Working on gaining some terrain

2014 GMC Terrain SLT Review

By Mathieu St-Pierre
2014 GMC Terrain SLT Review

Summary Rating: 77%


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Space and Access

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Driving Dynamics

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General Appreciation

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As an avid reader of all things car on (we hope, and thank you if you are), you’ll have noticed the large number of stories and reviews related to the compact CUV segment. The volume of noise on the subject inevitably leads to more interest and more cars for us to review.

The 2014 Terrain is not new and as a GMC product, certainly not high-end. However, the SLT version -- one trim below the top-line Denali sub-brand in GM’s professional grade line of trucks -- has much to offer those who crave loads of kit and a robust exterior design.

The difficulty with the 2014 GMC Terrain SLT-2 at this price point is that there are so many fish in the sea. The case can be difficult to make even though it does everything it needs to do well enough -- but is this enough? A rapid comparison with our recently picked-up 2015 Mazda CX-5 GT long-termer made the little lustre on the GMC tarnish quite rapidly.

What is a GMC Terrain?
The 2014 GMC Terrain is the spiritual successor to the defunct Pontiac Torrent. As the acting entry-level product in GMC’s lineup (base Sierra is less expensive), the Terrain opens the doors to buyers of the brand to their collection of CUVs and SUVs.

2014 GMC Terrain Price and Specs
The basic Terrain has a retail price of $28,295. At the top of the heap sits the Denali with AWD and its starting price is of $40,995.

My tester was an SLT-2, which begins at $38,995. With options such as navigation and the rear entertainment system, the final tally was $42,210.

All GMC Terrains are delivered with a 182-horsepower 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, unless the optional 301-horsepower 3.6L V6 is specified. In both cases, a 6-speed automatic transmission is included.

As with all good CUVs, AWD is available to replace the standard FWD setup.

Driving the 2014 GMC Terrain
As a daily driver, the Terrain with its 4-pot, is adequate. Moving about town is well managed, laden or not. The transmission is never faulty, swapping from one gear to another without hesitation, and smoothly. The going gets a little tougher as speeds along with burdens increase.

Passing with the Terrain is a chore, especially when loaded. With four adults on board and a goal to reach 100 km/h from 60 while merging onto the freeway a committed mashing of the throttle is required. The noise that ensues is far less than pleasant, buzzy even.

To add insult to injury, my final fuel consumption average was just over 12.5L/100km. In the past, road tests on Mazda CX-5s and Ford Escapes (to name a few) in similar driving conditions and temperatures, averaged between 1.5L and 3L/100km less.

The 2014 GMC Terrain’s ride quality is on par with its competitors. This is where the segment really shines compared to larger cars and CUVs. Their relatively compact dimensions make them agile enough to cover city ground, and despite their smaller footprint can typically hold their own through country road sweepers.

The Terrain is stable at all times and the suspension juggles comfort with a tepid dose of sport. The power, rack-and-pinion steering does what it needs to with the front wheels. Brakes were actually quite good with great response from the pedal and good stopping power.

Inside and Out of the 2014 GMC Terrain
The 2014 GMC Terrain’s rugged outer shell is full of hits and misses depending on your propensity for boxes and swollen surfaces. I, for one, love the Terrain’s engorged arches and flat panels.

The coveted Denali trim adds numerous satin-chrome bits including wheels, rocker panels, and the signature honeycomb Denali grille.

The Terrain’s cabin is ideally suited for four adults. The front perches are comfortable enough, however, the rear bench is best for two normal-size humans or three children. The trunk is capacious enough for a weekend’s worth of camping gear. Fit and finish look good, but there were issues…

It’s been a while since I’ve come across a new vehicle with so many dash rattles. At temperatures just below freezing (-5C for example) the entire dashboard would crick and crack away, as would the sunroof. Temperature is often a factor in these situations, however, the -30C weather we’ve experienced over this hellish winter never had such an effect on past press vehicles.

Comparing the 2014 GMC Terrain
At $42,210, the SLT-2 4-pot could tangle with the Audi Q5, the Mercedes GLK-Class, the Volvo XC60, and a number of other luxury compact CUV players. This is a very tough, even exclusive, group of CUVs to play ball with.

In the “regular” crowd, the Terrain’s biggest obstacles are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Mazda CX-5. All of these are very recent and perform as well or better than the GMC.

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