The 2019 GMC Terrain Dazzles and Disappoints

The 2019 GMC Terrain is one of the highest-rated versions, so it’s an enticing option to buy used. You may have heard that the Terrain provides a luxury-inspired driving experience, and it’s comfortable to ride in. While that’s true, you may find that the Terrain’s cons outweigh the pros.

The 2019 GMC Terrain (mostly) dazzles when it comes to performance 

A red 2019 GMC Terrain Denali parked in the driveway.
2019 GMC Terrain | GMC

Many respected critics agree that performance is the highlight of the 2019 Terrain. It’s not bad looking either. Base Terrain models will have a turbocharged 170-hp, 1.5-liter four-cylinder. This four-cylinder is OK for city driving and is a decent option for fuel economy. However, reviewers, including Consumer Reports, say it’s lackluster at high speeds. 

For a quicker Terrain experience, there’s the available turbocharged 252-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Both four-cylinders have a nine-speed automatic transmission. You may also want to shop for models with the 137-hp, 1.6-liter turbodiesel for a unique blend of fuel efficiency and liveliness. 

2019 GMC Terrain Denali
2019 GMC Terrain Denali | GMC

Both of the Terrain’s available four-cylinders come with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Models with the turbodiesel engine get a six-speed auto. According to CR’s data, owners reported 25 mpg overall for the Terrain as its real-world fuel economy. That’s average for the class. 

CR favored the most powerful turbo-four for its speediness. The org also said that the Terrain has excellent braking performance. CR didn’t have much to say about the turbodiesel’s setup but did note that the nine-speed didn’t shift particularly smoothly or sharply. Additionally, CR reviewers noted that the Terrain lacked agility. But if your priorities are comfort, this critique isn’t much of a dealbreaker. 

The Terrain disappoints in key areas on the inside 

Front seats of the 2019 GMC Terrain.
Inside the 2019 GMC Terrain | GMC

So, the inside of the Terrain is a bit polarizing. On the bright side, the Terrain looks upscale. It provides generous passenger space for five and has adequate cargo room too. Plus, Terrains come with a user-friendly infotainment system, including a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. 

Where the Terrain disappoints is in the details. Reviewers at Car and Driver say that the Terrain’s cheap interior materials “spoil” the experience. CR echoed these sentiments and had a few other complaints.

“The Terrain’s cabin welcomes you with a decidedly low-rent ambience, featuring lots of drab, black, hard plastic.Rear-seat room is on par for the compact SUV class. The seats are covered in a coarse, not-kind-to-the touch fabric, but they prove to be more comfortable to sit in than they appear to be.Making matters worse, the Terrain is loud. The engine sounds unrefined, and the elevated wind and road noise create a tiring din inside the cabin.”

Consumer Reports (2019)

Should I get the 2019 GMC Terrain?


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The 2019 Terrain has a few flaws that are displeasing, but it’s not a bad buy. If you want an American car that focuses on comfort and practicality, this GMC is at least worth a test drive. CR gave the 2019 Terrain an above-average predicted reliability rating, and there aren’t a significant amount of complaints associated with the SUV. 

Still, you may want to consider some of the Terrain’s class rivals. You may want to check out the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 for a more well-rounded experience. The Terrain’s twin, the Chevy Equinox, is also worth a look.