Test Drive: 2011 GMC Terrain

This crossover SUV is surprisingly...awesome.

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Complex Original

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Engine: 3.0-liter V6
Fuel consumption: 16 city, 23 hwy
Price as tested: $38,580 (starting MSRP is $24,995)

In NY magazine-land, there are a few tests we run on a car: we check its real-life gas mileage by seeing how long it takes before we have to fill up the tank, we check it’s real-life acceleration by racing from stop light to stop light, and we test it’s real-life appeal by driving through a crowded set of blocks to see if anyone cares. The 2011 GMC Terrain did well on all fronts, particularly the real-life-girls-in-the-street rating, which, to be honest, we weren’t expecting. Or maybe it did well because the driver was so charming…

Gas Mileage/Engine
It’s a crossover SUV, and as a mid-size crossover, this car does well on MPGs compared to its competitors. The SLT-2 version of the Terrain, which we drove, gets a highway MPG of 22, and we stopped for a bathroom break before we had to stop for a fill up. Our version had the V6, which meant plenty of get up and go from light to light. Apparently the 4-cylinder standard version does the trick as well though.

Typically you sacrifice a lot interior-wise with a crossover, especially with the smaller ones. But this mid-sized SUV doesn’t feel cramped. It’s designed around the space, and in both the front and the back seats of the car, the leg space was solid. It’s also well designed from an acoustic point of view—while some SUVs can be loud while you’re cruising on the highway, this car feels refined with a smooth, quiet ride at high speeds.

What Outsiders Think
The real-life appeal is the one we pay the most attention to, because, let’s get real—“18-35 year-old single males in metropolitan settings” buy things for one reason. And that reason is to increase their attractiveness to the world. This car did surprisingly well on this test. I got two “nice car” comments while driving around Brooklyn, and passengers on board were psyched for the ride.

All In
The GMC Terrain is a solid car at a solid price. The interior is well designed and spacious, and the car gets good gas mileage. This is a great road trip car, and as crossover SUVs come, it’s one of the better looking ones at a price like this.

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