GMC’s compact SUV, the Terrain has a variety of mixed reviews. Consumer Reports found the Terrain to be adequate, but hardly a premium option. U.S. News, on the other hand, lauded the vehicle for interior comfort, superior gas mileage, and better luxury features than others in its class. Mixed reviews notwithstanding, the Terrain’s previous generation did present with drive train and oil consumption issues, especially in 2010 and 2011.
However, GM appears to have put a lot of work into correct these problems in the 2018 redesign, especially the later releases. Reviewers were impressed with the vehicle’s technological upgrades, and U.S. News ranked the 2018 Terrain #6 in 2018 Affordable Compact SUVs. With the current focus on expanding technology in the auto industry, it is no surprise that GMC’s redesigned Terrain features include modernized tech like a highly interactive touchscreen and Apple CarPlay capability.
The GMC Terrain’s improved infotainment system
The 2019 and 2020 Terrain models received numerous tweaks and enhancements, but the major infotainment improvements were integrated into the 2018 redesigned model from the outset. GM’s improved infotainment system received stellar reviews due to a variety of user-friendly high-tech features that make it a pleasure to operate.
The Terrain’s display screen starts at seven inches, with an available upgrade to eight inches. The touchscreen is easy to navigate, with a highly organized and intuitive graphic interface. With a cloud-based system, the system’s storage capabilities are greatly enhanced, and updates are instantaneous.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio are available in all trims, with reliable connectivity and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Each operator can create a personalized profile with their favorite music, frequent destinations, and other infotainment settings. Wireless device charging, navigation, two USB ports, and a 110-volt power outlet round out the Terrain’s impressive technological array.
According to Car and Driver and GM Authority, the majority of the 2019 and 2020 improvements were tech upgrades. Although no changes were made to the infotainment system, the 2019 Terrain saw the addition of several safety features including optional adaptive cruise control and front pedestrian braking. The rear camera also received an upgrade to HD, which should help with visibility issues caused by the vehicle’s small rear windows.
Similarly, 2020 saw some tech updates of safety features. Previously optional features, such as forward collision alerts, emergency braking, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights were added as standard features. These features go some way toward making up for the vehicle’s less than ideal rear visibility and poor headlight ratings.
How does the GMC Terrain compare to the competition?
According to U.S. News, the Terrain compares moderately well with other vehicles in its class. The overall driving experience is smooth and cushioned when compared with other compact SUVs.
It comes with either two or four-wheel drive, but Car and Driver found the steering sluggish at higher speeds. Per Car and Driver, the Terrain is not a class favorite but does have the benefit of a diesel engine in the 2018 and 2019 models with excellent fuel economy.
Sadly, the diesel engine option was discontinued in the 2020 model. Despite this, the Terrain performed better than average in fuel economy even with the 2.0-liter gas engine.
Compared to Car and Driver’s top picks for maneuverability, interior space, and refinement, the Terrain performed poorly. In addition to the vehicle’s poor handling, the Honda CR-V offers more interior space, and the VW Tiguan makes less noise and offers a more elegant interior.
Both Car and Driver and Consumer Reports agree that the Terrain’s interior features leave much to be desired, with cheap appearing materials and unintuitive controls.
The less-than-stellar aspects of the vehicle may detract somewhat from its overall competitiveness, but all of the critics seem to agree that the GMC Terrain’s infotainment technology is some of the best in its class, so if you are looking for a decent compact SUV with stellar tech and Apple CarPlay, the GMC Terrain may be just what you need.