2013 GMC Terrain SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2013 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 Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2013 GMC Terrain

  • The 2013 GMC Terrain is a generously packaged, high-content compact crossover that covers the ground between mainstream and all-out luxury entries.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Premium look inside and out; quiet cabin with lots of storage bins; spacious and adjustable backseat; comfortable highway ride.

  • Cons

    Not quite as much cargo space as chief rivals; numb and uncommunicative steering; poor outward visibility.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, the GMC Terrain gets a larger and markedly stronger V6 engine. Also new is a revised touchscreen audio interface that includes smartphone app integration (IntelliLink). Finally, GMC has added a new, top-level Denali trim level.

Full 2013 GMC Terrain Review

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the GMC Terrain gets a larger and markedly stronger V6 engine. Also new is a revised touchscreen audio interface that includes smartphone app integration (IntelliLink). Finally, GMC has added a new, top-level Denali trim level.

Introduction

The 2013 GMC Terrain is the effective twin of General Motors' Chevrolet Equinox, but its generally higher content and better-appointed cabin place it in the middle ground between mainstream and luxury compact crossovers. The Terrain's size ? larger than most compact crossovers but not quite as large as midsize models -- also makes it a 'tweener and an intriguing option for those seeking a little more stretch-out space and a little more luxury than most everyday compact crossovers provide.

Edging the 2013 Terrain even closer to the luxury end of the spectrum is the debut of the Terrain Denali, an all-encompassing, high-content trim level GMC has offered with great success in its other model lines. The Denali trim comes loaded with virtually all the optional features of the other Terrain trims, leaving it up to the buyer to choose from just a few extras (such as a navigation system) and powertrain configuration (standard four-cylinder or optional V6 engine and front- or all-wheel drive). The Denali also offers unique exterior and interior treatments to further differentiate it from other Terrain trims.

Also shifting the 2013 Terrain closer to premium brand entries is the new 3.6-liter dual-cam V6, whose 301 horsepower is greater than what many luxury compact crossovers offer. The larger and more powerful V6 comes at no extra cost at the gas pump, however. Despite being 14 percent stronger, this 3.6-liter V6 delivers the same fuel-economy ratings as the 3.0-liter V6 it replaces.

When it comes to the small crossover SUV segment, you're not exactly hurting for choices. If you want a bit more cargo capacity at a lower price, the 2013 Honda CR-V and 2013 Kia Sorento are solid picks. Alternately, the 2013 Ford Escape and Volkswagen Tiguan would be better if you want something that's more involving to drive. For similar money, you could move a size up and consider the Dodge Journey, Ford Explorer and Nissan Murano. Overall, though, we like the Terrain, finding it to be an intriguing middle ground for those who want most of the utility of a midsize crossover along with extra refinement and features.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 GMC Terrain is available in SLE, SLT and Denali trim levels. The SLE and SLT trims are further subdivided into two levels: SLE-1 and -2 and SLT-1 and -2.

Standard equipment for the base SLE-1 trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, heated sideview mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, cruise control, a power height-adjustable driver seat, a sliding and reclining backseat, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, OnStar, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a 7-inch touchscreen interface that includes satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface.

The SLE-2 trim adds roof rails, automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded cloth upholstery, an upgraded eight-speaker Pioneer audio system and GM's IntelliLink user interface (that allows voice command for some phone and audio functions). The Safety package (lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert and rear park assist) can be added, as can the Convenience package with its heated front seats and remote engine start.

The more feature-laden SLT-1 includes the Convenience package plus leather upholstery. Moving to the SLT-2 brings 18-inch chromed wheels, a sunroof, the Safety package, a height-selectable power liftgate, chrome exterior trim, charcoal-chrome grille and driver-seat memory functions.

The new Denali trim incorporates everything standard for the SLT-2, but adds Denali-specific wheels, rear cross-traffic and side blind-zone alert systems, an eight-way power passenger seat and special exterior/interior trim details.

A navigation system is optional for all Terrains except the SLE. A dual-screen DVD rear-entertainment system is available for SLT-2 and Denali.

Powertrains and Performance

The standard engine for every 2013 GMC Terrain is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 182 hp and 172 pound-feet of torque. It is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Optional for any Terrain except the SLE-1 is a 3.6-liter V6 that churns out a hefty 301 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque, both significant increases over the Terrain's former 3.0-liter V6. This engine also is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission; the combination can tow 3,500 pounds. Also optional for any four-cylinder or V6 Denali is all-wheel drive.

The four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive Terrain returns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. With all-wheel drive, those numbers drop to 20/29/23.

Meanwhile, despite being almost 40 hp stronger than last year's V6, the new 3.6-liter V6 manages the same fuel economy; front-wheel-drive models are rated at 17/24/20 and all-wheel drive stands at 16/23/19.

In Edmunds testing, we clocked a front-wheel-drive four-cylinder Terrain from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds, an average time for the class.

Safety

The 2013 GMC Terrain is fitted with standard antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. Also standard is GM's OnStar emergency communications system, which includes automatic crash notification, an emergency assistance button, remote door unlock and stolen vehicle assistance. Lane departure warning, collision warning, rear park assist, blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert are standard or optional, depending on the trim level.

The Terrain brakes confidently. In Edmunds testing, a four-cylinder Terrain came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, a few feet shorter than average.

In government crash tests, the Terrain earned an overall score of four stars (out of five), with four stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Terrain the best possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

GMC might still be perceived as a "truck" brand, but the 2013 Terrain's nicely appointed interior is anything but rugged to the eye or to the touch. The dashboard is styled in two graceful curves and the gauges and secondary controls are highlighted by soft blue backlighting, while soothing ambient light oozes around other interior spaces.

The 7-inch color touchscreen display that's standard even on the base Terrain is symbolic of GMC's aim to make the Terrain a cut above everyday compact crossovers. The audio system has a customized menu that can also be enhanced with the IntelliLink system, which uses Bluetooth streaming audio to enable integration of smartphone apps such as Pandora and Stitcher. The screen's menus are well organized, but the system's occasional slow or missed responses to touch inputs can be frustrating.

Particularly noticeable is the attention to sound deadening in the Terrain. An acoustic windshield and other noise-killing measures -- including an active noise-cancellation system for four-cylinder models -- work wonders in muting tire and wind noise, even during high-speed cruising. The front bucket seats are comfortable and all occupants relish in the Terrain's wide cabin. Utility is maximized by the 2013 Terrain's standard sliding rear seat, which allows you to quickly optimize either rear seat legroom or rear cargo space, depending on your needs.

That said, even considering the Terrain's almost-midsize footprint, it's not entirely efficient with its interior space. With the rear seats folded, the Terrain's 63.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity is noticeably less than that of the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota RAV4. Outward visibility is also below-average.

Driving Impressions

The 2013 GMC Terrain's six-cylinder power is so markedly improved that the standard four-cylinder is difficult to deliberately select, particularly for those who envision using the Terrain for ferrying lots of passengers or towing a trailer. The fact that the new 3.6-liter engine's extra power comes with no fuel efficiency penalty compared to the Terrain's former 3.0-liter V6 only makes the decision to go with the Terrain's four-cylinder engine even more difficult.

Furthermore, the Terrain's near-luxury aspirations seem to almost require V6 power to complement its high-end styling and features. But the main issue is that the Terrain is not a particularly light example of the breed, so the 182 hp churned out by the hard-working four-cylinder will likely satisfy only those whose chief concern is eking out a few more miles per gallon.

The 2013 Terrain's refined ride and cozy interior are the payoff for the extra weight, however. The Terrain glides over road warts that leave more utilitarian rivals feeling out of sorts and it boasts a hushed cabin at interstate cruising speeds. The new Terrain Denali gets special rear shocks to further cushion the ride, but don't expect any Terrain to handle with particular sharpness. Comfort, refinement and high content are the 2013 GMC Terrain's calling cards.

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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Noisy

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Terrain SLE-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

This is by far the noisiest car that I have owned. Their is no sound deadening material used to block road noise coming from the tires on the pavement. On black top, not so bad but on concrete forget it. Our 2008 Ford Escape has the same tire but with very little road noise. When I listen to the radio I have to turn the volume way up to here it over the sound coming from the road. The blind spot mirror is poorly designed and not very helpful.




Perfect suv for me!

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Terrain Denali 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I researched several SUVs before I decided to lease the 2013 Terrain AWD Denali in October 2013 and I love it! The V-6 provides a quiet, smooth ride. I love the red accent lighting and red stitching on the seats and dash. The back seat also has lots of leg room which is nice because a lot of my friends are tall. The backup camera needs a little work. It gets dirty easily and depth perception is off. Usually the longer I have a vehicle, the more I find that I don't like about it but the longer I have this SUV, the more I love it!



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great ride

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Terrain SLE-1 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

This is perhaps the most comfortable vehicle I have owned. Prior the Terrain I had an Audi and two cars ago a Mercedes and I do not for a second regret changing continents. I always chuckle a little bit when reviews say that such and such a car has less enthusiastic performance... compared to what. I tested a Mercedes GLK the same day as the Terrain, granted I used the gas peddle differently but I noticed no difference in acceleration and the handling was better with the GMC. In fact the stability when cornering is superior to that of my last five vehicles (3 Japanese and 2 German)




Noisy

by on
Vehicle: 2013 GMC Terrain SLE-2 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

A 3.6 cylinder engine option was not listed although that is what I have in mine. Road noise is terrible, especially on concrete. Thought it might be the tires but my wife has the exact same tire on a 2008 Ford Escape and it is 50 to 60% quieter than my Terrain. You would think for the price of this car it would have a quiet ride. I have the 6 cyl and only get and average of 20 mpg combined city & highway. Blind spot mirror is poorly designed



3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Love it, but....

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Terrain SLE-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I just bought a 2013 Terrain SLE-1 FWD. I really like the vehicle, but the build quality is terrible, There a 1/4" gap on the left front side between the hood and headlight/fender. Also, on the right side, the front and rear doors do not align. QC must of had the day off when they built this one. I didnt not notice these things til I got home and really looked it over. I am taking it back to the dealership tomorrow to get a different one as this one has who knows how many other defects. I hope they do me right as I really like the Terrain, it has decent power, is really quite, and the interior is super nice. I will post an update in a day or two and let you know how GMC handles this.



13 of 33 people found this review helpful

Our forever vehicle

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Vehicle: 2013 GMC Terrain SLE-2 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

We did a lot of research and a lot of looking around before we decided on the GMC Terrain. Lots of test drives etc. We purchased our Terrain new Sept 2012. I am guilty of nitpicking a vehichle apart and I can say I am STILL as in love with our car as day one. The gas milage, the smooth ride, the very sharp interior just cant be beat. This is definitely going to be our forever vehicle.



Talk About The 2013 Terrain

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

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

Identifix Reliability Ratings

Rating unavailable for this vehicle

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