If you are looking for a rugged SUV that is perfect for the outdoors and isn’t too bulky, look no further than the upcoming 2021 GMC Terrain. As a petite SUV that is set to hit dealership lots this fall, this beauty is something to look forward to. As the first-ever Terrain AT4 model, GMC fans are begging to learn more about this future model. However, GMC isn’t giving up any details at the moment.
Other than the fact that this vehicle will be available in the SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali trim levels, that’s about all we know so far. From the few sneak peeks that have been momentarily granted, we have seen that the 2021 GMC Terrain has had some cosmetic work done. This facelift includes a restyled grille and larger headlights for enhanced visibility. It may also receive a suspension lift and a few more inches of ground clearance to make off-roading an easier feat. Typically, compact SUVs are bad when driving off the beaten path. The upcoming Terrain can’t very well live up to its name if it can’t head off into the wild on an adventure!
Because we don’t have any other details about this elusive SUV just yet, we will take a closer look at the 2020 Terrain to see what may fold over into this new version.
We already know that all GMC Terrain models from 2020 are fitted with electronic stability and traction control for enhanced handling on wet roads and around sharp corners. These two performance features will certainly carry over to the 2021 version. Also, the MacPherson front suspension will most likely be included as well, along with hill-descent control. This assumption is being made based on the off-roading qualities the new 2021 model is said to have.
Now, it’s time for some guesswork. The 2020 model has two engine options. First is a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that pushes out 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque, which uses advanced features such as direct injection, variable valve timing, and a dual overhead cam design. This engine may carry over to the 2021 Terrain with a little added power. Coupled with a 9-speed automatic transmission and FWD, this powertrain has a very attractive estimated fuel economy set at 28 mpg combined (26 city/30 highway). It can also tow up to 1,500 pounds. There is no reason to believe this powertrain will be scrapped.
The second engine on the current model is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that generates 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It uses the same powertrain features as the smaller engine, and it is only available on the SLT and Denali trim levels. With a higher towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, the gas mileage is lowered a bit at 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway). Again, this engine may be included in the 2021 GMC Terrain lineup.
So where might the performance difference be? While the two existing engines may see a slight increase in power, the Terrain AT4 model may get a whole new engine entirely. It’s hard to say what that powertrain might look like, but you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be optimized for off-roading adventures.
Let’s talk about space for a moment. As a compact SUV, this petite model can seat five people comfortably. It also has a surprising amount of storage space. With 29.6 cubic feet of room behind the back row, there’s plenty of space for backpacks, luggage, and groceries. You can even fold the back row down to expand the area to 63.3 cubic feet. If that still isn’t enough, you can simply fold down the front passenger seat, and you’ll have a whopping 81 cubic feet of storage space. That’s cavernous for a vehicle that is classified as compact. Interior dimensions will also remain the same. Currently, the Terrain offers 40-inches of front headroom and 41-inches of front legroom. For backseat passengers, there are 38.5-inches of headroom and 39.7-inches of legroom. If any changes are made, there might be a slight increase in the backseat legroom. This is an adjustment that we typically see in new models.
As for safety, GMC is well-known for its advanced systems that come standard no matter what trim you choose. Safety shouldn’t be a luxury. That’s why GMC has made a point to ensure that every new model is loaded with the latest and most innovative safety gear. To get an idea of what will be included on the 2021 Terrain, let’s glance back at the 2020 version. Offering more technology than ever before, standard safety features include emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, and pedestrian braking. All of these systems work together to help prevent accidents on the road. They will most likely be carried over to the next production model. The main difference you may see could be extra features. Blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and other important safety operations might be added to the standard suite for 2021.
Another nifty feature that won’t be going anywhere is the Teen Driver function. If you have a teen driver in the family, you want them to drive safely, but you can’t be with them constantly. That’s why GMC came up with the Teen Driver system. This unique operation will disable the audio functions of the vehicle until the seatbelt is fastened. It will also send an audible alert if the driver goes over the preset speed limit. To see how well your young driver is doing, you can access the driving report card at any time. This can help you to understand where your teen is excelling and what still needs some additional training.
Features in the cabin will change based on the trim level. Because no details have yet been released about the upcoming Terrain, we can look at the current version to see what might be inside. The base SL will make a comeback. Including keyless ignition and entry, this model is well-equipped. Displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen is the voice-activated GMC infotainment interface. This system works with Bluetooth for hands-free calling and Apple CarPlay/Android for seamless audio and app integration. You can listen to music through the 6-speaker stereo and enjoy the 4G LTE Wifi hotspot that keeps you connected everywhere you go.
Next is the SLE. This model opens lots of options for add-on packages. The Driver Confidence package adds remote start technology, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, and an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support for the ultimate comfort. Another package is called Infotainment I. This suite adds a larger 8-inch touchscreen, an HD rearview camera, and two additional USB ports. Some of the features that were optional for 2020 might be standard on the 2021 Terrain.
The mid-level SLT is where luxury started to come into play. Leather upholstery gave the cabin an elegant appearance, and the heated steering wheel was the perfect comfort for the colder winter months. This trim also includes advanced safety systems such as adaptive cruise control, blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change assist, and rear park assist. There’s no reason to assume that the luxury features won’t be included in the 2021 Terrain.
Finally, the premium Denali is the trim featuring the best of what the model has to offer. This top-of-the-line model is loaded with everything including ventilated seats and a 360-degree surround-view camera system. As for the AT4 trim, GMC has not yet released any details. However, we can assume that this trim will contain features that make the vehicle better suited for off-roading.
The exterior of the 2021 GMC Terrain has a few revisions, as we mentioned before. Traditionally, wheel sizes range between 17- and 19-inches depending on the trim level. It’s safe to assume the upcoming AT4 model will have different wheels and all-terrain tires for better handling over rocks and rough terrain. It will also feature a rugged, off-road-ready styling.
The overall size of the vehicle will remain largely unchanged. Its total length is measured at 182.3-inches (15 ft), the wheelbase is about 107.3-inches (9-ft), and it stands at approximately 65.4-inches (5.5-ft) tall with a width of 72.4-inches (6 feet).