2015 GMC Terrain

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$13,408–$25,468 Inventory Prices
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2015 GMC Terrain. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Ride comfort
  • Noise insulation
  • Spacious seats
  • Car-seat accommodations
  • Acceleration with V-6

The Bad

  • Visibility
  • Smallish cargo area
  • Wide turning circle
  • Handling and braking
  • Poky acceleration with four-cylinder

Notable Features of the 2015 GMC Terrain

  • OnStar with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot capability standard
  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Seats five
  • Related to Chevrolet Equinox
  • Front- or all-wheel drive

2015 GMC Terrain Road Test

Kelsey Mays

The 2015 GMC Terrain is a bulkier alternative to the small SUVs it's priced against, and that plays out in both good and bad ways.

Age always seems to play up an SUV's lack of competitiveness, but the Terrain's strengths run deep. Despite having had five years to try, competitors haven't outflanked this SUV's core talents just yet. Conversely, the Terrain's bungles are as annoying as ever, and it will take a full redesign to address some of them.

This is the sixth model year for the Terrain, which comes in six trim levels, with two available engines and front- or all-wheel drive. Click here to compare AWD and FWD or here to stack up the 2014 and 2015 Terrain. The Terrain is closely related to the Chevrolet Equinox, and you can compare the two here. We drove both body-type SUVs with similar features at Cars.com's $28,000 Compact SUV Challenge, which you can see here.

For 2015, the Terrain gets some new multimedia technology, but other changes are minimal. We'll touch on specific attributes of the Terrain below; for a deeper dive, read our Equinox review here.

We drove a front-wheel-drive Terrain SLE-1. Other trim options include the SLT (SLT-1 and SLT-2), and the top-of-the-line Denali trim level.

Exterior & Styling
Blockier than its Equinox sibling, the GMC Terrain's styling has always looked fierce to me. Still, some editors appreciate the distinction; the Terrain's protruding fenders and squared-off face hide a lot of its si...

The 2015 GMC Terrain is a bulkier alternative to the small SUVs it's priced against, and that plays out in both good and bad ways.

Age always seems to play up an SUV's lack of competitiveness, but the Terrain's strengths run deep. Despite having had five years to try, competitors haven't outflanked this SUV's core talents just yet. Conversely, the Terrain's bungles are as annoying as ever, and it will take a full redesign to address some of them.

This is the sixth model year for the Terrain, which comes in six trim levels, with two available engines and front- or all-wheel drive. Click here to compare AWD and FWD or here to stack up the 2014 and 2015 Terrain. The Terrain is closely related to the Chevrolet Equinox, and you can compare the two here. We drove both body-type SUVs with similar features at Cars.com's $28,000 Compact SUV Challenge, which you can see here.

For 2015, the Terrain gets some new multimedia technology, but other changes are minimal. We'll touch on specific attributes of the Terrain below; for a deeper dive, read our Equinox review here.

We drove a front-wheel-drive Terrain SLE-1. Other trim options include the SLT (SLT-1 and SLT-2), and the top-of-the-line Denali trim level.

Exterior & Styling
Blockier than its Equinox sibling, the GMC Terrain's styling has always looked fierce to me. Still, some editors appreciate the distinction; the Terrain's protruding fenders and squared-off face hide a lot of its similarity with the Equinox. Fog lights and 17-inch alloy wheels are standard; 18s or 19s are optional. The Terrain's range-topping Denali trim gets a unique chrome grille, some additional mirror brightwork and Denali-specific 18s or 19s.

Like the Equinox, the Terrain is a few inches larger than similarly priced SUVs — popular models like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. That could make parking a chore, especially because the GMC's turning circle ranges from 40 feet to an embarrassing 42.6 feet, depending on the wheels. (A RAV4 cuts the circle in as little as 34.8 feet.)

How It Drives
The half-size-bigger approach helps driving refinement, where the GMC cruises with a degree of ride quality and noise abatement that's a class above its peers. Still, once the road gets curvy, the Terrain's mushy brakes and wallow-prone suspension sap much fun; so did our test car's 2.4-liter four-cylinder, whose 182 horsepower isn't up to the task of slinging around the SUV's portly weight.

An optional 301-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 solves that problem and then some, giving the Terrain the sort of snappy acceleration we haven't seen since Toyota dropped the V-6 from its RAV4. It sucks fuel, though, returning just 19 to 20 mpg in combined EPA-rated fuel economy. Four-cylinder models are rated 23 to 26 mpg, depending on driveline - AWD tends to be less fuel efficient; many competitors, however, have surpassed even those numbers. Both engine options are paired to a six-speed auto transmission.

Interior
Aside from the Denali edition, which dresses things up with some contrasting door trim and dashboard stitching, the Terrain's interior is straightforward. Cabin materials are basic, with low-budget paneling in places where competitors have used nicer materials, like the upper door panels.

Still, GMC comes out ahead in passenger space, with large chairs and backseat legroom to spare. Cloth seats with powered driver's-seat height adjustment are standard; heated leather-wrapped seats are optional, with full power adjustments for the passenger seat, too — a rarity in this class. An optional sunroof is available.

All that space puts the rear window at a distance, however, and bulky C- and D-pillars also hurt visibility. Check out the photo thumbnails to see more.

Ergonomics & Electronics
The GMC Terrain badly needs a redesign for its center controls, whose jumbled shapes seem designed by Picasso. A 7-inch touch-screen is standard. For 2015 the Terrain gets 4G LTE service through OnStar with the ability to create a Wi-Fi hot spot for passengers to surf the web. Once the trial period (three months or 3 gigabytes) runs out, however, the subscription fees are steep. OnStar's claimed advantage is better signal strength thanks to an antenna on top of the car, as opposed to your smartphone, but you'll pay for it. Many smartphones can create their own hot spots that run off your data plan and service multiple devices, and my iPhone's data plan charges less per extra gigabyte than OnStar.

Bluetooth phone and USB/iPod compatibility are also standard, but Bluetooth audio streaming requires GMC's IntelliLink multimedia suite, which includes app support and voice recognition. IntelliLink comes on SLE-2 trims and higher.

Cargo & Storage
The extra room in the GMC Terrain doesn't spill into the cargo area, where bulky wheel wells limit the volume behind the rear seats to just 31.6 cubic feet. Many competitors have more than 35 cubic feet, and the gap persists when you compare maximum cargo room with the seats folded. The Terrain tops out at 63.9 cubic feet; the CR-V and RAV4 both exceed 70.

Safety
Top crash-test scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety give the GMC Terrain a Top Safety Pick award for 2015. Click here to see all its safety features and here to see our Car Seat Check of the Terrain.

A backup camera is standard. Options include lane departure, blind spot and forward collision cross-traffic warning systems. The collision warning system lacks automatic braking, however, which most systems now incorporate.

Value in Its Class
The GMC Terrain starts around $25,000, but a loaded Denali can run north of $43,000. That positions the GMC above the Equinox and most competitors, and some shoppers might even compare a Denali with entry-level luxury SUVs from Lexus, Acura, Volvo or Mercedes-Benz.

Whatever you're cross-shopping, the GMC Terrain's comfort and refinement should compare well; likewise, the frustrations born of its bulkiness transcend the competition. Which side prevails? In Cars.com's SUV comparison, the Equinox and Terrain placed second and third, respectively, out of seven SUVs despite being the oldest cars in the test by a long shot.

Old strengths win out, it seems.

Send Kelsey an email  

 


2015 Terrain Video

After four days of testing outside of Baltimore with experts from Cars.com, USA Today and "MotorWeek" as well as a real-life family, here's a video on how each car performed:

Latest 2015 Terrain Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Best car we have owned.

by Empath55 from Fenelton, PA. on August 10, 2018

Awesome car. Has everything you could want very comfortable. Rides very smooth compared to the jeep compass we had. Would definitely buy another GMC! Sweet Ride. Read full review

(4.0)

Feels and drives like a full size SUV

by Emcastaneda from Moreno valley CA on July 28, 2018

Very comfortable, rides real smooth, comes with all bells and whistles if you get the right trim like STL. My only complaint is that it does not have push start button and does not unlock doors by ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2015 GMC Terrain currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2015 GMC Terrain SL

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
good
Overall evaluation
good
Retraints and dummy kinematics
good
Structure and safety cage
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by GMC

Program Benefits

Two Factory-Backed Warranties, CPO Scheduled Maintenance Program, Vehicle Inspection & Reconditioning, 3-Day/150-Mile Vehicle Exchange Program, 24/7 Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation, OnStar & SiriusXM Satellite Radio Trial Offers, and a Carfax Vehicle History Report

  • Limited Warranty

    Two Factory-Backed Warranties

    6-Year/100,000-Mile, Powertrain Limited Warranty and a 12- Month/12,000-Miles, Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, both with $0 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Terrain received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

A

Booster

(second row)

B

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker