2011 GMC Terrain Review

Pros & Cons

  • Quiet and attractive cabin
  • sophisticated ride
  • top-notch safety scores
  • roomy backseat
  • plenty of standard and optional features
  • good fuel economy.
  • Cargo space could be more generous
  • compromised visibility
  • numb steering.
List Price Range
$6,499 - $12,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2011 GMC Terrain models

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.

2011 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 GMC Terrain.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Save a life! Stay away!
Disgusted Terrain owner,09/08/2015
SLE-2 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Bought the 2011 Terrain used last month with 39k miles. It has stalled numerous times in traffic and check engine light is always on. I had to the GM service department and they can't figure it out. It uses 4 quarts of oil in 2k miles. GM tells me that is normal under their standards. I just pray this doesn't cause an accident with my kids in the back. GM prefers to not acknowledge this death trap.
Not what GMC promises
Dave A,09/10/2015
SLE-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Talk about false advertising, the actual gas mileage is no where near the EPA. At 60k miles, the timing chain needed replaced, a loud rattling noise continued and the on board diagnostic light keeps turning off and on. Recently the car started to lose oil - 3 quarts - about 3,000 miles after the last oil change. Also, the car has been hesitating and then stalling while in drive, very dangerous! One of the mechanics told us the timing chain was a constant problem...why no recall? Also, there have been 3 recalls in the past 4 years. This is the 4th GMC vehicle we've owned and it will definitely be the last. We should have quit buying GMC after the first one....!
Save a life and stay away from GMC Terrains
kevin0304,12/09/2014
Must be one of the most dangerous cars on the road. It WILL stall and leave you stranded on highway, intersection, or a parking lot. And you won't be able to get it restarted. It mysteriously loses oil and will require expensive repairs to get it started again with no guarantee the stalling will stop. You get no warning. GMC won't acknowledge the problem even though service departments have the replace parts packaged and ready as though they know the engine should be recalled. Will be donating the car to the local fire department to do car burning training rather than reselling. I couldn't sleep knowing I sold the car to someone who could die in it.
Where is the gas mileage?
jess736,09/19/2011
We purchased a 4 cyl Terrain earlier this year. We like the vehicle overall but are very disappointed with the 21.6 MPG average over the first 9000 miles of driving. Most of the driving is on the freeway. Even on a long trip the best ever on a tank of gas was 23.5mpg. The main reason for us selecting the Terrain over other SUVs was the advertised mileage. We really feel we were scammed. I know that the EPA mileage to be questionable but to exaggerate the numbers by over 33% is almost criminal. Of course the salesman sold us on the 32 MPG but after talking to the service techs they tell me that there is no way that this vehicle can get more that 23 to 24 MPG. Of course now that we ha

Features & Specs

See all Used 2011 GMC Terrain features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat4 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover19.1%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 GMC Terrain

Used 2011 GMC Terrain Overview

The Used 2011 GMC Terrain is offered in the following submodels: Terrain SUV. Available styles include SLE-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLE-2 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLT-2 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLE-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), and SLE-1 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 GMC Terrain?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 GMC Terrain trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 GMC Terrain SLT-1 is priced between $6,499 and$12,990 with odometer readings between 62669 and142959 miles.
  • The Used 2011 GMC Terrain SLE-1 is priced between $7,499 and$7,624 with odometer readings between 106731 and140759 miles.
  • The Used 2011 GMC Terrain SLE-2 is priced between $8,998 and$8,998 with odometer readings between 112596 and112596 miles.
  • The Used 2011 GMC Terrain SLT-2 is priced between $9,500 and$9,500 with odometer readings between 143603 and143603 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2011 GMC Terrains are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 GMC Terrain for sale near. There are currently 8 used and CPO 2011 Terrains listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,499 and mileage as low as 62669 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 GMC Terrain.

Can't find a used 2011 GMC Terrains you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Terrain for sale - 11 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $14,679.

Find a used GMC for sale - 2 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $10,354.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Terrain for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $15,727.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 2 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $18,570.

Should I lease or buy a 2011 GMC Terrain?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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