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GMC recently announced that they’re scrapping the SL trim from the 2021 Terrain altogether, making the SLE trim the 2022 base model. And while the Terrain may not be that distinguished, budget buyers mourn the loss of this lower-level trim. So what got lost in the process, and what features do you get moving forward?

2021 GMC Terrain
2021 GMC Terrain | GMC

Facts and features of the discontinued GMC Terrain SL

The biggest advantage to anyone who wanted to buy a base model GM Terrain would be that it’s the cheapest. Well, it was the cheapest, starting at just $26,000. That’s for the FWD version with a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder and a nine-speed automatic. Get the AWD version and that price jumps up to $31,000, an extra five grand for a feature you may not even need.

And while the base model doesn’t come with much tech, other than a 3.5-inch screen, it is fitted with GM’s Pro Safety package. A rear-view camera, forward collision alerts, automatic braking, and lane-keep assist come standard. And while the SL trim is pretty, bare-bones, the SLE trim is as well, with a few key advantages.

The advantages of the 2022 GM Terrain SLE trim

2022 GMC Terrain
2022 GMC Terrain | GMC

On GM’s website, the SL model costs $26,000, whereas the SLE trim will cost $29,000. But despite the three grand price hike, the two cars don’t differ from one another all that much. The 3.5-inch screen in the SL is bumped up to 4.5 inches, but that’s about it. So why the higher price?

That’s because you’re able to get all the optional features in the SLE trim, whereas the SL trim can’t. Things like the Pro Safety Plus package, which adds parking assistants and a 360-degree camera. You can have power outlets and rear DVD players for all your entertainment needs. Even a power liftgate and sunroof are options in the SLE trim, but not the SL.

So the main advantage of the SLE trim is that you have the option for more goodies. But those features aren’t standard, and they’ll come at a cost.

Why did GM take away their base model?

2021 GMC Terrain Exterior
2021 GMC Terrain Exterior | GMC

While this isn’t the official reasoning for taking away the SL trim, let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. You’re looking for a cheap Terrain, but with the SL trim gone you now have to pay an extra $3,000 for what is, essentially, the same car. The engine and transmission aren’t changing between 2021 and 2022, and while the looks are refreshed, the internals are the same.

That’s $3,000 extra dollars in GM’s pocket that they essentially get for free, but that’s before all the options. If you want the DVD players and the 360-degree cameras they’re going to charge you for it. A fully tricked-out SLE trim will run closer to $33,000, which is another $4,000 tacked on to the price. In other words, by getting rid of the base trim, GM can charge more for less.

So the penny pinchers, such as myself, mourn the loss of the SL trim. Just as the Terrain was starting to get more reliable, we’re left with no choice but to buy a more expensive model. Or, you can buy a different SUV altogether.

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