GMC Terrain


CARBARN  | GMC Terrain | one automobile manufacturer has ever played a Transformers movie is now released another new car, more a concept of the family, because this car has a shape that is environmentally friendly and also convenient for families. While GMC's new-for-2010 Terrain crossover may be all but identical to Chevrolet's Equinox, one look at this bluff-faced polarizing design will tell you that badge-engineering wasn't part of the program at General Motors. Yes, both vehicles share the same platform, the same engine choices and even the same suspension calibrations, but the in-your-face look here is likely to inspire love-it-or-hate-it reactions. We'll let you decide on which side of the fence you sit, with one caveat: It is often the case that certain cars look better in the metal than on screen or in photographs. We were invited to GM's Design Dome for a media backgrounder, and after being in-and-around the vehicle, we profess that we can't make the same case.   

Controversial aesthetics aside, the 2010 Terrain looks to have the goods, including a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine on the base model that delivers 182 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Like its Chevy stablemate, this model is tipped to deliver 30 miles-per-gallon on the highway, a very handsome figure for this class. Interestingly, the four-banger features noise-canceling technology to mute undesirable sound characteristics and a driver-selectable Eco button that remaps the throttle responses, shift patterns and torque converter lockup speed to improve fuel economy. The more powerful engine choice is a 3.0-liter direct-injection V6 engine that develops a healthy 264 horsepower and 222 pound-feet of torque. GM says six-cylinder buyers can expect to achieve 18-mpg city and 25 on the highway. Interestingly, the noise-canceling circuitry is only included on the Terrains equipped with the 2.4-liter. Models are available in front- or all-wheel drive trim, and a six-speed automatic is the transmission no matter what engine (or how many driven wheels) you choose.    

This model is effectively a Pontiac Torrent replacement (that model is going away as GM figures out what to do with its affordable performance brand), albeit one made for GMC's truck-oriented audience. As such, it has a much more masculine exterior, with its triple-element grille, U-pattern hood, massive squared-off fenders, and a markedly different greenhouse. To our eyes, the Terrain's front-end looks almost out-of-scale with its footprint, or perhaps rather like some of the fuel-cell or hybrid conversions we've seen, in part because the front is so bluff and the lower blacked-out air dam rides rather close to terra firma for aerodynamic reasons. The rear-end is decidedly less controversial and nearly minivan-like, with Toyota Sienna-like taillamp clusters and paint-by-numbers "ruggedizing" cues. The interior is leaps and bounds ahead of the outgoing Equinox/Torrent pairing, with tons of available options including a dual-screen rear entertainment, Bluetooth, a rear-backup camera, and a power liftgate that adjusts for low garage clearances. In general, the dashboard is nicely laid out (though that center stack looks a bit button-happy) and we found plenty of room up front to get comfortable while still leaving enough space for kids and adults sitting behind us. Nice features include a sliding rear seat which allows one to prioritize seat comfort or cargo room as needs dictate, and a center console big enough to swallow a laptop computer. One area of obvious cost-cutting on the model we were shown was that the nice contrasting red door panel stitching up front is not repeated for rear-seat passengers, although it is present on all seats. GMC, as you will recall, only recently made its first foray into the crossover market with its Lambda-platform Acadia three-row CUV, and this new model figures to be the division's entry level model when it debuts in dealers in late Summer. GM has yet to announce pricing, but we expect it to be priced nominally higher than its Chevrolet counterpart to reflect its slightly elevated equipment levels and GMC's spot in the company hierarchy.

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