2011 GMC Terrain SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 GMC Terrain SUV

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GMC Terrain Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 182 hp @ 6700 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 GMC Terrain

  • Just like the similar Chevrolet Equinox, the 2011 GMC Terrain is a top choice for a compact crossover SUV

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Quiet and attractive cabin; sophisticated ride; top-notch safety scores; roomy backseat; plenty of standard and optional features; good fuel economy.

  • Cons

    Cargo space could be more generous; compromised visibility; numb steering.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, the GMC Terrain is unchanged other than improved voice recognition technology for OnStar.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (9 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Gmc bombed on ths one!!!!

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Terrain SLT-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Needed a larger vehicle so traded my car in Dec 2010 for a new 2011 Terrain. I have always loved GMC but this has made me reconsider. They REALLY BOMBED on this one...its a JOKE! Its been in the shop many times. 1) Gas mileage is straight out a lie. Cannot get the gas mileage they claim by going down hill with a tail wind. 2) Leather seat cover zipper ripped wthin first year, also, they contiinue to pull up and away from the seats. 3) Service airbag light goes on and off and has been "fixed" several times...lol. 4) Rear storage charging port comes out...again, "fixed" several times. 5) AC has complete mind of its own. Will be workng great then blows hot air. 6) stalls and wont start

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

7 times in the shop

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Terrain SLT-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I thought I was exchanging a 9 year Murano that was needing it's 5 transmission (which was still under warranty and was no longer reliable as something I could depend on, wrong! This 2011 terrain has been in the shop 7 times for a total of the same 3 problems. 4 times for cutting off and cutting out on me, the lift gate made loud noises when it got hot and finally after 5 times in the shop in which they told me unless it makes the notice when it is in here you will just have wait until breaks, well it did and came down on my head. The air stopped working last summer twice while it was in the high 90's you could turn it back on after about 20 minutes and it would work again.


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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Terrain SLT-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Bought the vehicle with 19k miles on. It immediately needed a air intake sensor and valve. I travel about 350miles weekly and took a 1000 mile round trip with it. It is a smooth ride, not bad pick up even at higher speeds for a 4 cylinder. All the controls are readily accessible, not having to search them. With owning about a dozen cars in the past, I usually buy non-american, but liked the features and style on it so i gave it a shot and so far enjoying it. The biggest downfall I've seen was the suggested gas mileage. I'm getting about 18-24mpg, thats city and hwy at different speeds, but to counteract that you can get around 400 miles on a tank- I have bad driving habits though!

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

Criminal mpg advertising!!!!

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Terrain SLT-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I have never written a review before but feel obligated to warn others of my mistake. I bought my 2011 GMC Terrain in Dec 2010. As of August 2011, I have put close to 20K miles on my vehicle...mostly all highway mileage due to outside sales. After extensive research on this vehicle, and others in its class, I went with the Terrain for the advertised highway MPG. I read all of the reviews that explicitly pointed out that the mileage fell short. I assumed that if it fell short of the 32 MPG around 26-28 MPG, that's still great. I have done everything possible to only get 22-23 MPG at best...at that is in the "ECO" mode. I've developed OCD watching instantaneous fuel economy. Terrible!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Give the gas mileage some

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Terrain SLT-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I have heard numerous complaints about the gas mileage. I will say, I was one of those people complaining until I took a recent trip and drove nearly 1,500 miles. At this point, I have 6,000 total miles on my Terrain and I can finally say, I AM getting the gas mileage advertised. Until my trip, I was lucky to get 24-26. I am now fairly steady at 29-31. Drove into work this morning (a 1-hour commute) at 30.6 the entire way. I was told to give it time but I was a nay sayer. I'm happy to say, it was true. After a good "break-in" period, my Terrain is getting gas mileage. Outside of that, I have no issues whatsoever with this vehicle. It's rugged in appearance and drives wonderfully!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Epa mileage is accurate ---

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Vehicle: 2011 GMC Terrain SLT-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I live in a semi rural area where it's possible to drive with cruise control set at 50 - 55 MPH. Under these conditions, it's entirely possible to get the rated 32 MPG. The EPA definition of "Highway" does not mean "expressway" or "interstate". The EPA test methodology is explained at: [HTML deleted] Note that the average speed on an EPA highway mileage test run is 48.3 MPH. Obviously this isn't representative of a morning commute on an urban expressway. However, the same method is used by the EPA for all vehicles. Even if your driving habits differ, the EPA numbers are still useful on a relative basis. PS I think it's a great vehicle

Full 2011 GMC Terrain Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the GMC Terrain is unchanged other than improved voice recognition technology for OnStar.


Compact crossovers have quickly become the go-to choice for a family-friendly sport-utility that's cheaper, more fuel-efficient and better suited to tighter urban confines than bigger SUVs. At the same time, these crossovers have also tended to be a little noisier, less refined and not as appealing for long-distance family road trips. The 2011 GMC Terrain, on the other hand, is a small crossover SUV that manages to feel grown up and refined at the same time.

Like the Chevy Equinox with which it shares everything except exterior styling, the GMC Terrain finds the middle ground between compact and midsize crossover SUVs. While it offers nearly as much interior space as a midsize Ford Edge, its lighter weight means it can make do with its standard four-cylinder engine. We've discovered the Terrain is not quite as fuel-efficient with this engine as its segment-leading EPA estimates would indicate, but compared to the 2011 Ford Explorer and 2011 GMC Yukon, the four-cylinder Terrain is bound to save you some money. There's also a moderately powered V6 option for those who need a bit more grunt for carrying around growing children and their gear.

The Terrain's grown-up feel isn't just literal, however. Its designers went out of their way to make the cabin visually interesting in a segment where stark utility has generally reigned supreme. An abundance of acoustic insulation and an innovative noise-canceling system (yep, like those fancy Bose headphones) make the cabin noticeably quieter than its competitors, while the Terrain's ride and seating is comfortable and more indicative of a bigger SUV.

Overall, we're quite fond of the 2011 GMC Terrain, though you'll want to take a look at other top models as well. The 2011 Honda CR-V and 2011 Toyota RAV4 are more agile and offer better cargo capacity, plus the small sport-utes afford better visibility from the driver seat than the somewhat claustrophobic Terrain. The 2011 Kia Sorento can't match the Terrain's roomy backseat, but it does offer better value and a sportier drive. Each one of these models is a great pick, but the GMC Terrain stands tall, especially if you're stepping down from a bigger, more grown-up SUV.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 GMC Terrain is a midsize crossover SUV available in SLE 1, SLE 2, SLT 1 and SLT 2 trim levels.

Standard equipment on the SLE 1 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, tinted windows, heated mirrors, cruise control, a backseat with sliding and reclining features, six-way adjustable driver seat, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rearview camera, OnStar and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB interface and satellite radio.

The SLE 2 adds roof rails, automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded cloth upholstery, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system. The Convenience package adds heated front seats and remote engine start.

The SLT 1 adds the Convenience package items plus 18-inch wheels and leather upholstery. The SLT 2 gets rear parking sensors, a power tailgate (with adjustable maximum height), chrome exterior trim, driver memory functions and a sunroof.

Some of the upper trim's extra features are available as options on the lower trims. Depending on trim, you can also select 19-inch chrome-clad wheels, a voice-controlled navigation system (with digital music storage) and a dual-screen rear entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

Every GMC Terrain comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. The Terrain also comes standard with front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional across the board.

In performance testing, a front-drive, four-cylinder Terrain went from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds -- on the slow end for the class. Estimated fuel economy stands at 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 20/29/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. These numbers are impressive, but after extensive testing, we have failed to see such thriftiness from the four-cylinder Terrain -- especially on the highway.

Optional for the GMC Terrain SLE 2 and SLT 1 is a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 264 hp and 222 lb-ft of torque. In performance testing, an all-wheel-drive Terrain with this engine went from a standstill to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, which is also on the slow side. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city/25mpg highway and 20 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 17/24/20 with all-wheel drive.


Every 2011 GMC Terrain comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a rearview camera and OnStar. Rear parking sensors are optional. In Edmunds brake testing, a four-cylinder Terrain came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet. A heavier V6 model did the same task in 127 feet. Both results are about average for the segment.

In government crash tests, the Terrain's Chevy Equinox twin received a perfect five stars in all front and side crash categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave the Equinox and Terrain the best possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The GMC Terrain's cabin is remarkably stylish, particularly by the standards of this typically utilitarian segment. The slick-looking dashboard design is quite modern and the Terrain's high-tech navigation and entertainment options only heighten its appeal. However, many of the buttons are flush-mounted and tightly grouped, meaning they can be difficult to decipher at a glance.

In terms of accommodations, the Terrain (and its Equinox sibling) boasts the most welcoming backseat in the class thanks to a rear bench that both reclines and slides. This makes it perfect for the legs of big kids and the car seats of little kids. Unfortunately, when the backseat is in its most rearward position, cargo capacity shrinks to among the least in the class. Rob the kids of some legroom, though, and you should be able to fit in all their stuff despite a rather narrow compartment. Maximum cargo capacity stands at 63.7 cubic feet, which is about 6 cubes shy of the more utilitarian Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Driving Impressions

The Terrain's base four-cylinder engine should provide enough acceleration for most buyers, as compact SUVs are hardly known for thrilling performance. Its fuel economy isn't quite as stellar as its EPA numbers would suggest, but the Terrain remains one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs on the road. If you frequently haul around a lot of people or cargo, the optional V6 should provide the needed grunt.

On the move, the 2011 GMC Terrain is impressively quiet and boasts a comfortable ride indicative of a much bigger, more expensive SUV. However, we'd suggest sticking with the 17- or 18-inch wheels, as the larger 19s noticeably degrade the ride quality. The Terrain's capabilities when it comes to handing won't have you thinking sports car but certainly will make you think of a car, and despite the numb steering, the vehicle's overall competence will please most drivers.

Read our GMC Terrain Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Talk About The 2011 Terrain

Read more about the 2011 GMC Terrain

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs