New for 2010, GMC rolls out the Terrain — a brand new compact SUV to take on a rivalry with the likes of the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape.
If you’re an automaker who is going to come out with a brand new vehicle in the crowded compact SUV marketplace, you’d better make a grand entrance. And that’s just what GMC is doing. The shot GMC takes against these long-time popular favorites in the compact SUV segment is in the tender area of fuel efficiency, in which the ratings are not too shabby to begin with on these models.
GMC brags that its all-new 2010 Terrain busts out of the gate on its initial debut with a segment-leading 32 miles per gallon on the highway, leaving in the dust the 27-mpg rating of the CR-V and the 28-mpg rating of the Escape. GMC even takes a deeper dig at the Ford Escape Hybrid with its 31-mpg highway rating.
The version of the Terrain we’re talking about here that achieves the EPA rating of 32 mpg is the front-wheel drive four-cylinder model. The Terrain is also available with a 3.0-liter V-6.
I test-drove both the FWD 2.4-liter I4 and the all-wheel drive V-6 Terrains.
And hands down there is no question about it the four-cylinder won me over. The AWD V-6 version of the Terrain felt sluggish and chunky. This was because I drove around in “Eco” mode.
In order to optimize my chances of achieving the V-6 Terrain’s EPA fuel ratings of 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway, I spent the entire week driving in Eco. This method of driving is activated by pressing the console-mounted button. GMC explains that in the Eco mode program the Terrain’s torque converter clutch operates at lower engine speeds to help save fuel. The trade-off is feeling like you want to give it a good kick in the pants.
Even though the $31,000 V-6 Terrain has a horsepower rating of 264, while the four-cylinder Terrain’s horsepower is 182, the I-4 model felt faster, more nimble and maneuverable. An explanation for this could be found in the different drivetrain configurations (AWD vs. FWD) and the 340-pound Gross Vehicle Weight Rating difference between the two testers. The V-6 Terrain can tow 3,500 pounds. The front-wheel drive I-4 does 1,500 pounds.
The four-cylinder Terrain is head-and-shoulders above not only its stable mate but also its competitors in efficiency. This fun-to-drive 2.4L compact SUV employs General Motors’ new Direct Injection engine fuel management technology — and that’s the main reason for its high EPA ratings. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine’s Direct Injection system delivers the gas straight into the combustion rather than first mixing the fuel with air in the intake manifold, as in the case of Sequential or Multiport Fuel Injection systems.
The 2010 Terrain is offered in SLE and SLT trims with a starting price of $24,995. I drove the uplevel $29,250 SLT that featured a couple of nice options. One of the must-have for tech fans is the $2,145 Audio/Voice Recognition Navigation system. This option includes a 7-inch touch screen with rear backup camera and 40 GB hard drive.
Though the Terrain is a compact, two-row, five-passenger SUV, it establishes a big presence. The large and square front end anchored by the bold GMC looms large on the roadways — and over the competition. — by Connie Keane, Motor Matters
2010 GMC TERRAIN SLT
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger FWD compact SUV
BASE PRICE___________________ $29,250 (as tested: $33,,680)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ 16-valve DOHC 4-cylinder w/DI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 182 at 6700 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 172 at 4900 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 112.5 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 185.3 in.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 3,798 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 18.8 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009