The GMC Terrain gets new styling and an all turbocharged engine lineup for 2018. Three power plants are offered, including a terrific new turbo-diesel choice with great fuel economy and available all-wheel drive.

This compact SUV gets high marks for its new design, which features a “floating” roofline a sleeker side view.

I’m a big fan of turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, especially turbo diesels, and the Terrain stables a trio of great choices. First, there’s a 1.5-liter turbo-4 that develops 170 horsepower and 203 lb.-ft. of torque. Then there’s a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that kicks out 252 horses and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Our test car for the week had the 1.6-liter turbo diesel 4-cylinder that generates 137 horsepower and 240 lb.-ft. of torque.

Transmissions are either a 9-speed automatic or a 6-speed automatic, depending on which trim and engine you select. AWD is available, and stop/start technology is included. Trim levels include SL, SLE, SLT and the top-end Denali.

Our test car was the SLT trim, which was outfitted with 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, HID headlights, a power liftgate, remote start, heated leather seats with memory, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and dual zone air.

The 182.3-inch-long Terrain has a roomy and comfortable cabin with lots of head room and leg room in row two. Front seat headroom is 40 inches without a sunroof, and rear seat headroom is 38.5 inches. Legroom in back is a generous 39.7 inches.

The cargo deck provides 29.6 cubic feet of storage space, plus a compartment below the deck. A latch near the power liftgate allows the second-row seats to be folded down, revealing 63.3 cubic feet of cargo volume. A new fold flat front passenger seat allows much longer items to be stowed and transported.

Inside the cabin, leather seats in front proved comfortable on long rides, with good bolstering and lumbar support. Connectivity in this vehicle is excellent, including either a 7-inch or 8-inch touchscreen with GMC infotainment systems that support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are two data/charging ports and two charge-only USB ports for rear seat passengers. SLT and Denali trims also get a 110v outlet and two more data/charging USB ports. The vehicle is also a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

Voice commands were mostly understood by the car, and it even turned down the air-conditioning fan when a call came in. Text messages can be read aloud, meaning the driver doesn’t have to fumble with the phone.

On the road, the turbodiesel is a sturdy powerplant with lots of torque. It doesn’t quite match the 2.0-liter turbo-4 option, but it will get better mileage. My test car was EPA rated at 28 miles per gallon in the city, 39 mpg on the highway and 32 mpg combined.

The Terrain is a fun car to drive, handling nimbly and surefootedly on the road. Hard cornering doesn’t bother the Terrain, and it soaked up Louisiana potholes without fuss. The electronic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system was linear and precise.

The 2018 Terrain earned four overall safety stars in the government’s crash tests, including five stars in frontal crash protection for the driver and passenger. In side crashes, front seat protection was five stars while rear sear protection was three stars. The insurance industry has not yet completed its tests.

The Terrain has six standard airbags, a collapsible pedal assembly, a rearview camera and reminders for parents to check the rear seat before getting out of the car. Two driver alert packages are offered.

On SLE and SLT, systems include side blind zone alert with lane change alert, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert and a safety alert driver’s seat. SLT and Denali trims can get low speed forward automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, a following distance indicator and smart headlamps.

If you’re shopping in the small to midsize SUV segments, you ought to have the 2018 GMC Terrain – especially the turbodiesel – on your test drive short list.

2018 GMC Terrain FWD SLT Diesel


1.6-liter Turbo Diesel four-cylinder


137/240 lb.-ft.


6-speed automatic


$34,185 ($37,555 with options & freight)

EPA mileage estimates:

28 mpg city/39 mpg highway/32 mpg combined

Estimated highway range:

608 miles