Sometimes you already know what vehicle you want and all you need is the finer details to figure out exactly what you’re looking for. Other times you’re still a little undecided and you need to complete a little more research to find your dream truck.
No matter what stage you’re at in the car, truck, or SUV buying process, you’re in the right place to learn a little more about the GMC Terrain. It’s a great SUV by GMC, but over the years quite a bit has changed.
That’s why we came up with this guide to break down everything you need to know and help you figure out exactly what you’re looking at the next time you see one of these gorgeous SUVs driving down the road or sitting on the lot.
Compared to many other vehicle models out there, the GMC Terrain is a newer option. It first hit the market in 2009, and it was the successor to the Pontiac Torrent.
And while the GMC Terrain is a larger vehicle compared to most other vehicle brands, to GMC it’s one of their smaller vehicles. In fact, outside of the Acadia it’s the second smallest vehicle that GMC makes.
But while it’s smaller in size, the GMC Terrain has been a big hit in the United States. Since its release in 2009, the GMC Terrain has sold more than a million cars in the United States alone, meaning there are plenty of options to choose from today.
In 2009 GMC released the Terrain, but it first became available with the 2010 model year. The first-generation Terrain included the 2010 to 2017 model years, and they built it on the Theta platform.
This platform might not seem like much if you don’t already know about GM cars, but it’s the same platform GM used for both the Pontiac Torrent and the Chevrolet Equinox.
It’s why the Terrain is so similar to both of these vehicles, and it’s why it makes so much sense that the Terrain replaced the Torrent when GM dropped the Pontiac line in 2010.
Every great vehicle needs a refresh from time to time to stay relevant, and the GMC Terrain is no exception. While some refreshes focus on big technological upgrades, the GMC Terrain focused their refresh more on the physical appearance of the car.
Of course, they upgraded technological options too, but GMC has done a great job of including technological upgrades with each new model year, they don’t wait for a refresh to add the latest and greatest technologies.
With the 2016 refresh GMC redesigned the front and rear fascia, the grille, the hood, the wheels, the gear selectors, LED running lights, and even added a second storage shelf under the dashboard. GMC also introduced a Terrain Nightfall edition for the 2016 and 2017 model years, and this model features black and charcoal accents throughout for a more unique and striking appearance.
The first-generation GMC Terrain had three different engine options to choose from. The first engine option is the base model engine and it’s available with every model year. It’s a 2.4L inline four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 172 lb/ft of torque.
From 2010 to 2012 the upgraded engine was a 3.0L V6 engine that pushed 264 horsepower and 222 lb/ft of torque. But from 2013 to 2017 they no longer offered the 3.0L engine, instead GMC replaced it with a 3.6L V6 engine that pushes 301 horsepower and 272 ft/lb of torque.
The GMC Terrain might be a compact SUV, but it’s still an SUV. That’s why it has 6.9 inches of ground clearance and there’s plenty of cargo space too. Just including the area behind the second row of seats there are 31.6 cubic feet of storage space.
And if you fold down the second-row seats you open up an even more impressive 63.9 cubic feet of storage space. Whether it’s groceries, your kid’s sporting equipment, or your own golf clubs, the GMC Terrain has space for it all.
The first-generation Terrain had six different trim levels to choose from, and in 2013 they actually added a seventh. The base model trim level was the SLE, followed by the SLE-1 and the SLE-2. From there, the SLT was the first trim level to offer the upgraded engine, and then they had the SLT-1 and the SLT-2 with more features.
In 2013 GMC added the Denali to the Terrain lineup. The Denali trim level offered more chrome trim, an upgraded interior, and a 3.6L V6 engine. Moreover, safety features available in the Denali included a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic detection and a power passenger seat.
While GMC completed a refresh of the first-generation GMC Terrain in 2016, it didn’t take them long to realize they needed a whole new generation Terrain to hit the market.
That’s why in 2018 they released the second-generation Terrain that completely overhauled the entire vehicle line. The second-generation GMC Terrain includes a completely redesigned interior, all-new engine options, and way more standard technological features.
And there’s no denying that the second-generation Terrain was an instant hit, selling 30,000 more cars year-on-year than the last first-generation Terrain, despite the recent refresh.
The second-generation Terrain was the first option to include options for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities, a 360-degree camera, forward-collision alerts, automatic braking, and lane-keep assist with a lane-departure warning system.
While you’re not going to find too many of the 2022 GMC Terrains in the used car market just yet, they’re certainly on their way. The 2022 refresh was originally supposed to hit the market in 2020, but because of supply chain issues and economic woes, GMC pushed out the refresh to the 2022 model year.
The 2022 refresh overhauled the look of the front grille and bumper, added New LED headlights and taillights, included new upholstery, increased Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features, and completely redesigned 18” and 19” wheels.
It still holds the classic GMC Terrain roots, but with a completely refreshed appearance, it almost feels like a new vehicle.
The second-generation GMC Terrain introduced three completely new engine options. The first engine is the base model choice, a 1.5L engine that produces 170 horsepower and 203 lb/ft of torque. For the 2018 and 2019 model years GMC also offered a 1.6L turbo diesel engine that pushed 137 horsepower 240 lb/ft of torque.
But while those horsepower totals might not look like much, the torque numbers are especially impressive considering they reach 240 lb/ft of torque at just 2,000 rpm. However, while that was a unique engine for this vehicle class, it’s no longer available in newer GMC Terrain vehicles.
The final engine option is an upgraded engine choice. While it’s still “only” a four-cylinder engine, it’s a larger turbocharged 2.0L engine with far higher performance specs. The 2.0L engine produces 252 horsepower and 260 ft/lb of torque, and it does it all while maintaining exceptional fuel efficiency because of the four-cylinder design.
While the second-generation GMC Terrain maintains the same 6.9” of ground clearance that the first-generation Terrain has, it actually has a slightly smaller interior. The area behind the rear seats gives you 29.6 cubic feet of storage space, and if you fold down the rear seats you get 63.3 cubic feet of space.
And while this is slightly smaller than the first-generation option, it’s still plenty of space for whatever activities you have in mind.
While the first-generation GMC Terrain had up to seven different trim levels for you to choose from, the second-generation simplified things a little bit. There are now four different trim levels you can pick from, but there are still some Nighthawk variations that give you a slightly different final appearance.
The base model trim level is now the SL, while the next trim level up is the SLE. From there it’s the SLT, and the final fully loaded trim level is still the Denali. However, starting in 2022 with the refresh GMC changed the trim levels up a bit.
The SLE becomes the base-level trim package and the SLT is still one level up. But now there’s s an all-new trim level in the AT4. It’s a little more rugged in appearance and has more of an off-road feel compared to the other trim levels. But even here the Denali is still the top trim level available.
Are you interested in a GMC Terrain, or do you have some questions we didn’t answer? The friendly expert at Tim’s Truck would love to help you out and guide you in the right direction for what you need and want.
And if all that’s left is for you to find your dream GMC Terrain and get behind the wheel, Tim’s Truck would love to help you out there too!