2013 GMC Terrain Review

Pros & Cons

  • Premium look inside and out
  • quiet cabin with lots of storage bins
  • spacious and adjustable backseat
  • comfortable highway ride.
  • Not quite as much cargo space as chief rivals
  • numb and uncommunicative steering
  • poor outward visibility.
List Price Range
$7,995 - $14,598

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2013 GMC Terrain models

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.

2013 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2013 GMC Terrain.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Love this dependable vehicle
Ann,02/01/2016
SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I purchased this vehicle new in 2013 and love it. Ride, handling, gas mileage, are great with no complaints. I recently traded it for a 2019 Acadia because I wanted a vehicle to pull a trailer.
Known Defect in Engine Oil Consumption
DD,03/15/2019
SLE-1 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I recently bought a 2013 GMC Terrain 2.4 L. The price seemed fair and vehicle appeared to be in good condition with relatively low miles. I did purchase an after market warranty, and am so thankful I did. I have had this vehicle for less than 5 months, and am now having to replace the engine. The engine not only consumes oil, but also builds condensation. My first indication of this was during a routine oil change when emulsified oil was found on the oil cap and the dipstick. No actual oil level was showing, only the emulsified oil film. When opening the drain plug, only about 2 to 2 1/2 quarts of oil came out. I felt the oil and found a fine gritty feeling in the oil...very bad sign. First thing Monday morning I called a GMC dealer and brought the vehicle to them reporting emulsified oil in the engine. Later that day I received a call telling me the timing chain needed replaced. As I have found out since, this is a common practice, but is not and does not resolve the root cause, it is just a band aid to put money in the dealers pocket. The repair facility stated I had mentioned a noise coming from the engine, which I had not done, performed and engine diagnostics, which I hadn't authorized, then told me I would owe them several hundred dollars that was not covered in my aftermarket warranty. Mind you, I had not check engine light, no alarms, no indication of any problem other that the oil issue I visually and physically saw. I have had to fight with the dealers repair facility to get the root cause of the problem addressed and an adjuster from the warranty company went to the facility to inspect the engine. Then and only then did I find out this engine would have to be replaced and as I did my own research found this is a common and ongoing issue with this engine. I have a friend with a 2017 Terrain that I asked if they were having any issues, and the told me that there last oil change they had emulsified oil on the dipstick. Welcome to my world. They fortunately are still under manufacturers warranty and are planning to get rid of the vehicle. GM has known about this problem and refuses to address it and make it right for their customers, even after our tax dollars went to bail them out. Shame on you and your 7 figure bonuses. I have always bought American, but this will definitely change that. Our federal government should step in and force them to fix their mess. I will still be on the hook for several hundred dollars and will only have a used engine as a replacement. So here we go again. Once repaired I will need to get rid of the vehicle as I still have a few years left on the loan. DO NOT BUY.
Great Ride
cousman,02/23/2014
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)
Regretful buy
Louie Aggy,02/24/2017
SLE-2 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Extremely disappointed with my 2013 GMC Terrain. It has a 2.4 cylinder engine that consumes too much oil between oil changes. A Technical Service Bulletin was issued by GM for the problem but they have not done a full recall yet. Vehicle was stalling due to low oil issues. Intake Solenoid had to be replaced because of low oil levels. Transmission fluid leaked from trans torque converter seal, left rear wheel hub had to be replaced due to bearings going bad all with just 52k miles. The engine specifically in my vehicle is a safety hazard/concern for anyone with a family. My wife is a nanny and does not drive the vehicle aggressively.

Features & Specs

MPG
22 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
182 hp @ 6700 rpm
MPG
22 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
182 hp @ 6700 rpm
MPG
22 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
182 hp @ 6700 rpm
MPG
22 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
182 hp @ 6700 rpm
See all Used 2013 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 2013 GMC Terrain

Used 2013 GMC Terrain Overview

The Used 2013 GMC Terrain is offered in the following submodels: Terrain SUV. Available styles include SLE-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLE-2 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Denali 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Denali 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLE-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLE-1 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLT-2 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), and SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2013 GMC Terrain?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 GMC Terrain trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 GMC Terrain SLE-2 is priced between $7,995 and$13,500 with odometer readings between 77750 and117511 miles.
  • The Used 2013 GMC Terrain SLE-1 is priced between $9,988 and$14,598 with odometer readings between 72001 and76324 miles.
  • The Used 2013 GMC Terrain SLT-1 is priced between $10,598 and$12,995 with odometer readings between 80662 and124112 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 2013 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) 2013 GMC Terrain for sale near. There are currently 13 used and CPO 2013 Terrains listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,995 and mileage as low as 72001 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 2013 GMC Terrain.

Can't find a used 2013 GMC Terrains you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Terrain for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $11,670.

Find a used GMC for sale - 2 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $15,647.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Terrain for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $23,571.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 1 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $24,455.

Should I lease or buy a 2013 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.

Check out GMC lease specials
Check out GMC Terrain lease specials