Better Commuter Than I Expected - 2011 GMC Terrain Long-Term Road Test

2011 GMC Terrain Long-Term Road Test

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2011 GMC Terrain: Better Commuter Than I Expected

October 19, 2010


I've just spent the last 4 days in our long-term 2011 GMC Terrain. I really hadn't expected to form any kind of attachment to it, because small SUVs really aren't my thing. Yet, I found the Terrain surprisingly agreeable for driving around Los Angeles.

To start, the Terrain's ride quality is quite good. There's nothing floaty about it. The suspension feels buttoned down but never harsh over our rain-grooved freeways -- not something I take for granted with 18-inch wheels. The P235/55R18 99T Michelin Latitude tires are quiet, too.

I also think the Terrain has a nice feel for the road going around corners. There's nothing overtly sporty about it, but it's balanced and secure, and body roll is well controlled in normal driving.

The one thing I still don't like is the electric-assist power steering. It's great in parking lots (light and precise enough) and fine around town, but the assist doesn't drop away enough as you reach highway speeds. If the steering had slightly more weight to it on the freeway, the Terrain would be just about ideal.

Finally, the 2.4-liter engine. Surprisingly, it didn't bother me. There are no uphill grades on my typical weekend routes, so that probably helped. But I had little difficulty getting up to speed or passing in spite of the modest torque (172 lb-ft at 4,900 rpm) and the eager-to-upshift automatic transmission. Mind you, the engine sounds like a blender under full throttle, but it sounds like a brand-new blender that isn't going to jam up or overheat when I make pesto.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 17,258 miles

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