2011 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2

2011 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2


This week we’re looking at the 2011 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2.  GM replaced the Envoy (2002-2009) with the Terrain. And before it was called an Envoy it was called a Jimmy. Owners I talk with consider the GMC line as tough well made no nonsense trucks and SUVs. I’ve always been a Chevy man and although I’ve owned many brands over the years GM cars have been my favorites. After many Cadillac’s in my driveway I fell in love with the newer models and particularly the CTS V lights my fire. It is not only beautifully stylish with sharp character lines, it is fast and wildly fun to drive.

It is time again for Americans to return to cars made in this country. Economic times have shipped steel production and too much oil supply to off shore countries. That was fine when our economy was strong, but that is behind us so going forward consumers should get back on the team and buy “Made in USA” products.

There was a time when Japan knew how important the name USA was and to improve their product sales they named a city in Japan Usa so they could say their products were made there. Now made in Japan carries weight of its own and they don’t need to apologize any longer. China is now accepted by Wal-Mart shoppers but I find more discerning consumers demanding US made quality products when money is not as much a part of the decision making process.


It would appear GM is back. They’ve trimmed down a bit and hopefully they have dumped the losers in product lines to be profitable again. It just goes to show you that big or more is not necessarily better. The temptation to grow larger is natural to men generally. Perhaps it is the need to diversify and be secure in our endeavors. I suspect it is just too much to ask of mortal man to know when enough is enough. Or is it ok to have high and lofty goals like putting a man on the moon.

That reminds me of what a women said she was curious to know why it is that “if they can put a man on the moon, why can’t they put them all there”.

As we have watched the auto industry grow it began with a good idea and one car turned into hundreds today. And just like GM, Chrysler and Ford new car companies have followed the same pattern of a growing number of models. If it didn’t make good business by boosting sales car makers wouldn’t do it. More is good when there is growth in the economy, but that leads to top heavy cost. That growth based expense when faced with a rapidly declining market car companies were all in danger of going under.

Ultimately it is the consumer who decides if GM or any company is worthy. It is interesting to note here that Ford has never done better following the failure of Detroit generally. In my search for answers I found people were praising Ford for not taking bail out money. That was the defining moment that people would remember when it came time to buy a car. They offered a hand to lift Ford up first. And I think the mood of the country is to return to buying American products which will lead to more sales of GM and Chrysler as well.

The real message here, for me, is that down deep inside we all recognize the need to stand for right for the sake of right and we appreciate those who lead us back to moral and ethical values that make society work. That is what will bring us back to full employment. The goal is 4%. Think 4%.

Handling & Performance:

As you likely know, all SUV’s are built on truck platforms. But they don’t handle like trucks and the features and suspension make the ride more and more car like. SUVs are also leaning to even lower profiles to improve handling even more. Therefore they are tagged ‘Crossovers’ more often even though SUV is still the most common designator.

The desire for an off road vehicle is nearly a faint memory now, because only 5% of these highly capable truck adaptations ever get “Off Road” anyway. The closer to the ground stance makes them handle better but of course you give up road clearance that makes it truly equipped for ‘real’ off road-ing use. Consumers know they have other choices if they are a part of the 5% who have a passion for driving roads less travelled.


Design is distinctively GMC truck with a more square look. My recent review of the Audi counterpart to this Terrain has more rounded and softer lines. That reminds me of the round look of the late 50s and 60s and how that trend passed away. Square is not as aerodynamic but at freeway speeds approaching 30 mph on an average day, wind resistance is rarely a factor in fuel economy.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.


GMC is aggressively priced. I did like the Audi, but I don’t see a $10,000 price spread in quality of the two brands.

Conveniences and comfort:

Outstanding. Very little difference from the more expensive competition.

Consumer Recommendation:

Be sure to include this GMC in your comparison shopping test drives. It will make you think twice before sending your hard earned money to Germany or Japan. Even the Korean entrant makes this GMC look all the better.

Another thing that will work in favor of GMC is that fuel economy is good compared to other AWD competitors.

Recognized Competition (MSRP):

GMC Terrain $24,250, Acura RDX $32,620, Audi Q5 $35,200, BMW X3 $38,850, Cadillac SRX $34,430, Chevrolet Equinox $22,745, Dodge Journey $22,245, Dodge Nitro $22,245, Ford Escape $21,215, Honda Accord Crosstour $29,790, Honda CR-V $21,695, Honda Element $20,825, Hyundai Veracruz $28,345, Infiniti EX $34,550, Land Rover LR2 $35,500, Lexus RX 350 $38,375,  Lincoln MKX $39,375, Mazda CX-7 $21,990, Mercedes-Benz GLK $35,500, Mitsubishi Outlander $21,995, Nissan Murano $28,520, Nissan Rogue $20,830, Suzuki Grand Vitara $19,199, Toyota Highlander $27,540, Toyota RAV4 $22,025, Volvo XC 60 $32,400.

Good News:

Solid ride, well appointed and well equipped and priced right to aggressively go after foreign brand models.

Bad News:

This class vehicle is necessarily thirsty for fuel. The real bad news is that the price is heading north of $5 per gallon in the US.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 182 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed auto trans, 4-wheel abs disc brakes, stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitor, front side and side curtain airbags, LATCH system with safety locks, remote keyless entry, auto headlights, remote start, theft deterrent, OnStar with crash response and turn-by-turn navigation, rear parking assist, deep tinted glass, power liftgate, 18” aluminum wheels, fog lights, roof rack side rails, rearview camera, sunroof, leather heated bucket seats, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, 8-way power driver seat with memory on seat and mirrors, 60/40 split reclining rear seat, climate control, tilt & telescopic column, cruise control, power windows & locks, stereo with CD & USB port and pioneer 8 speaker system, XM Satellite radio, compass and Bluetooth.

Gas Stats:

$3.81/ Gal avg. March 5, 2011


for more information.

16 City and 22 Highway MPG


MSRP $31,400.

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