GMC premieres redesigned Terrain compact SUV

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

The redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain,with a bolder exterior than its Chevrolet Equinox cousin,debuted Sunday ahead of official press days for the Detroit auto show.

The compact premium SUV, which bowed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit ahead of the North American International Auto Show, has more dramatic looks and more advanced technology. There are three new turbocharged engine choices, including a turbodiesel.

The redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain,with a bolder exterior than its Chevrolet Equinox cousin,debuted Sunday ahead of official press days for the Detroit auto show.

"Doesn’t it look amazing. It's a great looking vehicle," Duncan Aldred, vice president of global GMC sales and marketing, said just after the wraps were taken off the SUV. "The new Terrain offers a bold, new design that proudly announces its arrival."

Helen Emsley, executive director of Global GMC Design, said the Terrain's design showcases aspect of GMC's design going forward, "We wanted to create something with real road presence that people would see it on the street and say, ‘Wow. What is it? I want one of these,’” she said. “So the exterior is very expressive. It still embraces the core of what it means to be GMC.”

The new Terrain sheds about 465 pounds from the previous model, its wheelbase shrinks by 5.2 inches and its overall length is 3 inches shorter..

In September, Chevrolet unveiled its 2018 Equinox compact SUV at a museum in Chicago. It dropped about 400 pounds or 10 percent of its weight, and is 4 inches shorter than the current model. The Equinox, due out this spring, has a roomier interior.

The 2018 Terrain will be available this summer in the SL, SLE, SLT and top-of-the-line Denali trims.

It will be available with a 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine generating 252 horsepower and 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine. Each will be mated to new nine-speed automatic transmissions.

They replace a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter V-6 that each had a six-speed transmission.

GM did not provide fuel economy estimates for the new engines, though Chevrolet last year said the new turbodiesel would offer 40 miles per gallon fuel economy on the highway.

The best fuel economy now for the Terrain is a combined 25 mpg city/highway and 31 mpg highway for the four-cylinder front-wheel drive model. All-wheel drive also is available.

Sales of the Terrain last year totaled 87,925, down 21.5 percent from the 112,030 sold in 2015, its best sales year since debuting in 2009 as a 2010 model. GM has sold more than 700,000 Terrains in North America since going on sale.

The GMC Terrain is revealed at an event for the Detroit auto show on Sunday, January 8, 2016.

The redesigned Terrain is hitting the market at a good time, as consumers last year bought nearly 60 percent trucks and SUVs compared to 40 percent cars.

Analysts say Terrain sales have declined a bit as the ultra-competitive compact segment has exploded and Terrain has shown its age. Terrain won some buyers with its more squared and aggressive looks compared to the Equinox.

“For the Terrain to be successful, we would expect it to hold true to the brand of ruggedness, yet be refined as well,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive. “It is important for the Terrain to continue to differentiate from the Equinox and we expect that to be the case.”

Mark Reuss, GM's head of global product development, said, "This is the wild child leading to what GMC’s going to do next on lots of different platforms. And it’s edgy, and it’s professional and its highly crafted."

The design of the Terrain showcases some of the GMC’s new design language, with stronger, sharper and more sculpted features such as the grille and lights.

LMC is predicting Terrain sales will grow and could reach 120,000 to 125,000 a year.

Pricing for the 2018 Terrain was not announced. The 2017 Terrain begins at $24,995 for a front-wheel drive model, with the Denali trim starting at $35,200.

The Denali trim, popular among GMC buyers and representing 25 percent of retail sales across the brand, will feature a chrome grille and  chrome roof rails, door handles and side-mirror caps. It includes LED headlamps and 19-inch aluminum wheels.  Denali logos come standard, as do navigation and heated steering wheel. The Denali trim for Terrain launched as a 2013 model.

The Terrain’s interior is refined with more storage in the center console and under the floor, side-by-side cupholders, and a new fold-flat front passenger seat and flat-folding rear seats. It also features elements premium buyers like such as soft-touch materials, aluminum trim and standard active noise cancellation.

Surround vision, forward collision alert with following distance indicator, low-speed forward automatic braking and lane-keep assist are available..

The current Terrain is built at GM’s CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. The new Terrain will be built at GM's plant in San Luis Potosi in Mexico, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra confirmed Sunday.

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