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 rake, when the second row seat is fold flat, too.

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 new Black edition and a chrome package can change 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 available to powered by one of three engine choices: a diesel and two four-cylinder engines. Both a diesel and a turbo 4-cylinder, which produces 260-horsepower, are highly uncommon in the compact crossover segment. Currently, the smaller, but quite nimble Mazda CX-5 is the only other vehicle in the segment powered by a diesel. In this segment, consumers only option is a 4-cylinder, which seeks the peppiness of 6-cylinder, should step into the Terrain.

The Terrain is roomy and offers a partially reclining rear adjustable seat, depending upon the trim. The rear curved window borrows styling cues from Nissan’s midsize Murano. As buyers seek more luxurious options that normally aren’t in the segment, they can step up to other trims.

The Terrain is also outfitted with an easy to use touchscreen infotainment system, which houses the navigation, audio and ventilation systems. And the vehicle replaces the traditional gear shift lever for a push button system that can be found in such vehicles as the Lincoln Continental.

We landed in the top of the line Terrain Denali trim, which included such features as an automatic parallel and perpendicular parking assist system, and the more powerful 4-cylinder engine, which pumped out 260-horsepower.

Moreover, front ventilated and rear heated seats were features in our vehicle too, as well as a heated steering wheel.

Lastly, the vehicle was also accessorized with the latest safety driving aids, from a radar-activated cruise control system to a lane keep assist system to a pedestrian braking system.

Overall, the Terrain offered literally every feature and powertrain one can think of in this segment.
The GMC Terrain Denali, after using the optional parallel parking system.
But: A mainstream five-passenger, compact crossover reaching into the $40,000 price range is unacceptable. This pricing competes with Cadillac’s all-new XT4 crossover. At most, this vehicle 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

However, 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, buyers 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 the dealer $11,000. It was an odd trim that included a light color interior with an oversize sunroof. However, 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. Also we must note that GM offers OnStar, which includes a turn-by-turn navigation system that plays through the audio system. This feature also serves as replacement for the navigation system.

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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