The 2019 GMC Terrain mixes a lot of goodness into a compact crossover pot. With good family ergonomics, a value-oriented premium package, and good daily drive metrics, the Terrain is a great option for small families. I gave the 2019 Terrain an “A” rating at CarNewsCafe and an “A-” at iSeeCars.
The GMC nameplate is known for being slightly more upscale as a truck maker, sitting above the Chevrolet marque and alongside Buick in terms of premium quality. Unlike Buick, however, GMC goes with decidedly truck-based design elements and the 2019 Terrain definitely fits that mold.
The family likes the look of the 2019 GMC Terrain for that, though. It’s squared and flat front and rear make it easier to maneuver in tighter spaces and give it a robust, ready-for-action look not found in many of today’s crossovers. Especially in the compact segments. The taller body design also means better interior ergonomics and spaciousness. Also good things.
There are a lot of good options in the fast-growing compact crossover-SUV market and the Terrain sits pretty as one of the better ones. There are four trim points for the vehicle and three engine options. We note that our above fuel economy ratings are based on the best of those options, the diesel.
How Useful Is the 2019 Terrain As a Family Hauler?
The smooth ride quality and strong dynamics of the Terrain with the better turbocharged engine are a boon. The interior is appealing and sophisticated, with good ergonomics for family use. The doors open wide and are tall, making getting in and out easy. We also like the split-fold rear seating (standard) and the fact that the front passenger’s seat also folds down flat to add even more cargo space.
Cargo is set at 29.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up, which is about average for the segment. It expands to 63.3 cubic feet and there is even more if the front passenger’s seat is dropped. This gives the ability to haul 8-foot 2x4s, a kayak, and other long objects inside the GMC Terrain without having to use the roof rack.
Everyday storage is also good in the 2019 Terrain, with a convenient passenger’s-side dashboard shelf for gadgets, a good-sized cubby at the center, and door pockets all around. Infotainment is fairly easy to use and understand and includes a WiFi hotspot capability and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto as standard.
Expected Reliability/Dependability and Value
The Terrain is expected to have a good dependability metric. Although not yet published for 2019, the 2018 model year Terrain received a “Better Than Most” rating from the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study and we expect that to continue forward this year. There have been no recalls for the 2019 model year and the Terrain has received very good crash test ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Which Version of the GMC Terrain Would We Buy?
Our choice would be the SLT package with either the 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine or 1.6-liter diesel engine upgrade. This trim package adds a lot of goodies for the dollars being spent, including a lot of driver convenience and infotainment options not found in lower trims, and access to even more goodies via further options packages.
Although GMC is known for its Denali trim points, that top-most trim for the Terrain is expensive and does not have the diesel engine option for maximum fuel efficiency. It also requires further (pricey) upgrades to get advanced safety options, which we note aren’t available at all on other trim points.
Radio Setting and Kid Approvals
The kids liked the 2019 GMC Terrain, though it was a bit small for all three of them in the back seat. That’s part of the vehicle’s class, so it’s not a knock against the Terrain itself. The ride is comfortable and they enjoyed jamming to Ozzy’s Boneyard (SiriusXM 38) as we went along.
A Note on Our Process: Reviews here are based on Aaron’s reviews found around the Web. The goal here is to forego the usual “horsepower and capability” jargon of most automotive reviews and instead focus on how well the vehicle is as a regular family hauler for a single dad. Links to full, formal reviews are included in this review in order to provide more information should you wish to have it.