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The Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossover SUVs have been unalloyed successes for General Motors. The two crossovers, which are mechanically identical but have entirely different bodies—sharing only roof and windshield—chased the struggling Suzuki XL7 (a different model from the Suzuki XL-7 but sharing mechanicals with the Equinox/Terrain) from the CAMI factory. The Equinox and Terrain inspired GM to buy Suzuki’s share in that facility, and go on overtime and expand body production of another plant to build the Chevrolet/GMC siblings.

So as likely was planned, all things otherwise going as hoped for, GMC has added the GMC Terrain Denali to is crossover SUV lineup.

The steering wheel of the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD has buttons for collision alert and lane departure functions. (Click to enlarge).

The skeptical questioned a front-drive GMC vehicle when it debuted in 2010—the Terrain also available with all-wheel drive (but not more rugged four-wheel)—but then GMC chief Susan Docherty saw it as a way to expand the GMC franchise to where it hadn’t been before. A Terrain Denali was not outside the realm of possibility, she said, but no plans, blah, blah, blah…

Never fear, the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali is here. The Denali lineup—GMC dubs it a “sub-brand”—has come to the Terrain. Denali has been used by GMC to denote its premium-equipped models, including the larger crossover GMC Acadia Denali, the full-size SUV Yukon Denali, pickup Sierra Denali and heavy-duty pickup Seirra HD Denali.

The 2013 GMC Terrain Denali is powered by an all-new 3.6-liter V-6 engine. (Click to enlarge).

And the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali is premium equipped as its name suggests, From the outside, it is distinguished by features found on the bigger Denali models, including a chrome grille, body-color fascias and rocker moldings, satin-chrome accents, distinctive headlamp and taillamp designs, and dual chromed tailpipes (single pipe with the 2.4-liter four). The Denali Terrain also gets its own 18-inch (with the 2.4L) or 19-inch (with the 3.6L) wheels.

Inside the Terrain Denali is drenched in black leather on the seats and door panels, and red accent stitching details the interior, including the seats, steering wheel, doors and dash. Real wood–smoked mahogany, to be specific—is used on the steering wheel and interior trim, providing a particularly rich look.

The 2013 GMC Terrain Denali abounds in the regular premium stuff, including a standard sunroof and eight-way power seating for driver and front passenger, plus power liftgate that can be programmed so it doesn’t slam into your garage ceiling.

Also standard on the Terrain Denali are forward collision alert and lane departure warning, the first single-camera crash-avoidance system to visually and audibly warn drivers when a collision is imminent or the vehicle crosses a lane marker. The Terrain Denali also has blind zone alert (warning of a vehicle in the Terrain’s blind spot) and rear cross traffic alert, that can “see” passing traffic when trying to back out of a parking spot between vision-blocking vehicles, providing visible and audible warnings.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Like other 2013 GMC Terrain models, the Terrain Denali is available with a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine or a new 3.6-liter V-6. The all-new six-cylinder produces 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque, trumping last year’s 3.0-liter V-6 not only in output—14 percent more horsepower and 22 percent more torque—but matching the older V-6 in fuel economy, at 17/24 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 16/23 mpg city/highway with all-wheel drive. We tested a 3.6-liter Terrain Denali with all-wheel drive and in mixed driving in a hilly area (which is hard on fuel economy), we recorded 19.7 mpg.

The rear seat of the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali folds for added cargo room but does not make a flat floor. (Click to enlarge).

The extra horsepower makes the Terrain a lively performer and takes the worry out of onramps. The Terrain Denali also gets as standard equipment “enhanced ride and handling’ suspension, exclusive to Denali, and although it doesn’t convert the Denali to a sports car, or even a sports sedan, its cornering is good for its overall height without ruining its ride.

Base price for our tested 2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD was $36,275. Adding the cargo package, color touch navigation with Intellilink, trailering package, and Iridium Metallic paint, plus $825 destination brought the bottom line to $40,425. (See the window sticker in “price and specifications” below).

2013 GMC Terrain Denali 2.6L AWD (Click to enlarge)

Breaking $40k is for the GMC Terrain is indeed new terrain, but GMC needed to take the Terrain to where every other GMC model also goes. It’s well-trimmed and classy, and for those who like the GMC Terrain’s blocky exterior design, Denali is high terrain indeed.

Pricing, window sticker and specifications on next page.

2012 GMC Terrain Denali AWD, price and key specifications as tested

Body style/layout: 5-door crossover SUV, front engine/all-wheel drive

Base price: $36,275

Window sticker 2013 GMC Terrain Denali

Price as tested: $40,425


Type: 3.6-liter 24-valve DOHC V-6
Displacement, cc: 3564
Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
Compression ratio: 11.5:1
Horsepower: 301 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 272 @ 4800 rpm
Recommended fuel: regular unleaded
Fuel economy, EPA est.: 16/23 mpg city/highway
Fuel economy, observed: 19.7 mpg
Transmission:6-speed automatic driver-adaptive


Suspension, front/rear: strut / four-link
Wheels: 19-inch alloy
Tires: 235/55R19
Brakes: 4-wheel disc; 12.6-inch dia. front/11.9-inch dia. rear
Steering: electric power rack-and-pinion
Turning circle: 45.6 ft.

Wheelbase: 112.5 in.
Length: 187.8 in.
Height: 66.5 in.
Width: 72.8 in.
Curb weight: 4,204 lbs
Trunk volume: 31.1/63.9 cu. ft.
Fuel tank: 20.9 gal.

Airbags: Front, front side, side-curtain
Anti-lock brakes: Yes Traction control: Yes Stability control: Yes Electronic brake-force distribution: Yes Brake assist: Yes
Other: rollover mitigation, rear backup camera, forward collision alert, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear crosstraffic alert
Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper; 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain; 3-year/36,000 rust-through 6-year/100,000-mile; .5-year/100,000-mile roadside assistance

2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD review: New terrain for the Terrain : CarBuzzard: Car reviews, auto news, photos, history and more
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