FORT WORTH: The annual Fort Worth Stock Show has begun and everything that is legendary Texan is there and on display. One of the Special Event Sponsors for 2011 is GMC, General Motors popular truck division. In addition to the GMC heavy duty work trucks, the five-passenger SUV Crossover Terrain was on display.
The GMC Terrain was first introduced at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show and it got my attention back then. The Terrain is built on the same platform as the Chevy Equinox, and I like that one also, but the Terrain is a little more aggressive looking. Maybe you could call it more of an outdoors, masculine appearance. I just think that the GMC Terrain has a more chiseled, but attractive style.
The GMC Terrain comes in either a 4 cylinder or a V6. For a lengthy test drive, I had the 4 cylinder and unless you were really pushing the pedal to the metal, you would not know it was just a 4 cylinder. It had a lot of power, able to pass slower moving vehicles without the slightest whimper. The good news about this 4 cylinder is that there is an Eco-Mode option. The Eco-Mode kicks in with the simple push of a button on the center console. According to General Motors, this lowers the idle RPM and increases engine efficiency. The transmission is shifted sooner, then downshifted later, reduces the throttle sensitivity, and then the torque converter is locked in at a much lower rpm. All that supposedly improves the overall driving dynamics, and consequently, lowers the miles-per-gallon. It seemed to work for me, and although I tried driving with the Eco-Mode on and off, I didn’t notice much difference in the driving, only the fuel efficiency.
Our test model was front wheel drive, model SLE-1. The SLE-2 has heated seats and on a few of those cold days, I wished that had been an option for me. Actually, the seats provide good side support and were quite comfortable. The SLE-1 and SLE-2 differs primarily in the optional packages. I was certainly thankful for the GM StabiliTrak. This is the proven stability control system with traction control. On one day, I was at a scout camp. The road out was up a winding, steep hill. It snowed and slightly iced over. With a steady pace, I was able to navigate out the 5 mile stretch to the main road. Quite often I could feel the StabiliTrak kicking in and doing its job of applying the necessary traction to the wheels.
Inside, the Terrain is functional and somewhat attractive. There is quite a bit of chrome and red ambient lighting. It included a rearview camera system, which I think should be on all vehicles. The steering wheel was tilt and telescoping. The inside rearview mirror had an automatic dimming feature. The exterior color was an attractive Gold Mist Metallic. The interior was Jet Black.
So what is the GMC Terrain anyway? It is a five passenger, SUV crossover, front-wheel drive, comfortable, economical, low-priced vehicle. It is slightly more upscale than its cousin the Chevy Equinox. My test model had a base MSRP of just $24,250 and there were no add-on options or extras. It was fairly complete and highly functional in the base SLE-1 unit as delivered. The EPA mileage ratings are 22 for the city and 32 for the highway. Over my lengthy test drive, I kept it in the Eco mode for the majority of the time and actually averaged 33 mpg.
It this is an example of the type crossovers and SUV’s that GM is going to keep building, I think their company future is moving upward. The GMC Terrain is worth taking a first and second look if you are in the market for a highly functional, gas-saving SUV crossover. Visit a GM dealership and see for yourself, or look around at the exhibits at the Fort Worth Stock Show.
The Fort Worth Stock Show began on January 14 and will run through a final evening closing on February 5, 2011.