Following eight years in production, the 2018 GMC Terrain -- hunky compact-class crossover wagon -- marks a new generational treatment with a new rigid body structure, edgy sculpted sheet metal styling and a load of luxe cabin gear plus optional active safety devices and electronic crash-avoidance controls.
Terrain '18 splits into five grades (SL, SLE, SLE, SLT, Denali) and offers three turbocharged 4-pack powertrains including a new fuel-sipping turbo-diesel.
The blocky front-end treatment reveals a dominant forward-thrusting octagonal grille ringed in chrome, curt corner headlamp clusters accented with LED daytime running lights, a strafed hood and flank bulges from squared-off front fenders housing big alloy wheels.
Terrain's stiff new body structure includes high-strength steel encasing the passenger compartment to help deflect crash intrusions. Also, the front suspension cradle mounts at six points on the body structure and has a 2-step release strategy during a crash situation to help maintain the integrity of the cockpit safety cage.
Unlike SUV wagons which typically employ a solid rear truck axle and crude leaf springs, Terrain carries suspension components akin to a smooth-riding car. The components include independent struts up front with tuned coil springs and direct-acting stabilizer bar and a 4-link rear suspension design with coil springs and trailing arm, stabilizer bar and hydraulic link bushings.
Steering is a rack and pinion design with assistance provided by an electric power steering system.
The list of passive safety features on the 2018 Terrain editions begins with six standard airbags, including frontal driver and passenger airbags, roof rail-mounted head curtain side airbags that help protect the front and outboard rear seating positions, and front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags. Further, there are three-point safety belts for five seat positions with belt retractor pretensioners and belt load limiters for front riders, daytime running lamps and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Optional active safety features on Terrain include radar- and camera-based adaptive technologies that provide alerts or warnings to potential threats. The electronic equipment includes Safety Alert Seat, Surround Vision, Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator, Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, IntelliBeam high-beam headlamp control, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Park Assist.
Powertrains begin with the standard plant, a 1.5-liter turbocharged in-line 4 engine with direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and GM's fuel-saving stop/start technology. The power-dense small-displacement engine produces 170 hp with 203 lb-ft of torque.
The upgraded engine -- a 2.0-liter turbo-4 -- applies to Terrain models rigged with all-wheel-drive or upper-trim interior equipment. The 2.0 plant delivers 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission for both the 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbos is GM's Hydra-Matic 9-speed automatic with Electronic Precision Shift, a push-button range selector.
A turbo-diesel is also optional: The 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbo-diesel has a variable-geometry turbocharger and stop/start technology. It nets 137 hp plus 240 lb-ft of torque through a 6-speed automatic.
Terrain stocks GM's driver-controllable Traction Select system, which uses a computer to determine how much power to apply at each wheel for maintaining tire traction on slippery roads. AWD (all-wheel-drive) models include a FWD (front-wheel-drive) mode that disconnects the AWD system to minimize drag and optimize fuel economy, as well as settings of AWD, Off-Road, Trailer/Tow.
Terrain SL and SLE base units provide 4-way manual driver and front passenger seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat and fold-flat 60/40-split rear seat. There is under-floor rear cargo storage, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise control tabs, genuine aluminum interior trim appointments, four USB ports (2 data/charge, two charge only) and up to 63.3 cu-ft of cargo space.
Top-tier Terrain Denali brings 19-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels, LED headlamps, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, hands-free power liftgate, 8-inch infotainment system with navigation, Bose 7-speaker audio kit and a suite of active safety features.
GMC's MSRP chart for 2018 Terrain models stretches from $25,970 (SL-FWD) to $40,245 (Denali-AWD).