2018 GMC Terrain Denali AWD Test Drive

?2018 GMC Terrain Denali AWD?
An Ideally-sized Family Adventure SUV

The GMC team refers to their SUV vehicle line as being ?Professional Grade? and the latest GMC Terrain models are intended to deliver both comfort and capability in ample doses despite their EPA rating as a compact SUV. There?s a Base trim ? the GMC Terrain FWD priced at $37,495. Add $1,755 for AWD and $995 for Destination and Freight Charge. There?s also an upscale GMC Terrain Denali that comes with a base sticker of $39,270., with same price additions to be made for AWD and DFC.


My test 2018 GMC Terrain Denali came in an AWD configuration. The exterior was sprayed an Ebony Twilight metallic, with the interior finished in Black leather with polished faux wood trim accents. Options totaling $4,105. were added to the base sticker of $39,270. Optional fare included: the Skycape Sunroof with power; an Advanced Safety Package with Automatic Parking Assist and Surround Vision; the Comfort Package with ventilated seats for both the driver and front passenger; heated seats for rear outboard seating positions; and wireless device charging; the Driver Alert Package II with Low Speed forward Auto Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Headlamp Control ? Intellibeam Auto High Beam; W/4 wire connection Trailering Equipment; and the metallic paint.
Power for both model Terrains is provided by a 2-liter Ecotec DOHC, 16-valve 4-cylinder longitudinally mounted front engine with VVT, and direct injection. Horsepower is rated at 252 at 5,500 rpm, with torque rated at 260 pound feet in a range from 2,500-4,500 rpm. Motive energy is geared to the driving wheels via a Hydra-Matic 9TY50 Nine-speed automatic transmission with electronic precision shift.
There?s genuine aluminum trim and soft-touch materials on the instrument panel and doors and standard active noise cancellation integrated into the interior along with an expanded center console with pass-through storage beneath and side-by-side cupholders that add to the Terrain?s functionality. A new fold-flat front passenger seat and flat-folding rear seat help Terrain offer greater functionality and versatility for stowing longer items. An expanded range of available active safety technologies have been designed to enhance driver awareness and helping to make it easier to park in low-speed situations.

Exclusive exterior features for the Denali include: a Satin-chrome multi-dimensional grille; LED headlamps with signature lighting; 19-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels with dark-painted pockets; Body-color fascias and lower trim; Bright roof rails, door handle surrounds, outside mirror caps and body-side moldings; Denali-specific suspension tuning and urethane spring isolators;

Inside, you’ll also find Denali-specific leather-trimmed seating and heated front seats, with Denali logo on the front seats; Denali-logo aluminum sill plates; Denali-specific interior trim color; Dual-zone automatic climate control; a 110-volt power outlet, four data/charging and two charge-only USB ports; an 8-inch-diagonal GMC Infotainment System with Navigation and supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (includes three-month/3GB data trial); a 4.2-inch multi-color driver information center; and the Teen Driver feature as standard.
Safety features include: six standard air bags, including frontal driver and passenger, roof rail-mounted head curtain and thorax side-impact air bags; a collapsible pedal assembly; a standard rear-vision camera; Rear Seat Reminder alerts when the second-row doors are opened before the vehicle is started; Driver Alert Package I is available on SLE and SLT and standard on Denali. Content includes Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, Rear Park Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Safety Alert Driver Seat; Driver Alert Package II is available and includes Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indicator and IntelliBeam headlamps; the Advanced Safety Package is available and includes Automatic Parking Assist and Surround Vision.
SUMMARY: The 2018 GMC Terrain Denali seems to be an ideal choice from the GMC SUV family for the consumer searching for that just ?right-sized? SUV. It?s rated by the EPA as a compact SUV, but it doesn’t come across as compact at all, providing ample room for 5 passengers and their gear without crowding.
Acceleration is surprisingly satisfying from the 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated motor and the new 9-speed automatic gearbox transitions from one gear to the next in either direction in smooth fashion, even though the console positioned buttons or switches are kind of a throwback to earlier days.
The ride quality is quite comfortable and the handling characteristics border on sporty. Visually the Terrain Denali is very appealing with lots of curves and creases defining its form, which makes detailing somewhat tedious.

Bottom line, the Terrain Denali provides yet another SUV choice from GMC?s stable, making it most suitable for family adventures.
To be sure, there will be nay-sayers who will berate any SUV, but let?s face it, there are different strokes for different folks, and some folks will find this SUV to be the perfect choice for them.


Base Price: $39,270.
Price as Tested: $44,370.

Engine Type and Size: 2-liter Ecotec DOHC, 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT, and direct injection.

Horsepower (bhp): 252 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 260 @ 2,500-4,500 rpm

Transmission: Hydra-Matic 9TY50 Nine-speed automatic with electronic precision shift.

Drive Train: Longitudinally-mounted front engine/AWD.

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 disc with ABS and ESC; Duralife rotors with low-drag calipers.

Tires: Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 235/50-R19/99H mounted on 5-stylized spoke Machine faced with painted inner alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 107.3 inches
Length Overall: 182.3 inches
Width: 72.4 inches
Height: 65.4 inches
Curb Weight: 3,801 lbs.
Turning Circle: 41.6 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 15.6 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 21 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

More from Our Auto Expert