2020 GMC Terrain

Performance


#11 out of 16 in Compact SUVs

MSRP
$25,000
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 GMC Terrain Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.9

The 2020 GMC Terrain is easygoing and calm. While it doesn't get your heart pumping with thrilling dynamics, its stable demeanor also doesn't ruffle many feathers. It gets great gas mileage with its base engine, but it isn't very brisk. Acceleration rates and the towing capacity get a boost with the upgraded engine, but fuel economy takes a hit.

  • "On-road driving dynamics are also very good, with the Terrain feeling solid and planted – let's call it 'substantial.' That's a welcomed trait in this segment of small crossovers as many feel rather light from behind the wheel. I didn't notice any obtrusive wind or tire noise (tire noise is as much about the road surface as it is about isolation) and the cabin was relatively hushed. Handling is competent and predictable, as expected, as the ride is firm without feeling too sporty." -- Forbes (2018)
  • "On the road, the Terrain is quiet and smooth, matching its segment for comfort and refinement. Body motions over broken pavement are well damped, and the steering is heavy off-center to provide good directional stability. We don't have much to complain about regarding the driving experience, as it matches its competition blow for blow in subjective dynamics." -- Truck Trend (2018)

Acceleration and Power

GMC offers two turbocharged gasoline engines and a nine-speed automatic transmission for 2020; it discontinued the diesel engine and six-speed automatic transmission combo that was previously an option.

The base engine is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower. It is fuel-efficient and will get you from Point A to Point B without worry, though it takes its time getting this SUV up to speed. This model has a fuel economy rating of 26 mpg in the city (at the top of the charts for the compact SUV class) and 30 mpg on the highway (typical for the segment).

A 252-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is offered in every trim except the base and SLE, and it comes standard in the Terrain Denali. Models with this engine accelerate with more gusto, and it's the preferred engine among reviewers. Fuel economy takes a significant dip, however. Gas mileage with this engine is 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

  • "Unfortunately, the Terrain's base engine lacks power, the transmission is slow-witted, and the powertrain's focus on fuel economy eliminates snappy acceleration. In Edmunds testing it took 9.3 seconds to reach 60 mph, which is very slow." -- Edmunds
  • The base 1.5 turbo is best described as adequate. The 2.0-liter gasoline engine is the one to choose, and can even pull 3,500 pounds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The two gasoline-fed engines are mated to a 9-speed automatic that works nearly flawlessly. More than half of the buyers are expected to choose the standard 1.5-liter. … It's just fine around town and on the open road, but I found its passing power a bit lacking on some of the hills. The 2.0-liter … is a bit thirstier but its additional punch over the standard engine is noticeable." -- Forbes (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Terrain holds its own on the highway. Its brake, steering, and suspension systems respond without drama and with little excitement. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "Around town, the Terrain is comfortable and quiet. Attack a set of curves and it's nimble enough to be engaging, as opposed to wildly entertaining." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The brakes bite smoothly and evenly, with a good relationship between pedal pressure and actual stopping power. The steering is slow and a bit mushy, but steering effort weights up nicely at highway speeds, imparting more confidence and a sense of stability. Capable and balanced on twisty roads, the Terrain keeps body roll in check. It's not sporty, but through turns at reasonably high speeds, the Terrain remains stable and composed." -- Edmunds
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2020 GMC Terrain

MSRP: $25,000 - $39,900

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