GMC Terrain Performance
Most reviewers say the Terrain's base engine lacks adequate power for passing and merging. However, test drivers agree that the available V6 engine delivers commendable performance. Reviewers say the ride is remarkably smooth and quiet, but most test drivers are displeased with the Terrain's handling, saying the steering is imprecise and the driving dynamics are dull.
- "Ride quality is excellent on all 2014 Terrains. GMC's compact crossover glides over road imperfections and boasts a hushed cabin at interstate cruising speeds." -- Edmunds
- "During our lengthy jaunt through the windy roads of Northern Michigan, the Terrain Denali's powertrain improvements coupled with a modified front suspension eliminated the majority of our grievances with the 2012 model's lackluster driving characteristics." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013 Denali)
- "Though not nearly as lively, the standard 4-cylinder engine is the one to get. It's smoother, quieter, and should use less fuel." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Acceleration and Power
The 2014 GMC Terrain comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 182 horsepower. An optional 3.6-liter V6 engine generating 301 horsepower is available. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The base Terrain with front-wheel drive gets an estimated 22/32 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class.
Reviewers say the Terrain struggles to get adequate power for passing and merging with the base engine, while the V6 engine carries out these tasks effortlessly. As a result, most test drivers agree that the boost in power and performance delivered by the V6 engine is well worth the slightly lower fuel economy estimates.
- "Although the four-cylinder GMC Terrain matches the acceleration times of other compact crossovers in this price range, it doesn't feel as potent out in the real world. You'll have the gas pedal floored during routine merging and passing maneuvers, and this isn't very relaxing. During a year-long test of a four-cylinder Terrain, our observed fuel economy also came in well below the EPA combined rating. In our view, the fuel-efficiency advantage of the four-cylinder engine is smaller than the EPA ratings suggest." -- Edmunds
- "The base engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder of 182 horsepower that delivers adequate performance along with exemplary fuel economy. Optionally available is a 3.6-liter V6, rated at 301 horsepower, that cranks out plenty of performance for passing or tackling long hills along with commendably-decent fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The 4-cylinder engine provides adequate power from a stop but struggles a bit in highway merging and passing. The new V6 engine is a vast improvement over the old one. The extra horsepower and torque are welcome in any driving situation." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
- "While the engine's power is satisfying, so too is the transmission. The six-speed automatic seems tuned for drivability more than fuel economy - a refreshing change from many vehicles we test these days." -- Autoblog (2013 V6 model)
Handling and Braking
Most reviewers say that the 2014 GMC Terrain is not particularly agile, and that it experiences body lean during quick cornering. Still, some reviewers disagree, saying the SUV is relatively sporty and maneuvers like a midsize car. Most test drivers agree that the Terrain's steering isn’t as accurate as they would like, but they say that the Terrain shines with a comfortable ride. One reviewer notes that the Terrain's comfort is particularly apparent during long drives.
- "Don't expect sporty handling, though, as comfort is the Terrain's primary mission. Likewise, the steering is exceptionally light and not especially precise, even for a crossover SUV." -- Edmunds
- "Going down the road, the Terrain has a comfortable ride, with predictable steering feel and reassuring directional stability. It might have the looks of a rugged truck, but it has the easy driving manners of a medium-size car." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Terrain is far from sporty, even taking into account the Denali's revised suspension. This crossover exhibits moderate body lean in fast turns. Steering feel is unexceptional." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
- "Long cruises were where I really appreciated the Terrain's quiet, comfortable ride." -- Cars.com (2012)