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MSRP: $25,000 - 39,500

2019 GMC Terrain Review

The 2019 GMC Terrain ranks in bottom half of the compact SUV class. It offers a luxurious interior and a comfortable ride, but it also has poor rearward visibility and a higher starting price than most rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Upscale interior
  • Spacious seats
  • Smooth ride
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Poor rearward visibility
  • Higher starting price than most competitors

Is the GMC Terrain a Good SUV?

With a lengthy list of features, excellent fuel economy estimates, and a cabin lined with first-rate materials, the GMC Terrain is certainly a good compact SUV. It has three turbocharged engine options and a smooth, comfortable ride. However, rearward visibility is limited, and many rivals offer larger cargo holds, though the Terrain's folding front passenger seat somewhat makes up for this.

Should I Buy the GMC Terrain?

The GMC Terrain offers an array of turbocharged engines, a comfortable ride, and a premium cabin. Despite its above-average price, the Terrain is a good value. However, several competitors are also worth a look, and they cost less than the Terrain.

The Honda CR-V is a little pricier than most of its rivals, though it’s still a little cheaper than the Terrain. It offers an upscale cabin, and it has more rear-seat legroom for passengers and a larger cargo bay than the Terrain. The Mazda CX-5’s dynamic handling, sharp steering, and stunning agility make it one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs in the class. The Chevrolet Equinox is the corporate cousin of the Terrain, and while it’s not as luxurious, it has a slightly better predicted reliability rating, and it's a bit less expensive.

Compare the Terrain, CR-V, and CX-5 »

Should I Buy a New or Used GMC Terrain?

GMC did not make any major changes Terrain for 2019, following a complete redesign for 2018. Last year, it gained new interior and exterior styling, a host of new engine options, more available features, and an increase in fuel efficiency. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration also became standard. With no major differences between the two models, there’s little reason to choose a 2019 Terrain over a 2018 one.

While older models belong to a different generation and lack many of the redesign’s updates, they may still appeal to budget-conscious shoppers. To research used Terrain models and find out if the benefits of the redesign are worth it, read our 2016, 2017, and 2018 GMC Terrain reviews. If you decide that an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page for savings and incentives on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 GMC Terrain »

We Did the Research for You: 20 Reviews Analyzed

To make our car rankings and reviews as consumer-oriented as possible, we do not rely on our personal opinions. Instead, we analyze hard data such as crash test results and reliability ratings, as well as the opinions of the automotive press. This GMC Terrain review draws on 20 reviews and incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the GMC Terrain Cost?

The 2019 Terrain has a starting price of $25,000. That’s a little higher than most of its competitors. It has a handsome interior and a decent number of standard features, including a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. However, many technological and safety features don’t become available until you reach the midlevel SLE or SLT trims. Those are also the only models available with the diesel powertrain. Shoppers looking for the most luxurious experience should look to the Terrain Denali, which starts at $37,800.

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 Honda CR-V?

The Honda CR-V is one of the best compact SUVs you can buy. Compared to the Terrain, the CR-V has a little more rear legroom for passengers and a lot more room for cargo. It also gets better fuel economy estimates, even though its base engine is stronger than the Terrain’s. Still, the Terrain’s larger engine outclasses the CR-V’s in terms of power. The Terrain has more standard features, but the Honda will likely cost a little less, and even a fully equipped CR-V costs less than the high-level GMC Terrain Denali.

Which Is Better: GMC Terrain or Buick Envision?

GM also produces the Buick Envision, a luxury compact SUV. The two SUVs are strikingly similar. Both have roomy seats, generous features lists, and a composed, comfortable ride. Between the two, the GMC is the better pick. The Terrain has a little more cargo room and better fuel economy estimates. Despite being a luxury vehicle, the Envision’s interior isn’t much nicer than the Terrain’s. Even though these are two similar SUVS, the Terrain costs thousands of dollars less, making it a better value.

Compare the Terrain, CR-V, and Envision »

Terrain Interior

How Many People Does the Terrain Seat?

The Terrain seats up to five people on standard premium cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, and a heated steering wheel are available. The cabin is spacious and comfortable up front, and the rear seats can seat two average-sized adults in moderate comfort, which is not a given in this class. On the downside, rearward visibility is limited by the roofline and thick roof pillars.

Terrain and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats, and the system is generally easy to use.

Terrain Interior Quality

This GMC has one of the nicest cabins in the class, and the Terrain Denali feels right at home alongside luxury vehicles. Even lower trims feature top-notch materials and attractive designs. If you look hard enough, however, you’ll notice a few low-rent but out-of-sight panels even the top trim.

Terrain Cargo Space

The Terrain has 29.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which is enough for a few large suitcases. Folding the rear seats down expands the available space to 63.3 cubic feet. Those totals aren’t all that impressive in the class, and many rivals have larger cargo holds. However, the Terrain’s front passenger seat folds flat, giving you up to 81 cubic feet of space and enough room for long items like a surfboard or kayak.

Terrain Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Terrain’s standard IntelliLink infotainment system comes with a 7-inch touch screen, voice recognition, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, four USB ports (including one charge-only port), Bluetooth, a six-speaker sound system, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.

Available features include navigation, an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, HD radio, satellite radio, a seven speaker Bose premium sound system, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, two additional USB ports, and wireless device charging.

The IntelliLink system is simple to use, and the well-organized interface makes it easy to find the controls you need. The Terrain also comes standard with plenty of connectivity features, and, unlike many rivals, it offers wireless device charging.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Terrain Performance

Terrain Engine: Three Turbocharged Choices

The Terrain’s base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower. It’s more than capable as a daily driver, though it can struggle a bit on the highway. The optional 2.0-liter turbo-four remedies this. Rated at 252 horsepower, this engine rewards the driver with more eager acceleration and holds its own at highway speeds. Unlike many rivals, the Terrain offers a turbodiesel powertrain option. The refined diesel engine puts out 137 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, giving it punchy acceleration. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard with all gas engines, while the diesel motor comes with a six-speed automatic.

Terrain Gas Mileage: No Complaints Here

With its base engine and front-wheel drive, the Terrain earns estimates of 26 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive lowers each estimate by 2 mpg. While those numbers are good for the class, the turbodiesel far surpasses them. It earns 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.

The 2019 Chevrolet Equinox also offers a turbodiesel engine. The base and diesel engines of these two SUVs are so similar in fuel efficiency that they both cost about the same amount at the pump. On the other hand, you’ll save $200 annually by driving the Terrain over the Kia Sportage.

Terrain Ride and Handling: An Enjoyable Drive

The Terrain provides a cushioned ride even over bumpy pavement, and kinks in the road will do little to jostle occupants. It isn’t the sportiest SUV in its class, as the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape outclass it in driving dynamics. Still, the Terrain delivers a better driving experience than many of its rivals. It has great maneuverable in tight areas and nicely weighted steering. Front-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is available.

Read more about performance »

Terrain Reliability

Is the GMC Terrain Reliable?

The 2019 Terrain has a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power. 

GMC Terrain Warranty

The GMC Terrain comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Many other compact SUVs have similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

Terrain Safety

Terrain Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Terrain five out of five stars in front and side crash testing and four stars in the rollover test for an overall five-star rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the highest rating of Good in six crash test categories, but its headlights received the lowest rating of Poor for outward visibility. 

Terrain Safety Features

A rearview camera come standard, along with Teen Driver, which lets you do things like set speed and volume limits for secondary drivers. Available active safety features include a safety alert seat, a surround-view parking camera, automatic park assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, low-speed forward automatic braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

Read more about safety »

Which GMC Terrain Model Is Right for Me?

GMC offers the Terrain in a single body type, but there are four major trim levels: SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali. All have standard front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is available on all but the base trim for around $1,700. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard; a more powerful turbo-four is also available on SL, SLE, and SLT trims for around $1,750. A turbodiesel engine is available with SLE and SLT models.

The top-of-the-line Terrain Denali borders on being a luxury vehicle. It has a ton of features and a premium interior – as well as a high price to match. The midrange Terrain SLE should satisfy most buyers. It’s one of the only two trims available with the turbodiesel engine, and it offers a number of packages with convenience, tech, and even a few safety features. Those seeking even more driver assistance technologies should look to the Terrain SLT or above.

GMC Terrain SL

The Terrain SL has an MSRP of $25,000. Its list of standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, four USB ports (including a charge-only port), Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a rearview camera, Teen Driver, and a 7-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. It comes in one of only three colors.

GMC Terrain SLE

The GMC Terrain SLE has a starting price of $28,100. It doesn’t add many features over the base SL, but it is available with several options packages and a wider range of color choices. For $1,375, the Driver Convenience package adds heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Infotainment I package ($895) gives you satellite radio, a 110-volt power outlet, and an upgraded IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen and navigation. For $495, the Driver Alert I package adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert, rear parking sensors, and a safety alert seat.

The SLE is available with the turbodiesel engine. Starting at $31,800, the SLE diesel adds a few of the optional features listed above, including an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, remote start, and a power liftgate.

GMC Terrain SLT

The Terrain SLT starts at $30,900. It adds the Driver Convenience package and Infotainment I package (minus navigation) as standard equipment, along with leather-trimmed seats and remote start. The Preferred package costs $1,250 and adds a heated steering wheel, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and a hands-free power liftgate. For $1,180, the Infotainment II package adds HD radio, navigation, and a seven-speaker Bose audio system. The Driver Alert I package ($445) is still available, as is a Driver Alert II package ($745), which features adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and a following distance indicator.

The SLT is the only other trim to offer the diesel engine. Starting at $33,700, the SLT Diesel adds the Preferred package as standard equipment. The two Driver Alert packages and the Infotainment II package remain available for this trim.

GMC Terrain Denali

The Terrain Denali starts at $37,800. The Denali is the only trim that comes standard with the 252-horsepower turbo-four engine. It also comes standard with the Driver Alert Package I, the Preferred Package, and the Infotainment package II. As such, it gains rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, a heated steering wheel, a hands-free power liftgate, HD radio, navigation, wireless charging, and a Bose premium audio system as standard equipment.

The Driver Alert II package remains available for the Denali. There are also a few available packages unique to this trim. For $450, the Comfort Package offers ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, and the Advanced Safety Package ($745) adds a surround-view camera and an automated parking system.  

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 2019 GMC Terrain specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Terrain is a well-rounded crossover SUV with many strengths and few dealbreaking weaknesses. It’s a little pricier than some of its rivals, but its refined interior, decent fuel economy, and long list of features help make it a good value. It’s not the sportiest crossover in the class, but the Terrain is capable on winding roads. It also offers a smoother ride than many competitors. All in all, while this GMC doesn't earn the accolades of its peers, it nonetheless deserves a look from compact SUV shoppers.

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

  • "Sister to Chevrolet's Equinox, the Terrain, like other GMC vehicles, is pitched a touch more upmarket. This is demonstrated by the elegant (for a crossover SUV) styling and underlined by the lush Denali trim level. [Engines are] complemented by a chassis that favors ride comfort over cornering precision, which is as it should be in this kind of vehicle. GMC reduced the size for this generation, so it doesn't have as much passenger or cargo space as some rivals. Nor do the rear seats slide forward and back, but they fold flat, as does the front-passenger seat. Overall, the 2019 Terrain stands strong against competition like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While peeling away the Terrain's skin will reveal the same bones, dash layout, and drivetrains as the frugal and family-oriented Chevy Equinox, the second-generation GMC seems to have transcended those economical roots. It's better looking, both inside and out, and far plusher than its skeleton implies. The Equinox is already a damn fine people hauler, but by giving it a slightly more luxurious appeal, GM made a crossover that's attractive to premium SUV buyers and mass-market consumers alike.” Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "That's right, GMC has introduced an all-new 2018 Terrain with knock-out styling, competent powertrains, a more premium interior, and a full suite of advanced safety features. The new crossover is not just better than its predecessor – it's properly sized and more superior in nearly every category." -- Forbes (2018)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: June 13, 2019

Low Sales: Sales of the GMC Terrain placed in the lower quarter of the compact SUV class last year. The Terrain’s fortunes haven’t improved so far in 2019, as dealerships have sold 14.8% fewer models compared to the same period in 2018. The Terrain’s corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Equinox, is outselling it by more than 3 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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