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The GMC Terrain is pretty similar to its cousin, the Chevy Equinox, and was produced to provide the market with a luxurious family SUV option to rival the Honda CR-V or RAV4. However, while the GMC Terrain mostly falls short against the competition, it offers a diesel engine, and the rest do not. 

The GMC Terrain diesel engine isn’t perfect

The GMC Terrain parked in the city
2021 GMC Terrain | GMC

The GMC Terrain provides buyers with the option to choose a diesel engine. This is an essential factor to consider when looking at alternatives such as the RAV4 and Honda CR-V because of the benefits diesel engines provide. 

Those benefits include being more fuel-efficient. Diesel has 30% more energy than gasoline, helping you save on fuel costs. 

However, when it comes to the GMC Terrain, its diesel engine may hurt its performance more than the fuel savings are worth. 

The GMC Terrain has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that provides 137 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. 

While it does improve the fuel economy to 32 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, it hurts the Terrian’s performance. 

The diesel engine limits the Terrain’s towing capacity to only 1,500 lb and makes it quite sluggish. It takes the Terrain 10.7 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph with the diesel engine. 

That slow acceleration is not only shocking but also sad. The Terrain looks like it should be fast and sporty instead of a grandma mobile. 

Other potential Terrain drawbacks 

The Volkswagen Tiguan is often listed as being better than the GMC Terrain for having a better interior. For a ‘luxury’ SUV, the GMC Terrain has a plain and cheap interior. The display knobs are chunky, and the materials involve a lot of cheap plastic. 

The VW Tiguan is also noted for having a quiet interior and smooth ride, while GMC Terrain has a loud cab and bumpy ride. 

Compared to the Honda CR-V, the GMC Terrain lacks space. The GMC terrain only has 29.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. With the seats folded, you can access up to 63.3 cubic feet of cargo space. 

However, the front passenger seat of the GMC Terrain can be folded completely flat. That’s another unique feature it has to offer. 

The Honda CR-V has up to 39.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Once you fold the rear seats, you can access up to 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space. This is a massive difference in the amount of cargo you can fit in these two small SUV options. 

The Terrain could be sportier  

The 2023 GMC Terrain parked near trees
2023 GMC Terrain | GMC

The Mazda CX-5 is noted for having better driving dynamics than the GMC Terrain. The Mazda CX-5 has better handling and more responsive steering compared to the Terrain. The steering in the Terrain is referred to as mushy.

Also, the CX-5 is praised for having a nimble turning radius that makes it easy to park and maneuver in tight city areas. The GMC Terrain has been considered boring to drive. The transmission may also be laggy and clunky.

The base engine helps the Terrain accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 9.6 seconds, making it very slow. But it has confident brakes and keeps body roll in check. So the diesel engine that slows it down even more certainly doesn’t help.