By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
As the smallest of their SUV-style vehicles, the 2016 GMC Terrain takes on a different look than the stylish GMC Acadia and GMC Yukon models, displaying a more rugged appearance that appears to be inspired by GM’s now defunct Hummer division. It’s much like we image what the offspring of a Hummer might look like.
With the exaggerated wheel arches and other strong lines, the Terrain has a rugged off-road look but it doesn’t offer the capabilities to live up to the rugged exterior. It’s like the vehicular equivalent of a drug store cowboy versus a real cowboy.
What the Terrain lacks in terrain conquering ability it makes up for with an attractive, comfortable interior, good paved road manners and a high level of technologies.
The 2016 GMC Terrain shares many mechanicals with the Chevrolet Equinox, and has been produced with annual improvements and enhancements since 2010. The Denali version we drove is part of a special line of upscale GMC vehicles. The Denali vehicles have luxurious appointments, the latest technologies and are the top models of what GMC calls its Professional Grade.
The refreshed 2016 Terrain Denali has new front and rear fascias, with C-shaped lower chrome trims which accentuate the wide stance, along with a new chrome accented grille design. The hood has a new power dome design to further enhance the masculine appearance, plus it also gets a new 19-inch wheel design.
A 182-hp four-cylinder 2.4-liter DOHC engine is the standard powerplant driving the front wheels through six-speed electronically controlled Hydra-matic transmission. This is a nice, efficient powerplant for the average driver and it produces a respectable 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway in the front-drive model. The four-cylinder engine tends to be a bit noisy, so GMC engineers have equipped it with an active noise-cancellation system.
Our test vehicle had the optional 301-hp 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 engine which is the largest engine in this category. It’s attached to a stronger Hydra-matic transmission and is also offered in front- or all-wheel drive. The engine is smooth and produces a nice powerful-sounding rumble. The V-6 increases the Terrain towing capacity to 3,500 pounds versus the 1,500-pound capacity of the four-cylinder. EPA fuel economy is 16/23/18 mpg. We actually averaged 17.4 mpg according to the trip computer. Buff magazine figures list a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of 6.5 seconds.
The Terrain has a five-passenger configuration with a rear seat that adjusts over a span of eight inches to increase space for passengers, or cargo, depending on the need. Cargo space is 31.6 cubic feet with the seatbacks up and expands to 63.9 cubic feet with the backs folded.
The plush interior of the GMC Terrain Denali not only looks great it’s very well organized and comfortable. The dash, seats and trim are stitched and the trim is a smoked mahogany and brushed metallic. The center stack is mounted high for easier and safer operation and includes actual knobs for important controls like volume, tuning, temperature and fan speed. The seven-inch touch screen has large quick response icons. The screen is shaded by a small visor to help reduce glare.
Connectivity plays a major role on the Denali feature list including the OnStar communications system, the 4G LTE Wi-Fi® hotspot and the infotainment capabilities. The system integrates with passenger smartphones using Bluetooth and is capable of text messaging alerts and Siri Eyes Free information. The system includes Nuance hands-free voice controls, Pandora, Stitcher and a variety of other Internet services.
We especially appreciated the available safety technologies like forward collision alert, blind spot alert, rear cross traffic alert and rear vision camera. In addition, the Terrain Denali has an extensive collection of bells and whistles which are commensurate with the Denali premium persona.
The 2016 GMC Terrain Denali is available in four trim levels (SL, SLE-1, SLE-2 and SLT) with prices ranging from $25,825, including the destination charge, for the SL FWD up to $39,725 for the SLT AWD with all the options. The Terrain Denali, which we drove, has a base price of $36,025 for the FWD. With most of the available features, our 2016 GMC Terrain AWD Denali had a bottom line price of $41,315.