2018 GMC Terrain Review
2018 GMC Terrain Review
View more photos
View more photos
View more photos
View more photos
View more photos
Used Terrain for saleAppraise This Car
GMC Terrain model years
GMC Terrain types
See Edmunds pricing data
Has Your Car's Value Changed?
Used car values are constantly changing. Edmunds lets you track your vehicle's value over time so you can decide when to sell or trade in.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Senior Editor and Content Strategist, CarMax
Will Kaufman has worked in the automotive industry since 2017. He has written hundreds of car-related articles and reviews over the course of his career. Will is a senior editor and content strategist for CarMax at Edmunds. Will has been featured in the Associated Press and a number of major outlets on the topics of infotainment and vehicle data, vehicle subscription services and autonomous vehicles. Will started his career in online publishing by writing and editing standardized test guides, but he has a lot more fun writing about cars.
- Comfortable and upscale interior
- Optional engines offer efficiency and power
- MyLink user interface is intuitive and easy to use
- Extensive list of optional safety features
- Price with options runs higher than average for the class
- Less cargo space behind the back seat than most competitors
- Base 1.5-liter is disappointing all around
- Midrange trims offer fewer standard safety features than competitors
- The GMC Terrain has been completely redesigned for 2018
- Introduces the second-generation Terrain
Although popular, the previous-generation Terrain was falling short of the class standards for drivability, technology and interior quality by the end of its run. Happily, the fully redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain addresses the problems the aging generation had and now represents a more compelling choice for a small, five-passenger crossover SUV.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 GMC Terrain SL 4dr SUV (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 9A) 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
$140/mo for Terrain SL
Avg. Midsize SUV
The new Terrain pulls off the impressive trick of shrinking by just over 3 inches in length and 400 pounds in weight from the previous generation without sacrificing more than an inch of head- or legroom. Maximum cargo volume is nearly the same, too. That weight loss, combined with new engines and transmissions, promises better performance and fuel economy. However, the base engine struggles to deliver on its performance or fuel economy in the real world. We highly recommend the optional engine upgrades: The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder improves performance, while the turbocharged 1.6-liter turbodiesel is pleasant to drive and is a fuel economy champ — GMC estimates it will return 40 mpg on the highway.
The Terrain (and its sibling, the Chevy Equinox, which is nearly identical under the skin) is one of the nicest vehicles in the segment to spend time in. It's comfortable and easy to drive and comes standard with one of the best infotainment interfaces in the class. There's plenty of headroom all around, and the back seats fold flat with the pull of a lever. Aside from the disappointing base powertrain, downsides include a slightly smaller cargo area than some rival crossovers and pricing that's noticeably higher than other vehicles you might be cross-shopping. We also had to ding the Terrain for its overly firm ride quality.
If what you're looking for is efficiency, practicality and ease of use, the Honda CR-V with its 1.5-liter turbo engine is an obvious choice. The Mazda CX-5 provides a better driving experience and an interior that, in higher trims, feels even more upscale than the GMC's for less money. If you're looking for off-road prowess, the Jeep Cherokee and the Subaru Forester offer more capability.
Edmunds' Expert Rating6.5 / 10
Thanks to a complete overhaul this year, the 2018 GMC Terrain is a compelling choice for a small crossover SUV. It offers a comfortable interior and plenty of safety and technology options. Unfortunately, the Terrain also comes with a premium price tag and delivers lackluster performance.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the GMC Terrain SLT (turbo 1.5L inline-4 | 9-speed automatic | FWD).
|Overall||6.5 / 10|
The base engine lacks power, the transmission is slow-witted, and the powertrain's focus on fuel economy all but eliminates snappy acceleration and quick pedal response. Elsewhere it's better. The brakes feel good, and though it's no sport SUV, the Terrain handles curves and corners with composure.
The small turbocharged engine delivers decent zip at low speeds, but acceleration falls off as the transmission runs for its highest gears to save fuel. Good in theory, but awful when trying to merge or pass. Our as-tested 0-60 mph time was 9.3 seconds, highlighting the Terrain's leaden pace.
The brakes bite smoothly and evenly, with a good relationship between pedal pressure and actual stopping power. Initially the pedal feels a little soft but firms up after a few millimeters of travel. The Terrain stopped from 60 mph in 126 feet in our testing, a decent result for a compact SUV.
The steering is slow, making for a lot of mush to steer through before the Terrain starts to change direction in earnest. The steering effort weights up nicely at highway speeds, imparting more confidence and a sense of stability.
Capable and balanced on twisty roads, the Terrain keeps body roll in check. You won't mistake it for a Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape or other sportier rival; it lacks the necessary suspension tuning or tire grip. But through turns at reasonably high speeds, the Terrain remains stable and composed.
Good braking and competent handling can't make up for a weak engine and languid transmission. When you need immediate speed, the accelerator often feels mushy and lifeless, while engine speed and downshifts exhibit noticeable lag and delay. Doesn't inspire confidence when highway merging or passing.
Poorly placed central air vents and stifling leather upholstery aside, the Terrain is quite comfortable, at least at rest. On the road, it's prone to regular low-impact shock, vibration and jostling on even moderately rough road. The seats are good, though, and the cabin keeps outside noise at bay.
The firm but not rigid seats are comfortable overall and hold up well over long miles. But they're somewhat compact; bigger and broader passengers might find them constricting. Bolsters are relatively flat and low, seatbacks a bit narrow. Rear seats are comfortable, but cushions are somewhat flat.
This Terrain rides surprisingly poorly on regular pavement. Even mildly bumpy streets sends shock waves into the cabin, resulting in a steady hum of shakes and vibrations. Your mother would probably notice and ask if something's wrong. Not up to par for the segment.
Noise & vibration7.0
Road and tire noise is limited to a muted, dull hum on most road surfaces. Some wind noise leaks in at the front pillars, but it ts muted and acceptable. But the relative serenity is broken by a suspension that transmits too much road shake and shudder into the cabin — more mail truck than GMC.
The control layout is simple other than the four buttons for vent mode, which is excessive. Central vertical vents distribute air poorly, but steering wheel heats up nicely. Seats offer cushion-only or cushion-and-seatback heating, a nice feature. Ventilated seats aren't available in any trim level.
The interior is attractive and well-configured, but some controls are awkwardly placed. Taller drivers will want the steering wheel to extend farther. The panoramic sunroof cuts into rear headroom for taller folks, but overall this is a roomy cabin with good space for shoulders, legs and elbows.
Ease of use5.0
Control placement is a mixed bag — the headlight switch is by your knee, Snow mode in center console. Least impressive is the Terrain's unnecessarily clumsy transmission interface — pull switches placed below the climate controls. There's no way to avoid using those on every drive.
Getting in/getting out7.0
The low seat bolsters make it easy to slide into front and rear seats. The doors open between 60 and 75 degrees, making for a wide opening. The step-in height is low enough for most passengers to get in and out with minimal effort.
Plenty of seat adjustment up and down, as well as fore and aft seat travel. Wide range of adjustment should suit most drivers, although taller drivers might wish for more steering wheel extension so they won't need to sit too close or upright to the steering wheel.
There's good headroom up front, although the sloping roofline and panoramic sunroof lower the ceiling and may infringe on the headroom of taller drivers and passengers. Also good space between arms, elbows and door panels, which helps this small SUV feel larger
Truck-ish forward view — the deep, angled dash makes it hard to know where the front really is. The front side windows offer a good view, less so out the rear side windows. The rear-most side windows are more decorative than useful, and the rear window is too narrow.
The Terrain shares the same solid feeling as most GMC trucks and SUVs. There's a solidity to the sheet metal, upholstery and interior materials that imparts confidence and a sense of safety. Cabin materials aren't particularly special, but they look and feel high-quality.
The Terrain doesn't offer an abundance of cargo space compared to some rivals, but can handle most routine hauling and cargo needs. Some of its more thoughtful features — such as small trays and cubbies and especially a fold-flat front passenger seat — offer an edge.
Plenty of bins, trays and pockets available to hold personal items. The cutout above the glovebox for a front passenger's mobile device is a nice touch, as are the trays in the rear door panels. Thoughtful touches designed with family and passengers of all ages in mind.
With rear seats folded, the Terrain's 63 cubic feet of cargo space lags behind benchmarks (Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV-4). But a fold-flat front passenger seat is a nice touch. The power liftgate and low liftover height make cargo loading easy, too.
Child safety seat accommodation7.0
LATCH anchors are easy to find and connect to, and there's plenty of space for forward-facing seats. Rear-facing seats fit well as long as driver and front passenger can keep their seats reasonably forward. There's no top-tether for middle seat, but there's one in the rear seatback.
Our test car, with its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, is rated to tow up to 1,500 pounds, about the same as most other four-cylinder-powered SUVs in the class. Equipped with the optional 2.0-liter turbo-four, the Terrain can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The Terrain deserves high marks for its tech, improving on the mediocre offerings of past models. Plenty of features are standard throughout the lineup, multiple driver aids are available, and six USB ports help ensure that all devices get charged. Navigation comes with strings attached, though.
Audio & navigation7.5
The optional Bose sound system offers surprising power and clarity, but leave your discs at home; there's no CD player. Navigation is easy to use and looks sharp, but you'll also need to buy a power liftgate to get it.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. Apple CarPlay beats GMC's native software for ease of use, but the standard system works fine for those outside the Apple/Android ecosystem. Six (!) USB ports for device charging; one is even the new USB-C standard.
Forward collision warning system has adjustable sensitivity (pick your preferred threshold of panic). Lane keeping assist is insistent, almost intrusive, to keep you within the lines. Might motivate more turn signal use. Safety alert seat remains an innovation that we prefer to beeps and flashes.
The GMC native software and Apple CarPlay both decipher speech commands fairly well. CarPlay understands natural speech slightly better, but it relies on an internet connection. Native software requires staying within well-defined prompts and parameters.
Which Terrain does Edmunds recommend?
We think the SLE with the Driver Alert I package gets you all the basic safety and technology features you need, plus quite a few you'll want. However, buyers who want a full suite of active safety features, including forward collision mitigation with automatic braking and lane departure intervention, will need to upgrade to the SLT and the Driver Alert II package. In either case, we also recommend upgrading from the base engine, as the 2.0-liter dramatically improves the driving experience without a serious mileage penalty.
2018 GMC Terrain models
Even the base SL trim of the 2018 Terrain comes with some desirable features, but it has a very limited options menu. Moving up to the SLE gets you access to more options. The SLT adds more luxury features and access to a few higher-end options. Finally, the top-trim Denali has features and options that put it in the near-luxury class, but it comes with a near-luxury price.
The base SL trim can only be had with the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine (170 hp, 203 lb-ft of torque) and a nine-speed automatic transmission, driving the front wheels. Trailering equipment is the only major optional upgrade available for the SL; beyond that it can't be upgraded. In fact, only three paint colors are available, and only white doesn't come with an added cost.
That said, the SL comes with a decent set of standard features, including keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera, two USB ports for the front seats, two charging-only USB ports for the rear, front and rear 110-volt power outlets, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio. GM's Teen Driver system and OnStar are also standard.
The SLE trim comes with largely the same standard equipment as the SL, adding an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a compact spare tire and a handful of interior trim-piece upgrades. However, the SLE also gets access to a host of options and packages.
Packages include the Driver Convenience package, which adds a power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, roof rails and remote engine start. The Infotainment I package adds an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, a color information display in the gauge cluster, an SD card reader, two extra USB ports in the center console box, and a 110-volt outlet for the rear seat. The Driver Alert I package adds heated mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. Some of these add-ons can be had individually, along with a panoramic sunroof and trailering equipment.
Stepping up to the SLT trim gets you leather upholstery and the Driver Convenience and Infotainment I package (except for navigation). Upgrades for the SLT include the Driver Alert I package and the Driver Alert II package, which adds low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation with automatic braking, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, and automatic high beams. The Infotainment II package adds navigation and a seven-speaker Bose stereo system. Also available is the Preferred package, which includes a power liftgate, driver-seat memory settings, a power passenger seat and a heated steering wheel.
Two gas engines are available for the Terrain. The 1.5-liter engine with front-wheel drive comes standard on both the SLE and SLT trims, but both can be optioned with either a more powerful gasoline engine or a more efficient diesel. The more powerful gas engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (252 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque), is available and comes with dual exhaust tips and larger wheels. Also available is a turbocharged 1.6-liter diesel-powered four-cylinder engine (137 hp, 240 lb-ft of torque), paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. GMC estimates the diesel will return 40 mpg highway. Equipping the diesel engine also adds the Driver Convenience package for the SLE and the Preferred package for the SLT.
All three engines come standard with front-wheel drive, but they can be optioned with all-wheel drive. A knob in AWD-equipped Terrains allows drivers to switch between all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive on the fly.
At the top of the Terrain range is the Denali, which can only be had with the 2.0-liter engine. The Denali receives unique styling cues and interior trim, as well as Denali-specific 19-inch wheels and LED headlights. It bundles in the Preferred package and Driver Alert I package, along with several other options such as the panoramic sunroof.
Optional extras for the Terrain Denali include the Driver Alert II package, along with the Advanced Safety package, which adds a surround-view parking camera system and an automated parking system. The Denali's Comfort package adds ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, as well as a wireless phone charging pad.
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.
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
A Phoenix Rise from the Ashes for the 2018 Terrain
2018 GMC Terrain SLT 4dr SUV AWD (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 9A)
The 1st generation was a poor mix on all fronts. A weird, blocky vehicle. Harsh ride, loud, and a poor choice of engines...a weak 4 cylinder or an expensive, "more-than-is-needed" V-6. It seems that GM learned from its past mistakes and also from the mistakes of its competitors and created a vehicle with proper balance. I own an SLT AWD with the 2.0 L turbo. Amazingly smooth shifts … from the 9-speed transmission and it rolls calmly and composed down the road, however, published times of 0-60 of 6.8 seconds are not weak by any means. Truly balanced. People complain about the buttons for shifting. Ridiculous. It takes about an hour to get used to it. I swear people posting on the internet just like to have something to whine about. The big negative for this vehicle is the MSRP. It is much higher than the competition. That has always been Detroit's game; high starting price followed by incentives. I saved $11000 off MSRP after generous March incentives (starting price $39620). Don't pay anything near the sticker price. Front seats are so supportive allowing for long drives. Back seat room is spacious and comfortable. Load height in cargo area is perfect with spacious lower cargo compartment beneath floor. Awesome vehicle. I don't miss my Acadia one bit.
5 out of 5 stars
Great SUV for the $$$
Zack Rubin, 12/05/2017
2018 GMC Terrain SLE 4dr SUV (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 9A)
First let me run down down my list of vehicles, in order, leading up to the Terrain : Lexus IS, VW Touareg, VW Passat, Infiniti G35, BMW 335D, Terrain. I traded in the BMW (40MPG and a lot of power). I wanted to get back into an SUV, as I missed my Touareg the most. I did some poking around, some test driving, and ended up at GMC. I've never bought American and I'm so far thrilled with … my purchase. The one thing I miss, obviously speed and pickup, is easily justifiable by the comfort and convenience of my car. I bought the SLE. There's no nav, and it's missing some power options that I really don't need (seats that I'll never change and a sunroof I'll never use). The entertainment system is great. I just plug my phone in and everything I want to do I can do verbally through the car or my phone. Play Spotify, Navigate here (I use Google maps off my phone and it projects very nicely on my display), Text my friend this, etc. The design is sleek, the interior extremely comfortable and the ride incredible smooth. Go give it a test drive, you wont be disappointed.
5 out of 5 stars
My first SUV and I’m loving it.
Stan K., 12/12/2017
2018 GMC Terrain Denali 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A)
I’ve had my fully loaded Terrain Denali for several weeks now and it just keeps growing on me. He 2.0T really shoves you back in your seat and the 9-Speed auto is extremely smooth and responsive for having that many gears. Auto stop/start does take some getting used to though. Soft touch materials abound and most things feel like real quality to me. Mileage is decent and would no … doubt be better if I could keep my right foot out of the Turbo. Cargo space is good. It’s fairly quiet as well though there is of course a bit more noise from the back compared to the sedans I’ve had prior. The new updated GMC Intellilink looks great and is easy to set up and use. Give one a test drive and try the Terrain out for yourself.
5 out of 5 stars
Very Happy with new GMC Terrain Denali
2018 GMC Terrain Denali 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A)
I was leasing a Mazda CX-5. I loved the Mazda steering but I did not like the back seat size and the engine could not keep up with very fast traffic and many large hills (without really straining ) on my Suburban NJ commute to NYC. I liked that car because it felt more like a small sports car in handling (but not power), but I love this one. This is my first GMC vehicle and the … first GM vehicle I have owned. First it feels more substantial. It’s much faster. Handling is very good. It’s only 3 “ longer than the Mazda but way more comfortable for passengers. Best of all the 2.0L engine is really smooth and really good effortless pick up I need for short on ramps to major highways. It’s relatively more quiet compared to the Mazda. The tech is way better (also because its newer). Apple car play is great. The nav screens are MUCH better and it has LIVE traffic and I can get the weather channel APP too plus much more. I am picky about the quality of the audio system in whatever car I drive and this is a GREAT audio system. Lots of nice gadgets in the car and I like that. I like that when I go into reverse I can have the mirrors automatically point down to see the parking lines or when parallel parking which I do often. It has many options to adjust. The User Interface is easy and intuitive. I like the GMC app that gives you a report card for driving. It has become somewhat of a joke in my family as the app gives me a grade for driving. I am a fan of this car so far. In the articles I have read, it supposedly ‘cost more’ than other ‘mass market’ small SUV’s, but I was more interested in its features and looks. Having said that GMC had significant incentives taking the price down quite a bit and what I got for the money was a truly loaded automobile. If you are looking for a smallish SUV- try it- I was surprised how much I liked it and now I love it. Oh... I was worried if I would like the buttons instead of a stick shifter. It does take a bit of getting use to- like 2 days- but after that its a no-brainer. I never use the manual shifters just R, D, P. If you are a manual shifter person, you would have to test it out I don't think its ideal for that. It also automatically puts it in park when you turn it off- nice feature. Also- I am a tall person and not slim. I find this car very comfortable. I have a son 6' tall and he fits in the back with ample leg room. Front seat ability to fold flat is super nice for the home depot trip with something long. Its a really nice car and I am happy with it so far.
2018 Terrain Highlights
|Combined MPG||28 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$140/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
Our experts like the Terrain models:
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Alerts the driver to perpendicular oncoming traffic when reversing out of a driveway or parking space.
- Side Blind Zone Alert
- Monitors blind spots for traffic, warning the driver when an obstacle is present.
- Safety Alert Seat
- Vibrates the driver seat cushion to provide physical alerts from safety systems.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover18.5%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedMarginal
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood