Perhaps the most important segment to any automaker's lineup is the compact crossover, a market that is quickly eclipsing the family sedan as the staple car for the American family. Recently, GMC — and corporate sibling Chevy — trotted out redesigned versions of its compact crossovers.
The fresh GMC Terrain has one of the most impressive chassis in the class but, despite top-tier bones, the Terrain is let down by a high price point and a lack of standout features.
The most surprising thing about the Terrain is the way that it drives. It's clear that GM went all-out on the new underpinnings, with a composed ride and stiff chassis that quells all road vibrations. Handling is sharp and secure, which is about all that you can expect from this segment.
The Terrain drives small despite being one of the larger entrants in the segment. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mill also does well, producing 252 horsepower and sending it through a nine-speed automatic transmission. It's more than enough shove to get you around town.
Another bright spot, as per usual with GM vehicles, is MyLink. GM's go-to infotainment system is still among the best in the industry, even if it isn't the most attractive looking. It's usable and polished, which is more than can be said for a lot of competing systems.
Finally, my $40,550 tester was fitted with the $795 Black Edition package. With murdered-out wheels, badges, accents and roof rails, the Black Edition is more aggressive and attractive than standard Terrains.
$40,550 is a lot of money for a high-end crossover. It's thousands of dollars above where competitors from Toyota, Honda and Nissan top out. But the SLT Edition we tested isn't even the most high-end model. GMC also offers a Terrain Denali. Check every box from the factory there and you're looking at an eye-watering $44,450 price tag. That's $10,300 more than you'd pay for a fully loaded Honda CR-V Touring.
The driver assistance tech is also a generation behind the best systems from Honda and Nissan. The interior quality didn't impress me. Swaths of flat gray plastic cover almost every surface, including the strange shifter that lives below the infotainment system. It doesn't even offer more cargo space than competitors.
And you'll pay a lot for gas. At 21/26 miles per gallon city/highway, the Terrain massively under-performs the class leaders. Yes, it has a powerful engine, but even the 1.5-liter Terrain with all-wheel drive doesn't deliver the 30+ mpg that you can get from just about every other brand in this segment.
I don't understand how GMC can possibly justify the price of the new Terrain. TRe Terrain demands thousands of dollars more than competitors but doesn't differentiate on the space, style, technology or efficiency.
It's a huge miss on value and nothing about the Terrain stood out to me enough to justify the price. Even if you can find one for thousands of dollars off, it still wouldn't be my pick.
Driving Experience: 4
Overall: 2.5 stars
Price as tested: $40,550