GMC has revised its compact Terrain SUV for the new model year. But the compact SUV class is among the industry’s most competitive. Like other GMC models, the Terrain comes in AT4 trim for 2022, which the brand positions as a premium off-road-worthy trim level. TheDetroitBureau.com spent a week driving it to see if it lives up to its trim level aspirations.
Offered in ascending SLE, SLT, AT4 and Denali trim levels, the 2022 GMC Terrain shares its platform and mechanical bits with the Chevrolet Equinox. For 2022, all Terrain models get a revised appearance, simplified driveline choice, and an updated technology package. Standard all-wheel drive, unique off-road trim, and a front steel skid plate are included in the AT4 model that we tested. The base SL model is no longer offered.
GMC has shipped the Terrain off to the design shop, where it received a freshly chiseled face, new LED lighting front and rear, along with new 18- and 19-inch wheels. The look is handsomely rugged without going overboard. There’s plenty of black lower body cladding that looks sophisticated, yet trail ready. It’s quite fetching.
Given a price that tops $40,000, you might rightly expect better interior quality in this two-row SUV. It feels rugged, not premium. Its leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated front seats thanks are offset by far too much hard, coarsely grained plastic.
Most of the interior is fairly intuitive to use, including an infotainment screen with two large buttons for power/volume and radio tuning. The system works quickly. Strangely, the car’s transmission uses buttons that resemble buried at the bottom of the center console — a decidedly odd placement.
Interior space seems generous for the compact class, with good room up front, and decent space in the second row. Cargo space is expansive for its size, with 29.5 cubic feet of cargo space, 63.3 cubic feet with the second row folded. There’s also a very generously sized center console bin.
The 2022 GMC Terrain ditched last year’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder for a smaller 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It’s mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, rather than the 6-speed transmission used on the Equinox. The powertrain produces 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque.
That’s fewer ponies than its many competitors, including the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Nissan Rogue and Mazda CX-5. Even the Jeep Compass has more under the hood. And the Terrain’s optional 252-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder offered last year is no longer available.
All-wheel is standard on the AT4 and Denali, and optional on the SLE and SLT where front-wheel drive is standard. The Terrain AT4 comes with selectable driving modes for all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive and off road.
Towing is rated at 1,500 pounds. Ground clearance is 7.9 inches.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has rated the 2022 GMC Terrain five stars in overall crash safety, bestowing five stars for front and side crash protection, but only four stars in rollover risk. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates it “Good” in all categories except for side crash safety, where it’s rated as “Marginal.”
Driver assistance safety systems includes GMC’s Pro Safety package, with standard Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indicator, Front Pedestrian Braking and automatic high beams. The optional GMC Pro Safety Plus package adds Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Safety Alert Seat.
When it comes to tech, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa capability come standard.
An 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard except for the base SLE, which gets a 7-inch-color screen. Navigation is optional on all trims save the Denali, where it’s standard. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is available. An optional Tech Package adds HD Surround Vision camera, a Head-Up Display and Park Assist on the SLT and AT4. Automatic Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control are added when it’s ordered on the Denali.
What proves to be a huge disappointment comes when it’s time to drive. For a manufacturer that builds a car as outstanding as the Chevrolet Corvette, it’s astounding that little of that excellence finds its way into the GMC Terrain.
This engine feels underwhelming with one driver aboard, fully loading it up will surely sentence you to life in the slow lane. The 1.5-liter four’s turbo lag is exacerbated by a transmission that hesitates to downshift.
The throttle possesses far too much travel where nothing happens. Then, suddenly, the engine and transmission get the message and rush to respond. Mild throttle application finds it less hesitant but still noticeable. Want to speed up? Plan ahead.
The Terrain’s gooey steering does little to enhance the driving experience, although the generally acceptable ride quality is appreciated. But the Terrain’s tires squealed easily when cornering, and lost traction during brief summer showers.
Overall fuel economy came in at 24.3 mpg in a mix of suburban and highway driving.
2022 GMC Terrain AT4 AWD Specifications
|Dimension||L: 182.3 inches/W: 72.4 inches/H: 65.4 inches/Wheelbase: 107.3 inches|
|Powertrain||1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||25 mpg city/28 mpg highway/26 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $34,250; As tested: $41,315 including $1,395 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The 2022 GMC Terrain is like a date with someone who’s very attractive, but ultimately proves to be dumb as a post. We wanted to love this vehicle. Its looks are so distinctively handsome and its interior space is generous. Its tech package is easy to use and intuitive. Even its mediocre interior quality could be overlooked if its driveline weren’t so unimpressive. There’s little here that feels premium, which is GMC’s mantra.
Surely GMC can do better than this.
2022 GMC Terrain AT4 AWD — Frequently Asked Questions
What does AT4 mean on GMC Terrain?
The AT4 is GMC’s off-road-oriented trim level. On the Terrain, it adds a front skid plate, off-road trim, standard all-wheel drive and Goodyear Sport Terrain tires.
Is AT4 higher than Denali?
No. The 2022 GMC Terrain Denali costs $2,600 more than the 2022 GMC Terrain AT4.
Where is the 2022 GMC Terrain made?
San Luis Potosi, Mexico.