Date Driven: 9/3/2010 (2010 2.4L 4-cyl 2WD)
With over 2 tons (with driver) to propel, the base four-cylinder engine and its 182 horses are faced with a tall order. Performance is adequate, but no more. Also, we had difficulty achieving its rated fuel economy in many real-world situations.
Steering and handling are predictable. The Terrain isn't particularly sporty, but it is secure. Our measured stopping distance of 121 feet from 60 mph is solid for this class.
Rough pavement and jointed concrete freeways sometimes come through to the cabin, but in general the Terrain's ride is flat and smooth. Our car's leather front and rear seats proved comfortable over the long haul.
Idle noise is low, but the cabin grows a bit louder than average when cruising the freeway. It's not distracting because wind, tire and engine noise are in balance. The engine isn't loud when you push it, but the sound it makes is a bit coarse.
The Terrain's driving position is sound, and the seats and steering column offer a wide adjustment range. Most of the controls on the attractive dash are easy to use; the exception being a tight grouping of same-size audio/nav buttons.
Forward visibility is pretty good, but the squared-off nose hides the view directly in front. Visibility to the rear is OK, but the high beltline and thin pillars do represent obstructions. Our optional rearview camera helps.
Seat Access & Space
The Terrain's step-in and seat heights are neither too high nor too low -- it's right in the sweet spot for seniors. Front- and rear-seat space are similarly generous.
Cargo & Storage
There's room for lots of cargo, the space is squared-off and mostly usable and the lift-over height is relatively low. Ours has a power rear hatch that can be programmed to open to a lower height if a shorter driver so chooses.
Panel fitment is good. The paint is solid, but unremarkable. The interior looks like it is well made, but the price point of this vehicle prevents the use of more-luxurious materials.
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder Terrain like ours is rated to tow 1,500 pounds, but that's a maximum that assumes you're alone and not bogged down with gear. Get the V6 if you'll tow regularly.
Yes, there's some ground clearance, but this Terrain is a front-drive model. The AWD versions are best suited to snow and graded dirt road duty.