2010 GMC Terrain FWD SLE-2 new car reviews

Brawny looks meet thrifty engine choices.
The Traverse won't tow a double-axle horse trailer, but it can handle smaller loads.
The interior follows GM's latest (and nicest) formula.

Better than: GMC Jimmy
But not as good as: Cadillac SRX
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 66.42

The GMC Terrain falls into GM's new category of mid-sized crossover SUVs. It replaces the old body-on-frame Envoy. Unlike most crossovers, the Terrain looks more like a truck than a crossover.

Despite the rugged looks, our FWD SLE-2 model was powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine backed by a six-speed automatic. A 3.0-liter V6 model is also available; it boosts towing capacity from 1500 to 3500 pounds.

Other staff views

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
Publisher

While not attractive to look at, the new Terrain drives well, and is an efficient people and stuff hauler. The quality of this vehicle, from fit and finish to interior noise levels, or lack thereof, put the Terrain in a very elite league. The handling, drivetrain and brakes are also very good.

While sold as a five-passenger vehicle, the center rear seat does leave a bit to be desired, but can be used in a pinch. The rear cargo area is more than adequate for most home uses. Visibility is decent despite huge A-pillars. Overall the Terrain is worth a look for those considering the Toyota Rav4 or Honda CR-V. Too bad the styling is so polarizing, as staffers seemed to love it or hate it.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I didn't drive this one much, but did find the back seat to be comfy for those all-important trips to lunch.

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Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
2/14/10 2:29 p.m.

2.4 L ? Do you mean 2.9?

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
2/28/10 8:17 a.m.

Just put in an order at the GMC dealer yesterday- 2.4ltr I4 - 182 HP at 6500rpm, 177 ft/lbs at 5500 w/ 6 spd auto w/gear selection limiter/manumatic option. We chose the SLT1 - the 3rd of 4 trim levels.
Test drove very well, stopped on a dime in the test drive at about 35 mph in the slushy SW Ohio crummy february weather. The 182 ponies haul the thing pretty well, but the trans takes a minute to figure out what its doing. I guess its no big deal though, its a crossover - not a sports car. As long as it gets my mulch home towing my 6' trailer, and keeps my wife a bit more calm in the snow, Im happy.

The AWD system is only engaged when the tires slip - when the computer senses tire slip, in less than one wheel rotation, the AWD engages and sends power to the rear wheels, varying based on rear wheel slippage as well. Its good system too because you can turn the "stabilitrack" off/on using the button in the console. It really handled like a FWD car, very mannerly. In fact, the salesman took us down a windy country road just to show off its crisp handling due to a low CG and the FWD config.

We looked at a flex and a CX7 and 9 as well. For the buck, the terrain is a hard bargain to beat when you consider the interior fit and finish are nicer than any car my wife and I have ever owned, as well as factor in all the standard options.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
1/21/11 4:19 p.m.

nearly a year later...We ended up getting a v6 - this is the only way to get real hydraulic power steering. We had electric steering in our last new car, an '07 Saturn Ion sedan - and it was incredibly underwhelming, bordering on dangerous due to lack of feedback. So, this time, we went hydraulic.

The HP bump with the v6 direct injection engine is awesome! puts a smile on my face often. It pulls like a train up hill and handles crisply. The only real problem weve had was a rear control arm bushing had to be replaced as a squeak it produced on even the smallest bumps became intolerably loud. Replaced overnight under warranty. Fuel economy is a little rough, but we knew it would be going in. I have yet to tow with it, but the bump to 3500lbs towing capacity will come in handy for hauling home basket cases.

We are in the "love-it" category as far as looks go, and the 18" machined alloys are good looking too. Bigger wheels mean smaller sidewalls, so thats a plus. The stereo is great, the interior fit and finish is great, and the controls are fairly well laid out. Onstar navigation is a nice feature. All in all we love it and Im sure it will remain in the stable for years.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The GMC Terrain falls into GM's new category of mid-sized crossover SUVs. It replaces the old body-on-frame Envoy. Unlike most crossovers, the Terrain looks more like a truck than a crossover.

Despite the rugged looks, our FWD SLE-2 model was powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine backed by a six-speed automatic. A 3.0-liter V6 model is also available; it boosts towing capacity from 1500 to 3500 pounds.

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