fits into the category of “boy, there sure a lot of those kind of cars on the road.” For the consumer, it’s a great market with many options. For an automaker, that means the competition is really tough. This is particularly true for the GMC Terrain, which is competing against some heavy hitters. Touted as a five-passenger crossover, Terrain does a reasonable job of fitting them inside its nearly 100 cubic feet of passenger space. While there’s ample room for four, five is a bit tight—particularly for the third guy in the middle back there.

2011 GMC Terrain SLE

GMC’s 8-way power front seat is comfortable and easy to operate. Having the memory function as standard is a plus. It struck us as odd that the driver seating position is off center with the steering wheel. We looked every which way we could and determined that there is a seat shift of about an inch to the right. It can make one feel unsettled in the car. Interior appointments are logically presented and simple to operate. The prominence of some hard plastics throughout made us wonder at times if the Terrain is meant to be a construction worker’s vehicle. While everyone uses plastics these days, some manufacturers are quite good at hiding the hard stuff in less prominent areas. With the Terrain, we noticed it from the first few minutes inside. We did not expect this from a vehicle costing $36,000.

2011 GMC Terrain

Handling and brakes on the 2011 Terrain are terrific. No drama in the handling department is a high compliment for any car—particularly an SUV—and the Terrain delivers. Much of the credit goes to the car-based crossover design of the Terrain. The Terrain’s base engine is the 2.4L Ecotec, offering up 182 horsepower at 6700 rpm. Torque ratings come in at 172 pound-feet at 4900 rpm. These numbers are not all overly surprising, except when considering the high rpm required to gain them. Engine rev noise is noticeable inside the vehicle. Watching the tachometer needle climbing with even the most mundane driving exercises made us wonder if this was the ideal engine to be bolted to a 3800 pound vehicle. If you plan on frequently loading in another 500 pounds of friends, you might want to take a look at the optional 3.0-liter V6.

2011 GMC Terrain

While four cylinder engines often make sense from an economical point of view, the trade-off in power over the V6 makes the wisdom of that choice debatable. We were in a constant search for power to move the Terrain be it while city driving, on the freeway, or our favorite Mulholland Drive test loop. SUMMARY JUDGMENT There’s a mountain of competition, and it’s an uphill climb for the Terrain.

2012 GMC Terrain SLE Premium Cloth Seating

SIDEBAR COMMENT It’s hard to believe that the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox are built off of the same platform. The Equinox—particularly in LTZ guise—arguably has the best-looking interior in its class (see LA Car’s “Best Little SUV You Never Heard Of”). By comparison, the Terrain’s interior disappoints. The exterior is the same story. Granted, it’s all subjective, but while the Chevy design emulates Lexus, the Terrain chooses to go for the Lego look. The designers will probably say it’s a more rugged look, in keeping with GMC’s Professional Grade image. To these eyes, GMC succeeded better with its bigger cars, namely the Yukon Denali and Acadia. Conclusion: Go with the slightly less expensive Chevrolet Equinox. – BT Justice For more information about the GMC Terrain, go to

2011 GMC Terrain 3.0L Direct Injection V6

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2011 GMC Terrain SLT-2 Price: $31,400, base price $36,180, as tested, with Cargo Management Package ($245);Audio System w/Navigation ($2,145); Rear Entertainment System ($1,295) EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 20/29 miles per gallon Engine type: 2.4L 4-cylinder, Direct Injection Ecotec (3.0L V6 is optional) Horsepower: 182@6700 rpm Torque: 172 lb-ft @ 5100 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine / all wheel drive Transmission type: Six-speed automatic Suspension: Independent struts (front) and multilink (rear) Wheels and tires: 18 x 7.5 inch alloy wheels and P235/55R18 all-season tires Dimensions Overall length/wheelbase: 185.3 inches/112.5 inches Overall width: 72.8 inches Overall height: 66.3 inches EPA mileage ratings (miles per gallon): 20 city/29 highway 3 Year/36,000 mile Basic 5 Year/100,000 mile Roadside 5 Year/100,000 mile Drivetrain 6 Year, 100,000 mile Rust Through

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