The 2016 GMC Terrain is a compact SUV that competes against some of the best-selling mainstream crossovers in the country. Among those rivals, the Terrain stands out with a more premium ownership experience that’s also more affordable than what’s provided by traditional luxury brands.
GMC offers a standard four-cylinder engine for the Terrain, along with an optional V6 and four trim levels. Leading off the roster is the Terrain SL, which is followed by the SLE, SLT and range-topping Denali grades. Those three upper trims can be ordered with all-wheel drive, too.
The 2016 model year brings a mid-cycle refresh for the Terrain. Notable updates include redesigned front and rear fascias for the exterior, along with new wheel designs and, in the cabin, a new center stack and gearshift lever. GMC also extends more safety technologies from the Denali level to other trims, and introduces LED daytime running lamps and two new interior design themes for the higher Terrain grades.
With steeply vertical sheet metal on its sides, set off by massive wheel arches and an imposing front grille, the 2016 Terrain shows a number of bold, SUV-style design cues. But there are high-end details on display, like the Terrain’s new-for-2016 lower chrome trim for the front end, and available chrome grilles for uplevel trims. Depending on trim, chrome further sparkles on the door handles, roof rails and mirror caps.
Differing wheel sizes and designs additionally distinguish the Terrain grades, with the entry models sporting 17-inch wheels; 18- and 19-inch units, including some with Denali-specific designs, also are on the menu. Dual exhaust outlets with premium tips are available as well, as are a power sunroof, a programmable power liftgate and heated, power-adjustable sideview mirrors.
Premium cloth seats highlight the standard cabin of the 2016 Terrain, as do intricate details on the door panels and dashboard. A tilt-and-telescoping steering column, air conditioning and plenty of cargo room are a few of the Terrain’s other standard benefits. There’s 31.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 63.9 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded. The second row also slides with a noteworthy 8 inches of travel, allowing owners an extra measure of interior versatility.
Heated front seats, power-adjustable front seats and leather upholstery are optional, with GMC supplying more luxury cues as standard equipment in the top Terrain grades. For example, the Denali trim comes standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel that’s accented with smoked mahogany wood.
The 2016 Terrain offers two engines, each with a six-speed automatic transmission. A four-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine is standard and delivers 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. Moving up to the available 3.6-liter V6 furnishes owners with more power: 301 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque, which is enough for a maximum tow rating of 3,500 pounds when properly equipped. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.
The base Terrain gets an EPA-estimated 22/31 mpg city/highway. Opt for the V6 engine and fuel economy dips to 17/24 mpg. With available all-wheel drive, the four-cylinder Terrain is rated at 20/28 mpg, and the V6-powered Terrain at 16/23 mpg.
A major tech advantage of the 2016 Terrain is its standard mobile Wi-Fi hot spot with 4G LTE connectivity, complete with a free three-month, 3GB trial data plan. Also standard are a 7-inch touch screen, a rearview camera system, six-speaker audio, satellite radio and Bluetooth for hands-free calling. To listen to your own audio, a standard USB port and auxiliary input jack are on board.
Higher grades see higher levels of content, peaking with the Terrain Denali that has an 8-speaker Pioneer sound system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. A navigation-enabled infotainment system is another key option. In the Terrain, it includes hands-free audio streaming, voice recognition and integration with smartphone apps like Pandora and Stitcher internet radio.