Back three years ago when General Motors announced it was phasing out Pontiac production and shedding the Saturn brand, some questioned why the company was keeping GMC around.
After all, several GMC trucks were pretty much duplicates of the company’s highly successful Chevrolet portfolio. It seemed at the time to make more sense to go with Pontiac, which seemed to be coming out of the design and quality doldrums that had plagued it in recent years, rather than GMC.
We pretty much have our answer now.
Earlier this month GM announced that its sales of GMC vehicles had a year-over-year gain of 4 percent in total sales and 2 percent in retail sales, the third consecutive year of growth for the brand and its highest sales in five years.
Over the past five years, the company reported in a news release, GMC’s combined retail sales have grown by more than 54 percent.
The badging in the front grille of the Terrain leaves no question this is a GMC.
Photo credit: Paul Borden
So much for critics of the company’s 2009 decision.
One of the vehicles that contributes to the brand’s growth is the Terrain, which was introduced for the 2010 model year in the very competitive midsize crossover SUV segment.
In 2012, the Terrain enjoyed its best year yet with year-over-year sales up 11 percent, the largest increase percentage-wise in the company.
The 2013 model should build on that success with the inclusion of a more powerful, 3.6-liter V6 engine (up from 3.0 liter) as an option to complement the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder and the addition of an upgraded Denali trim edition.
The V6 ups horsepower and torque to 301 hp and 272 pound-feet from the four-cylinder’s 182/172, respectively, but at a cost in fuel efficiency. EPA ratings for the four-cylinder are 22 miles-per-gallon city, 32 highway in front-wheel-drive models and 20/29 for all-wheel drive. For the V6, the numbers are 17/24 and 16/23, respectively.
Both engines run on regular unleaded or E85 ethanol fuel, and there are two slightly different six-speed automatic transmissions offered.
The four-cylinder likely is powerful enough for ordinary chores, the V6 for more heavy duty lifting such as towing a boat
The Terrain is not without its luxury features with a nicely designed interior featuring soft ambient lighting and functional controls. A seven-inch touchscreen display makes operating the radio, climate, and optional navigation systems simple even for those less technologically aware. (I am looking in the mirror here.)
The cabin also provides a very quiet, smooth ride, which some might find surprising in something from GMC with its reputation for producing heavy duty, rugged pickup trucks.
It’s a vehicle that your stereotype soccer mom would be comfortable with as well as a building contractor going from construction site to construction site.
If there is a drawback, it is that the storage capacity is not all that spacious. That soccer mom might not have a problem with filling the back area with a week’s groceries, but that contractor may find that even with the second-row seats down the cargo capacity may be lacking. Competitors like the Hyundai Santa Fe (71.5), Honda CRV (70.9) and Ford Escape (68.1) have more than the Terrain’s maximum 63.7 cubic feet.
The Denali edition makes the Terrain an alternative choice for those shopping in the entry-level luxury segment. It comes with an enhanced suspension package, exclusive 18- or 19-inch wheels, and unique design touches as well as adding many features that are optional on other trims.
That, of course, adds to the price. Base MSRP for the Terrain Denali is $37,100 for the four-banger, including the destination and delivery fee. The V6 engine adds $1,750 to the cost.
You can get one for less, of course.
The base Terrain SLE-1 starts at $26,660, the SLE-2 at $28,160, the SLT-1 at $29,710, and the SLT-2 at $32,955.
There are a lot of choices available in that price range, of course, which, as mentioned earlier, what makes this a very competitive segment. So far, though, the GMC Terrain seems to be holding its own.
Terrain helps fuel GMC success (Photos) - Miami Auto Review | Examiner.com