2015 GMC Terrain

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$23,975

starting MSRP

2015 GMC Terrain
2015 GMC Terrain

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

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

6 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2015 GMC Terrain trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 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 review: Our expert's take

By Kelsey Mays

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

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  

 

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.6
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value for the money 4.4
  • Exterior styling 4.7
  • Reliability 4.6

Most recent consumer reviews

2.9

I will never buy another Terrain, possibly GMC.

I will never buy another Terrain, possibly GMC. Maybe its just the 2015s, but I have had nothing but headache after headache with this dang car. The dealership I got it from clearly overlooked some major issues when "inspecting" it to be sold, and I have dumped many hours of my life, and at least $1500, into it since owning since 9/2020.

5.0

Spacious

Love the terrain. Suv that drives like a car. Spacious comfortable seats. Love the look . Makes you feel like your driving a car that would cost double.

1.6

2015 GMC Terrain

I would not recommend the vehicle. Too many electrical glitches and engines leak oil. Seems to have issues constantly. I really don’t think it’s a dependable nor do I feel safe driving it.

See all 153 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by GMC
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)
Powertrain
6 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2016

Chevrolet Equinox

$22,600

starting MSRP

2016

GMC Acadia

$30,975

starting MSRP

2017

GMC Terrain

$24,070

starting MSRP

See all 2015 GMC Terrain articles