2013 GMC Terrain Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 15, 2013
  • Midsize SUV adds power for 2013
  • Optional 301-horsepower V-6 engine provides extra towing capacity
  • New upscale trim level joins the lineup
  • Upgraded audio interface adds IntelliLink
  • Rearview camera and OnStar capability are standard
  • All-wheel drive is available on all trim levels


The GMC Terrain is a midsize model, its maker's smallest crossover SUV. It shares mechanics and a vehicle platform with the Chevrolet Equinox, although the two models look quite different and have different standard features. The Terrain is available in five trim levels: base SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT, SLT-2, and the new-for-2013 Denali trim. In addition to the Equinox, its competitors include the Ford Edge, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX-7, and Toyota Highlander.

Exterior Features

The 2013 GMC Terrain features standard 17-inch alloy wheels and a choice of 10 exterior colors. The SLE-2 trim level adds roof rails; the SLT-1 includes remote ignition; the SLT-2 adds 18-inch chromed wheels, power liftgate, and sunroof, as well as an upgraded grille. The Terrain Denali has distinctive exterior styling that includes more stylish wheels, and rear cross-traffic and blind-zone alert systems are added as standard features. With the V-6 engine, chrome-clad 19-inch wheels are available.

Interior Features

The GMC Terrain is a 5-seater, with cloth upholstery standard on the base model. Also standard are power accessories, cruise control, air conditioning, a 6-speaker sound system, and a rearview camera. The SLE-2 trim level upgrades the climate control to automatic and adds an 8-way power driver's seat, 8-speaker sound system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and upgraded cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery (black, with black, grey, or brown inserts) with heated front seats is standard with the SLT-1 trim, and the SLE-2 adds driver's seat memory functions. The Denali adds more power options to the front passenger seat, plus many styling details, and special shock absorbers for a smoother ride. With rear seats folded, the GMC Terrain provides 63.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

Optional Features

Many of the features offered as standard equipment on the upper trim levels are available as packaged and individual options on the lower trim levels. These include various cargo and safety packages, a dealer-installed chrome package, trailer towing package, navigation system, and many cosmetic upgrades.

Under the Hood

The standard GMC Terrain engine is a 2.4-liter, 182-horsepower 4-cylinder unit that produces 172 lb.-ft. of torque. Optional on all trim levels but the SLE-1, and standard on the Denali, is a 3.6-liter, 301-horsepower V-6 engine that cranks out 272 lb-ft. of torque. This replaces last year's less-powerful V-6. The standard engine allows a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds; properly equipped, a Terrain with the larger engine can tow up to 3,500 pounds. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard on all Terrains, and all trim levels offer a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive (FWD or AWD).

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 GMC Terrain are:

  • Terrain with 4-cylinder engine and FWD: 22/32/26 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Terrain with 4-cylinder engine and AWD: 20/29/23 mpg
  • Terrain with V-6 engine and FWD: 17/24/20 mpg
  • Terrain with V-6 engine and AWD: 16/23/19 mpg


Standard safety features of note on the 2013 GMC Terrain include anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, rearview camera, front side-impact air bags, side curtain air bags, and a 1-year subscription for OnStar telematics. Many other safety features are standard on upper trim levels, or optional on lower trims, including rear cross-traffic and blind-spot alerts, rear park-assist sensors, and lane-departure warning.

In government crash tests, the 2013 GMC Terrain received an overall rating of 4 stars (out of 5), from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), including 5 stars for side-impact protection and 4 stars in frontal and rollover tests. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Terrain received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--in frontal-offset, side-impact, and roof strength tests.


GMC's IntelliLink system allows users to make hands-free phone calls, access their music libraries, connect with radio stations, manage the entertainment system, and more, with voice commands.
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