Since the GMC Terrain was introduced in 2010, its chunky styling has set it apart from most other compact SUVs including its General Motors stablemate, the Chevrolet Equinox. Personally, I don’t like the Terrain’s bulky lines, but according to General Motors, the Terrain’s styling is the top reason cited by buyers for purchasing it. And despite the Terrain’s macho appearance, 45 percent of the its buyers are female, according to GM.
That might explain why after six years, styling revisions to the 2016 Terrain are minor. The Terrain’s super-sized fender flares and upright grille are still there, but look closely and you’ll see that the grille is now flush with the front bumper instead of separated from it, and the front bumper now incorporates C-shaped silver trim which wraps around the new LED daytime running lights on either side. As well, 2016 Terrains have more chrome in the grilles, especially the top Denali model with its ‘cheese-grater’ chrome grille. The Terrain’s hood now has a slightly raised ‘power dome’ and the tail lights have new silver trim. And all Terrains have new-style 17, 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels.
The 2016 Terrain’s interior is much the same as before, but base models have better quality seat material, the transmission shifter has more chrome, there’s a new storage shelf just above the large storage bin at the bottom of the centre stack, and some options that were previously available only in the Denali are now available in lower trim levels. Oh, and the CD player is gone.
Ranging in price from $28,215 to $42,365 (minus any GM rebates), the 2016 Terrain is priced slightly lower than its 2015 predecessor, though trim level designations are slightly different. A 2016 Terrain with front-wheel drive is available in two trim levels, SLE-1 ($28,215) and SLE-2 ($30,865) while the all-wheel drive Terrain is offered in four trim levels, SLE-1 ($30,415), SLE-2 ($33,065), SLT ($35,375), and Denali ($42,365). The 2016 Freight Charge is now $1,700, up from $1,550 in 2015.
As before, all GMC Terrains come with a standard 182-hp 2.4-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Optional in all trims except the base SLE-1 FWD and SLE-1 AWD is a 301-hp 3.6-litre DOHC V6 and six-speed automatic: it comes as part of an option package ($1,725) that includes a heavy-duty battery and alternator, different rear axle ratio, hydraulic power steering and dual exhausts. In the Denali, the subject of today’s test drive, the V6 option package ($2,165) also includes 19-inch tires and alloy wheels.
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Why buy the V6 instead of the four-cylinder? In a nutshell, the V6 engine provides better acceleration, smoother running, a quieter cabin, and increased towing capacity – but at the cost of increased fuel consumption.
NRCan fuel consumption ratings for the 2016 Terrain V6 FWD are 14.2 city/9.5 hwy/12.1 combined (L/100 km). With all-wheel drive, it’s rated at 14.9 city/10.1 city/12.8 combined. During my week with the Terrain Denali AWD V6 which involved a lot of freeway driving, my average fuel consumption display was showing 11.8 L/100 km. That compares to the Terrain FWD four-cylinder model which is rated 10.5/7.3/9.1 and the Terrain AWD four-cylinder rated at 11.5/8.2/10.0. Fortunately, both four-cylinder and V6 engines require Regular Unleaded gas.