GMC Terrain

#6 in Compact SUVs Overall Score: 8.2 / 10
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$24,070 - $36,025

2017 GMC Terrain Overview

The 2017 GMC Terrain ranks 6 out of 18 Compact SUVs.

The 2017 GMC is a compact SUV with an above-average starting price for its class ($24,070). Though it has an upscale feel compared with many cars in the class, it has a short list of standard features. Fortunately, there are many available packages that allow buyers to add features, customizing the car to fit their wants and needs. 











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Pros & Cons

  • Upscale interior
  • Powerful available V6
  • Comfortable seats 
  • Short list of standard features
  • Weak base engine
  • Lackluster handling

Notable for 2017

  • No major changes

GMC Terrain Rankings and Research

The 2017 GMC Terrain ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the GMC Terrain has a score of 8.2 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 67 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.


Overall: 8.2
Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 9.3
Reliability: 5_0


2017 GMC Terrain Pictures

2017 GMC Terrain Review

By Alexa Lardieri August 11, 2017

The 2017 GMC is a compact SUV with an above-average starting price for its class ($24,070). Though it has an upscale feel compared with many cars in the class, it has a short list of standard features. Fortunately, there are many available packages that allow buyers to add features, customizing the car to fit their wants and needs. 

Is the GMC Terrain a Good SUV? 

The GMC Terrain's quality interior stands out in a crowded class that isn't known for upscale cabins. This interior includes top-notch seats that provide all-day comfort. However, the Terrain also comes with an above-average price for the class, starting at $24,070. Its performance is nothing special; its base engine is weak and handling is less than agile. It gets slightly below-average fuel economy for the class with its base engine and even lower fuel economy with its optional V6. Its infotainment system is good but can be unresponsive, and its cargo space is about average for the class. The Terrain is a good SUV, but your money can go further in this class.

Should I Buy the GMC Terrain?

If you want a compact SUV with a stylish design and high-quality materials, then the GMC Terrain may be a solid choice. However, it has an above-average starting price, a small list of standard features, a lackluster base engine, and slightly below-average cargo space for the class. Additionally, its infotainment system is subpar and lacks responsiveness compared to those found in cars such as the Kia Sportage. Its fuel economy is just below average as well, and it gets even lower with the optional V6 engine. If you like what the Terrain has to offer, you can get a lot of the same features in some of its cheaper siblings in the GM family, including the Chevrolet Equinox.

Compare the Terrain, Sportage, and Equinox »

We Did the Research for You: 67 Pieces of Data Analyzed

To help you decide if the 2017 GMC Terrain is right for you, we analyzed 67 different pieces of research. That research includes data points like crash test and reliability ratings from independent agencies and reviews of the Terrain written by professional automotive journalists. In short, we’ve done all your research for you and used it to inform our expert GMC Terrain review so you can make a smart buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our autos team has a combined 75 years of experience writing car reviews, and we've been publishing class rankings for nearly a decade. We bring this expertise to each of our reviews, ensuring that you’ll get the most accurate information about the vehicles that interest you. You can count on us to bring you an unbiased appraisal of every car on our site because our team members do not accept gifts, trips, or merchandise from automakers, and all of the advertising on our site is handled by a third party.

How Much Does the GMC Terrain Cost?

The 2017 GMC Terrain has a higher base price than most of its rival cars – $24,070. However, its above-average price doesn't come with an above-average list of standard features. Even moving up to the next trim – the SLE-1, starting at $27,300 – doesn't add much, just satellite radio and heated outside mirrors. It's not until you spend almost $29,000 on the SLE-2 trim that you get smartphone integration. You also won't get many safety features unless you pay more than $34,000 for the highest Denali trim. On the bright side, the Terrain does have the option to add packages (ranging from $200 to $2,085) to get groups of safety, tech, and comfort features without upgrading entire trims.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local GMC dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our GMC deals page.

GMC Terrain Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: GMC Terrain or Chevrolet Equinox?

The Chevrolet Equinox is about $1,000 less expensive than the Terrain, and both vehicles come with similar standard features, including a 7-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth. However, you also get a Wi-Fi hot spot standard in the Equinox. The highest Equinox trim starts at $30,040 and adds standard features like leather upholstery, heated front seats, and automatic climate control. You can get these features, plus remote start, smartphone integration through GMC's IntelliLink system, and an eight-speaker sound system, for $30,920 in the Terrain's SLT trim. What is surprisingly missing from the Equinox's top trim are features you would expect from an car's most expensive model, like safety features, an upgraded audio system, and a power liftgate. To get those, you'll have to buy the Enhanced Convenience package for $995, the Technology package for $890, and the Driver Confidence I and II packages for $495 and $295. This brings your grand total to $32,715. You can save more than $400 by going with the Terrain's SLT trim and getting the Drive Alert Package I, which adds safety features and a power programmable liftgate for a total of $32,305.

Neither SUV’s base engine holds its own on the road – not surprising considering both SUVs are manufactured by General Motors and therefore are made with similar components. However, the Terrain's optional V6 improves performance for about $1,500-$1,905, whereas the Equinox's V6 costs more than $3,300. Save your money; go with the Terrain.

Which Is Better: GMC Terrain or Chevy Traverse?

The GMC Terrain has average cargo space for the compact SUV class. If you’re in search of more cargo and passenger space, you can move up to the midsize SUV class and take a look at the Chevrolet Traverse – just keep in mind that the price will increase. The Traverse starts at $28,700, which is $4,630 more than the Terrain. The Traverse seats eight and has 24.4, 70.3, and 116.3 cubic feet of space behind the third, second, and first rows, respectively. In comparison, the Terrain seats five and has 31.6 and 63.9 cubic feet behind the second and first rows, respectively. You can fit a dishwasher in the trunk of the Terrain and a daybed in the trunk of the Traverse. The Traverse can even hold a pool table behind its first row. Both cars come standard with cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and a touch screen (6.5 inches in the Traverse and 7 inches in the Terrain). The Traverse comes with two USB ports (the Terrain comes with one), a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a suite of OnStar services, including navigation, hands-free calling, and automatic crash response. The Terrain does not offer these features. To get smartphone integration in the Traverse, you'll have to upgrade to the 2LT trim, which starts at $36,650. For smartphone integration in the Terrain, you'll need the SLE-2 trim for $28,800. You'll get many of the same features in the lower trims of the Terrain and Traverse. Unless you need the extra row and cargo space, you're better off with the Terrain since these features will cost you a pretty penny in the Traverse.

Which Is Better: GMC Terrain or Kia Sportage?

The Kia Sportage starts at $22,990, about $1,100 less than the Terrain. It's been completely redesigned for the 2017 model year and comes with similar standard features, including a rearview camera, a 5-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. Additionally, all-wheel drive and packages are available in the Sportage's base trim. AWD and packages are not available in the Terrain's base trim. These packages add heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seats, and the UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay for $2,000. This brings the total price up to $24,990. For features like this in the Terrain, you'll have to spend $28,800 on the SLE-2 for smartphone integration and $30,920 on the SLT trim for heated front seats. The Sportage also has better handling than the Terrain. While the Terrain's steering is dull and has body lean around corners, the Sportage is nimble and holds its own on winding roads. The Sportage has sharp steering, though its base engine is underpowered like the Terrain's. The Sportage may not be the fastest car on the road, but its agile handling, lower starting price, and abundant features make it a better choice than the Terrain.

Compare the Terrain, Traverse, and Sportage »

Terrain Interior

How Many People Does the Terrain Seat?

The Terrain seats five and comes standard with cloth upholstery. The front seats are comfortable whether you’re driving across town or across the country. The rear seats provide a good amount of room and can recline and slide to allow rear-seat passengers to further improve their comfort level. There’s also plenty of headroom, so even tall passengers should be able to fit in the back seat without much fuss.

While the Terrain offers comfortable seating as is, there are some upgrades available. You can replace the cloth upholstery with leather, and power-adjustable front seats can make it easier to find a comfortable driving position. Heated front seats are also available to keep you toasty on cold winter mornings.

Terrain and Car Seats

There is plenty of room for child car seats to be installed. There are two sets of LATCH anchors in the second-row outboard seats. The lower anchors are exposed and easy to access and use. The three tether anchors are halfway down the seatbacks and are also easy to connect to. However, the seat belt buckles are floppy, making it hard for kids in booster seats to buckle themselves in.

Terrain Interior Quality

Compact SUVs generally aren’t lauded for their interior quality, but the Terrain may be an exception to that rule. Its attractive cabin features plenty of quality materials and feels like a nicer vehicle than the price would indicate. The newly redesigned Kia Sportage's upscale interior also earns high marks from reviewers. The Terrain's cabin is also very quiet, whether you’re in the city or on the highway.

Terrain Cargo Space

The 2017 GMC Terrain has 31.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 63.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Those are similar measurements to the Chevy Equinox and are about average for the class. This will let you fit a dishwasher in the trunk and a smaller refrigerator behind the first row of seats. An available power liftgate can be programmed to open to a certain height, saving you from damaging your vehicle in a garage with a low ceiling. While the overall cargo capacity may limit you from carrying a full carload of luggage, there is a good amount of small-item storage throughout the cabin.

Terrain Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the 2017 Terrain include Bluetooth, a USB port, a rearview camera, a six-speaker audio system, and a 7-inch touch screen. Available features include a sunroof, automatic climate control, an eight-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, the voice-activated IntelliLink infotainment system, and navigation.

Drivers will appreciate the well-organized dashboard, which makes it easy to reach the physical buttons and controls. The available IntelliLink infotainment system uses a touch screen with a layout similar to that of a smartphone, which makes it intuitive for many users. Unfortunately, the screen sometimes struggles with responsiveness, unlike the Kia Sportage's infotainment system. The Terrain's IntelliLink system also responds to voice commands, so you can control certain functions of the car without taking your eyes off the road.

Read more about interior »

Terrain Performance

Terrain Engine: V6 Is Worth the Upgrade

The 2017 Terrain comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 182 horsepower. This engine can feel weak in most situations, as can most rival vehicles, including the Kia Sportage and Chevrolet Equinox. You may not notice the lack of power while driving around town, but you will when you attempt passing maneuvers at highway speeds. An optional 301-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 delivers great acceleration from a stop and has enough juice to execute highway passing maneuvers without breaking a sweat – even when the SUV is loaded with people and luggage. However, it will cost you $1,500-$1,905 to upgrade above the 182-hp version, depending on the trim.

Terrain Gas Mileage: Average With Base, Low With V6

The base engine with front-wheel drive gets 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. With all-wheel drive, it gets 20 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. This is slightly below average for a car in the class. The V6 gets 17/24 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 16/23 mpg city/highway with all-wheel drive, which is below average for the class. With the base engine you'll spend anywhere between $1,300 and $1,650 annually on gas. With the V6, you will spend between $1,800 and $2,000 annually.

Terrain Ride and Handling: Nothing to Write Home About

The Terrain comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. In general, it delivers a supple ride. However, the available all-wheel drive gives you a better grip of the road. The Denali trim provides the most comfortable ride thanks to its softer suspension. But don’t expect to carve up winding roads, no matter which trim you get. The Kia Sportage has better steering and holds its own around curves and turns better than the Terrain. By comparison, the GMC’s steering feels a bit numb, and there is noticeable body roll whenever you take a turn.

Read more about performance »

Terrain Reliability

Is the GMC Terrain Reliable?

The 2017 Terrain earns a perfect predicted reliability rating of five out of five from J.D. Power and Associates. Even some class-leading cars like the Honda CR-V can’t match the Terrain's score (the CR-V receives a rating of 3.5 out of five). The Kia Sportage also earns a rating of 3.5.

GMC Terrain Warranty

The 2017 GMC Terrain comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. This is pretty typical for a compact SUV; however, the Kia Sportage is covered by a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Terrain Safety

Terrain Crash Test Results

The 2017 GMC Terrain receives four out of five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. It also receives four stars in frontal crash and rollover tests and five stars in side crash tests. The Terrain earns the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest score of Good in all crashworthiness categories. However, it only receives a score of Basic in frontal crash prevention. A class-leading compact SUV, the Kia Sportage, receives the IIHS' Top Safety Pick for 2017.

Terrain Safety Features

A rearview camera is the only standard safety feature in the Terrain, which is the case for most other cars. Available safety features include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, rear park assist, and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Which GMC Terrain Model Is Right for Me? 

The Terrain starts at $24,070, which is a high sale price for its class. Despite this high starting price, its base trim doesn't have an impressive list of standard features. To get popular features like smartphone integration capabilities, you'll have to dish out $28,800 for the Terrain's third highest trim, the SLE-2, which comes with GMC's IntelliLink. You’ll also get an eight-speaker sound system and comfort features like a leather-wrapped steering wheel. However, if safety features are important to you, you'll need to either add packages to the SLE-2 or SLT trims, or upgrade to the Denali trim for $34,275. Your best bet is to get the SLE-2 trim and add features and options via packages and upgrades to customize the Terrain to meet your needs.

GMC Terrain SL

The base SL trim comes with a 2.4-liter engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. It seats five and starts at $24,070. It comes standard with cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, a six-speaker sound system, a USB port, Bluetooth, and a 7-inch touch screen. No packages are available in this trim.

GMC Terrain SLE-1

The SLE-1 trim starts at $27,300 ($29,050 with all-wheel drive). It comes with lower trim features and adds satellite radio and heated outside mirrors. There are three available packages ranging from $200 to $365. They add things like a cargo net and trailering equipment.

GMC Terrain SLE-2

The SLE-2 trim starts at $28,800 ($30,550 with all-wheel drive). It comes with lower trim features and adds single-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker sound system, IntelliLink (which integrates your smartphone into the Terrain's infotainment system), an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. There are 10 packages available in this trim ranging from $200 to $1,395. They add features such as lane departure warning, heated front seats, and navigation. A 3.6-liter V6 engine is also available.

GMC Terrain SLT

The SLT trim starts at $30,920 ($32,670 with all-wheel drive) and comes with lower trim features. It adds remote start, leather upholstery, and heated front seats. There are nine packages available in this trim ranging from $200 to $2,085. They add features like a sunroof, a power programmable liftgate, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. A 3.6-liter V6 engine is also available.

GMC Terrain Denali

The highest trim, the Denali, starts at $34,275 ($36,025 with all-wheel drive) and comes with lower trim features. It adds a power liftgate, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, rear park assist, and a power-programmable liftgate. A 3.6-liter V6 engine is also available.

Who Makes the GMC Terrain?

General Motors makes the GMC Terrain. Though GM is an American auto company, the Terrain is built in the CAMI Automotive manufacturing facility located in Ontario, Canada.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local GMC dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our GMC deals page.

See 2017 GMC Terrain specs and trims »

The Final Call

The GMC Terrain has an above-average interior, average performance and cargo space, below-average fuel economy, and a higher price tag than most vehicles in the class. If you opt to purchase the Terrain, be prepared to spend at least a fair amount more to add safety, comfort, and performance upgrades. It would be easier to recommend the Terrain if it had a lower price, more features, or better performance. As it stands, the only reason to opt for it over class rivals is for its plush interior. Even then, SUVs like the Kia Sportage match that interior at a lower price – and they include more features. On the plus side, the Terrain offers a lot of packages with groups of features that can be added without upgrading a full trim.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "GMC's compact Terrain SUV for 2017 combines rugged good looks with a practical size and good fuel economy. Draped in GMC styling cues, the Terrain plays in the same league as the Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. However, unlike these worthy competitors, the Terrain offers the option of a V6 engine and a more upscale interior. … The Terrain's unit-body construction permits it a modern suspension that delivers a comfortable ride and sedan-like handling, and with available all-wheel drive (AWD), year-round driving confidence." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2017 Terrain remains a versatile and generally competent crossover, but we'd recommend taking a close look at a number of its rivals before making a final decision. Segment leaders include the enduringly well-rounded Honda CR-V, the significantly refreshed Toyota RAV4 and the sporty yet practical Mazda CX-5. We also like the redesigned Kia Sportage, which has a big backseat like the Terrain, along with contemporary cabin technology. Faced with distinguished competitors like these, the 2017 GMC Terrain has its work cut out if it wants to win your heart." -- Edmunds
  • "While some classify the GMC Terrain as a compact crossover, others say it's a midsize. The truth is the 2016 GMC Terrain enjoys the best of both designations. It offers fuel economy fit for a compact and the roominess of a midsize SUV. Add trucklike styling to the equation, and the Terrain becomes a truly compelling package." -- Autotrader (2016)

Research Prices: 2017 GMC Terrain

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