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2018 GMC Terrain Review

The redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain has one of the nicest cabins in the class, brimming with high-quality materials and generous passenger space. It places in the top half of our compact SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Upscale interior
  • Comfortable, spacious seats in both rows
  • Lineup of peppy engines
  • Fuel-efficient turbodiesel engine available
  • Higher average price than most competitors
  • Cargo space behind rear seats is below average

8.3

Overall

Scorecard

Overall: 8.3
Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 8.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the 2018 GMC Terrain a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the GMC Terrain is a very good compact SUV. It was a finalist for our 2018 Best Compact SUV for Families award, in part because of its spacious two rows of seats and its optional safety features.

The GMC Terrain has several strengths:

  • Upscale interior replete with high-quality, soft-touch materials
  • Supportive front seats and cavernous back seats
  • Straightforward, nicely equipped infotainment system
  • Trio of energetic engine options including a turbodiesel
  • Front passenger seat folds to create massive cargo hold

But the Terrain has a few drawbacks as well:

  • Costs more to buy than similar SUVs
  • Cargo space behind the rear seats is smaller than in most rivals
Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the GMC Terrain in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with 25 professional GMC Terrain reviews.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2018 GMC Terrain?

There are about 700 listings for the 2018 GMC Terrain on our site, with an average list price of $25,000. That's higher than the average price for this segment, but this premium-grade GMC is also more upscale than many of its competitors. For a used 2018 Terrain, expect to pay between $20,000 and $33,000, depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 GMC Terrain Cost to Own?

The 2018 Terrain’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $24,500, or $4,900 per year. That’s above average for a compact SUV and similar to projected costs for a 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, the Terrain's corporate cousin.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Terrain?

Because there are no significant differences between the 2018 and 2019 models, you won't gain much by purchasing a new Terrain over a used one. You'll likely save money while driving home a nearly identical SUV if you buy a used 2018 model.

Read about the new GMC Terrain »

The Terrain was fully redesigned for 2018. GMC added standard features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hot spot and made high-tech safety systems such as low-speed automatic braking and a surround-view camera available. GMC also revamped the power plant lineup for 2018, and an incredibly efficient turbodiesel became one of the new engine choices.

Except for the Wi-Fi hot spot, none of the features listed above were available in 2017 and older Terrains. That said, if a diesel engine or smartphone integration doesn't interest you, consider saving some money with a used Terrain from the previous generation.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Terrain »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 GMC Terrain?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Terrain a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five, which is slightly above average.

Read more about Terrain reliability »

2018 GMC Terrain Recalls

At the time of writing, four recalls have been issued for early release models of the 2018 GMC Terrain, and no recalls have been issued for later release models:

  • Some models may have insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pistons
  • Fuel pump flange weld may fracture
  • Sensing module may not power down correctly
  • Drive shaft assembly may fracture and separate

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on GMC Terrain safety recalls »

Which Used GMC Terrain Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 GMC Terrain comes in four trim levels: SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali. A turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is standard in most trims. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is available in the SLE and SLT and standard in the Denali. The new 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine is only available in the SLE and SLT. All trims come standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available in every trim except the base SL.

The entry-level SL has a decent set of standard features. It's a great choice if you want a premium-grade SUV at a budget-friendly price. For shoppers who want a few more treats or all-wheel drive, we recommend selecting an SLE with one or more of the available option packages or choosing a leather-upholstered SLT. The range-topping Terrain Denali is a posh set of wheels for this segment, but its price tends to be quite lofty.

  • GMC Terrain SL: Standard features include a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, four USB ports, a rearview camera, and Teen Driver. This trim comes only with front-wheel drive, and it was only offered in three colors: white, black, and silver.
  • GMC Terrain SLE: When it comes to standard equipment, there are few differences between the SL and SLE. The biggest distinction between these trims are the options that were offered for the SLE. The Driver Convenience package, for example, adds heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Infotainment I package upgrades the infotainment system, adding an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, and satellite radio. The Driver Alert I package includes blind spot monitoring, lane change alert, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, and a safety alert seat.
  • GMC Terrain SLT: Notable upgrades in the SLT include an 8-inch touch screen, a 110-volt power outlet, satellite radio, two additional USB ports, and leather seats. In addition to the Driver Alert I package, upgrades include the Driver Alert II package, which bundles forward collision alert, low-speed forward automatic braking, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning. The Infotainment II package adds a Bose audio system, HD Radio, and navigation. The Preferred package adds a hands-free power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, and a power-adjustable passenger seat.
  • GMC Terrain Denali: 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. The Advanced Safety package adds automatic park assist and a surround-view camera. The Comfort package comes with heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and wireless device charging. The Driver Alert II package is also an option.

See 2018 GMC Terrain trims and specs »

What Does GMC's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

GMC offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned models, GMC extends its original new-car limited powertrain warranty to six years or 100,000 miles from the original sale date. CPO models also get a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty after the three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Qualifying vehicles also get free maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles. GMC CPO vehicles must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read GMC’s warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, GMC has a decent CPO program compared with other affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the GMC certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Terrain?

The 2018 Terrain aced every Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test, but it received the lowest rating of Poor for its headlights. The IIHS noted that Terrains equipped with the optional forward collision alert and low speed automatic braking provide Superior front crash prevention.

Early release 2018 Terrains earned a four-out-of-five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and four stars in the side crash category. Late release 2018 Terrains received a five-star rating for both. The NHTSA gave all 2018 Terrain models five stars for the frontal crash test and four stars for the rollover test.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • Teen Driver (a system that encourages safe driving by letting parents set speed and volume limits for inexperienced drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • forward collision alert
  • low-speed forward automatic braking
  • surround-view camera
  • automatic park assist
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • rear parking sensors
  • blind spot monitoring
  • lane change alert
  • lane keep assist
  • lane departure warning
  • safety alert seat

See Terrain safety scores »

2018 GMC Terrain Versus the Competition

Which is Better: 2018 GMC Terrain or 2018 Chevrolet Equinox?

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is the less expensive counterpart to the Terrain. These GM-built twins have identical engines and the same dimensions for passenger and cargo areas (though the Chevrolet doesn't have a fold-flat front passenger seat like the GMC). On average, the Terrain costs about $3,300 more than the Equinox. In return you get nicer cabin materials, cushier seats, and a more polished transmission. We recommend spending a little time with each to decide if you prefer the more refined Terrain or the less expensive Equinox.

Which is Better: 2018 GMC Terrain or 2018 Mazda CX-5?

While the Terrain is a solid performer, it doesn't hold a candle to the 2018 Mazda CX-5. Few compact SUVs do, to be fair, as the CX-5 is remarkably spry and responsive. It also has an upscale interior and is a top pick if you want a fun-to-drive SUV. However, you'll want to stay with the Terrain if you want a softer ride, more comfortable seats, a more powerful engine, or a higher towing capacity.

Compare the Terrain, Equinox, and CX-5 »

2018 Terrain Performance

How Does the 2018 GMC Terrain Drive?

The Terrain's powertrain lineup is a bit unusual for the class in that there are three different engine options, including a diesel engine. All three are turbocharged four-cylinders that offer plenty of scoot for daily driving. If you want a little more spark in your acceleration or a higher tow rating, seek out a 2.0-liter-powered Terrain, which is the most potent option in this group. Overall, the Terrain's handling is smooth and responsive. This GMC is also easy to maneuver.

  • Base engine: turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline with 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque (available in SL, SLE, and SLT)
  • Available engines:
    • turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel with 137 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque (available in SLE and SLT)
    • turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline with 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque (available in SLE and SLT; standard in Denali)
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive.
  • Transmission: nine-speed automatic with gasoline engines; six-speed automatic with diesel engine
Does the 2018 GMC Terrain Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Terrain's base 1.5-liter engine gets great fuel economy and has the lowest estimated fuel costs in this lineup. The average driver will pay about $600 more each year in fuel costs with the 2.0-liter engine. Though the turbodiesel gets the best fuel economy rating of the three powertrains, the higher cost of diesel fuel equals an extra $50 in estimated costs each year compared to the base engine. The average driver will spend around $100 more on fuel when the Terrain is equipped with all-wheel drive.

  • 1.5-liter, FWD: 26/30 mpg city/ highway
  • 1.6-liter turbodiesel, FWD: 28/39 mpg
  • 2.0-liter, FWD: 22/28 mpg
2018 GMC Terrain Towing Capacity

Terrains with the 1.5-liter gas engine and those with the 1.6-liter diesel engine can tow up to 1,500 pounds, while models equipped with the 2.0-liter gas engine have a maximum trailering capacity of 3,500 pounds.

Read more about Terrain performance »

2018 Terrain Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Terrain Seat?

The 2018 Terrain holds five people in two rows. The front seats are supportive, and the back seats are roomy enough for two adults to easily get comfortable. Travelers will also be lounging in a cabin that's swanky for this price point and boasts an abundance of high-quality materials and handsome styling.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery

Available seating features:

  • leather seats
  • power-adjustable front seats
  • heated and ventilated front seats
  • heated rear seats
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2018 GMC Terrain?

The 2018 Terrain has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. For its ease of use, the hardware earned the highest rating of Good from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. All anchors are easy to locate and require minimal effort.

2018 GMC Terrain Features

Every 2018 Terrain comes with a touch-screen display and the IntelliLink infotainment interface. The system is a breath of fresh air, as it boots up fast, easily connects with both Android and iOS devices, and responds quickly to inputs.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, satellite radio, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, two additional USB ports, wireless device charging, and a 110-volt power outlet
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry and push-button start
  • Other available features: a sunroof and dual-zone automatic climate control

See 2018 GMC Terrain specs »

Read more about Terrain interior »

2018 GMC Terrain Dimensions

GMC Terrain Cargo Space

Cargo space is a shade below average in the Terrain, which has 29.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 63.3 cubic feet with the 60/40 split-folding second-row seats down. The Terrain does have a nifty trick up its sleeve that you don't often see: Its front passenger seat can also fold, creating a massive cargo hold of up to 81 cubic feet. Convenient options include a power liftgate and a hands-free power liftgate.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 GMC Terrain Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 2 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,449 to 3,815 pounds

Where Was the 2018 GMC Terrain Built?

GMC built the Terrain in Mexico.

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