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2016 GMC Terrain Road Test by Bob Plunkett

2016 GMC Terrain Road Test Review

By Bob Plunkett

GMC Terrain CUV gains a
chisel-block face and more equipment

Check out that new front-end treatment on the 2016 Terrain, GMC's hunky compact-class crossover utility vehicle:  It's boxy, blocky and certainly chrome-intensive in a chisel-block design with a stepped power dome hood, a dominant forward-thrusting front grille ringed in chrome, oversized corner headlamp clusters with LED daytime running lights and bulges on flanks from squared-off front fenders.

Terrain's crisp and edgy new face reflects a deliberate design move away from that namby-pamby and curvy-cute treatment of the typical compact CUV.

It's hunky, hard-edged, almost military in tone and appearance.

The 2016 update for Terrain -- first re-skin since Terrain's 2010 launch -- encompasses the bold new exterior design, a revamped and enriched 5-seat cabin treatment plus new on-board gear and optional electronic safety devices.

Stretching more than 15 feet long and six feet wide, the stocky Terrain 5-door wagon employs the monocoque structure of a front-wheel-drive (FWD) car and draws power from an economy-minded 4-cylinder Ecotec engine or a powerful 6-pack.

Unlike SUV wagons with a solid rear truck axle and crude leaf springs, Terrain carries suspension components like a smooth-riding car. There are independent struts up front with tuned coil springs and direct-acting stabilizer bar and a 4-link design in back with coil springs and trailing arm, stabilizer bar and hydraulic link bushings. Top grade Terrain Denali goes further with dual-flow dampers and 19-inch wheels.

Steering is a rack and pinion design with variable assistance. With the base 4-cylinder engine aboard, an electric power steering (EPS) system replaces the hydraulic apparatus used with the optional V6.

Brakes include a large disc at every wheel with linkage to an anti-lock brake system (ABS) plus StabiliTrak, GM's electronic vehicle skid control system.

GM lists two high-tech engines to power the 2016 Terrain, each featuring dual overhead cams (DOHC), electronic throttle control (ETC), direct injection (DI) technology and variable valve timing (VVT).

Transaxle is a fuel-saving Hydra-Matic 6-speed electronically controlled automatic. The Hydra-Matic 6T45 mates with the 4-cylinder engine and the Hydra-Matic 6T70 applies to the V6.

The 4-cylinder engine is GM's Ecotec 2.4-liter aluminum 4-in-line which develops 182 hp at 6700 rpm and 172 lb-ft of torque at 4900 rpm.

The upgrade 6-cylinder engine is a 3.6-liter aluminum V6 which makes 301 hp at 6500 rpm with 272 lb-ft of torque at 4800 rpm.

Terrain also offers an all-wheel-drive (AWD) device that's always engaged and uses a computer to determine how much power to apply at each wheel for maintaining tire traction on slippery roads.

Plan for the 5-seat cabin sets a pair of bucket seats on the front row separated by a floor-mounted console. A bench on the second row splits and folds and also slides fore and aft by eight inches to vary legroom.

Terrain's trim grades consist of the entry-issue SL, upgraded SLE, well-stocked SLT and deluxe Denali.

Cabin appointments aboard every 2016 Terrain include power controls for windows and door locks and exterior mirrors, air conditioning, a remote keyless entry device and rearview camera, power for the driver's seat, Bluetooth and a Color Touch audio system with AM/FM/XM/CD/USB.

Specific trim-grade additions include premium cloth seat fabric now standard on SL and SLE, new Saddle Up leather seat upholstery available on SLT along with 8-way power controls for the front passenger's seat, a programmable power liftgate optional now on SLT yet standard on Denali, new White Frost Tricoat and Crimson Red Tintcoat premium exterior colors offered on all models, and additional electronic safety devices -- Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert -- as options for SLE, SLT and Denali.

Further, the optional GMC IntelliLink kit adds OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

GMC's MSRP chart for the revamped 2016 Terrain rises from the estimated base point of $24,500 for Terrain SL-FWD.

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