The riding experience was pleasant. The wind noise was mostly muted, the engine was extremely smooth and quiet, and the ride was mostly smooth and always solid. Over continuous rough pavement (not a c...
The riding experience was pleasant. The wind noise was mostly muted, the engine was extremely smooth and quiet, and the ride was mostly smooth and always solid. Over continuous rough pavement (not a common sight in California & Nevada), it can get slightly choppy, but there was no excessive bounce. Some unexpectedly loud road noise filters through on coarse asphalt.
Some of those elements make this car an excellent speeder. On empty highways, it could go over 90 miles per hour without drama.
I found it hard to believe my test car was a 2013 model, as the 2013 model got the powerful 3.6-liter V-6 as the V-6 option. Both my father (the driver, remember?) and I thought our rental was the four-cylinder model until we opened the hood and discovered that - surprise, surprise - our rental actually had the V-6. Though it had fine power, the car generally felt sluggish even with an acceptably responsive 6-speed automatic transmission. Part of this could be due to the extra weight of all-wheel-drive on my test car.
And while the V-6 was exceptionally smooth at lower revs, but the sound became extremely coarse once the engine kicked above 5500 RPM to climb steeper hills. It sounded like a blender about to explode. The cooling system did a good job, though, as the temperature gauge needle always stayed on the cooler side even when we were ascending mountains near the violently hot Death Valley.
A feature I enjoyed when I opened the hood was the strut that was supporting it. I really loved having the hood open and close with a damped feeling, and the feeling of lightness the strut gave to opening the hood was pleasant.
We found the Terrain to be a fine handler. I can not offer any fun-to-drive ratings since I was the passenger, but there was plenty of grip on winding roads. The body stayed fairly flat around bends as well for a vehicle of this size.
On the other hand [you have different fingers], we found the turning radius to be on the wider side, at 40 feet. More often than not, expected U-turns became 3-point turns. For reference, our daily driver is a 2003 Honda Odyssey so my father isn't exactly not used to piloting large vehicles.
Towards the end of the trip, the trip computer displayed an average of 16.1 miles per gallon. That might seem like a low number, but I forgot the reset the mileage at the beginning of the trip. The trip computer displayed 15.7 miles per gallon at the very beginning of the trip, so the average was already unfairly low. We didn't hypermile improve the average either. We drove the car harder than normal through mountain passes and mountainous highways.
Overall, I enjoyed the Terrain as our rental car. It is a great highway cruiser and handles winding roads confidently. While I would not consider buying this car due to the narrow front seat space and aloof power, it does make a great car for road trips and hauling around passengers.
*DISCLAIMER: I did not drive the vehicle. I only sat in the front passenger seat for 6 days over a roughly 1000-miles road trip while my father drove.*