Many people have asked me why Pontiac and Saturn are being killed and GMC gets to live. To many on the outside it does not make perfect sense though the answer is quite simple. GMC makes money while Pontiac and Saturn do not. The response I got to that was about how GMC products are mostly rebadged Chevrolet products so how can they make money. Again a simple answer with two parts. GMC is not really cross shopped with Chevrolet according to GM. Also GMC is aimed to be one step above Chevrolet “offering more premium content then Chevy” according to Annalisa Bluhm who works for GM, so that means slightly higher base prices.
The last generation Chevrolet Equinox had a brother and it was the Pontiac Torrent which was about as class competitive as the last generation Equinox was, which was not very. With Pontiac dead and gone spreading the development costs of the new Equinox with another vehicle was key. GMC has been successful with the Lambda based Acadia and thus it was logical to make the new Equinox’s brother a GMC. The new 2010 Terrain, moves GMC into a new segment and gives another vehicle to add to the now empty Pontiac showroom floor space.
Being the brother to the Equinox has its advantages. The interior of the new Equinox is already more then class competitive it is class leading and so changes were not really necessary to compete in this area. With a few upgraded materials here and there and some different graining and texture on some dash panels the interior was a nice place before the switch from Chevrolet to GMC. The exterior styling is what really differentiates the Terrain from the Equinox. With bold, blocky, in your face looks, the Terrain is much more controversially styled then the Equinox. With a blunt front end and squared off fenders, the Terrain is much less curvaceous and soft compared with the Equinox. The huge overly exaggerated fender flares continue this blocky bold styling down the side and towards the rear. Speaking of the rear again much blockier and more bluntly styled then the Equinox. The styling seems to be a love it or hate it with everyone having a opinion. Many people on Twitter seem to thing this is not a good looking rig with one person even saying they thought it was the ugliest vehicle on the road today. I would not personally go that far but it is definitely in your face and styled differently.
During the Terrain’s stay this week I had a road trip down to Hudson, IA to visit some friends and family. With the cruise control set the Terrain was a comfortable highway cruiser lugging along at 75mpg I was averaging 26.3 mpg. It is worth noting that it was chilly here during the trip and this probably affected the gas milage slightly. The Terrain utilizes the same exact engine choices as the Equinox either the 2.4L four cylinder or the optional 3.0L V6 both engines are feature great new technology. Utilizing VVT (variable valve timing) and direct injection both these engines are class leading in gas milage ratings. The Terrain I had was rated at 20/29 mpg due to the all wheel drive. Without the all wheel drive ratings would have been 22/32 mpg. The Terrain also utilizes the great six speed automatic used in the Equinox. Since I had the four cylinder it had the “eco” button which changes shift points. The Terrain drove smoother and I enjoyed the way the transmission worked while in eco mode much more then when not. According to GM eco mode earns you one mile per gallon more in gas milage.
The Terrain I had was a SLE2 with a few option packages including the convenience package, trailering equipment package, cargo management package, and 18″ machined aluminum wheels. The sticker price on this particular vehicle was $29,630. This vehicle was far from stripped yet is only one step above the base SLE with a few option packages. The convenience package put in heated seats which were great when the temperature dipped into the low 30′s during the week. Also in that package was the remote vehicle start which again was great when the temperatures got into the 30′s. Bluetooth was another great standard feature in this particular vehicle. In this writers opinion bluetooth should be standard in every car for safety reasons. Many cars have fog lights but not many do much for the driver. The fog lights on the Terrain surprised me adding a lot of extra light on the ground in front of you. Much more then you would expect especially considering how tiny they are.
At the end of the day we have a platform mate to the Equinox. It is more controversially styled and is priced about $1,810 more in base price. I feel the styling is good but then again I think the Mercedes Benz GLK is good looking and that thing is a chiseled block, so blocky does not bother me. With a premium look and feel this classy vehicle has what it takes to beat the competition. The looks are polarizing which gets you noticed and that is exactly what GM needs for the GMC Terrain, people noticing it. Like the Equinox with better fuel economy and overall execution then the main competition mainly Toyota Rav4 and Honda CR-V the Terrain is a great option in a crowded segment. My recommendation, if the Equinox is not your taste in style check the Terrain before you look else where.