2010 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-1 Review

There’s nothing cute about this compact ute

2010 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-1 Review

GMC has been General Motors’ truck division for a whole century, but with the elimination of several car lines, the automaker felt that GMC needed to fill some voids in its product offerings. As a result, this year GMC gets the five-passenger compact crossover Terrain, which slots in underneath the large three-row Acadia.


1. The Terrain comes with two engines, ether a 182-hp direct-injection 2.4L 4-cylinder or a 264-hp 3.0L V6.

2. Cargo room is rated at 31 cu.-ft. behind the second row or 64 cu.-ft. total.

3. V6 models are rated to tow 3,500 lbs with a $350 trailer package.

4. Fuel economy ranges from 22/32 mpg (city/hwy) for 2WD I4 models to 17/24 mpg for AWD V6 models.

The Terrain shares a platform with the Chevy Equinox and the Cadillac SRX. The exterior appearance of each of the three is, however, quite different.  The Terrain, in a bow to its GMC roots, is the most truck-like in its styling cues. It has a boxy and brawny look with squared off bulging wheel wells and a large three slat front grill surrounded by chrome. The stacked front headlights and fog lights, which are pushed out to the corners of the vehicle, give it a hint of family resemblance to the Cadillac. Yet despite its bold front end appearance, GM says the Terrain has the same coefficient of drag as the last generation Corvette. The front end being more slippery than it looks probably helps keep the Terrain quiet while cruising on the highway, as there is almost no wind noise in the cabin.


The standard engine in the Terrain is a 2.4-liter, direct-injected motor that puts out 182-hp and 172 ft-lbs of torque. The optional engine, which my test car came with, is a 3.0-liter, V6 that delivers 264-hp and 223 ft-lbs of torque. With a curb weight of over  4,000 lbs. for the all-wheel drive version, the V6 Terrain has enough power, if not offering sparkling performance. Gas mileage is a respectable 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway (17/25 for 2WD V6 models).  If you want more from your gas dollar, the 2WD 4-cylinder will bump you up to 22/32 mpg. 

Mated to the V6 is a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic transmission, with a unique manumatic feature. According to Terrain Product Manager, Dave Poniatowski, “The transmission is not a true manumatic, but rather an Electronic Range Select (ERS) mode. A true manumatic would allow the driver to command the selected gear, while the ERS mode allows the driver to select the range of allowable gears.”

It works like this; there is a small rocker switch on the side of the pistol grip gear select lever that will allow the driver to manually shift up or down.  So if you manually shift up to fourth gear and then coast to a stoplight, the gear indicator will still show fourth gear on the display. But the terrain will shift into first gear and take off from the light and then automatically up-shift until it reaches fourth gear, but won’t go higher. This feature is designed to limit the top gear while towing, or to downshift on a downhill grade and hold that gear to provide engine braking. It’s not intended to provide sportier performance as most manumatics do. By the way, the V6 equipped Terrain has a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. 

With the V6, you get a hydraulic steering system, rather than a more efficient electric system with the 4-cylinder. Steering feedback is good and the steering is responsive. The Terrain is set for a plush ride, so you’ll notice some body lean in hard corners, but the vehicle remains poised and quite comfortable over all types of road surfaces. Stability Control and Traction Control are always on the job for piece of mind and the all-wheel drive system will help cornering in both dry and wet conditions. ABS brakes haul the Terrain down from speed quite nicely, even if the pedal feedback is a bit vague.

The GMC Terrain is a pleasure to drive. It feels solid, balanced and sure footed. The ride quality is luxurious, and there is very little engine or exterior noise that makes its way into the cabin. It is the interior design of the cabin, however, that really makes this vehicle shine. 


It is rare that an interior design jumps out at me the way this Terrain’s did. Sure, the lipstick red and black interior of a BMW coupe is striking, but that’s because of the colors, not the design. The interior of the new Kia Soul and Ford Fiesta got my attention for some innovative styling, but the Terrain really impressed me with it’s understated elegance. You’d think that some Italian design studio penned this cabin. The Terrain’s two-toned interior will make you think you are in a vehicle that costs $10,000 more. 

All the different textures and finishes provide pleasant eye candy virtually everywhere you look, giving the cabin a rich sophisticated feel. I particularly like the red stitching on the dash, doors and seats. Those seats, by the way are finished in glove soft leather in the center portion and headrests, with a different color leather for the sides, completing the two-toned pattern throughout the cabin. The seats are wide and comfortable with good side bolstering and they feature three-position heating controls. 

The rear passengers won’t feel short changed in the comfort or luxury department either. And thanks to the Terrains exterior width of 72.8-inches, there’s enough space for an adult to sit comfortably in the middle seat. Headroom is more than ample, rear seat legroom is generous and the rear passengers feet can easily fit under the high mounted, tall front seats. The rear seatbacks are 60/40 split, and they fold down flat for extending the cargo area. Another nice touch is that the rear seat bench slides forward to enlarge the cargo area even more, offering nearly 64 cubic feet of capacity. With the rear seat up, the Terrain still provides a healthy 31 cubic feet. Should you need even more capacity, a roof rack is standard.

All the controls for the driver are easy to operate and are logically laid out.  Redundant controls for the cruise control, phone, and radio are located on the thick leather covered steering wheel.

The cabin has plenty of storage with a large glove box, good-sized door pockets, and a center console that is quite deep. The console is lighted, and also has a 12-volt power outlet for cell phone charging or to power other devices.

The driver information screen between the tach and speedometer lets you monitor gas mileage, distance to empty, trip meters, tire pressures, etc. The rearview mirror has a back-up camera built into it, so when you put the terrain in reverse, the left side of the mirror becomes the screen to see where you’re going. Unlike most vehicles, there’s no need to order the Navigation System to get the back-up camera feature. 

There are lots of other standard features on this SLT-1 trim Terrain including 8-way power seats with lumbar controls, Climate Control, Tilt and telescope steering wheel, 8-speaker Pioneer sound system with CD changer, and auxiliary input and USB port, (XM Satellite service is available). The Terrain is Bluetooth equipped, and has an automatic dimming rearview mirror, and heated outside mirrors. You can even program the electric lift gate to limit the height the liftgate will open to, in case you have a low ceiling garage. 

The base Terrain, with 4-cylinder engine, and front wheel drive starts at $24,250, and comes well equipped. My test car was the all-wheel drive SLT-1 version and stickered for $29,200. The options on the test car were very reasonably priced. The V6 engine added $1,500, the Moonroof  $795, the programmable electric liftgate was $495, the Trailer Package was $350, and another $245 for the rear cargo cover, roof rack crossbars, and cargo net. When you add in the destination charges, the total comes to $33,525, which means that this GMC is a very good value, and stands up to any competition in its class.


This midsize crossover is an outstanding vehicle. It’s an excellent size, not too big or too small. There’s plenty of room to seat five adults comfortably and still carry lots of their luggage, and with the rear seat folded, you’ve got some serious cargo capacity. The ride quality is like a luxury car, but with the safety and security of all wheel drive – plus the high-up vantage point. And the interior appointments will make you think you’re in a Cadillac. 


2010 Chevrolet Equinox 1LT AWD Review
2008 Ford Escape Review
2009 Honda CR-V
2009 Toyota RAV4
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan
2009 Mitsubishi Outlander
2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Review
2009 Hyundai Tucson
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Review

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked