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2013 GMC Terrain

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The 2013 GMC Terrain is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV that is essentially a more upscale Chevrolet Equinox. For 2013, the big news is the addition of the top-line Denali trim, as well as a new V6 engine with more power.

Competition for the GMC Terrain includes the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Hyundai's redesigned Santa Fe Sport.

What Experts Think

Although the changes for 2013 aren't all that dramatic, say the auto critics, they are a definite improvement. Chief among them are the new and much stronger V6 engine and the addition, at last, of the top-level Denali trim.

"GMC's smallest vehicle carves out its own niche with distinctly ‘trucky' styling and a high-end Denali model." (Consumer Guide)

Kelley Blue Book notes that consumers looking for a serious off-road vehicle may be better served looking elsewhere, but those who want something "akin to a Ford Escape or Honda CR-V" but...don't like futuristic styling or four-cylinder powertrains" may gravitate toward the Terrain. No mistaking the Terrain's squared-off edges and flared wheel openings that let you know this is a GMC Truck.

Straddling the small and midsized SUV categories, the 2013 GMC Terrain, says Consumer Reports, "has a taut yet supple and controlled ride, with responsive and secure handling." Editors found the four-cylinder engine "not particularly brisk," while the tester's V6 had a "dithering transmission that makes it feel sluggish."

"The 2013 GMC Terrain is a generously packaged, high-content compact crossover that covers the ground between mainstream and all-out luxury entries." (Edmunds)

AOL Autos reprises its 2012 review of the GMC Terrain, saying the Terrain "is a generously-sized compact sport utility vehicle best suited to young families or active couples."

"Strong brakes and a decent ride impart confidence, but excessive mass hampers acceleration, particularly in four-cylinder models. The four scores well on highway fuel economy, but we would still get the V6." (Car and Driver)

Over at Automobile, editors comment that the Terrain "is a solid competitor in the small SUV segment," thanks to its good fuel economy and available features.

What Owners Say

Comments from owners of the 2013 GMC Terrain are a mixed bag. Some are enthusiastic about their purchase and others not so much. As always, it's the details that count.

What do owners say they really like about the GMC Terrain? Highlights include comfort, great driving for a big vehicle, good gas mileage, superb interior, easy for a big or small person to drive, styling and technology features, muted wind noise, and overall best value for the money.

Other compliments include the sliding rear seat, generous headroom and legroom for passengers in the rear.

Gripes include poor gas mileage (or mileage not as expected), no rear air control, inability to set interior vents a bit higher, cargo room not as large as it looks from the outside, and front seats a bit crowded.

Model/Trim Lineup

The 2013 GMC Terrain lineup gains a top-of-the-line Denali trim level. Returning for 2013 are the Terrain SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1 and SLT-2 trims.

The base GMC Terrain is equipped with 17-inch wheels, color touch-screen radio with a USB port and iPod interface, Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, ambient lighting, a rearview camera, and Active Noise Cancellation.

All Terrain models have a rear bench seat that slides fore and aft up to eight inches and is able to accommodate three child safety seats.

Befitting the highest trim level for Terrain, the Denali has nearly every feature available on any Terrain, plus some safety equipment not offered on lower trims. Denali also boasts unique trim outside and in. The standard features list for Terrain Denali includes 18- and 19-inch wheels (depending on engine choice), leather upholstery, heated front seats, remote engine start, power sunroof, and a programmable power tailgate.

As for options on the Denali, the list is quite short: a navigation system, dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system, and a towing prep package. Forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems are standard on the Denali and the SLT-2 available as an extra-cost option on SLE-2 and SLT-1.


Powering the 2013 GMC Terrain is the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 182 horsepower. All except the Terrain SLE-1 have the optional new 301-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. The new V6 is considered by reviewers to be markedly stronger than previously optional 264-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 it replaces. Indeed, the new V6 pumps out more horsepower than what is offered in many compact luxury crossovers.

Both engines can run on regular gasoline and/or E85 ethanol-blended fuel.

A six-speed automatic transmission is the only one available across the lineup.

All 2013 GMC Terrain models are available with standard front-wheel drive (FWD) oar all-wheel drive (AWD).

EPA-estimated fuel economy for the four-cylinder FWD Terrain is 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway/26 mpg combined (gasoline), and 15/22 mpg (E85). The all-wheel drive four-cylinder Terrain gets 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway/23 mpg combined with gasoline and 14/20 mpg with E85, unchanged from last year.

The V6-powered front-wheel drive Terrain achieves EPA-estimated 17/24/20 mpg on gasoline and 13/22 mpg with E85. In AWD configuration, the numbers are 16/23/19 (gasoline).

Properly equipped, the maximum towing capacity is 1,500 pounds for the four-cylinder Terrain and 3,500 pounds with the V6 engine.


There's almost universal agreement among the automotive press that the interior of the 2013 GMC Terrain, even though it shares a lot with the Chevrolet Equinox, is able to more than hold its own with high-quality materials. In the top-line Denali, the cabin is more luxury-oriented, featuring French-stitched seams, an eight-say power passenger seat and smoked mahogany trim.

About the Terrain's seats -- the heated seats are available even in cloth versions. Furthermore, the seats in the Terrain can be programmed to start warming up when the vehicle is turned on via remote start.

Numerous storage bins located throughout the Terrain make stowing items easy and effortless. But the storage isn't the most efficient overall, since the 63.7 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats folded is noticeably less than that of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota RAV-4 and Honda CR-V.

Reviewers also like the fact that the second row can be moved forward or back a full eight inches. This allows taller passengers more room to stretch their legs as well as makes it easier for parents to move kids in car seats quite a bit closer.

The Terrain is also extremely quiet, thanks to the Active Noise Cancellation used throughout with the four-cylinder models.

Safety & Reliability

Any family vehicle worth buying needs to be safe. In the view of most of the auto critics, the 2013 GMC Terrain acquits itself well in the safety arena.

Standard safety equipment on the 2013 GMC Terrain includes six airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, rollover mitigation, antilock brakes, OnStar emergency communications system (including automatic crash notification, a button for emergency assistance, remote door unlock and stolen vehicle tracking assistance), and a rearview camera.

Standard on Denali and SLT-2 are forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems, which are optional on SLE-2 and SLT-1. A blind spot alert is exclusive to the Denali.

In government crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2013 GMC Terrain earned an overall four-star rating. This included four stars in frontal-impact and five stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Terrain its highest rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests and named it a Top Safety Pick.

As for reliability, the 2013 GMC Terrain is about average, earning three circles in the J.D. Power Predicted Reliability rating.

Consumer Reports notes that reliability has been average for the four-cylinder and above average for the V6-powered Terrain.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SLE AWD 4dr SLE w/SLE-1 4 Cylinder AWD 28055
SLE AWD 4dr SLE w/SLE-2 4 Cylinder AWD 29555
SLT AWD 4dr SLT w/SLT-1 4 Cylinder AWD 31105
SLT AWD 4dr SLT w/SLT-2 4 Cylinder AWD 34350
Denali AWD 4dr Denali 4 Cylinder AWD 36745
SLE FWD 4dr SLE w/SLE-1 4 Cylinder FWD 26305
SLE FWD 4dr SLE w/SLE-2 4 Cylinder FWD 27805
SLT FWD 4dr SLT w/SLT-1 4 Cylinder FWD 29355
SLT FWD 4dr SLT w/SLT-2 4 Cylinder FWD 32600
Denali FWD 4dr Denali 4 Cylinder FWD 34995

Comparison of 2013 GMC Terrain with Similar Cars

2013 GMC Terrain MSRP Invoice
2013 GMC Terrain $26,305 $24,990
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee $27,695 $27,229 GMC Terrain VS Jeep Grand Cherokee
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited $25,795 $25,070 GMC Terrain VS Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
2013 Chevrolet Equinox $24,225 $23,014 GMC Terrain VS Chevrolet Equinox
2013 Ford Edge $27,700 $26,107 GMC Terrain VS Ford Edge
2013 Nissan Murano $28,440 $26,203 GMC Terrain VS Nissan Murano

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 GMC Terrain ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 GMC Terrain rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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