2010 GMC Terrain Review: Smaller in Size but Big on Brute Style

The 2010 GMC Terrain is smaller in size but big on brute style. We review the AWD version of GMC’s all-new crossover

Also check out: The 2015 GMC Sierra Elevation Edition

When the compact SUV first hit the market, manufacturers, collectively, felt this need to make them round, bubbly and delightful—probably a bit too feminine for the masses. Fortunately, in the past few years, they’ve realized ‘compact’ need not equate to ‘cute,’ introducing the more aggressive styling cues and key features of their larger SUV siblings. The all-new 2010 GMC Terrain perhaps best exemplifies this—a hard-hitting, premium Compact Crossover SUV with the right look (finally) at the right price.

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Terrain Trims

The Terrain is available in a several trims with various features, in either FWD or AWD versions: SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT-1, and SLT-2 (as tested) models. Powered by a standard Ecotec 2.4-litre Direct Injected four-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing (VVT), the Terrain puts down 182-hp with impressive fuel efficiency via the driver-selected ECO-mode, surpassing even the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4 (this applies to the FWD Terrain only). For the performance-minded, opt for the 3.0-litre V6 VVT with 264-hp.

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Starting at $27,465 MSRP, the entry-level Terrain FWD with the standard 2.4-litre engine comes with a slew of key standard features including 6-speed auto transmission, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Panic Brake Assist, StabiliTrak traction control system, 4-wheel independent suspension, 17-inch wheels, a rearview camera system, 6 airbags, heated exterior power/folding mirrors, and a 6-speaker 80-watt sound system with CD and MP3 Usb port, to name a few. For little more money, AWD is available while still coming in at under $30,000.

2010 GMC Terrain powered by 3.0L engine

The 3.0-litre V6 AWD Terrain comes equipped at the higher end with various options, starting at $38,805 MSRP (before taxes/delivery charge). Significant upgrades here include 18-inch machined aluminum wheels wrapped in P235/55R all-season rubber, a trailer-towing package, and an upgraded premium Pioneer 8-speaker 250-watt audio system with the rear seat entertainment setup, Bluetooth capability, and XM Satellite radio.

Inside the Terrain AWD

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Inside, the Terrain is less rugged and more refined than you may expect; an overall contemporary design with a contoured feel. The centre control cluster is intuitive and logically setup with climate controls grouped below and audio buttons up top. The instrument panel includes analog gauges with a digital Driver Information Centre. The standard rear camera is a nice inclusion: pop the Terrain in reverse and view the scene in the rear-view mirror (or navigation screen, if upgraded). 4-way power driver’s seat comes standard, the top-line SLT-2 as tested finds 8-way power with optional perforated leather-appointed seating surfaces. Rear passengers enjoy the Multi-Flex second-row seat that adjusts backwards and forwards by nearly 8-inchs.

Some other exterior standard features on the SLT-2 trim include power sunroof; chrome roof rails and body colour fascia with chrome rear skid plates plus chrome accents to the headlamps, side windows, and liftgate; Solar-Ray tinted glass on windshield & front door windows, plus Solar-Ray deep tinted glass on the rear door, rear quarter, and rear window; power rear liftgate with fixed glass; front halogen fog lights; plus others.

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Safety Features

All Terrain models offer the same standard safety features including dual-stage front, side-impact, and head curtain airbags; keyless entry with Panic feature; OnStar service with 1-year plan; anti-theft alarm; halogen, projector style headlamps; and the Ultrasonic rear view parking assist camera, to name a few.

The 2010 GMC Terrain is a great alternative to the larger SUV, offering ample cargo, aggressive styling, and powertrain options for both the fuel conscious and performance minded, blurring the line between Compact and Fullsize but without the heavy price-point.

Learn more – GMC Terrain

Shooting motors professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has been published in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's a writer, editor at TractionLife.com, AJAC member, and full-time digital marketer at Traction Media working with national brands. Find him traveling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, badly.