2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD. Drive Professional Grade


2020 GMC Terrain SLT

The 2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD is a vehicle with its own character. The badge-engineering of the last century are gone

The 2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD is a well-equipped version of the premium compact crossover within General Motors’ rich portfolio of SUVs.

A Short History of GMC

GMC is one of the brands of General Motors (GM). In most cases and rightfully so, GMC is understood as for General Motors Corporation. The original name was General Motors Truck Company, as their focus is almost exclusively on the production of larger vehicles, such as trucks, buses, SUVs and pickups for personal and commercial use.

GMC was founded as the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company in 1902 by the truck builders and brothers Morris and Max Grabowsky. Thus, GMC also meant Grabowsky Motor Company, even if the founders sold the company to General Motors in 1909. However, over the years and decades, GMC gained widespread acceptance as a name of its own, and people are not so much curious about what it stands for.

GMC military trucks were part of the theatres of war since WWII 

GMC vehicles usually share the same platforms with Chevrolet, its corporate cousin, and have a more limited model range focusing more on trucks.GMC does not offer any sedan or hatchback. The Terrain, as a compact SUV, shares its basic architecture with Chevy’s Equinox.

GMC successfully survived the global financial crisis in 2008, where GM had to sacrifice its two historic brands, Pontiac and Oldsmobile.
The first-generation Terrain was launched for the 2010 model year and shared the Theta platform with the Pontiac Torrent.

If you want to read one of our travel stories with the first generation GMC Terrain in Los Angeles, please click the link below:


The angular design of the Terrain is not for every taste, but definitely unique

The second and current generation Terrain was introduced at the 2017 North American International Auto Show as the 2018 model and still on the market. It received a facelift in early this year.

In the booming crossover market, the Terrain remains as the smallest GMC, yet is an important product of the brand.

It is positioned below Acadia, GMC’s midsize SUV. You can read our review for the 2017 Acadia Denali AWD by clicking the link below:


Managing a multi-brand portfolio

With General Motors’ (GM) rich portfolio of brands, Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac, positioning each brand smartly is a challenge. GM has a rich and bitter experience with that. Going back to the 1980s, 1990’a and early this century, GM’s “badge engineering” strategy resulted in a disaster as the global financial crisis hit the world. The approach to selling the same car with a different logo, the simple goal was to create leverage with more vehicles and fully exploit the scale of economics. It resulted in very similar or almost identical vehicles with poor quality and weak character and harmed all GM brands. Obviously, as a century-old company, General Motors learned big lessons from this period after its bankruptcy. Today it is wise to say the GM manages its brands well.

GMC among these brands is “professional grade” in GM’s own words. This makes sense since GMC produces trucks for commercial use before everything else. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if GMC can offer new products for its loyal customer base.

The 2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD, our tester is well equipped and positioned under the range-topping Denali trim.

2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD: Engine and powertrain

With the 2.0L, 4-cylinder turbo engine delivering 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, the owners of this model will never feel underpowered

Our 2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD has GM’s 2.0L 4-cylinder engine under its hood. It is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. This all-aluminum engine is a modern powerhouse with a dual overhead cam, VVT (variable valve timing) and direct injection. It delivers 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the design similarities between the bigger cousins, the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and the GMC Yukon/Yukon XL, the Terrain has a unique, bold and beautiful design that is sufficiently different from the Chevy Equinox.

2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD: Design Features

GMC Terrain is recognizable with its c-shaped headlight and taillight units, the key points of the design language that define its character. The horizontal kick of the c-pillar is another unique design feature. The black rubber surrounding the underbody looks cool and protects the paint.

2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD: Interior

2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD

The infotainment system is easy to operate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard

GMC offers a well-designed, ergonomic interior with a premium appearance between Chevrolet and Buick. The push-button gear selector requires some getting-used-to but functions conveniently. The infotainment screen is easy to operate. The stylish and thick c-pillar partially limits the rear visibility. The front seats are supportive, the headroom is class average, and the legroom in the rear provides comfort above the class average. The head restraints in the rear are foldable for increased visibility, which is a nice feature, especially for shorter drivers.

A well-designed dashboard and comfortable front, leather seats solidly support the premium character of the Terrain

The rear seats with comfortable leg and headroom are a big plus


The cargo space is generous and meets the expectation for the compact class

2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD: Driving impressions

In our one-week test drive with the 2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD, we drove the Terrain almost entirely in urban environments, on the highway or in the city. It has a soft and compliant ride. The AWD system is a convenient feature on the rough terrain or wintry conditions, an important factor for Canadian buyers. However, you feel the extra weight in some instances, which is not something unexpected.

On the road, the noise isolation could be better. Especially since the GMC Terrain is positioned as a premium alternative. It is not as good a the Chevrolet Equinox we tested earlier.

Our average consumption during the one-week, mixed-mode test drive was 11.4 litres.

2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD

Hankook all-season tires with black 9″ aluminum machined wheels provide a good grip and look good

Around Islington and Dundas in Etobicoke, murals keep alive memories of a by-gone era

2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD: Pricing and Specifications

The 2020 GMC Terrain, our tester had an MSRP of C$ 45,183, including options. This is a significant amount for a compact SUV, no matter how well it is equipped.

For pricing and details of the specification, please see the chart below:

2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD: Conclusion

The 2020 GMC Terrain SLT AWD proves that GM made a wise choice to expand the GMC model range to compete in the hot compact crossover segment. Why would a buyer choose the Terrain, among other luxury or mainstream alternatives? Would the answer be: Great experience with other and bigger, professional-grade GMC models stimulating the desire yo own another GMC vehicle for the wife or the children?

Whatever the answer may be, GMC Terrain is a pleasant choice in this segment.

For more detailed and most up-to-date information, please visit: http://www.gmccanada.ca

Article and Photos by Varol McKars