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2021 GMC Terrain

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
7 photos

GMC Terrain highlights

Customer rating

Pros

  • Comfortable and upscale interior
  • Infotainment touchscreen is intuitive and easy to use

Cons

  • Complete package of driver aids remains optional
  • 1.5-liter turbocharged engine disappoints with power, fuel economy and refinement
  • Less cargo space behind the back seat than in most competitors

Mileage (EPA estimate)

25 city, 28 highway, 26 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

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Comfortable 2021 GMC Terrain has upscale appeal

The 2021 GMC Terrain aims for a slightly more upscale and premium feel in the compact SUV class, especially the upscale Denali trim. The ruggedly handsome exterior is complemented by an interior with plenty of creature comforts and easy-to-use technology.

The firm and supportive front seats and overall quiet ride make the Terrain a good pick for long road trips. We like the stitched dash and separate heating controls for the seat bottom and seatback, which help give the Terrain an upscale appeal. The cargo space is augmented by a hands-free power hatch and a front passenger seat that folds flat for long items. Unfortunately, the interior has some frustratingly located controls, especially the gear-selector buttons located low on the dash.

For 2021, GMC dropped the powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, leaving just the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This makes the Terrain one of the slower vehicles in its class, and its fuel economy can’t quite match many of its competitors.

All GMC Terrain years

What is new for the 2021 GMC Terrain?

  • Terrain trims have been upgraded with Parking Sensors as standard equipment this year.
  • The SLE trim now comes with Satellite Radio Ready as standard equipment.

2021 GMC Terrain trims

Curious how GMC Terrain trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities

SL:

  • 170-hp, 203-lb-ft of torque 1.5L
  • Cloth Seats
  • Rear View Camera
  • Smart Key
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Power Mirrors
  • Traction Control
  • Cruise Control
  • Rear Defroster
  • View our GMC Terrain SL inventory

SLE:

SLT:

  • Includes all features available on the SLE
  • Memory Seats
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Remote Start
  • Leather Seats
  • Power Seats
  • Power Hatch/Deck Lid
  • View our GMC Terrain SLT inventory

Denali:

GMC Terrain photos

5 reasons to buy the 2021 GMC Terrain

What We Like:

Technology: It’s nice to see that every GMC Terrain comes standard with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto smartphone integration, and even better that the touchscreen is so easy to use. It comes with USB ports, and that can be upgraded to six total in higher trims. The GMC comes standard with automatic emergency braking and forward collision alert, lane keeping departure warning and assist, and even automatic high beams. However, we suggest looking for models with the optional Pro Safety Plus package, which adds adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

Interior Comfort: If you’re a road tripper, the GMC Terrain interior is a comfortable place to spend time. The firm and supportive seats are good for the long haul, and the side cushions hold you in place without making it hard to get in or out. The low noise levels also contribute to overall comfort on road trips.

Cargo Flexibility: The Terrain doesn’t have quite the cargo capacity of some competitors, but it makes up for it with excellent flexibility. The hands-free power tailgate (SLT and up) is activated by sweeping your foot under the rear bumper. Inside, the flat-folding rear seatbacks are supplemented by a fold-flat front passenger seat to accommodate extra-long items, like a surfboard. It even has a hard plastic back to avoid damaging the upholstery.

What Needs Improvement

Engine and Transmission: We’re not sure why GMC decided to drop the 2.0-liter engine that was previously available, but we sure wish they hadn’t. The remaining 1.5-liter just isn’t very powerful, and it’s connected to a transmission that needs some refinement. Unfortunately, there’s not even a benefit to fuel economy, with the Terrain trailing many in its class. If you want a smoother and more powerful setup, we suggest looking at 2020 and earlier Terrain models, which had the larger engine available.

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

4
Above Average

RepairPal gave the GMC Terrain an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Above Average. This rating ranks GMC Terrain 11th out of 29 among Compact SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the GMC Terrain

GMC Terrain features and specs

SLE 2WD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Cloth Seats
  • Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Traction Control
  • Turbo Charged Engine
  • Air Conditioning
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Full Roof Rack
  • Navigation System
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Power Hatch/Deck Lid
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Rear Entertainment System
  • Running Boards
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Tow Hitch

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size

1.5L

Horsepower

170

Torque (ft-lbs)

203

Engine type

Turbo Gas

Fuel capacity

14.9

Wheelbase

107.3"

Overall length

182.3"

Width

72.4"

Height

65.4"

Leg room

F 40.9"/R 39.7"

Head room

F 40"/R 38.5"

Front tires

P225/65R17

Rear tires

P225/65R17

Seating capacity

5

Max towing capacity

150/1500 lbs.

Transmission

Automatic

2021 GMC Terrain FAQ

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