2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD
2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2010 GMC Terrain

Toronto, Ontario – The 2010 GMC Terrain swaggers into the cute-ute arena with bulging fenders, chunky stance and a bluff, don’t-mess-wth-me front grille. Yes, GMC’s take on the freshly-minted Chevrolet Equinox looks mighty rugged (and to a few, somewhat over the top), but the Terrain is really more Rosedale than Rubicon – which is a good thing. For its intended mission as a compact CUV to go up against such stalwarts as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4, this little Jimmy makes a pretty strong case.

2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD
2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD
2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD; bottom photo courtesy GM Canada. Click image to enlarge

The Ingersoll, Ontario-built Terrain starts at $27,465 for the base front-drive SLE-1 model with a 182-hp 2.4-litre four-cylinder. My tester was the top trim SLT-2 front-drive four-cylinder variant with a base price of $34,400. All wheel drive adds $1,355 to the upper trim levels (SLT-1 and SLT-2) or $1,610 to the lower (SLE-1 and SLE-2). A 264-hp 3.0-litre V6 is available for $2,050 in the three upper trim levels.

Like its bigger brother, the Lambda-platform GMC Acadia, the Terrain benefits from some fine dynamic tuning. The ride is compliant and refined, yet it also shows commendable poise on the B-road stuff. The variable assist electric rack-and-pinion steering feels good too.

On the highway, the Terrain SLT-2 makes for a relaxed tourer. I found the eight-way leather power driver’s seat with power lumbar exceptionally comfortable and supportive (the passenger makes do with two-way manual) and there’s surprisingly little wind or engine noise. Perusing the spec sheet reveals standard active noise cancellation in the four-cylinder models wherein out-of-phase noise-cancelling frequencies are sent through the audio system. It works.

2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD
2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD. Click image to enlarge

The cabin design echoes the exterior with angular architecture, good quality materials (save a few obviously plasticy bits) and enough visual bling to keep things interesting. There’s plenty of well thought-out storage, including a closed compartment under the centre armrest large enough for a laptop computer, and two-tier storage in the doors.

Base Terrains come standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, OnStar, Driver Information Centre, auto-dim rearview mirror with back-up camera display, block heater and Stabilitrak stability control. The upper three trim levels get Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, premium Pioneer sound with subwoofer and XM radio. Key SLT-2 features include leather, exterior chrome trim, sunroof, programmable powered lift gate, and rear park assist. The blocky Terrain has plenty of blind spots, so the standard rearview camera and optional parking assist were well appreciated here.

This tester was fitted with the $3,345 audio/navigation package that adds a seven-inch touch-screen, DVD-based navigation, voice command and a pretty decent eight-speaker Pioneer sound system with 40-GB hard-drive and iPod connectivity.

Running this Terrain through some snowy, er, terrain, it proved quite capable with snow tires, standard traction control and Stabilitrak stability control – but I must confess, driving something that looked this butchy with only the front wheels driven seemed a bit incongruous.

2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD
2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD
2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD; bottom photo courtesy GM Canada. Click image to enlarge

The direct-injection DOHC 2.4-litre Ecotec four makes 182 hp and 172 lb.-ft. of torque. Working through a six-speed auto with lockup torque-converter, it provides adequate urge but won’t set any enthusiasts hearts afire as it is hauling around 1,725 kg. In the interest of fuel economy, gearing is on the tall side; the tranny upshifts early and requires a fairly determined shove of the right foot to get it to kick down. Pulling the gear lever back to the M (manual) detent allows you to sequentially select gears via a rocker switch on the left side of the shift knob.

My wife accused this 2.4-litre Terrain of being gutless. On the plus side, the four is surprisingly smooth and it returns the best fuel economy in this segment – 9.2 L/100 km city and 6.1 L/100 km highway on regular fuel. I saw about 10 L/100 km over a week of largely highway duty.

The Terrain has one of the longest wheelbases in its class, which translates to generous rear legroom. The three-position reclining rear seats slide 20 cm, although overall cargo capacity falls just shy of the CR-V and RAV4. With the split rear seats folded forward, the cargo floor is not completely flat. Tow rating is 680 kg for the four-cylinder and 1588 kg for the V6, and trailer sway control is bundled with the stability control.

General Motors is positioning the GMC Terrain a rung above the Chevy Equinox in its cute-ute hierarchy. As we’re seeing with many new vehicles from the General, the well-sorted Terrain offers good value and comes across as very grown up indeed.

Pricing: 2010 GMC Terrain 2.4 SLT-2 FWD
  • Base price: $34,400
  • Options: $3,690 (Audio System w/Navigation, $3345; Cargo Management Package (rear cargo security cover, cargo net, luggage rack cross bars), $345)
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Freight: $1,350
  • Price as tested: $39,540
    Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

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