Friday, November 30, 2018

2019 GMC Terrain Denali AWD: A Premium Alternative To Other Compact Crossovers

Highlight: The Terrain is available with a fold-flat passenger front seat, which is great for stowing long items like a mop and a rake, when the second row seat is folded flat.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $43,550 (Base model: $26,195)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; rearview camera; a stability control system and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (Base Model): 17-inch wheels; a 9-speed automatic transmission; a single zone a/c; a 7-inch infotainment system; a keyless ignition starter system; a keyless lock/unlock door system; Wi-Fi availability; manual operated front seats; cloth seats; a gas savings stop-and-start feature; a leather steering wheel; and a single exhaust system

Standard Equipment (Denali): 19-inch wheels; 2.0-liter turbo with a 250-horsepower engine; carpeted floor mats rear; lane change alert system; blind zone alert changing system; memory power driver’s seat; heated front seats; a heated steering wheel; an automatic rearview mirror; a rear cross traffic alert system; a rear park assist system; HD rear vision camera; a remote engine start system; in-vehicle wireless charges for all devices; SiriusXM radio; power liftgate; and a safety alert driver’s seat

Options: Driver Alert Package: an adaptive cruise control system, a low speed auto braking system, a lane keep assist system, a lane departure warning system, a forward collision alert system, automatic high beam headlights, a pedestrian front braking system and a following distance indicator; Advanced Safety Package: HD surround vision and automatic parallel/perpendicular parking assist; Comfort Package: ventilated front seats and heated rear seats; trailering wiring equipment; special paint; and a roof rack with cross rails

Other Trim Level:


Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM radio

Compatible with AppleCar Play and Android: Yes

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Depending upon the trim.

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder/170-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

Towing Capability: 1,500 to 3,500 lbs

What’s New: After the second-generation Terrain received a major redesign during the 2018 model year, the 2019 model year brings with it a few new package and cosmetic tweaks. A brand new Black edition and a chrome package can be added, which immensely changes the appearance of the vehicle.

Why: The stylish compact crossover is available in a variety of trims. The GMC Terrain can be outfitted with a front wheel drive or an all wheel drive configuration. The bold looking GMC is powered by one of three engine choices: a diesel and two, four-cylinder engines. Ironically, both a diesel and a turbo four-cylinder, which produces a 260-horsepower engine, are highly uncommon in the compact crossover segment. 

Currently, the smaller, but quite nimble Mazda CX-5 is the only other vehicle in the compact crossover segment powered by a diesel. Furthermore, the Terrain offer an ultra-peppy 4-cylinder, which spews out as much horsepower as a traditional six-cylinder engine.

GMC's Terrain is a roomy vehicle, which takes styling cues from Nissan's Murano, especially when focusing on the rear side windows. Depending upon the trim, the crossover offers a partially reclining rear adjustable seat. As buyers seek more luxurious or high-tech features, they can step up to higher level trims.

The hot-selling Terrain is outfitted with an easy to use touchscreen infotainment system, which houses the navigation, audio and ventilation systems. Positioned on the left side of the navigation system is a piano-like gear selector. GMC takes a page from the Lincoln Continental handbook. The traditional gear shift lever has been replaced by a similar push button system found on the Lincoln Continental, which is a part of the Ford Motor Company family.

The top of the line Terrain Denali takes another page from Ford Motor Company, offering an automatic parallel and perpendicular parking assist system. Ford's Edge also makes this feature available. 

Moreover, in terms of luxury and comfort, the Terrain is also available with front ventilated and rear heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a radar-activated cruise control system, a lane keep assist system and a pedestrian braking system.

Overall, the Terrain offered literally every feature and powertrain one could imagine in a luxury vehicle. but in this case packaged the compact crossover segment. 
The GMC Terrain Denali, after using the optional parallel parking system.
But: A mainstream five-passenger, compact crossover overlapping with the German and Japanese luxury compact crossovers is a stretch for GM. Case in point pricing competes with Cadillac’s all-new XT4 crossover. At most, the Terrain should top off at $35,000. We realize prices are climbing, as a result of consumers’ desire for the latest driver safety aids and other high tech features

Furthermore, there are too many other vehicles to consider even if one opts for a pre-owned vehicle. Ironically, when using the automatic parallel parking system, our vehicle located a space that wasn't quite design for parking. While the system worked as intended, it's still the responsibility of the driver to make sure they are parked in a legal space.

Another gripe of ours was that the front center armrest, with its super deep covered storage department, is positioned too high. Also, why isn’t an oversized sunroof standard on the Terrain Denali?

Lastly, the safety alert system, which in theory should remind the driver to look for occupants in the rear seat, is admirable at most. GM needs to design a system that will gain the attention of the driver. The current system can be easily disregarded.

Verdict: Since its redesign, the GMC Terrain has become the second-best selling vehicle in the line up. Unlike the previous generation Terrain, this time around the vehicle distinguishes itself from its sibling - the Equinox - offering an upscale trim, more high-tech features and a diesel option.

Thus, all of the aforementioned factors we noted make this stylish vehicle, the priciest in the segment, when optioned out. Buyers seeking a Terrain should take note of all of the trims and make sure, before making an investment, they have explored all of their options, as well as examined the competitors in both the compact and mainstream segments.

Because of the pricing, buyers might want to examine the luxury CUV segment too. With the Denali trim, there are many compact crossovers like Cadillac XT4, which competes in the same price range, when focusing in on the base model.

And from time to time, skilled negotiators can run across some sweet deals being offered on the Terrain. We came across a deal on a new 2018 model SLE that was being discounted by a dealer $11,000. It was an odd trim that included a light color interior with an oversize sunroof. 

Conversely, while the vehicle lacked a satellite radio and a navigation system, the owner connected their smartphone to the infotainment system to compensate for those features. 

Competition: Chevy Equinox; Ford Escape; Honda CR-V; Hyundai Tuscon; Kia Sportage; Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester; Toyota RAV4 and VW Tiguan

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