2010 GMC Terrain FWD SLT2

When it comes to the GMC Terrain, a compact crossover, the question is essentially: What’s not to like?

When it comes to the GMC Terrain, a compact crossover, the question is essentially: What’s not to like? It has a (optional, as in $1,500) 3.0-liter V6 with direct injection that provides a certainly reasonable 17 city/25 highway miles per gallon. It has a (optional, as in $2,145) audio/navigation system that has a 7-in. touch screen, voice recognition, and a 40-GB hard drive.

OK. Everything isn’t optional in this vehicle. There is a lot of stuff that comes packed right in from the get-go, particularly at the trim level in question. Six-speed automatic. Six airbags. StabiliTrak. Rear-vision camera to aid when backing up. There are steering wheel audio controls. Heated leather front seats. A power programmable liftgate (actually a clever idea, particularly if you park somewhere where there is low ceiling height). A sunroof.

All good.

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But here comes the “But.” More or less.

One of the things that is undoubtedly happening in earnest at GMC HQ is a reconsideration of what it means to be a “professional grade” purveyor of trucks and SUVs in an age when the number of vehicles that have a body-on-frame architecture has diminished as professionals, not weekend mulch haulers, are the primary (and nearly exclusive) customer for them.

The GMC Acadia seven-passenger crossover was the brand’s first foray into the less-than-professional space. It is a vehicle that shares a platform with the Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse, and the Saturn Outlook (although the Saturn is now out of production).

So now there’s the GMC Terrain, which is more than loosely based on the Chevrolet Equinox.

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Quite frankly, if you’re going to base a five-passenger crossover on something, the Equinox is a fine choice. It certainly is an exemplary vehicle in its class: size, comfort, amenities, ride and handling, quality of materials, powertrain, exterior design.

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Which then brings me to the Mounds/Almond Joy scenario. As you undoubtedly know, a Mounds bar—chocolate-covered coconut—is the platform for the Almond Joy—chocolate-covered coconut and almonds. The Mounds was the original, with the Almond Joy coming later. The Terrain is essentially the Almond Joy to the Equinox’s Mounds.

That is, the primary differences are primarily stylistic, not fundamental (i.e., the almonds are really something extra). The exterior of the Terrain is much more SUV-like than that of the Equinox, most notably the rectangular shoulders like those of linebackers on each of the wheel wells. There is a large chrome slat where the hood meets the grille that looks nice when the crossover is fresh out of the car wash but is basically a magnet for bug guts and other road detritus. (There is a balancing slat on the tailgate, which is a nice accent and less likely to look smeared after a trip.) Inside there are GMC-specific cues. 2

But fundamentally, they’re the same vehicles.

All of which is to say: Sometimes you feel like a Terrain, sometimes. . . .

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Selected specs

Engine: 3.0-liter V6; aluminum block & heads

Horsepower: 264 @ 6,950 rpm

Torque: 222 lb-ft @ 5,100 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 112.5 in.

Length: 185.3 in.

Width: 72.8 in.

Height: 66.3 in.

Fuel economy (FWD): 17/25 mpg