2014 GMC Terrain | road test
Really comfortable seats in the front and rear
Boot space offers a good amount of practicality
Jerky and delayed gear changes when driving in manual mode
Ample amounts of hard plastic on the interior
Brick-like exterior appearance
The automotive market is flooded with compact SUV’s and crossovers. Some have been refined so well that they serve their purpose almost perfectly, while others are not so good, and the market leaders are extremely debatable depending on what factors you are looking for in a crossover. The GMC Terrain is not too common on the road; the 2014 GMC Terrain Denali is even less common, so we were not exactly sure what to expect when we got the chance to drive the Denali, but we were sure in for a surprise.
Styling and Design
Most cars nowadays go for a curvier and more streamlined look such as the very round Ford Edge and the slick Cadillac SRX, not the Terrain though. GMC has opted for more brick-like cues for the Terrain. The flat-ish front end of the Terrain along with the flared wheel arches give the American crossover a very boxy appearance which according to some, isn’t exactly appealing. All I know is, the signature Denali chrome grille is big enough to make people flee from the lane before you can even flash your lights.
There’s something about crossovers, most of them look very awkward, and look a lot like lifted hatchbacks; the 2014 GMC Terrain Denali suffers from the same issue. It has an identity crisis where it does not look right because it is not big enough to have the letters SUV anywhere near its name, but at the same time it’s not small enough to drop these letters.
The Terrain packs in the collision detection system and the lane departure warning that is seen on many of GM’s cars. Except in the Terrain, they aren’t as enjoyable as they are in other cars. For example, the lane departure warning is a very annoying mid-pitched beep that is rendered useless if the volume is turned up a little bit. The collision warning system on the other hand, is a little too enthusiastic and beeps and flashes away as you approach another vehicle. Thankfully, both of these “assists” can be turned off.
The centre stack in the 2014 GMC Terrain Denali is neat, but the buttons to control the infotainment system are pretty useless as they are all present in the touch screen controls. A good thing in the Terrain is the dual monitors placed behind the front headrests, it’s sure to keep the little one’s busy on the drive home after a busy day at school.
The navigation system, however, is difficult to use and involves dwelling into numerous steps before you can enter the point of interest that you are looking for, which is enough reason to prefer not to use it.
Drive and Handling
The heart of the 2014 GMC Terrain Denali is made up of a 3.6L V6 that generates 292 horsepower and transmits that power through a 6-speed gearbox to all 4 wheels. A decent torque output of 369 Nm is sufficient to get the Terrain moving first off the lights.
The gearbox in the Terrain is quite jerky when used in manual mode and there is a good second or so between the shifts, which is quite a letdown. Due to its higher centre of gravity, body roll is present in the Terrain and enough to make you think twice before taking corners with some speed.
Comfort and Practicality
The interior of the Terrain has an alarming amount of hard plastic all over it. The door panels and dashboard are made up of hard plastic and receive an extremely thin layer of leatherette wrapping.
GMC has added some wood accents here and there in the car such as on the top of the steering wheel to give it a more luxurious feel, but it really does not cancel out the plastics on the car.
Cargo space is good in the Terrain for grocery runs and picking up the kids from school, this space can be increased further by folding down the rear seats.
Price and Verdict
At a price of AED 138,000 you get a great amount of features and options. Sure, the interior isn’t of the highest quality, and the safety features are a little too cautious. But at the end of the day, the GMC Terrain Denali is a Mid-Size SUV that does what it’s supposed to do, be practical.