2018 GMC Terrain Denali: Does This New Model Push All the Right Buttons? [Review]


2018 GMC Terrain Denali
2018 GMC Terrain Denali [Photo: GMC]


GMC has sold 700,000 examples of the Terrain since it first debuted back in 2009. With such a popular model, it makes sense not to change the recipe too often. However, after nearly ten years in production, it’s time for the company to give the Terrain a thorough revision.

Now in its second generation, the GMC Terrain is all new for 2018. While the original model sported a boxier design, this one is made to look longer and sleek. It also features a floating roof design element, while the last generation looked more like a standard SUV. This 2018 GMC Terrain gone down a size class from the previous model, as well. GMC lopped 5.2 inches off the wheelbase, so this car is now classified as a compact crossover. The last Terrain, with a 112.5-inch wheelbase, was technically a midsize. Despite that, the new Terrain is only 4.7 inches shorter than the previous model.

GMC revised the Terrain’s interior, and moved its shifter from the center console to a push-button setup in the center stack to free up space. Instead of a 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder or V6 engine, the 2018 GMC Terrain gets a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four engine. As before, it’s still available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations.


2018 GMC Terrain Denali
[Photo: GMC]


My test 2018 GMC Terrain Denali came in an AWD configuration. The Terrain Denali’s base price stats at $39,270. However, after $4,105 worth of options were added, the price rose to $44,370. Optional fare included a power sunroof, as well as an Advanced Safety Package with automatic parking and a 360-degree camera system. The Comfort Package offered heated and ventilated front seats and wireless phone charging. The “Driver Alert Package II” adds low-speed automatic braking, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert, and automatic high beams. The package also adds trailering capability with a four-pin connector.

The 2018 GMC Terrain Denali offers a plethora of model-specific features. You get a satin-chrome multi-dimensional grille, LED headlamps and running lights, as well as 19-inch wheels. GMC also paints the lower trim to match the body color. There are also Denali-specific leather seats and heated front seats and aluminum sill plates.

On the convenience front, there’s a 110-volt power outlet, four USB ports (of which two are data-capable), and an 8.0-inch infotainment with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support. OnStar 4G LTE connectivity is available with a three-month trial period. For the driver, there’s a 4.2-inch multi-color information center in the gauge cluster.

Safety features include six standard air bags and a “Rear Seat Reminder” alert. The “Driver Alert Package I” is standard on Denali. That package includes blind spot monitoring, Rear Park Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The 2018 GMC Terrain Denali is rated by the EPA as a compact SUV, but it doesn’t come across as compact at all. It provides ample room for five passengers and their gear without feeling too cramped.

2018 GMC Terrain Denali
[Photo: TFLcar]


Power for both model Terrains is provided by a 2.0-liter Ecotec four-cylinder with direct injection. Horsepower is rated at 252 at 5,500 rpm, with torque rated at 260 lb-ft from 2,500-4,500 RPM. That power is routed to the driving wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Acceleration is satisfyingly quick, and the new 9-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The console-positioned buttons take some getting used to, but they do free up a lot of room in the center console.

The ride quality is comfortable in normal conditions, and the car’s handling is thoroughly competent. That is, in the event you feel like doing some more spirited driving.


The GMC team refers to their SUV vehicle line as being “Professional Grade”. In pursuit of that goal, the company has worked to deliver on both comfort and capability. It performs that task well, and at a price that won’t break the bank. While this was the top-of-the-line Denali model, there are two other trim levels available. The base SL, with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, starts at $25,990. Other models include the SLE and SLT models. With the exception of the SL, all models are available in all-wheel drive. There is also a 1.6-liter turbodiesel available on SLE and SLT trims.

To see how well the 2018 GMC Terrain Denali takes on the world’s toughest towing test, check out the video below. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car, The Fast Lane Truck and TFLnow on YouTube for more video content published daily!

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 GMC Terrain Denali

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $39,270.
Price as Tested: $44,370.
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4
Drivetrain (Layout): Front engine, all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 252 hp @ 5,500 RPM
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 2,500-4,500 RPM
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 9TY50Nine-speed automatic with electronic precision shift.
Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut with specifically tuned coil   springs with urethane spring isolators, direct-acting  stabilizer bar.

Rear: Four-link independent rear suspension, with urethane spring isolators.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel  ventilated discs.Power-assisted, four-wheel disc with ABS and ESC
Tires: Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 P235/50 R19 99H
Fuel capacity: 15.6 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 21 City/26 Highway MPG


Wheelbase: 107.3 inches
Length:  182.3 inches
Width: 72.4 inches
Height:  54.5 inches
Turning Circle: 41.6 feet (19-inch wheels)
Curb Weight: 3,801 pounds