2019 GMC Terrain AWD SLT new car reviews

The GMC Terrain received an total redesign back in 2018. Not much is new for 2019, aside from something GMC calls the 'Black Edition'. What does this package include? For starters, it's black. Unlike Henry Ford's old "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black." mantra, you can get the Black Edition with other colors, though in only other shades in greyscale. Sadly, this means no Red Quartz Tintcoat Black Edition.

From GMC:

Available on SLE and SLT models, content includes: 19-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, darkened grille insert and black surround, black mirror caps, roof rails and additional exterior accents, and black exterior model and trim badging.

Our tester just so happened to be an SLT Black Edition finished in Ebony Twilight Metallic, and came with the 252-horsepower 2.0-liter engine. We imagine keeping this car clean will be quite the chore.

And yes, the Terrain is available with a diesel on SLE/SLT trims, but sans the Black Edition. The diesel is a 1.6-liter unit that has 137 horsepower, and 240 lb.-ft. of torque. 

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Okay, let me just put this in gear and back out. And I just broke off the wiper stalk.

Add GMC’s small SUV to the list of vehicles that just have to sport their own unique way of shifting gears. Here it’s via buttons placed at the base of the center stack. Some of the buttons are pushed to activate while others are given a tug.

Why not a standard column or console shifter?

Please, that’s so aughts, they’ll reply.

This one offers plenty of pep thanks to GM’s 2.0-liter turbo four backed by a nine-speed automatic. Shifts feel okay.

It’s sized right for parking and around town and, with the back seat down, will haul a set of tires. Our tester wore the optional Black Edition package ($795) which, I have to admit, looked good.

Despite looking sporty, the front seats felt flat, and the gauges seemed like they’re aimed too low. Like, even with the seat all the way down, I felt a weird disconnect. Are the gauges aimed at my face of my torso? I felt like I was sitting on things rather than sitting in things.

There’s a crease at the back of the hood that runs parallel to the bottom of the windshield. This crease kind of raises the center section of the hood. It also creates weird reflections that race back and forth. Can’t recall experiencing this before, but it’s distracting.

Our GMC started at $32k and had a final tally of $40k. Here, I’ll say it: That seems a bit pricy for a small SUV. Where’s the value proposition here? In five years of making a pretty real payment, what will you have? Does something from Kia make more sense? Or does Chevrolet’s lineup have more to offer?

In a busy world of smaller SUVs, this one seems rather forgettable.

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

I’m somewhat fond of saying that “There’s no bad cars anymore,” celebrating this fabulous time we live in of 300-horsepower minivans and 700-horsepower muscle cars and $60,000 mid-engined Corvettes. Then I drive something like the GMC Terrapin and I’m reminded that I’m not so bright and I should probably keep my dumb opinions to myself.

The first things that bugged me about the Terrapin were things it tried to do automatically that I didn’t want it to do. Every time I shut the car off, it would move the driver’s seat into some weird, uncomfortable position to… I dunno… help me get out? Tell me that if I stayed in the car much longer it would fight me? I’m sure there was a reason. I figured I’d turn that feature off, because it was super annoying having to reset the seat position every time I got back in. But I couldn’t figure out how to. Not to turn this into a “get off my lawn” screed, but if I can’t find a fairly basic function of an automobile after 90 seconds of menu diving and button searching, your UI sucks.

Same for the mirrors that turn down every time I put it in reverse. I HATE THAT S#!T! I’ll turn that off, too. But, nope. Couldn’t figure it out either. Thwarted by the Terrapin once again.

But, hey, at least it drives crappy and the steering is overly light and you’re never sure whether it’s doing some sort of weird haptic feedback or it just sucks. In short, this car blows. GMC, you build lots of awesome stuff, but the Terrapin isn’t it. I will totally agree to pretend this car never existed the next time I drive one of your trucks, or a Yukon, which very much do not blow and are quite good. Hang on… being told it’s actually called the “Terrain.” Guys, it looks like “Terrapin” on the badge on the side. Oh well. My bad. Still sucks.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
NickD
NickD PowerDork
9/3/19 2:21 p.m.

So David didn't much care for it and JG absolutely berkeleying hated it. Got it. Yeah, the shifter buttons are really dumb and are hidden way down at the bottom of the center stack by the USB ports and stuff. Every time I go to move one at work, I have to go on a quest for the shift buttons.

I will say that the diesel ones get pretty silly mileage for the size of them. I've seen a half dozen of diesel Terrains and Equinoxes and they were all getting at least 48mpg. There was even one knocking down 56mpg, which is cool. The diesel is a pretty nice piece too, as it smoothes out and quiets up once it gets off idle and you'd never know its a diesel then. The diesel option for the Equinox has bit the dust for next year though.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
9/3/19 2:37 p.m.

Why do manufacturers make new vehicles so complicated? Should be interesting if these things ever make it to the rental world.

Dootz
Dootz Reader
9/4/19 2:15 a.m.

GM car: exists

GM marketing design team: "We gotta make a Midnight/Black/Dusk edition"

Duke
Duke MegaDork
9/4/19 9:53 a.m.
Feedyurhed said:

Why do manufacturers make new vehicles so complicated? Should be interesting if these things ever make it to the rental world.

GM has been on a never-ending quest to find innovative new solutions to ergonomic questions no one ever asked since at least the late 1980s.

 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
9/4/19 10:52 a.m.
Duke said:
Feedyurhed said:

Why do manufacturers make new vehicles so complicated? Should be interesting if these things ever make it to the rental world.

GM has been on a never-ending quest to find innovative new solutions to ergonomic questions no one ever asked since at least the late 1980s.

If GM didn't make illogical decisions, they wouldn't make any decisions at all. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
9/4/19 6:54 p.m.

Looks about like all the other suburban crossover unibody mom-mobile kid-haulers GRM has been reviewing recently........

EXCEPT WITH BLACK RIMZ YO.

Note to GM: The whole murdered-out thing was cool about 15 years ago when i was in my 20s. It's not yet "retro," it's just old......(kind of like me).

Suprf1y
Suprf1y UltimaDork
9/4/19 7:39 p.m.
NickD said:

 Yeah, the shifter buttons are really dumb and are hidden way down at the bottom of the center stack by the USB ports and stuff. Every time I go to move one at work, I have to go on a quest for the shift buttons.

 

When I saw them I thought of the Ford and Chryslers of the 50's and 60's.

I actually think they're a good idea. For the average driver there's no need for a shifter, it just takes up prime real estate that could be used for other things

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
9/4/19 8:00 p.m.
Suprf1y said:
NickD said:

 Yeah, the shifter buttons are really dumb and are hidden way down at the bottom of the center stack by the USB ports and stuff. Every time I go to move one at work, I have to go on a quest for the shift buttons.

 

When I saw them I thought of the Ford and Chryslers of the 50's and 60's.

I actually think they're a good idea. For the average driver there's no need for a shifter, it just takes up prime real estate that could be used for other things

I will admit, I get highly annoyed at the shifter on my wife's CX-9. There is almost noplace to put anything there in the center area, other than the two cupholders and a tiny cubby the size of a phone.

Meanwhile, I could probably set up a little hibachi and grill some burgers on the center console of my Sequoia with the column-mounted shifter. 

The only cars that should have a shifter between the seats are ones with three pedals. For automatics, put it somewhere else, who really cares where....

That said, electric button-type shifter makes me a bit wary. I mean, buttons and switches go bad a lot more often than something with a mechanical linkage. 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
9/5/19 5:19 a.m.
Suprf1y said:
NickD said:

 Yeah, the shifter buttons are really dumb and are hidden way down at the bottom of the center stack by the USB ports and stuff. Every time I go to move one at work, I have to go on a quest for the shift buttons.

 

When I saw them I thought of the Ford and Chryslers of the 50's and 60's.

I actually think they're a good idea. For the average driver there's no need for a shifter, it just takes up prime real estate that could be used for other things

The thing is that Chrysler put them up high on the dashboard where they were easy to find (can't remember where Ford put theirs, I know Edsel had them in the center of the steering wheel). GM buried them way down at the bottom of the center stack, where you literally have to go searching for them every time. I guess I'm less against the concept and more against the execution.

Suprf1y
Suprf1y UltimaDork
9/5/19 8:08 a.m.

If you literally have to go searching for them every time. You must have a really bad memory.

To most people the button will get pushed once when they are about to leave and once when they arrive. I don't care one way or another for the location, but really don't see a problem.

morello159
morello159 Reader
9/5/19 8:47 a.m.

That said, electric button-type shifter makes me a bit wary. I mean, buttons and switches go bad a lot more often than something with a mechanical linkage. 

Cars haven't had mechanical linkages for automatic transmissions in.. what, 15, 20 years? Even column mounted shifters are purely electronic. 

Hot take - blacked out edition is much better than chrome edition. But this is uninspired garbage and I can't understand why anyone would buy one over something from Mazda, Honda, Subaru, Toyota, or hell, even Ford and Jeep. 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
9/5/19 8:52 a.m.

This relates to Grassroots Motorsports how? 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
9/5/19 8:54 a.m.

GM will still sell a pant load of these when they offer "employee pricing for all" or whatever their next "Discount" scheme is..

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
9/5/19 9:38 a.m.

They should put the shift buttons up next to the left dash vent like Chrysler did on many of their cars that came with pushbutton automatics.  My first car, a '64 Plymouth had them there, and it was great.  

I see the stylists came and made things more "interesting" by pinching the rear most side glass.  Seems really common on cars lately and it's pretty awful from my point of view, no pun intended.  Always seems like this trick gets pulled out when they don't have any other ideas.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
9/5/19 9:46 a.m.
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

I see the stylists came and made things more "interesting" by pinching the rear most side glass.  Seems really common on cars lately and it's pretty awful from my point of view, no pun intended.  Always seems like this trick gets pulled out when they don't have any other ideas.

What is the deal with the invisible rear pillars? Seems like every CUV lately is trying to make the back of the roof look like its floating, I don't much understand it.

Our Preferred Partners
oN6qs6g7ze6Hr4sVAahX2k1iQPywwEvD7s4wjM8Qnk1Cc8Db568yDH8AytCTYJyQ