2015 GMC Terrain Review

Pros & Cons

  • Premium look inside and out
  • quiet interior
  • comfortable highway ride
  • powerful available V6 engine
  • spacious and adjustable backseat.
  • Four-cylinder version feels sluggish on the highway and real-world mpg falls well short of EPA ratings
  • less cargo space than rivals
  • steering isn't very precise
  • IntelliLink infotainment controls can be finicky.
List Price Range
$12,429 - $23,981

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2015 GMC Terrain is a compact crossover SUV with a comfortable ride and an available V6 engine that's worth checking out. Compared to newer, sleeker crossovers though, the Terrain may not be the best choice.

Vehicle overview

The GMC Terrain has been mostly unchanged since its introduction for 2010. That's six years without a major refresh or redesign, which is a pretty long time in automotive terms. The 2015 Terrain still stands out for its comfort-oriented ride and optional V6 engine. But is that enough to keep it out in front of its newer competitors?

If you're shopping for a crossover that's great on road trips and highway journeys, the GMC Terrain is better than most at dealing with America's underfunded road infrastructure, and it's one of the quieter vehicles we've tested at highway speeds. The aforementioned V6 engine is a peach, too, with plenty of power on tap for passing maneuvers and uphill slogs. Some competitors offer turbocharged four-cylinders with similar output, but there's something to be said for a tried-and-true naturally aspirated V6. Properly equipped, the Terrain can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is also impressive. And while the Terrain isn't a class leader for overall roominess, it has a decent amount of space in the back for rear passengers.

Aside from these traits, though, the Terrain is generally outmatched by several leaders in this segment. The standard four-cylinder engine in the 2015 Terrain is pretty underwhelming. While its rated power on paper is competitive, out on the road the Terrain just doesn't have a whole lot of verve when accelerating around other cars in the passing lane or when getting up to speed on freeway on-ramps. Furthermore, its flat-footed feel contributes to a general lack of driving entertainment. This may seem like a moot point for most shopping this segment, but it's still worth noting, especially since our long-term test of a four-cylinder Terrain had real-world fuel economy falling short of the EPA estimates.

If you're considering a Terrain, you may find some newer competitors to be more appealing. The 2015 Honda CR-V is the most well-rounded crossover you can get today, with a more fuel-efficient engine and a bit more cargo space. If you're looking for a crossover that's more entertaining to drive but still quite practical, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 is our choice. Other viable options include the high-tech and agile 2015 Ford Escape, the engaging and roomy 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and the versatile 2015 Jeep Cherokee, which has an available V6 and some excellent off-roading tricks up its sleeve.

2015 GMC Terrain models

The 2015 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, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, cruise control, a power height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat with sliding and reclining functions, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, OnStar (with onboard WiFi hotspot), 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.

Move up to the SLE-2 trim and you'll get roof rails, automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded cloth upholstery, Bluetooth audio and an upgraded eight-speaker Pioneer audio system with GM's IntelliLink user interface that allows voice command for some phone and audio functions. Optional on the SLE-2 is the Safety package, which includes lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert systems, along with rear parking sensors, while the Convenience package adds heated front seats and remote engine start. Also available for the SLE-2 are various chrome packages that include chrome exterior trim, 18- or 19-inch chrome-finish wheels and an all-weather rear cargo mat. A sunroof is a stand-alone option.

Upgrade to the SLT-1 and you'll get all the SLE-2's standard equipment as well as the Convenience package contents and leather upholstery. The Safety package and sunroof remain optional, and you can also opt for a height-adjustable power liftgate. The SLT-2 comes with all of the above equipment as standard (except the cargo mat) and also includes driver-seat memory functions.

The Denali trim incorporates everything that's standard for the SLT-2, but adds Denali-specific wheels (18-inch wheels on four-cylinder versions and 19s if you get the V6), 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 GMC Terrains, except the SLE-1. A dual-screen DVD rear entertainment system is available for the SLT-2 and Denali.

2015 Highlights

The 2015 GMC Terrain gets a 4G WiFi hotspot inside the car as standard. Otherwise, it carries over unchanged.

Performance & mpg

The 2015 GMC Terrain comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. 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 engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional, regardless of engine choice or trim level.

With the four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, the Terrain returns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined (22 city/32 highway) and 23 mpg combined (20/29) with all-wheel drive. The 3.6-liter V6 front-wheel-drive models are rated at 20 mpg combined (17/24), and all-wheel drive stands at 19 mpg combined (16/23).

In Edmunds testing, a front-wheel-drive four-cylinder Terrain went from zero to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds. A V6-equipped, all-wheel-drive Denali version went from zero to 60 in 7.0 seconds. Both times are average for the class.

With the four-cylinder engine, a properly equipped Terrain can tow 1,500 pounds; the V6 increases towing capacity to 3,500 pounds.

Safety

The 2015 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.

A lane departure warning system, forward collision warning system and rear parking sensors are optional on the SLE-2 and SLT-1 trim levels and standard on SLT-2 and Denali. Blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert systems are exclusive to the Terrain Denali.

The Terrain brakes confidently. In Edmunds testing, a four-cylinder Terrain came to a stop from 60 mph in 119 feet, a few feet shorter than average. The heavier V6 AWD Terrain Denali stopped in 123 feet.

In government crash tests, the Terrain earned an overall score of four stars out of five, with four stars for overall frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Terrain the best possible rating of "Good" in its small-overlap frontal-offset, moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. The seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

Ride quality is excellent on all 2015 GMC Terrains. The compact crossover glides over road imperfections and boasts a hushed cabin at interstate cruising speeds, giving the driver the feel of a larger, more substantial vehicle. The Terrain Denali gets special rear shocks to further cushion the ride. Don't expect sporty handling, though, as comfort is the Terrain's primary mission. Likewise, the steering is exceptionally light and not especially precise, even for a crossover SUV.

Although the four-cylinder GMC Terrain matches the acceleration times of other compact crossovers in this price range, it doesn't feel as potent out in the real world. You'll have the gas pedal floored during routine merging and passing maneuvers, and this isn't very relaxing. During Edmunds testing, fuel economy came in well below the EPA combined ratings. In our view, the actual fuel-efficiency advantage of the four-cylinder engine is smaller than the EPA ratings suggest, and you'll have an even harder time matching those numbers with your foot pinned to the floor.

The clear choice, then, is the Terrain's available 3.6-liter V6 engine. The V6 provides strong performance in any situation and delivers its power in a smooth manner, while its actual fuel economy isn't much lower than that of the four-cylinder.

Interior

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. With the rear seats carrying passengers, the Terrain offers 31.6 cubic feet of cargo space.

The dashboard is styled in two graceful curves and the gauges and secondary controls are highlighted by soft blue back lighting, while soothing ambient light makes for a truly inviting nighttime environment.

The standard 7-inch color touchscreen display lends a high-tech feel to even the base model Terrain, but the IntelliLink interface (standard starting on the SLE-2 model) is a worthwhile enhancement, as it uses Bluetooth streaming audio to enable integration of smartphone apps such as Pandora and Stitcher. The on-screen 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 the standard sliding rear seat allows you to optimize rear-seat legroom or cargo space, depending on your needs.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2015 GMC Terrain.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Very good vehicle - most of the time
Rick,11/10/2015
SLE-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
We basically picked this vehicle based on cost after our GMC Envoy XL had major problems, but we very happy with the choice after the fact. We wanted an Acadia, but the $10K+ price difference was too much. The Terrain rides great, it's easy to drive, is comfortable and pretty spacious for a "compact" SUV. It has way more room in the back seat than the Envoy did and I know it has better front passenger area than the Envoy. We fit 5 of us (kids 16, 8 & 3) but it's a little tight (my 8 yr old can't us his booster seat with 3 in the back seat). It's easy and comfortable to drive (even when loaded down) and it's mostly quiet. There is a lot of tire noise (not sure if it's the car or the tires though) which can get really loud on the highway. The cargo area is a little small considering this isn't really a small vehicle, but the back seat can be adjusted to make more space (but not by much without sacrificing all the leg room). We recently took a 2500+ mile trip with all of us. Even loaded with all 5 of us and all the luggage (including a roof cargo box) the ride and handling were very good. I was surprised the back end didn't lower much once everything/everyone was loaded up either. You noticed the weight when driving, but it didn't make it much harder to drive and I quickly got used to it. Even after 12+ hours in the car we didn't feel really stiff or sore and we survived with 3 in the back seat. This is where I wished we got the 6 cyl motor though. The 4 cyl is good 90% of the time for us, so it probably is the better overall choice. It really struggled at higher speeds (70 MP+) with all of us and the luggage; although understandably so considering it was probably about 1000 lbs of people & gear. We only got about 23 MPG for the trip so I was disappointed in that (I expected about 25 MPG with the cargo box). It downshifts on almost any kind of hill trying to maintain speed. The constant shifting gets annoying; especially when it kicks down a couple of gears. It's kind of like 2 different vehicles when it comes to the mileage (even without the cargo box). If you stay between 60 - 65 MPH it easily gets 28 - 30 MPG. Once you start going 70 or more it really drops off to low to mid 20's. I guess because the squared off styling. Overall = Likes: styling, comfort (although the seat material with the holes can be a little itchy & collects crumbs/dirt), ride, stereo is very good, gas mileage (most of the time) and safety ratings. Good amount of storage places, cup holders and charging ports. The center console is quite large which can make it a little hard to find things with too much stuff in it. I think the headlights and fog lights work great; good brightness and distance so you don't have to use high beams all the time. Dislikes: 4 cyl when the vehicle is loaded up, no rear A/C vents and the front ones are low (glad we got a light colored one), cargo area is a little small. My 8 yr old says the center seat in the back is too hard. The transmission downshifts a lot because it always tries to get to the highest gear. It can be difficult to try to accelerate a little bit without it downshifting (and sometimes it goes down 2 gears). Update 5/26/16: Most of what I previously stated still applies to this vehicle. Overall, I really like this SUV and my wife and I enjoy driving it. It's comfortable, rides and handles well, and gets good mileage (especially compared to averaging about 15 MPG with our Envoy). We have over 28K miles in the year we've had it and never had a problem and no rattles, random noises, etc. A little thing that continues to annoy me: the back wiper design. It doesn't extend away from the window very far so it makes it difficult to clean the whole wiper blade and where it rests; making it hard to keep the window and blade clean. Admittedly, I have a "thing" about clean windows so it's probably just me. My biggest problem is still the engine. If you have to try to accelerate quickly, it just doesn't like it. It downshifts multiple gears and makes a lot of engine noise, revs way up but very little forward motion with all of that. Again, for most of the time it's fine, but lane changes or passes have to be planned. If I had the V6 though I probably wouldn't be happy with the gas mileage. GMC needs to figure out and engine in between the two that gives more horsepower without killing mileage. Maybe the turbo 4 (2 liter I think) GM uses in a lot of their other cars or better yet the diesel from the Canyon would be ideal (probably never happen). I started driving a 03 Highlander as my daily driver now. The difference between the ride, handling, noise, etc. is definitely in favor of the Terrain in that comparison. The V6 in the Highlander makes my highway driving so much easier though and I still get about 22 mpg.
Love my two Terrains!!
Nebojoe,01/17/2018
SLE-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I've had 2 Terrains....2012 & 2015. I've read the other reviews. I make 2200 mile roundtrips from home to Florida multiple times each year (average 6 roundtrips each year). This 4 cyl engine has plenty of power for acceleration and for running interstate speeds (or more!!). Economy? I have averaged 26-28 mpg running interstate speeds. This vehicle has more compartment room for the driver than the Colorado pickup I own....and I'm a big guy. The safety tests I've seen, show the Terrain in the top 3 always, for it's family/group. When I trade the '15, it will be for another Terrain. My only complaint....the '12 had a GREAT built-in GM navigation system. The '15 did not have this, so I paid big bucks to install an aftermarket system....it's terrible. So I bought a Garmin. No, I don't use my phone for navigation. These Terrains are awesome vehicles. Thank you GMC for this fine vehicle!!!!
GMC has a stabilitrak issue
Treena D,10/28/2017
SLE-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I purchase GMC Terrian SUV new. Constantly the stabilitrak goes out and the dealer 1st they say they can't reproduce the problem. Finally they see the issue and kept the SUV for 2 weeks. They called the SUV fixed. After a few months again the same problem they didn't want to fix it. Finally, they agreed to fix it and held the SUV for another 2 weeks. After only 2 month of that fix the stabilitrak failed again. This time the dealer is saying I have to pay $1700 to have harnesses changed to fix the stabilitrak. This is outrageous. GMC has too many complaints for this issue and they are not taking responsibily. The customers are footing the bill for the stabilitrak issue at a costly rate. I would have never purchased a GMC if I knew I would have an ongoing issue.
Love my 2015 Terrain!
nyminute,11/29/2014
SLE-1 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
After shopping around using Edmunds as my guide, I decided to give GMC Terrain a serious look having been an owner of Buicks for over 15 years. Reviews were very decent as well. Have to say although its only 2 weeks old I absolutely love my purchase. Was a little skeptical of the 4cyl. engine at first, however it has plenty of power for my needs. Interior is very rich and well designed and comfortable . Like driving in a cockpit . Smooth ride, feels like a higher end car ride. Considering what 2 year old SUV's go for nowadays I say this is a tremendous value for the money. Fully warrantied bumper to bumper with a 2 year service agreement makes this vehicle for my family a wise choice.

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 2015 GMC Terrain

Used 2015 GMC Terrain Overview

The Used 2015 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), SLE-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLT-1 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLE-1 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Denali 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Denali 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SLT-2 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SL 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), and SLT-2 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A). Pre-owned GMC Terrain models are available with a 2.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 182 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2015 GMC Terrain comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2015 GMC Terrain comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2015 GMC Terrain?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 GMC Terrain trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 GMC Terrain SLT-1 is priced between $15,602 and$22,998 with odometer readings between 45139 and94134 miles.
  • The Used 2015 GMC Terrain SLE-1 is priced between $12,429 and$23,981 with odometer readings between 20060 and126916 miles.
  • The Used 2015 GMC Terrain SLE-2 is priced between $13,500 and$16,990 with odometer readings between 64137 and128440 miles.
  • The Used 2015 GMC Terrain Denali is priced between $16,496 and$22,394 with odometer readings between 35272 and96064 miles.
  • The Used 2015 GMC Terrain SLT-2 is priced between $19,999 and$19,999 with odometer readings between 51615 and51615 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 2015 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) 2015 GMC Terrain for sale near. There are currently 26 used and CPO 2015 Terrains listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,429 and mileage as low as 20060 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 2015 GMC Terrain.

Can't find a used 2015 GMC Terrains you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Terrain for sale - 6 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $19,566.

Find a used GMC for sale - 1 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $19,948.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Terrain for sale - 9 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $13,738.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 10 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $21,696.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 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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