2013 GMC Terrain Denali

2013 GMC Terrain Denali Review

GMC fancies up the Terrain.

By: David Merline

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: January 27th, 2013

How do you make a somewhat sensible vehicle utterly ridiculous? That apparently was the challenge facing GMC when they decided to expand their Denali line. Denali is the trim level that GMC uses to make ordinary SUVs into "luxury" SUVs. This usually includes lots of chrome trim, more electronic bells and whistles, and a hugely inflated price tag. The idea is that if you can't afford a Cadillac Escalade or a Yukon Denali (assuming you're staying in the GM family), you can still have a ludicrously overpriced, horribly fuel inefficient car that you'll presumably be employing to tow a boat or haul a family of seven (because otherwise there's no reason to own an SUV, right?).

For a more lighthearted take, check out our video review of the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali, featuring Sarah.

  • On the Road

    With the available V6, the Terrain handles itself capably. It's got power to spare, the steering is well balanced and confident, and the ride is smooth. Of course, you pay dearly for that extra speed—the V6 adds an additional $1,750 to the sticker price, and the gas mileage drops 9 highway mph from the standard 4-cylinder. Still, it handles enough like a car that it makes even less sense to not just be driving, you know, a car. But our personal preferences aside, it's a solid, not unpleasant car to tool around in.

  • Exterior

    Fancying up an SUV isn't easy, and the Denali edition of this squared off crossover has little other than the badge to set it aside from the standard Terrain. A few extra shiny bits here and there is all you get on the outside.

  • Interior

    The interior is where the Terrain gets all Denali-ized, but it's still not a car that's going to be mistaken for a Mercedes, or even a Cadillac for that matter. It's comfortable and utilitarian (just like it's cheaper normal edition), but that's just make all the extra chrome bits look silly.

  • Fuel Economy & Safety

    As mentioned earlier, the mpg number on the V6 Denali are rather pathetic, but surely most people buy SUVs for their safety, right? Of course, the safety of big truck-like cars has always been overstated, and indeed, the Terrain doesn't even shine in that category, falling one star short of a five-star safety rating.

  • Final Thoughts

    The GMC Terrain is a solid "small" SUV (it's still large enough that parking can be a challenge), but unless you opt for the 4-cylinder engine we continue to not ever see ourselves buying this type of vehicle.

  • Specs, Features, & Price

    Specs, Features, & Price

    Engine and Transmission
    3.8-liter V6
    301 horsepower
    272 lb-ft of torque
    All-wheel drive
    6-speed automatic transmission

    Fuel Economy  
    16 mpg (city)
    23 mpg (hwy)

    $40,425 (as tested)

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