2010 GMC Terrain Long-Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2010 GMC Terrain Long-Term Road Test

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2010 GMC Terrain: A Nice Subtlety and A Bizarre Occurrence

December 09, 2010


See that little relief in the top of the center console? That's an easy detail to get right. It's there to allow the auxilliary or iPod cable to pass through without getting pinched. But I just spent a week in a $75,000 Cadillac which failed this test. And my aux cable is still upset.

Something weird after the jump...

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2010 GMC Terrain: Rear View Camera

December 08, 2010


Our Terrain has one of those rear view cameras with the guidance lines that bend in proportion to the amount the driver turns the steering wheel. I've always wondered if those line correspond to where the car actually goes so I did little non-scientific experimenting this morning.

Video after the jump.

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2010 GMC Terrain: Extra Functionality of Remote Engine Start Is Nice

December 02, 2010


A couple nights ago the temperature dropped below freezing where I live (central California) and gave our long-term Terrain a covering of frost in the morning. Extreme weather it wasn't, but it still gave me a chance to test our our Terrain's remote engine start feature.

Remote start works as you'd expect -- push the button (after first pushing the fob's door lock button) and the Terrain fires up. Doing so in cold weather means you can stay inside your house while your vehicle warms up.

And since our Terrain has automatic climate control, remote start will also, as the owner's manual says, "...default to a heating or cooling mode depending on the outside temperature during a remote start." This is probably more useful in hot weather than cold since air-conditioning is instantaneous and heated air isn't. But I did notice that remote start clicked on the rear defroster automatically.

Also, on some GM vehicles, remote start will also activate the heated or ventilated seats. The Terrain's owners manual didn't make any mention of this, and its heated seats didn't turn on for me. But I suppose it's possible that functionality is buried within the vehicle's configuration menus somewhere.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 GMC Terrain: Bonus Power Port

November 24, 2010


Our Terrain has four power ports: one for the center stack, one in the center console, one for the rear seating area and one for the cargo area. One can never have too many power ports, right? But having one for the rear seat is pretty rare. And I suppose it's actually fairly useful for families as it makes it a lot easier to power or charge electronics for kids seated in back. No rear air vents for the Terrain, though.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 GMC Terrain: Clock Won't Stay Set, Either

November 19, 2010


Adding fuel to the fire of our glitchy audio head unit, I've noticed that the clock won't stay set if I change it. It's stuck on the time used for pre-daylight savings. I set the clock back an hour, and it's fine until I shut the Terrain off. Next time I get back in, it's moved ahead one hour to that original time.

Every time I get in I have a momentary panic that I'm very, very late.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 GMC Terrain: Radio Wigging Out

November 15, 2010

2010 GMC Terrain Radio

Our long-term 2010 GMC Terrain is really getting on my nerves. I can deal with the sluggish drivetrain, button-heavy center stack and generally non-intuitive user-interface. But the psychotic radio has got to go.

As reported first by Erin Riches and then by Warren Clarke, the Terrain's radio has developed a personality something akin to the HAL9000. It basically decides what you'll be listening to -- whether you like it or not. In Erin's case it kept switching to FM no matter where it was set when shutting the car off. In Warren's case it wouldn't let him listen to NPR.

For me, it kept going to a specific FM station (98.7) no matter which band/frequency I was listening to when I shut it off. Doubly annoying because this station, while clear in the LA area, is pure static in my neck of the woods. I figured it had some kind of fixation with this frequency, but then it switched to FM 101.1 the last time I started it up (after leaving it on AM 640).

While both stations are in the morass of the Terrain's pre-set station pages (SIX pages of favorites with SIX presents each? really?), neither holds a special place. They aren't in the first slot on the first page of favorites. Or even the first slot on any of the pages. They are both randomly mixed into the middle slots of the middle pages.

BTW, it doesn't do this if you simply shut the car off and fire it right back up again (in that case it holds the last radio band/frequency like every other car on th planet). But as with every great electronic gremlin there's no clear indicator of how long it takes to awaken the beast. It did it every time the car sat overnight, and also once after sitting for a couple hours. But not after sitting for 10 minutes. Regardless, when we make our inevitable dealer visit don't let the service guy turn it off and on six times in a row and then turn accusingly on us with a, "What are you talking about? Seems fine to me."

Just for fun I checked the owner's manual. Nothing about randomly deciding which station to tune between shutting it off and starting it up. Don't try to rationalize people. It's clearly got a screw (or chip) loose.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large at 18,102 miles

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2010 GMC Terrain: Radio Gaga

November 04, 2010

gmc terrain radio.jpg

The Terrain doesn't like NPR. At least that's what I first thought when I got nothing but static on the Terrain's radio today. Checked the other presets, though, and it turned out there was no anti-Public Radio bias afoot -- the problem existed across all radio stations.

Obviously, a really high-tech solution was called for. So I pulled over to the side of the road, turned the engine off and then turned it back on again. That fixed it.

The issue's been reported to our Keeper of the Keys, and we'll let you know what develops.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2010 GMC Terrain: Low Fuel Warning

October 29, 2010


I was already running late this morning when I hit the freeway for the last 25 miles of my drive to work. Not more than two miles into it, the GMC Terrain's low fuel light blinked on.

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2010 GMC Terrain: FM-Centric

October 18, 2010


I encountered a strange electronic glitch in our long-term 2010 GMC Terrain over the weekend. Whenever I was away from a TV, I was listening to post-season baseball on ESPN radio via either AM 710 or AM 1090. Accordingly, I always left the radio on the AM band. However, whenever I shut the engine off, the Terrain would always switch over to the most recently used FM station. This happened regardless of whether I left the radio on or manually turned it off.

Later, after the games were over, I hooked up my iPod. Same thing happened. I'd leave my iPod playing, but whenever I got back into the Terrain and started up again, FM radio would be playing. I checked to make sure my iPod hadn't frozen up, prompting the system to switch to a working source. It hadn't.

Anybody else had this happen in a Terrain or Equinox?

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2010 GMC Terrain: Audio Review

October 06, 2010


The GMC Terrain is a good CUV for hauling people and gear, and it has adequate interior room and power for its class, along with a bunch of cool electronic features: hard-drive nav system, iPod integration and a backup camera. Our long-term 2010 Terrain FWD SLT-2 also comes standard with what the sticker calls a "Pioneer Premium" audio system, but it's not one of the vehicle's strong suites.

The Setup
The Pioneer system in the 2010 GMC Terrain FWD SLT-2 consists of 8 speakers powered by 250 watts. The speakers include a 6.5-inch midrange in each front door, a 1-inch tweeter in each A pillar, a 3.5-inch midrange in the center of the dash, a 6.5-inch midrange in each rear door and an 8-inch subwoofer in the passenger-side wall of the rear cargo area.

The Sound
Like every sound system I evaluate, I subjected the Terrain's Pioneer setup to my standard musical test tracks to judge clarity/lack of distortion, tonal balance, timbre, tonal accuracy, soundstaging, imaging and dynamics. I also use several non-musical test tracks to check soundstaging and imaging, linearity and absence of noise. For more detail on the testing process and tracks used, check out the Edmunds.com article Sound Advice.

In terms of sound quality, the Pioneer system in the Terrain is a perfect example of a middle-of-the-road branded OEM audio. While stock systems have dramatically improved over the last decade or so, most are still designed for a kind of lowest-common-denominator audio experience. It's like eating a really good frozen pizza when you can't get out for a fresh-baked pie: mildly satisfying, but far from the real thing.

Like most mediocre OEM systems, the Terrain's system booms on the bottom end and is harsh on the high end, with everything in between adequately inoffensive. While clarity and tonal balance are skewed by the over-emphasis of the extremes of the frequency spectrum, timbre, tonal accuracy and dynamics don't fare much better and the system mostly has a dull, lifeless sound.

On some tracks the system somewhat sussed out certain details in the music, like the strong up-front bass in the Joan Armatrading's "In Your Eyes" and sweet sax sound in Bluesiana Triangle's "Life's a One Way Ticket." But for every flash of brilliance there were two or more bummers, like the disembodied vocals on the Luka Bloom track "Cold Comfort" or the almost unlistenable mess the system made of Red House Painters' "Cabezon."

Even with center-channel and A-pillar speakers -- usually an indication of decent soundstaging and imaging -- the Terrain's Pioneer system handled both poorly. A drum roll at 7:40 in the Bluesiana Triangle song "Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me" that pans from far right to far left helps me determine the boundaries of the soundstage, and in the Terrain it was less than the width of the dash. (With the best system, it's actually wider than the car interior). And images within the soundstage were localized down near the door speakers and extremely side-biased.

This was easily corroborated by the non-musical staging/imaging tests, which the Terrain system failed. It scored "poor" and "fair" grades for linearity (a measure of how much detail is retained as the volume is lowered) at low- and mid-level volume settings, respectively. But it passed the absence of noise test; most systems usually do.

The Sources
The disc slot for the Terrain's an in-dash CD/DVD player is slickly integrate into the bottom of the center stack. The real "head unit" is at the top, fronted by a 7-inch touch screen that's part of our Terrain's $2,145 navigation system option. The system also includes tuners for AM, FM and Sirius satellite radio and 10GB of the nav system's 40GB hard drive is used to store digital music files.

Unlike some audio systems that only allow recording from CD (Hello, Ford!), the Terrain's system also lets you rip tracks from a USB drive. And the hard drive's "time shifting" feature allows rewinding up to 20 minutes of AM, FM or Sirius content, and even works if you turn off the engine and then fire it up again before 20 minutes is up.

An aux-in jack and a USB port in the center console can be used to plug in a portable media player, which chances are is an iPod. You can plug an iPod directly into the USB port using the USB computer cable that comes with the device, or jack in a USB drive loaded with tunes instead. Either way, the system organizes the tracks into the traditional playlists, artists, albums, songs and genres structure, and with an iPod you get the additional categories of podcasts, audiobooks and composers The Terrain has a jump feature that lets you quickly navigate a huge music library, but it's still very slow. We discovered that Apple's new iOS 4.0 software made iPhones with the upgraded OS fail in the Terrain. But with the release of iOS 4.1 the iPhone incompatibility issue has been solved.

What We Say
Depending on how discerning you are when it comes to sound quality -- and whether you think the glass is half empty or half full -- the Terrain's Pioneer system will rank either just above or just below average. And while it's a good example of how most stock sound systems -- brand or no brand, optional or stock -- have gotten much better, it's also a perfect candidate for an aftermarket upgrade.

The Scores
Sound: C
Source Selection: A
iPod Integration: B
Cost: A+

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology

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2010 GMC Terrain: "Button Rich" Center Stack

September 22, 2010

Button Rich 006-1600.jpg

Getting into the 2010 GMC Terrain this morning, I caught a glimpse of the center stack before I started it up. Is it me or is the term "button rich" a bit of an understatement. Sorry for the slighly fuzzy photo, but seriously. About 5 years ago, a center stack with this many buttons would've been found on an aircraft. Are we just getting used to this array of buttons, or is this really too many?

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 15,599 miles

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2010 GMC Terrain: 12:57:50 of Seat Time in 30 Hours

September 17, 2010

GMC Terrain F34 San Fran.jpg

The Long Term GMC Terrain and I had a great getting-to-know each other session last weekend during a marathon spring to San Francisco.

The first, very slow, leg was occupied with fuel economy. This wasn't as bad as it seems thanks to the extremely comfortable seats (take that, Crosstour) and the could-be-better-but-I'm-glad-it's-here iPod interface.

What could be better? Glad you asked...

1) No quick scroll to the end of your artists. The Terrain doesn't jump from letter to letter when it senses you're scrolling quickly. You just scroll and scroll and scroll and give up by L where, on my iPod, you've already passed 300 other artists.

2) No audiobook chapters. Audiobooks sometimes come in big, single files with chapters that the iPod recognizes as separate tracks even though it's still, technically, on track 1. The GMC Terrain does not agree or understand that chapters are important. The book is either open or closed. This wouldn't be terrible as there's very little scanning to be done in audiobooks, but when you accidentally hit the track forward button because it's the exact shape and size as the cruise control button, well, then you're stuck in FF land for a long, long time.

As for the rest of the Terrain on the trip...well....in a word....excellent.

Nav is easy and, shockingly, fast enough at re-routing to not miss the streets in cramped SF.

Seats, as I said before, fantastic for long drives.

The much maligned steering which is miserable to actually DRIVE, is light and forgiving on long highway hauls.

Parking the Terrain -- even without the beeps and camera -- is a snap. Visibility and being able to predict the corners of the truck is very good. I parallel parked this all weekend without a second thought.

Power is underwhelming. It'll do 80, but not happily and getting up a grade, you're pulling 4K rpm to keep 65. More would help. More is not necessary.

All told, I put something like 765.5 miles on our Terrain in a very short period of time and couldn't come up with a single viable complaint. Even my disappointing 29 mpg is still 29 mpg from a big car.

I thought I was a fan of the Terrain going into this drive, and this sealed the deal. Sure, I think the Chevy looks better, but still, great little truck.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor Edmunds.com @ 15,164 miles

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2010 GMC Terrain: iPhone iPod iOS4 Fail Fix

September 14, 2010


About four weeks ago I complained about my iPhone 3GS and its sudden unwillingness to talk to our 2010 GMC Terrain. Other vehicles in our long-term fleet were similarly affected.

Specifically, the iPod side of the device was no longer recognized, to varying degrees, by most, if not all, of our long-term test cars with dedicated iPod connections. Overnight, all of the Terrain's clever iPod interface controls and display functions that had been painstakingly developed by GM engineers were worthless.

This sudden reversal of fortune sprang up after I "updated" my iPod 3GS to the all-new and much-ballyhooed iOS4 iPhone operating system. I was not pleased. Minor updates 4.0.1 and 4.0.2 were no help. I seriously considered downgrading back to iOS3.

Then, about a week ago, Apple introduced yet another update, a more significant step called version 4.1. If you can't "see" this update when you sync to iTunes and check for updates, you might have to upgrade iTunes itself to its own latest iteration, version 10. Do the iTunes 10 upgrade first, then you can get iOS4.1 -- got it? It's less of a hassle than it sounds.

I don't know if OS4.1 was aimed specifically at the automobile incompatibility issue or not, but it's entirely possible because my rant was far from the only one. Apple took heat from many others. No matter. Whatever they changed, and for whatever reason, it worked. It's all better here in the 2010 GMC Terrain.

Well, mostly better. I'm still not certain if every single iPhone-iPod function works, and I haven't tried it in too many of the other cars in the fleet. But this is a good start.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 15,131 miles

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2010 GMC Terrain: Backing Up? Suspenders And a Belt. And Double-Sided Tape.

September 10, 2010

Terrain Back-Up Camera Display.JPG

Of course our long-term 2010 GMC Terrain has a useful back-up camera with guidelines and proximity zones. But in addition to the camera, our Terrain also has back-up warning lights above the rear window.

The first LED is lit as you approach the object. Get closer and the 2nd LED also illuminates orange. The 3rd LED lights up red when you are in near contact distance with that other car. Or reinforced concrete load-bearing garage pillar.

Topping off this Trifecta is parking sonar with an auditory alert. Some may find all this too much, but it's fine for me: I hate backing up big vehicles in tight confines.

So if you back into something in the Terrain, perhaps you were simultaneously updating your Facebook or Twitter status.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 14,250 miles

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2010 GMC Terrain: iPhone Fail With iOS4 "Upgrade"

August 19, 2010


I upgraded the operating system software in my iPhone 3GS a few weeks ago. Today, the fully integrated iPod connection in our 2010 GMC Terrain doesn't recognize the iPod music player half of this device at all.

It all seemed so wonderful. Apple introduced the iPhone 4, but they also threw a bone to those of us with the lowly 3GS model: they gave us the iOS4 operating system for free. No one could resist. Cool features and multitasking ensued.

Soon after I started noticing odd Bluetooth pairing and phonebook synching glitches on a variety of cars. iPod menus didn't always work right. In a 2011 Kia Sorento, I couldn't access any phone numbers through hands-free means. Then, yesterday, our 2010 GMC Terrain gave me the silent treatment. It toally refusd to recognize the iPod half of the device it had worked so well with weeks earlier, when my device ran on iOS3. I had to resort to the standard Aux jack and cable and use the iPhone's own interface to play podcasts and music.

Dear Apple: I suppose you guys drive cars. You can't all be riding fixies, right? So why does you new iOS4 totally Bogart the in-car iPod interfaces that carmakers have been designing for the last several months and years? Did you have to go and re-program all of the pin-outs to screw things up this badly? How about settling on one standard "iPod" interface and stick with it? You know damn well that cars are designed on a 5-year cycle. Besides, haven't you heard about the hands-free movement? If you're not careful, hands-free incompatibility with cars might actually put your customers in a legal quandry. The legislative tide is rising. Worse yet, insurance companies may weigh in. None of us wants that.

Dear Carmakers (except for Ford): Look, new phones are coming out all the time. Weekly, I'd guess. And they're not just Apple devices. Consumer electronics nerds are all about the latest and greatest, and the development cycles of the newest must-have gadgets are tens times shorter than the glacial pace of new car development. And within this hardware framework, new firmware and software for existing products is released quite often, in a form consumers can access and upload into their devices by themselves, for free. You guys have to get you act together and get compatible with this reality.

Dear Ford: Sync isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn good and it's easily the best automobile interface out there for such user devices. Best of all is the ability to upgrade the software to recognize new phones with a user's own computer and USB stick, for free, without a dealer visit. I did it a few months back so our 2009 Ford Flex could recognize a 3Gs iPhone. Worked like a charm. You get it. Thanks.

What? Wait a minute. My iTunes just alearted me to a new update for iOS4. iOS4.0.2 is ready for download into my iPhone...

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2010 GMC Terrain: What Day Is It?

August 17, 2010


Don't rush me. My life is flying by fast enough. I don't need the Terrain telling me it's tomorrow when it's only today. Well, it was last night, anyway.

Somehow, our GMC Terrain got ahead of itself. I fixed the date in about two seconds. Very easy. Get into clock mode and it asked me if I wanted to jump ahead or back a day. Hmm. GMC was prepared for this event?

Well, when the earth's magnetic field reverses itself in 2012 like the Mayans predicted and we all get wiped out with a solar flare, none of this will matter.

Have a nice day,

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2010 GMC Terrain: Running on Empty

July 30, 2010


I was running low in the GMC Terrain this morning. As I pulled into a gas station, the fuel warning light came on. And the Terrain also offered to find me the nearest station.

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2010 GMC Terrain: Butting Heads with the Buttons

July 30, 2010

GMC Terrain Buttons.jpg

Driving our long-term 2010 GMC Terrain the other day I realized something: I hate the memory preset button design.

As you'll note in this picture, the buttons are located at the top of the center stack, right below the display screen. Good location -- easy to see and access, which is what you want for what may be the most commonly used buttons in the center stack (at least if you're like me, and like to avoid radio commercials).

So what's the problem?

The problem is the angle of the buttons' movement. When I look at these buttons, and their location, I assume you either push them down or push them in. Those are certainly the easiest directions to move these buttons given their placement, right?

But no, these buttons are hinged -- at the top -- so you're supposed to push on the bottom part of them to rotate the lower part of these botton in. I'm going to put this design right up there with our long-term Camaro's steering wheel shape -- non-intuitive at its best, highly annoying at its worst.

Look at the picture again. These buttons are tightly packed into the center-stack, right up against other controls like the radio band button and circular/directional control. But there's all this open, empty space above the buttons, and of course there's plenty of space directly in front of them too. They should move down or in, not be hinged at the top and rotate at the bottom.

It requires much more precise finger placement/movement than commonly-used buttons should. In a world increasingly fixated on driver-distraction issues it's a bad design.

So for all these laws being written to ban texting and surfing the net on your smartphone, please call your local congressman and ask him to add a line about "changing your radio station presets in a GMC Terrain."

Karl Brauer, Editor at Large @ 11,270 miles

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2010 GMC Terrain: Thumb-wheel Cruise Control

July 15, 2010

GMC Terrain Cruise Control SW.JPG

Our long-term 2010 GMC Terrain has an interesting cruise control setup on the face of its steering wheel. There's a one-way rocker Master switch, but the speed setting switch is a momentary two-way quarter-turn thumbwheel. I haven't seen this setup before.

When the Master switch is turned on, a white telltale in the tach illuminates. The telltale turns green when the cruise speed is set.

The speed setting thumbwheel works just fine: no better or worse than a rocker switch, although I would think it costs more than a rocker.

I believe GMC chose this route for design symmetry with the thumbwheel voice/audio control on the other side of the wheel, which has become increasingly popular.

On a related note, myself and others I've spoken with no longer use cruise control as a driver workload-reducing convenience.

We instead use it to avoid traffic citations.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 10,800 miles

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2010 GMC Terrain: The Little Things Done Right

June 15, 2010


Like I said in my previous post, "I'm gonna keep an eye for for it's availability. I really like our Terrain." The keys became available to me again this past weekend. Would it be as good the second time around? I emphatically vote yes.

It was just as comfortable the second time around. My lady zonked out quick on our way to the movies Friday night. The guy I sold some craigslist stuff to on Saturday morning was impressed with the looks of it wanted to know more. A friend whom I gave a ride to a group dinner Saturday loved the Terrain. She took down some notes on her iPhone to look it up later on the internet.

There's a lot to like about the Terrain. It looks good, both inside and out. The ride is very comfortable. The fold flat seats made Sunday flea market finds easy to pack up. The easy to use navigation system found a business faster than my phone did.

I still feel it's a touch underpowered. I know some of you say you're getting tired of hearing it, but I think if you keep hearing it that says something. Honestly, I'm not expecting to be a high performance vehicle, it doesn't need to be, but it wheezes under it's own weight when pushed for highway passing. A few more horses and I'd feel a lot better about it.

The real kicker for me this time around was that as the warning light for the gas tank came on, the nav system offered to list the nearest gas stations. I thought that was really, really cool. For my own photographic work here at Edmunds, the mantra is "devil in the details." The Terrain gets it, and does it right.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2010 GMC Terrain: Progress

May 20, 2010


I like this feature. When listening to a CD in the Terrain, the display shows the progression of the song. I like knowing the length of the song and how far along I am into it.

Just a side note: The only reason it says Track 1 up top is because this is a home-burned CD and I didn't have any track listings on it. Not the fault of the Terrain.

If case you care, I was listening to The Who Greatest Hits Live. A Man In A Purse Dress is an awesome track.

What were you listening to on your commute this morning?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2010 GMC Terrain: A Little Crowded On the Dash

May 13, 2010


Just yesterday, I gave a pat on the back to Suzuki for the design of the head unit in the Kizashi. Today, I'll give GMC a mildly enthusiastic nod for the setup in the GMC Terrain.

As you can see, it's a bit more crowded that the setup in the Suzuki. It's not quite as obvious which buttons do what and the overall look isn't quite as aesthetically pleasing. That said, the GMC does manage to pack a whole bunch of functionality into a relatively small space. You've got a navigation system, audio controls and even a few phone switches all arranged in a relatively easy to use layout. I find myself searching around a little bit more than the Suzuki, but it's all accessible once you get used to it.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 7,477 miles

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2010 GMC Terrain: Satellite Radio Song Preview

April 26, 2010


Our 2010 Terrain is one of the first cars I've come across that lists the current artist playing for each XM satellite radio station. In my experience, though, I haven't found it all that valuable as I'm unlikely to be searching through stations beyond what I've already made as favorite presets. Plus, it's distracting to stare at the screen while scrolling though the station list and not the road ahead. But on a long road trip it could be nice as the front passenger might enjoy quickly finding out what's on a wider variety of stations beyond the established presets.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,346 miles

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2010 GMC Terrain: Push-Button Post-Surf Warmth

April 23, 2010

Terrain key fob.jpg

It's been an unseasonably cold and wet week in normally sunny and warm So Cal, especially by late-April standards. But surfers know that spring is when the ocean water is coldest due to strong seasonal winds that create upwelling and stir the most frigid water to the surface. So with this week's weather, wave riders like myself dealt with a double triple whammy of cold weather, winds and water.

That's why I was stoked to find that the GMC Terrain has a remote start feature. When I got out of the water, I could press the lock button on the key fob, then the little circular arrow below it and the engine would crank and the heater would kick in where I set it at 80 degrees. So by the time I peeled off my wetsuit -- and was really freezing -- I could hop into a nice and toasty interior.

As a bonus, I could hit the adjacent button on the remote for the power liftgate to more quickly stash my board and get changed. And not to be too picky, but there was one feature that the Terrain lacked that would make it a cold-water surfer's dream.

While you can set the climate control to any temperature before turning off the engine and it defaults to it when you crank it up with the remote start, the seat heaters don't turn back on. Fortunately, the Terrain's seats heat up quickly.

But it would be a bonus when you get out of the water and are freezing your buns off.

Doug "Moon Dog" Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology, Edmunds.com

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2010 GMC Terrain: Going Back in Time on the Radio

April 21, 2010

GMC Terrain.jpg

The radio in our long-term Terrain comes with a TiVo-like time-shift feature that you lets you rewind up to 20 minutes of a live broadcast and listen to it over again. So if you missed that traffic report, sports score or news item or just want to rock out to "Free Bird" again in its entirety, you can go back in time to listen to it again.

But with TV and TiVo, you know in advance what you want to watch and can set up to record it. With the time-shift feature in the Terrain you have to anticipate that you may miss something you want to record.

The feature works whether you're listening to AM, FM or XM. Hit the play/pause button to halt the live broadcast and begin buffering it to the Terrain's 40 GB hard drive. A status bar at the bottom of the radio display shows the amount of content stored in the buffer and the current pause point. To resume playback from the pause point, press the play/pause button again and you're listening to time-shifted content.

After enough content is buffered, you can use the seek up/down buttons to rewind or fast-forward through the time-shifted content. You can also press and hold the seek-up button at any point to go back to the live broadcast.

What's really cool is you can hit the seek up/down buttons to go to the next or previous song in the time-shift buffer. Another neat feature is that if you pause the radio before turning off the engine, content will continue to be buffered from the current radio station for up to 20 minutes. So if you jump back into the vehicle within 20 minutes, playback resumes from the paused point. No more waiting for that riveting NPR segment to end before running into Starbucks for your morning latte.

But if you change radio stations, the current content is dumped and the buffer automatically restarts from the new station. So if you switch to a different station and catch the last chords of your favorite tune, you can't go back and listen to it. Or, as happened to me this morning while switching from FM to XM, if you hear the DJ recite a long list of tracks after an extended set, you can't skip back to one you want to hear.

But maybe that will come later, along with larger automotive-grade hard drives like the 200 GB version Toshiba introduced last week.

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology, Edmunds.com

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2010 GMC Terrain: Monogamous?

April 01, 2010

GMC terrain iPod.jpg

I think my iPod and our 2010 GMC Terrain have formed an exclusive bond. I always thought my iPod was an open kind of guy, free-wheeling, fast-and-loose with the USB connections, never tied down, never settling. A confirmed bachelor. Though now I think I might have misjudged him.

Here's what happened: I'm in a BMW and I've got my iPod hooked up through the USB and everything's great. Then I hop into a Ford, SYNC it up and still, we're golden. Then I'm all up in a Honda and we're, again, good. Then I'm in the GMC Terrain and, again, listening just fine.

And then I go to a different BMW. the iPod's dead. I can't scroll through music, I can't access the main screen, the only option I have is random, and then there are only five (5) songs. I take it back home and try connecting to my computer, and two iPod docks-- nothin'. I'm sure, at this point, I need a new one. I try it in two more BMWs, two Fords and a mystery vehicle! All for naught.

But then, last night, I heaved out the iPod again and plugged it into the Terrain expecting to hear my new five favorite songs only to see that EVERY SONG IS AVAILABLE! IT'S ALIVE! I unplugged it and plugged it back in with no ill-effects-- all music all the time, baby!

So I scroll through the menu and eject the iPod-- most systems don't have this-- hoping I maybe rushed the extraction last time, and rushed over to another iPod compatible car.

5 songs.

I'm stumped. Thoughts? Suggestions beyond; "don't buy an iPod," "Buy a new iPod," "Drive to MA and get them married."

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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