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The compact SUV segment of vehicles continues to grow in popularity among car-buying consumers. Each model year presents new models, enhanced features, and improved performance capabilities. Recently, one group crowned the GMC Terrain as its Performance Award winner for 2019.

Considering just how competitive this compact SUV class is, and how sporty and fun many of these models are to drive, it’s a remarkable win for GMC. With contenders like the Toyota RAV4 and popular Honda CR-V, the Terrain must have really impressed the reviewers.

The GMC Terrain outperforms the competition

J.D. Power ranks the 2019 compact SUV models, based on verified data from actual vehicle owners, upon 90 days of ownership. On scales up to 100, each is scored and evaluated. When it comes to performance, the GMC Terrain soars above the competition, earning a range-topping 86 out of 100 in the driving experience.

That’s pretty significant, considering how fun the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V, and Mazda CX-5 are to drive. Terrain owners say the SUV delivers in comfort, fuel efficiency, and overall performance on the road.

What makes the GMC Terrain so gratifying to drive?

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Curve appeal. #GMCTerrain #Denali

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So, what makes the Terrain so much fun to drive and own? How a driver feels at the helm is a big part of that. The GMC Terrain has plenty of go-power under the hood. In fact, buyers can choose between a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that harnesses 170 horses, or a beefier 2.0L turbo-four variety offering 252 horsepower.

To the driver, either engine brings eager acceleration and solid highway stability. It’s easy to navigate in tighter areas, and the steering is precisely weighted. Add to these perks, the Terrain’s cushy ride, and suspension, and this little SUV becomes super fun around corners, down the highway, and around town.

Other experts love the GMC Terrain’s performance capability, too

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Run wild with the colors. #GMCTerrain #Denali

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Even among the other industry experts, who test-drive vehicles and report on pros and cons, the Terrain earns high marks in the performance department. One reviewer took his test Terrain on a 1,000-mile road trip and loved how the SUV drove.

To some, the power feels more like a six-cylinder than a four. Handling seems to top the reviewer’s comments as well, even with its optional AWD engaged. Another point to consider when evaluating gratification to own and drive is fuel efficiency. And the GMC Terrain boasts 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Edmunds reviews nearly all include some positive sentiment about the cost savings at the pump.

Steep competition to consider

The GMC Terrain earns the top performance award, which is impressive considering the company this little SUV keeps. The Mazda CX-5 earned an 85 out of 100 in driving experience with J.D. Power, as did the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Ford Escape often tops review lists in driving dynamics and design, as well. The Honda CR-V also scores high among reviews and consumers for dependability. The Toyota RAV-4 is always a favorite ongoing, for comfort, amenities, and curve-hugging performance.

When it comes time for you buy, it may boil down to price. And the GMC Terrain tends to be a little heftier in MSRP ranges, depending on the level of trim you select. Starting prices are around $25,000, and can top out at the Denali trim level, upwards of $39,000.

New for 2020, GMC updated the Terrain’s suspension, fine-tuning the SUVs overall handling even more. It’s clear the automaker has focused its efforts to improve the quality of the ride, comfort levels, and overall driving experience. The 2019 model has the J.D. Power Performance Award, and that may be enough to help you make your buying decision.


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