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2015 GMC Terrain Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Owner Pros and Cons by stevefromtheburbs



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If you want an SUV, that drives like a sedan, and has some serious high-end appointments, consider the GMC terrain.

Reviewed: 2015 GMC Terrain

4dr SUV 301-horsepower 3.6L V6 6-speed shiftable automatic AWD

Why the 2015 GMC Terrain?

Ride smoothness

The ride is a smooth ride. We purchased the Denali version, with the larger wheels and improved suspension. The ride quality is more like a nice sedan, vs. an SUV. The ride quality of my other car, a RAV4 Limited, is more truck like and rough, in comparison. You have to imagine the GMC Terrain Denali is like a high end sedan, with AWD, that sits a bit higher, and has the boxy SUV style, but rides smooth and quiet.

Rear seat room & comfort

The rear seat room is plentiful, and because rear seat can be slid forward and back, you can shift between needing more leg room and using more of the cargo area. We had traded in a 2015 Dodge Journey for the Terrain, because of safety concerns, but realized after we had it for awhile, the rear seat of the Journey was not able to go back far enough into the cargo area, and because of the bulky and high mounted head rests, you felt trapped. The Terrain does not have these issues and feels much more roomy and comfortable. The rear seats are supportive and not at all like some back seats that feel like they were an afterthought.

Powertrain performance

The V6 and automatic transmission are both powerful, and smooth. Every once in awhile, when going slow, then accelerating, you'll get a small rough shift, but all in all, it is a nice smooth shift, with about 300HP working to move you along quickly. While we have the AWD verison, we have not had any snow to test it in.

Audio & nav systems

The upgraded audio system in the Denali version, coupled with the XM radio, make for a great sound. Some cars use Sirius (same company, different satellites and hardware), which sounds like a cheap AM radio, even if you have a high end system. The Journey had this configuration, and it was a major let down. This has XM, and great speakers, for a terrific sound. As for the NAV system, it works well, it isn't laggy, and is fairly simple to use. The Garmin system used in Chrysler cars, is the nicest of all, but the Subaru starlink system I had was the worst one of all times. The RAV4 is okay, but quirky. The Intellilink GMC system works fine, and once you know how to use it, it is reasonable.

Warranty, maintenance cost

This comes with a 3 year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, as most do. This also comes with 2 years/24,000 mile maintenance. This also includes a 5 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. As for coverage, GMC must be confident to add the 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, because that is alot of miles.

Why Not the 2015 GMC Terrain?

Fuel economy

Fuel economy, for a vehicle over 4,000lbs, and a 300hp V6 engine, is going to be low. But at between 15-18mpg, for suburban driving, it seems a bit low. I wanted to the V6 so it would not struggle, and I did that knowing the MPG's were not great, but I hoped it would be better on the highway. What I found most disappointing, was that with the V6, you don't get an "economy" switch. The 4 cylinder version does, but not the V6. Why does this matter? Because with a V6, with much more power than a 4 cylinder, using economy mode would not feel bad. On the Terrain, with the 4 cylinder you are starting with less, so taking away from less isn't alwyas good. But taking away from the V6, would not be as impacting.

Interior storage compartments

You will find, that if you've had time to look over some other similar suv's out there, that storage can be very plentiful (the Journey was a good example), yet the Terrain lacks those storage compartments that you see being implemented on other cars. The Journey had storage under the rear floor mats, in fact one was a cooler, and a dedicated storage area under the rear cargo floor.

Price or payments

While there are discounts and rebates that can shave off thousands from the price, in some ways the Terrain seems a bit overpriced. When you get a Denali, with the V6, and towing package, you are in the Acadia territory. Seems a bit expensive, compared to similar sized SUV's.


Unfortunately, if you run the resale values on this, vs. my RAV4, you'll see that this resale value will be less on the Terrain.


Overall, the handling is firm. No issue. There are 2 small quirks about handling that I don't like. When turning into parking spots, you don't get the turning ratio you would with other cars. The other annoying thing has to do with how hard you have to work the steering wheel, for all movements. It is most noticable on turns, and it tends to hold firm on the straights, but for turns, if there are many, your arms will be tired.

Other Features of the 2015 GMC Terrain


With the V6, towing capactiy is huge. So, towing a boat, trailer, etc. won't be an issue with the V6.

Interior styling

The interior looks and feels like a high end foreign car. This is something that you will notice on the Denali version.

Safety & braking

Safety is a big thing for us, and this got a top safety pick from the IIHS. We traded our Dodge Journey after only a couple of months, because whent the IIHS did their small overlap test, the Journey failed big time. And we did not want to take chance, so we traded it in. As for the brakes, they are responsive.

Feature availability

While the Denali terrain has many great features, and many more that the others simply don't have, the terrain lacks push button starting. In today's climate, with spending so much money on a car, having push button starting would seem like a given. GMC doesn't offer this on the Terrain, unfortuantely.

Controls and instruments

Controls and instruments are generally well laid out. The only frustration is that the touch screen Intllink system from GMC, can be hard to touch. But you can scroll the dial to get to options, and then press in to create "enter" and that works great. However, this does have some great features too, with regards to controls. All of the stuff is in the "stack", so you can recach all the controls with ease. There is no reaching over here for that, and down under for that, as is on many cars these days. Things are clear to understand, and easy to operate.


If you are looking for a top safety pick from the IIHS, in an SUV that drives like a luxury sedan, consider the GMC Terrain. It isn't cheap, but it does have a fancy and luxury feel, with a good reputation as it has been out for a few years now.

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Response from daveg95harley

7:57 pm January 5, 2018

I Have a 2014 GMC Terrain SLT2 Version W/3.6L V6. It Has "Remote" Start. It Works Fine. I Don't Know Why the Above "Denali" Doesn't Have It. Must Have Not Have Correct Key Fob For Vehicle (or) Are They Talking About a Push-Button Start Switch on the Insturment Panel. I've Had "0" Issues With My 2014 GMC Terrain With 3.6L V6.


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Response from NormT

9:59 am February 5, 2018

The Terrain and Equinox cousin were very good before being redesigned. They had very good ride quality with their long wheel base but made parking lot turns a little larger. Very comfortabe front seats with a nice width at least with thr leather seats. I like the perforated center section of the seat as they breathe better than solid leather. But the rear seat is my favorite with it sliding funation and backs that recline, thr bottom cushioning is a little soft than the front seats.


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