Rugged look, solid style

From the August 2022 print edition

Off-road capability – or, at the very least, the appearance of it – is very much on trend in the automotive industry. Mainstream SUV designs are getting more rugged looking through the addition of roof rails, skid plates, and glossy black accents, to name just a few highlights.

For 2022, the GMC Terrain joins in with its new AT4 model, which adds a fourth trim for this model year as part of a mid-cycle refresh for the compact SUV.

All 2022 Terrains come with an updated front fascia and more dominant larger grille. LED headlights and taillamps are now standard and have been redesigned, and new wheel and exterior colour options are available.

The Terrain AT4 off-road oriented trim was introduced in 2019 on the Sierra pick-up truck and has slowly been making its way into other GMC vehicles. Starting at $38,198 including fees and a $1,900 destination charge, AT4 gives GMC’s smallest vehicle a steel skid plate under the engine compartment, a drive mode selector with three settings, unique 17-inch gloss black wheels, and contrasting tan interior stitching, along with exterior and interior AT4 logos. Since there are no changes to the suspension or ground clearance, these changes are largely aesthetic apart from the skid plate. However, the Terrain AT4 is priced affordably and will please buyers looking for an outdoorsy appearance.

In addition, the refresh adds an Elevation Edition package, priced at $995, for the SLE and SLT grades, which are the best-selling Terrains in Canada. This package includes a darkened front grille, 19-inch gloss black aluminum wheels and black centre caps with GMC lettering, black roof rails, black mirror caps, and black exterior accents and badging.

The 2022 GMC Terrain features standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, while shifting is completed through buttons and triggers, freeing up space in the centre console area.

Same powertrain
What doesn’t change for 2022 is the powertrain: the Terrain still features a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 170 horsepower and 203-pound-feet of torque. This same engine is equipped in the related Chevrolet Equinox SUV, but the Terrain gets a more sophisticated nine-speed automatic transmission to go with it. This engine feels energetic at lower speeds thanks to the turbocharging and short lower gears, but power does taper off in higher-demand environments such as on highway merges or while climbing hills. A more powerful engine option, at least in the Denali trim, would be a welcome addition. The Terrain’s interior is noisier, and the ride is rougher relative to its competition. Shifting is completed through buttons and triggers, an intuitive solution that frees up some space in the centre console area, as much as some drivers may prefer a traditional shifter.

For an internal combustion engine, fuel consumption in the Terrain is roughly average at 9.2 litres per 100km in city driving, 7.8 on the highway, and 8.6 combined with front-wheel drive, or 9.6 city, 8.3 highway, and 9.0 combined with all-wheel drive. It’s worth noting, though, that there are more efficient powertrains on the market in this size class, both electrified and otherwise.

Front-wheel drive is standard on the entry-level SLE trim, which starts at $32,598 including fees, a slight price drop from 2021. All-wheel drive is available on SLE for $2,400 more and becomes standard at SLT, which is priced from $37,598. The Denali grade, GMC’s signature line-up topping grade, starts at $43,598. This is $1,000 more than the 2021 model, but there’s now more standard feature content including adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, a surround-view camera, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, parking assist sensors, and more.

On the technology side, the Terrain now includes standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a welcome addition to an infotainment system that was already intuitive to operate. Heated and ventilated seat buttons were present on the vehicles we tested, but both features are currently being omitted from builds due to the global chip shortage. They will be equipped later at no charge through a visit to a dealer once supply catches up, and GMC is offering a $50 rebate to customers for the inconvenience in the meantime.

The vehicle offers 838 litres of cargo space with the rear seats upright and 1,793 litres with them folded.

For fleet buyers, the greatest advantage to choosing the Terrain over other compact SUVs is likely in its value. Pricing is competitive, and GMC tends to retain excellent residual values, which is helpful because it allows for affordable leasing rates and better cost recovery when a vehicle reaches the end of its life cycle within a fleet.

While the refresh for the 2022 model year mostly adds aesthetic elements, the 2022 GMC Terrain continues to be a solid and relatively affordable offering in a mid-premium SUV.\