GMC has stepped up to the plate at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show and scored one of the most impressive SUV makeovers. The 2018 Terrain rides on a new platform and sports a range of fuel-sipping four-cylinder engines. It also looks vastly more stylish than the outgoing model, which has been on sale for eight years and was long overdue for an update.
Then again, if you think being square is cool, then you’re going to hate the 2018 GMC Terrain crossover. That’s because the previous model was most notable for looking like the box it came in, thanks to some seriously straight lines and sharp exterior angles. It would have made an old Volvo 240 wagon fall in love, but that’s about it.
For the rest of us, the previous Terrain was seriously outclassed in the red-hot market for all things SUV and crossover. This new model arrives just in time, before GMC’s small crossover disappeared completely from car buyers’ shopping lists.
Gone are the upright lines and edges, and in their place is one of the more attractive designs you’re going to find here at the Detroit show. OK, we’d still take a Ford GT or Chevrolet Corvette Z06, but we’ll admit that this family-friendly GMC ute is a quite a looker. The chrome grille and LED-rimmed head and taillights give the 2018 Terrain a distinctive new look, one that stands out but doesn’t polarize opinion — a good thing, since GMC will want to sell a ton of ’em!
Once again, the floating roof design makes an appearance. This design trait is pretty much everywhere at the Detroit show. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, take a look at the back of the Terrain; see how the rear window seems to wrap around the back of the car? That lack of body-colored pillars is a floating roof, folks, and it’s the favorite new plaything of car designers. In this case, it works nicely in terms of aesthetics, though we’re not certain how much rear visibility might be affected by that upward kick of the rear fenders.
Safety equipment isn’t an issue, however. GMC loads the new Terrain with items such as rear cross traffic alerts, blind zone monitors, forward collision warning and low-speed emergency braking, lane-keep assist and lane departure warnings, a 360-degree surround-view camera, and rear seat reminder alert, to name a few.
On the tech front, GMC has made certain the new Terrain is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Terrain will also serve as a 4GLTE Wi-Fi hotspot for your mobile devices.
Available in front and all-wheel-drive format, it’s worth noting that the Terrain has jettisoned V6 options from its lineup of three motors. The turbocharged 1.5-liter and turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines deliver 170 and 252 horsepower, respectively. The latter engine is the most powerful one available. Interestingly, GMC also serves up an enticing diesel option: Yes, automakers haven’t given up on diesel (again), despite the best/worst efforts of VW and its ongoing diesel emissions cheating debacle.
This optional 1.6-liter turbo-diesel delivers 137 horsepower and a hefty 240 pound-feet of torque. GMC has not revealed any official EPA mileage estimates at the moment, but this will be the pick of the bunch if you want serious MPGs in your SUV. We’d expect the GMC Terrain diesel to return about 40 miles per gallon during highway driving.
We’d love to give a more informed opinion about the interior makeover of the Terrain, but GMC handlers were being a little cagey when it came to opening the rear (and only the rear) doors of the two Terrains on its show-stand. Why? We’re not exactly sure, other than the fact that clipboards and phone headsets tend to give people a bizarre power trip. The cabin materials have been upgraded, that much we know, and the design of the handsome dash is a safe play in the crowded crossover market. Two larger touchscreens are available, with the bigger of the two stretching 8 inches across.
Sales begin this summer, and the base price should hover right around $25,000 for the base model fitted with the 1.5-liter engine and front-wheel-drive.