2011 GMC Terrain Review
2011 GMC Terrain Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- 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.
For 2011, the GMC Terrain is unchanged other than improved voice recognition technology for OnStar.
Just like the similar Chevrolet Equinox, the 2011 GMC Terrain is a top choice for a compact crossover SUV
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2011 GMC Terrain SLE-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$147/mo for Terrain SLE-1
Avg. Compact SUV
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2024 GMC Terrain SLE
SLE, SLT, AT4 and Denali
See All Trims
*The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees, and optional equipment. Dealer sets final price. Click here to see all GMC vehicles’ destination freight charges.
3.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
2 out of 5 stars
Very Noisy Engine - Rattling Sound on Start Up - G
Frank Gibbs, 08/17/2015
2011 GMC Terrain SLE-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Stay away from the 4 cylinder. I have a 2011 Terrain with the 4 cylinder engine and i know that it is just a matter of time before the engine goes. It rattles on crank up, sounds like metal scraping against metal. Transmission jumps on occasion and the gas mileage is very much exaggerated by GM. It does not get near the mileage that they state in their bulletin on the Terrain. I … would not recommend this vehicle to a friend.
2 out of 5 stars
Can't cover any terrain since in shop.
2011 GMC Terrain SLT-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
On the three years I have had my car. I've had to fire air bag wiring. Told was not covered. I've replaced the manifold, catalytic converter, there was a oil consumption issue, this past week I replaced the thermostat and water pump. The backup camera hasn't worked great since the fixed the consumption issue. Didn't know the navigation was suppose to work with onstar until I read … comments. Can't trade in because resale value is poor. I've pumped in over 6,000 dollars this car and the dealer had the nerve to say today. Think it's time to trade in. The only reason the consumption issue was fixed is my husband complained to GMC because the dealer wasn't listening.
1 out of 5 stars
2011 GMC Terrain SLE-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Purchased this vehicle used by one owner for 3,000 miles in 2013. This vehicle has about 70,000 miles and I ended the night mare when I traded it with another dealer other than the "terrifying GMC". The car drives great other than having my first nightmare when the transmission stalled and the engine light turns on when your on the express way by a toll exit!!! Fine, got repaired after … numerous apologies from GMC. That was after 6 months!! Then, the year after owning the engine was burning too much oil after I have complained several times and all the advisors say there is no problem with the engine maam. Really? Then they keep my car again for another two weeks after they believed me!! Changed out the engine parts....ok fine. As of a month ago the "terrifying of all terrifying" my whole entire transmission fails and stalls on me at an intersection!! The advisor at GMC does not help me at all but tells me to tow the car there and no cars available to use while my car is in repair for almost three weeks!! Then decides to call me days later after my nightmare to apologize and then offer me to use a loaner??? I totally understand the concept cars break down but not a second time after you had time to repair my transmission the first time!! I was so furious, and all I got was apologies. Definately not happy. Just what I thought exactly the first time all over again. GMC has taken a toll over and over again. Never ever doing business with GMC, people please take your money and business elsewhere. I am no happy I ended my night mare and got me a new honda hr-v. By the way has great ratings and drives and feels really safe.
1 out of 5 stars
Save a life and stay away from GMC Terrains
2011 GMC Terrain SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
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.
2011 Terrain Highlights
|Combined MPG||26 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$147/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat4 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover19.1%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood