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Monday, October 26, 2020

2018 GMC Terrain Family Vehicle Review

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When it comes to family vehicles, too often the abundance of safety features and space can make the whole thing feel unexciting.

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Although you aren’t stuck with a minivan these days, it can sometimes seem like there are so few options that combine safety with class and style.

Fortunately, the 2018 GMC Terrain seems to blend the two qualities seamlessly. As a crossover SUV, it’s less bulky and massive than you might imagine, but it also doesn’t give off too much of a “soccer mom” vibe.

It’s the perfect vehicle for parents who want to provide comfort and luxury to their children without sacrificing performance and personality.

Today we’re going to take an in-depth look at what the new and improved 2018 GMC Terrain has to offer. Previous models of this vehicle have left some things to be desired, but the new version appears to have solved most of those old complaints.

So, strap in your kids and take the Terrain for a spin. You will be happy you did.

2018 GMC Terrain Pros

2018 GMC Terrain Family Vehicle

Fuel Efficiency

Back in the old days, SUVs were not designed to be environmentally friendly.

When gas was much cheaper, it didn’t make much of a difference to drive a larger vehicle that sucked down fumes like they were going out of style.

Fortunately, since fuel efficiency has been a top concern for motorists for the past decade or so, GMC has taken notice and developed a crossover that performs almost like a sedan or a compact car.


Most trim options for the 2018 GMC Terrain provide you with 26 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. These are impressive numbers when you also consider the engine that comes with it.

Even with more horsepower and energy under the hood, you have a much more extensive range that enables you to go farther on less gas.

Upscale Interior

As we mentioned, the Terrain doesn’t sacrifice style just because it’s built as a family vehicle. In fact, when you first start driving it, you may think that it’s more of a luxury model than something designed for your average middle-class family.

First of all, it smoothed out the boxy corners that stuck out on models past, which not only improves drag and performance but also makes the vehicle sleek and refined.

Second, the inside comes with enough comfort and features to make you wish that you had to spend more time on the road.

Even without the optional leather trim, the inside of the GMC Terrain is made for those who like a little class with their SUV.

Simply put, you’ll stay motivated to keep the whole thing clean, although your kids will probably take that as a challenge.

High-Tech Offerings

Mobile devices and gadgets are everywhere these days, so it makes sense that automakers would incorporate such tech into their rides.

In this case, the Terrain is not necessarily the most progressive option out there, but it still offers an abundance of connectivity that will make each drive more enjoyable.

The built-in infotainment system is a breeze to use and adds to the slick styling of the interior.


Programs like Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and Sirius/XM satellite radio provide more functionality to your system.

Other features include voice recognition, Bluetooth connections, and USB ports so that you can sync your devices directly. If you’re still new to high-tech cars, the Terrain will become your best friend.

Extensive List of Safety Options

Unfortunately, the base SL model of the GMC Terrain lacks some critical safety features that you will want for your family.

However, it does offer them as add-ons that you can get in one of the three additional trim packages, so it’s not like they aren’t available.

Some of the highlights that you can find include

  • Stability control (an offshoot of traction control)
  • Downhill assistance
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane change and blind spot alert
  • Rear parking assistance
  • Rear vision camera

None of these features are particularly revolutionary, but one option that is unique is the Teen Driver Mode.

This setup allows you to customize safety elements that will shift based on a signature in your FOB.

Thus, if you want to ensure that your teenager is more protected when he or she drives, this is the add-on to get.

Powerful Turbo-Charged Engine

Once again, the base model of the 2018 GMC Terrain doesn’t include this, but you can add it to one of the trim options.

With a 2.0-liter turbo engine, you will notice a lot more zip and speed when driving to and from soccer practice.


Although some parents might not get as much of a kick out of the turbo-charged engine, it’s a great add-on that can improve the handling and performance of your ride.

Also, when you test drive the Terrain with and without the turbo, we believe that you’ll want to include it.

What the Experts are Saying

“Happily, the fully redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain addresses the problems the aging generation had and now represents a more compelling choice for a small crossover SUV.” – Edmunds

“Completely redesigned for 2018, the GMC Terrain is one of highest ranked compact SUVs. Its high-quality interior and engaging performance are two of its many strong suits.” – US News and World Report

2018 GMC Terrain Cons

Pricier Than Other Crossovers

As we’ve seen, the base model of the Terrain is somewhat limited, which means that you will have to upgrade to one of the high-performance trims to get everything that you need.

This, of course, is going to inflate the price, so you can expect to pay more for this vehicle than you would with most other SUVs in its class.

Even if you’re satisfied with the SL model, it’s going to cost more than the competition, so you want to keep that in mind.

Although the performance, handling, and fuel efficiency are all top-notch, it can be enough to give you pause when comparing this to other crossover SUVs.

Base Model is Sluggish

If you don’t upgrade to the turbocharged engine, you will feel it. Depending on what kind of car or SUV you had before, the difference can be negligible or highly noticeable.

As we mentioned, even test-driving the Terrain with and without the turbo is going to give you pause, so it’s vital that you keep that in mind when making a final decision.

Less Cargo Space Than Competitors

Having kids means that every trip is a process. You can’t just leave the house with the clothes on your back anymore; now you have to bring at least one or two peripheral bags to hold everything.

That being said, any version of the Terrain is going to be limited in how much space you have for all of your stuff.


Depending on the kind of trips you take and the amount of gear you plan on bringing, this could be a challenge that has to be overcome.

Unfortunately, all trim models suffer from the lack of space, so there’s no upgrading to a better version.

As a side note, the reason for the reduced cargo area is that GMC did increase the head and legroom for each row, so you’re getting more comfort instead.

What the Experts are Saying

“Equipped with standard 19-inch wheels and a specially tuned Denali suspension, the range topper delivers a rather stiff ride.” – MotorTrend

“Even the base SL trim of the 2018 Terrain comes with some desirable features, but it has a very limited options menu.” –Edmunds

Trim Packages


If you want to upgrade from the standard SL trim, then you can opt for one of the variations of the SLE.

This version comes with a sleeker and more modern interior, as well as a smaller spare and auto-dimming rearview mirrors.

You also get access to a variety of package options (i.e., Driver Convenience) that increase the comfort and convenience of the Terrain.

A diesel engine is optional with this trim as well.

Price Range: $27,800-$33,300


If you want more luxury and performance, then you want to get an SLT version.

Not only does this trim come with the turbo engine, but it also offers leather upholstery and improved packages.


Beyond the Driver Convenience, you can get Driver Alerts and Infotainment upgrades (except navigation).

Price Range: $31,300-$35,900


For those who like even more comfort and convenience, this is the top trim level.

It has everything that comes with the SLT, as well as the 2.0-liter engine, optional panoramic sunroof, and improved driver packages (with navigation).

Also, you get all of the advanced safety features for you and your family.

Price Range: $37,500-$39,200

Bottom Line

When compared to other base crossover models, you can see that the Terrain is somewhat lacking. As such, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you get the standard trim without any extras.

That being said, if you’re not scared off by the price, and you’re willing to add some of the high-quality improvements and customizations to your ride, then you will be supremely satisfied with the results.

Not only will it make the Terrain much safer for you and your family, but it will enable you to get more out of your vehicle.

Whether you’re a family of four or you have little ones on the way, the 2018 GMC Terrain is a state-of-the-art crossover SUV that will enable you to enjoy the ride as well as provide comfort and joy to your kids.

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