2018 GMC Terrain

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MSRP: $24,995 - 39,300

2018 GMC Terrain Review

Completely redesigned for 2018, the GMC Terrain is a highly ranked compact SUV. Its high-quality interior and engaging performance are two of its many strong suits.

Pros & Cons

  • Good gas mileage, especially from the turbodiesel
  • Smooth ride
  • Upscale interior
  • Two rows of spacious seats
  • Poor visibility
  • Higher starting price than most competitors

Is the GMC Terrain a Good SUV?

With plenty of standard features and cabin space, the GMC Terrain is a good compact SUV and a finalist for our 2018 Best Compact SUV for Families. It has a smooth and engaging ride, and three turbocharged engines are available. This GMC gets better gas mileage than many rivals, and its upscale cabin has roomy seats in both rows. The Terrain has few downfalls, but limited driver visibility is one of them. 

Should I Buy the GMC Terrain?

There are many strong choices in the compact SUV class, including the Terrain. Though the Terrain is one of the most costly vehicles in the class, it's worth the money. Nonetheless, there are several upstanding competitors that cost less than the Terrain.

The Terrain and the Chevrolet Equinox are similar compact SUVs, but the Equinox has a lower starting price. The Buick Envision is a luxury compact SUV, but it also closely resembles the Terrain.

Compare the Terrain, Equinox, and Envision »

Should I Buy a New or Used GMC Terrain?

The fully redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain has new styling inside and out, as well as a host of new engine options, improved feature availability, and better gas mileage. The previous-generation Terrain offered a 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a 301-horsepower V6. The 2018 Terrain has three engine choices: a 170-horsepower turbo-four, a 252-horsepower turbo-four, and a 137-horsepower turbodiesel. The diesel returns fuel economy of 28/39 mpg, which vastly dwarfs the outgoing model's efficiency. Standard features in the 2018 Terrain now include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Wireless phone charging debuts as an optional feature.

Still, it may be worth considering a used model to save some money. You could save even more by shopping for models in the previous generation. To research used Terrain models and find out if the benefits of the redesign are worth it, read our 2016 and 2017 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 2016, 2017, and 2018 GMC Terrain »

We Did the Research for You: 17 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews are designed to be a one-stop shop where you can learn everything you need to know about the vehicle you’re interested in. When ranking vehicles, we combine professional test driver opinions with hard data such as reliability ratings and crash test results.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our team has been ranking cars since 2007, and we have over 75 years’ worth of combined experience in the automotive industry. To keep our car reviews unbiased, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and all advertising on our site is handled by a third party.

How Much Does the GMC Terrain Cost?

The 2018 Terrain has a starting price around $25,000. That’s one of the highest starting prices in the class, though not by a tremendous amount; many competitors’ base prices are around $22,000 to $24,500. The Terrain’s base trim doesn’t have much beyond the standard features, so you’ll have to step up to the SLE or SLT trims – which start around $27,900 and $31,400, respectively – to get more technology. These are also the two trims available with the diesel powertrain. For the most luxurious experience, you want the Terrain Denali, which has a starting price over $37,000.

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 and the Terrain are fully redesigned for 2018. They're both made by General Motors, and they're also based on the same platform. They have a similar amount of cargo space, and their features lists are nearly identical. With the same powertrains, they have similar gas mileage, but the Chevy is slightly more efficient. To choose between the two, you'll have to decide how upscale you want your vehicle to be. The Terrain is more luxurious but comes with a higher price. 

Which Is Better: GMC Terrain or Buick Envision?

The Buick Envision is a luxury compact SUV from General Motors. There isn’t much of a difference in quality between the two interiors. Both models have roomy seats and plenty of standard and available features. The GMC has slightly more cargo space and superior fuel economy to the Buick. Neither SUV falls short in providing a smooth ride and composed handling. Go with the GMC; it's similar to the Envision but costs thousands of dollars less.

Compare the Terrain, Equinox, and Envision »

Terrain Interior

How Many People Does the Terrain Seat?

The Terrain seats five people. The front seats are comfortable, and the rear seats have ample room for two adults, which is not a given in this class. Forward and rear visibility is limited by the roofline and thick roof pillars.

Terrain and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the Terrain, and the system is generally easy to use.

Terrain Interior Quality

The Terrain’s cabin can get noisy at higher speeds but it is otherwise excellent. The materials quality is top-notch, and the design is both functional and attractive.

Terrain Cargo Space

The Terrain has just under 30 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which is enough for a couple of dogs or the family’s vacation luggage. Fold the rear seats down, and you’ll have over 63 cubic feet of space, which is enough room for some outdoor gear or some furniture items. These totals are useful, but class rivals have larger cargo holds. However, the Terrain’s passenger seat folds flat, giving you up to 81 cubic feet of space and enough room for long items, such as a kayak.

Terrain Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Terrain include four USB ports and the IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, voice recognition, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot is also standard.

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

The IntelliLink system is user-friendly, 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 it offers wireless device charging, which is a feature more commonly found in luxury vehicles.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Terrain Performance

Terrain Engine: Three Turbocharged Choices

The Terrain’s base engine is a 170-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. It’s fine for daily driving, though it can feel overmatched on the highway at times. The available 252-horsepower turbo-four accelerates more eagerly and feels more at home at high speeds. The Terrain also offers something that few rivals do: a turbodiesel powertrain. The diesel puts out 137 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, giving it punchy acceleration and a good overall feel.

Terrain Gas Mileage: No Complaints Here

The Terrain gets good fuel economy ratings for the class. With the base engine, it earns 26 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Still, those pale in comparison to the efficiency of the available turbodiesel, which earns 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.

You’ll spend about the same on gas money each year whether you drive the Terrain or the Chevrolet Equinox. However, you’ll save about $150 per year by driving the Terrain over the Buick Envision.

Terrain Ride and Handling: An Enjoyable Drive

The Terrain delivers a better driving experience than many other compact SUVs. It’s not the most athletic vehicle in the class, but it holds its own on winding roads and is maneuverable in tight quarters. This GMC also provides a cushioned ride, even over rough pavement.

Read more about performance »

Terrain Reliability

Is the GMC Terrain Reliable?

The 2018 Terrain has a predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power. That score is above average for a new vehicle and among the top third of compact SUVs.

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 2018 GMC Terrain earns top grades in every Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test conducted. The IIHS also notes that Terrain models outfitted with the optional Driver Alert II package offer a Superior level of front crash prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards the Terrain five out of five stars in frontal crash tests and four stars in side and rollover crash tests, resulting in a four-star overall rating.

Terrain Safety Features

A rearview camera and Teen Driver (which lets you set speed and volume limits for other drivers) come standard in the Terrain. Available active safety features include a safety alert seat, a surround-view camera, automatic park assist, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, low-speed forward automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, lane change alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert.

Read more about safety »

Which GMC Terrain Model Is Right for Me?

There are four Terrain trims to choose from. All come standard with front-wheel drive, and all but the base trim offer all-wheel drive. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard; a more powerful turbo-four and a turbodiesel engine are available.

The top-of-the-line Terrain Denali is one of the most upscale vehicles in the class. It offers a lot of features, but its high starting price means that most buyers are better off with a lower trim. The midrange trims – the Terrain SLE and Terrain SLT – both have a nice assortment of features, and they’re the only two trims available with the turbodiesel engine. If you want more features, go with the SLT, which offers extra infotainment and driver assistance technology. Otherwise, the SLE should suit you just fine.

GMC Terrain SL

The Terrain SL has a base price of $24,995. The SL doesn’t offer any notable features beyond what comes standard, and it’s only available in three colors – white, black, and silver. It’s also the only trim that doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

GMC Terrain SLE

The Terrain SLE has a starting price of $27,900. It doesn’t come with any more standard features than the SL, but it is available with several options packages and a wider range of color choices. The Driver Convenience package ($1,375) adds heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Infotainment I package ($995) adds satellite radio and an upgraded IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen and navigation. The Driver Alert I package ($890) adds blind spot monitoring, lane change alert, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, and a safety alert seat.

You can also upgrade to the larger turbo-four engine for around $1,750, and you can add all-wheel drive for about $1,750.

The SLE is one of two trims that’s offered with the turbodiesel engine (the SLT is the other). The SLE Diesel starts at $31,600 and also comes with a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. The available features are the same as the base SLE.

GMC Terrain SLT

The Terrain SLT has a starting price of $31,400. It comes standard with a larger infotainment touch screen (8 inches), a 110-volt power outlet, satellite radio, two additional USB ports, and leather seats. The Driver Alert I package is available in the SLT for $840. The Driver Alert II package ($495) adds forward collision alert, low-speed forward automatic braking, a safety alert seat, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning. The Infotainment II package ($1,180) adds a Bose audio system, HD Radio, and navigation. The Preferred package ($1,250) adds a hands-free power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, and a power-adjustable passenger seat.

This is the other trim to offer the diesel engine. The SLT Diesel starts at $34,200 and comes with a heated steering wheel, a hands-free power liftgate, and a power-adjustable passenger seat. The two Driver Alert packages and the Infotainment II package are available.

GMC Terrain Denali

The Terrain Denali starts at $37,600. The Denali is the only trim that comes standard with the 252-horsepower turbo-four engine. It also comes with rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, HD Radio, a Bose audio system, and an upgraded infotainment system with navigation. You can add the Driver Alert II package. The Advanced Safety package ($745) adds automatic park assist and a surround-view camera. The Comfort package ($525) adds heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and wireless device charging.

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 2018 GMC Terrain specs and trims »

The Final Call

The redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain ranks near the top of the compact SUV class, and for good reason. This is a well-rounded SUV that has plenty of strengths and few weaknesses. It does cost a bit more than most other SUVs in the class, but even at the higher price, the Terrain returns plenty of value. In short, this GMC deserves a look from every compact SUV shopper.

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

  • "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. If you're shopping for a premium crossover, and only have Acura, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus on your list, we recommend adding GMC." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Erase those negative thoughts about the GMC Terrain as they are no longer applicable. 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
  • "With its plethora of new, smart, and fun-to-drive attributes, the all-new Terrain is easily one to watch (and should do well) in an automotive landscape now dominated by vehicles GMC knows best: trucks and SUVs." -- New York Daily News
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