GMC Terrain Denali: compelling 5-passenger crossover choice


The 2019 GMC Terrain has the same footprint as the Chevy Equinox. However, it received new exterior styling to make it a lot tamer for consumers. The new 2.0-liter turbo should give families enough power and some fuel mileage gains as well.

So what’s new this year? The 2019 received an upgraded rearview camera and new appearance packages. Adaptive Cruise Control and Front Pedestrian Braking are now part of the available Driver Alert Package II.

I had the opportunity to test drive the Terrain AWD Denali. So it is clear to me now that GMC has succeeded in making a crossover that is not only attractive to premium-SUV buyers, but mass-market consumers as well. Properly sized and superior in nearly every category, the new Denali has knockout styling, a competent powertrain, a premium interior, and a full suite of advanced safety features.

Four trim levels are available for the 2019 Terrain, starting with the base SL trim, and moving up to the near-luxury Terrain Denali. Standard equipment on the SL includes things you would expect, as well as some desirable niceties such as keyless entry and start, a rearview camera and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

The Denali however, with a base price of $39,500, comes with leather seats, an eight-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, blind-spot monitors, a 110-volt power outlet, remote start, power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof. The Denali receives unique styling cues and interior trim, as well as Denali-specific 19-inch wheels and LED headlights.

The Driver Alert II package ($745) adds low-speed forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking; lane departure warning; lane keeping assist; automatic high beams; and adaptive cruise control. The Denali’s Comfort package ($450) adds ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, plus a wireless phone-charging pad.

The Advanced Safety package ($745) includes a surround-view parking camera and an automated parking system. Total MSRP including destination: $43,650. By comparison, the 2019 GMC Terrain starts at $25,000.

Stepping inside reveals leather seats with plenty of bolstering, lots of soft-touch materials, brushed aluminum trim, and plenty of power adjustments to help find the perfect driving position.

The seating position in the Denali’s cabin seems lower than before, which makes the Terrain feel less SUV-like. The infotainment system is straightforward and simple, with the eight-inch screen’s big icons.

The backseat has plenty of room for adults, and rear passengers will appreciate the tall doors, so there is less ducking to enter.

The seats fold mostly flat to provide 63.3 cubic feet of cargo space, less than the competition. Behind the rear seats there is 29.6 cubic feet available.

The 2019 Terrain is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, making 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. When properly equipped, the Terrain Denali tows up to 3,500 pounds. Mated to a nine-speed automatic with all-wheel drive, it offers peppy acceleration and gets an EPA-estimated 21/26 city/highway mpg.

This SUV is clearly designed more toward comfort than cornering ability. The ride overall is comfortable on the highway and you hardly feel the bumps on rough pavement.

The optional all-wheel drive on my Denali tester is a part-time system, activated by a knob on the console with different traction modes. It is easier than other all-wheel drive units without the ability to self-activate.

The 2019 Terrain Denali is an excellent, well-rounded crossover SUV with many strengths. It is a little pricier than some of its rivals, but its refined interior, decent fuel economy, and long list of features help make it a good value.

Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at

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