By Joe Wiesenfelder on April 9, 2009
Tastes vary, but in the past few years I think GMC has been getting the better of Chevrolet in terms of exterior styling. That's a little perverse, because GMC is a parasite that feeds off Chevy, offering typically better-equipped and better-appointed versions of their vehicles at a higher price. (I say parasite in the most clinical sense, not really as an insult. If there were no Chevy, there would be no GMC — and some say there doesn't need to be.) The GMC Envoy, Canyon and Sierra have been better-looking than the Chevy TrailBlazer, Colorado and Silverado, respectively. Not this time.
The Terrain, based on the newly redesigned Chevy Equinox, looks better in person than it does in photos, but it's an odd bird nonetheless. The enormous nose is overdone, and the rectangular fender flares look like they're borrowed from the Hummer H3. Overall, I have to say I'm impressed that two car-based sister vehicles can look this different.
As for the interior, the color pallet is new but not substantially different from the 2010 Equinox. Though GM has proved recently that it can make a really nice interior, I'm concerned about the faux-aluminum trim in both of these. It's always possible that the auto-show lights make it look worse than it would in daylight, but it doesn't seem to come close to the best Saturn has done in the Vue.
Anyone who's paid attention to GM's woes and its efforts to shrink or eliminate brands has to have contemplated GMC, which only sells versions of existing Chevys. (I sure have.) But GMC is a brand that currently turns a profit, and current profit isn't something you give up lightly. Also, on the retail level, GMCs are generally packaged with Buicks and Pontiacs, and it wouldn't be easy, or necessarily wise, to strip one complementary brand from the other two. No doubt, GMC looks weird. Now, with the Terrain, it has a model to match.
Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a Cars.com launch veteran, leads the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe