|26/30||Fuel Economy (MPG)||26/30|
With compact SUVs becoming more and more ubiquitous while gaining more and more in popularity, how do you know which SUV is the best option for you and your family? Where should you start your search? Well, an excellent place to start is in comparing two recent models from GMC: 2021 GMC Terrain vs 2020 GMC Terrain. That is, if you’re looking for a sharply styled, comfortable, and well-appointed SUV, and are not sure which model year to choose.
The GMC Terrain benefits from being relatively new in its current generation, so you will have access to the latest technology even with the 2021 model year being mostly a carryover model. Also, as an added bonus, there is a new trim to choose from: an AT4 model has been announced for the 2021 model year. This model will slot just below the Denali trim and will feature a bolder, more rugged design, as well as the ability to tackle the most difficult “terrain” thrown at it. So let’s take a look at the differences between these two model years and what the AT4 model brings to the discussion beyond its rugged good looks.
For the 2020 model year, there is a choice between two engines. Both engines are turbocharged, feature excellent gas mileage, and come with optional 4-wheel drive. For the base engine, you can expect 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. This is a great option as it also gets incredible gas mileage at 26/30 MPG. If you are looking for a daily-driver powertrain option and do not need to tow very often or very heavy, then this is a great powertrain to choose. Your family will appreciate the incredible fuel efficiency, and you will have plenty of pick-up when you need to pass on the highway or wind your way through backroads.
The other engine option is a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder that offers 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. This engine has a lot of torque and can even tow up to 3,500 lb, so if you need to occasionally tow, the added utility will be appreciated. You can also feel free to take this engine for a ride. Whether you are on winding country roads or single-track dirt roads, the power in this engine will make for a fun ride. The Terrain’s nimble driving manners are engaging and allow you to unlock this surprisingly powerful engine. Both engines are available with a nine-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on the SLE trim and above trims.
The 2021 Terrain is expected to feature the same powertrain options, with the additional AT4 model getting the 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder. This model will be ready to hit the trail right off the factory line. While no changes are expected to the overall powertrain options, the two powerful and fuel-efficient options from the previous year are more than sufficient to compete in this segment. You will enjoy the rare combination of power and efficiency. You will also appreciate that this extra torquey engine will be standard for the AT4 model, so expect to have lots of rock-crawling power at your disposal.
For the 2020 model year, GMC Pro Safety is standard on all Terrain models. This is GMC’s state-of-the-art suite of safety tech that every family will appreciate. And, again, this is standard across all trim levels for the Terrain in 2020 and should be standard for the 2021 model year as well. What can you expect from this family-friendly tech? How about Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assistance with Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indicator, Front Pedestrian Braking, and IntelliBeam Headlamps.
That’s a lot to include as standard, but the list does not end there. You have the option to add an extra layer of safety to your crossover. Additional features include Driver Alert Package, which contains camera-based adaptive cruise control, side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert, rear park assist, and safety alert seat. These are the kind of safety features that show how committed GMC is to protecting your family.
Moving up to the Denali trim, and adding the Driver Alert Package, you will benefit from additional protection. This package will add front park assist and rear park assist. This is the kind of active technology that helps you park your vehicle while avoiding nearby objects during low-speed maneuvering, whether you are pulling in or backing in. Avoiding crashes in these tight situations is sometimes nearly impossible, and this tech helps guide you in and out without having to worry about a trip to the body shop.
No matter what safety features you are looking for to protect your family, the GMC Terrain has you covered with an extensive list of advanced safety technology.
The Terrain is known for its smart interior, so let’s take a look at what kind of features you will find in the 2020 and 2021 model years. The emphasis on style is apparent from the start, as this is an upscale entry into the compact-crossover SUV segment. You will find more luxury amenities offered in the Terrain than you will in its competitors.
One of the best features, however, is more grounded in real-world luxury than you might expect from the Terrain. The flexible cargo area is ingenious in its use of space and provides an extra, hidden level of cargo storage. The under-floor storage area is handy as it can be adapted to fit additional items without using up any precious cargo room.
You’ll also be amazed by how quiet it is in the Terrain. With impressive sound insulation, an agile and comfortable ride on the well-cushioned seats, the Terrain provides an incredibly pleasant driving experience and a pleasant place to be in general. You will enjoy your commute to work and, with active noise cancellation, will similarly enjoy carpooling duties. For the 2021 model year and AT4 variant, expect the interior to feature aluminum details and premium fabric colors.
The 2020 GMC Terrain is loaded with the latest in-car connectivity and technology. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot are all standard for the Terrain. While the SL and SLE models come standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, the SLT and Denali trim include an 8-inch touchscreen. For the Denali trim, you will also find an in-dash navigation system standard, as well as available on SLE and SLT models. The SLE with navigation trades the smaller setup for the 8.0-inch touchscreen.
The Terrain’s infotainment can be characterized as easy to operate and responsive to commands. Bright, clear graphics, and logical menus highlight this system, and your family will appreciate how user-friendly this set up is. The SLT trim adds an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, power-adjustable/heated front seats, leather upholstery, and self-dimming side mirrors, while also incorporating Bluetooth phone and music streaming into the infotainment.
Other modern extras include Bose audio, driver-side memory settings, navigation, a 360-degree camera system, and wireless device charging. With the Denali trim, there is really no end to the modern conveniences available. Heated outboard rear seats, ventilated front seats, a self-parking feature, and automatic high beams can also be employed to outfit your ride further.