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2022 GMC Terrain AT4 First Drive: Keeping With the Trend

2022 GMC Terrain AT4 | Photo: D.Rufiange
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Daniel Rufiange
GMC is a brand on the rise and certainly among those that most embraces its image
GMC Terrain AT4 2022, calandre
GMC Terrain AT4 2022, calandre | Photo: D.Rufiange

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON - GMC has something new to offer us with its Terrain this spring, all in the form of a new variant that goes by the name AT4. While that designation is new to the Terrain lineup, it isn't new to the brand, which introduced an AT4 version of its full-size Sierra pickup for 2019.

Since then, the AT4 approach has made its way around the lineup; its addition to the Terrain SUV means that very GMC model is now available in AT4 configuration.

And what does that mean? Two things. In some models, it means increased off-road capabilities, coupled with a singular visual signature. In others, including the Terrain, it's all about the aesthetics.

It's important to understand that you can’t expect a Terrain AT4 to keep pace with a GMC Sierra AT4 on an off-road trail, or even to follow it there. To each their own.

Still, the AT4 treatment adds a little something to the model, including tires that are capable of taking a beating. Given our roads, or what's left of them in the spring, that’s certainly not a bad thing. And this addition comes as the Terrain line as a whole benefits from a mid-cycle revision for 2022.

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2022 GMC Terrain AT4, front
2022 GMC Terrain AT4, front | Photo: D.Rufiange

What's changing
For 2022 (yes we know, the year is already four months old), the GMC Terrain benefits from styling tweaks, especially visible at the front. The grilles are new (note that they differ across the lineup), as are the wheels, as are the headlights and their signature. LEDs are the norm, both front and rear, by the way. The changes are striking across the range, but especially with the Denali version. Roughly speaking, the Terrain has a more rugged appearance and a snout that looks more like a truck’s than an SUV’s.

The Elevation version also gets its own tweaks, with four new colours introduced and some adjustments to interior materials and accents.

Most importantly, there's the new AT4 version. What defines it, in a nutshell, is the addition of front skid plates, as well as the model's terrain management system right off the bat, the latter offering three distinct modes. All-wheel drive is standard, of course.

Perhaps most importantly, the 17-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires are standard. These tires, while not louder, filter out road imperfections better and are more comfortable on rougher roads. During our test drive, we used a good old-fashioned tread pattern and we were happy to be riding on these instead of the regular rubber.

2022 GMC Terrain AT4, tire
2022 GMC Terrain AT4, tire | Photo: D.Rufiange

The engine
Mechanically, the Terrain is powered by a single engine, a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. It does the job, but we miss the 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder that was offered until recently. With the latter, it was possible to tow 3,500 lb. Now it's limited to 1,500 lb.

GMC argues that those who want more have the option of going for the Acadia SUV, but that model is more expensive, so this is not a solution for many folks. Yes, some will do it, but others will decide to go elsewhere. We've seen the same thing happen at Kia: the Sorento has lost capabilities, with the company expecting – or hoping for- a migration to the Telluride. There’s just no certainty customers will follow.

But that’s a debate for another time.

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Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists