The 2022 GMC Terrain AT4 is more of a country rambler than a trail-conquering SUV, but it looks the part
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Ggeneral Motors’ GMC division is panning for pay dirt in its off-road-defined AT4 sub-brand. It was launched in 2019 and is now offered across its line of SUVs and pickups. New to the AT4 lineup (All Terrain 4WD) is the 2022 GMC Terrain AT4 small SUV.
All-Terrain4 is a premium treatment, which GMC says is bringing in more affluent and younger customers new to GMC. According to GMC market research, their truck owners are 3.5-times more likely to actively use their vehicle for camping and carrying outdoor sports gear.
The AT4 treatment is primarily a cosmetics package. Among the AT4 design accents are a black-chrome finish to the grille and exterior trim, with gloss black roof rails. The Terrain AT4 has exclusively styled 17-inch gloss-black painted aluminum wheels with Goodyear Sport Terrain tires. There is a front steel skid plate and a traction select system with modes of standard AWD, front-wheel drive, and off-road.
The Terrain is GMC’s smallest vehicle and slots below the Acadia midsize SUV. The Terrain debuted in April 2009 as a 2010 model, sharing an architecture with the Chevrolet Equinox. For the 2013 model year, the GMC Terrain introduced the Denali trim, which featured more chrome and slightly improved interior quality.
The Terrain had its first midcycle refresh in 2016. And the second-generation GMC Terrain debuted in 2017 for the 2018 model year.
In February 2020, General Motors unveiled a refreshed version of the GMC Terrain that would go on sale in mid-2020 as a 2021 model. However, production issues and pandemic-related complications delayed its release. The lightly facelifted Terrain finally went on sale in summer 2021 as a 2022 model.
New For the 2022 Terrain
- Redesigned front fascia and grille designs.
- Redesigned LED headlamps and LED taillamps on all models.
- New 18-inch and 19-inch wheel designs.
- Three new exterior colors, $495 each: Marine Metallic (mid-blue), Desert Sand Metallic (AT4 only), and Cayenne Red Metallic, which is a 2022 color only, and a new red will be introduced for 2023.
- New interior trim elements and fabrics.
- Tech Package made available for SLT and AT4. The package includes HD Surround Vision, a new Head-Up Display, and front and rear park assist.
- Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.
- Built-in Amazon Alexa.
For 2022, the GMC Terrain is sold in four trim levels of SLE, SLT, AT4 and Denali. All have the same powertrain of a 170-hp, turbocharged and direct-injected 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and a nine-speed automatic transmission. AWD models include terrain modes and a low mode for hill-descent towing control.
Starting prices range from $31,045 for the front-wheel-drive SLE to $39,745 for the Denali with standard all-wheel drive. Retail pricing includes the $1,395 freight charge from San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Today’s tester is the Terrain AT4 with standard AWD. Its pricing starts at $37,145 and totaled $41,810 with five options.
With its full suite of safety features, the GMC Terrain has earned NHTSA’s top overall five-star safety rating. The rating includes five stars for the driver and front passenger in a frontal crash; five stars front and rear in a side crash; and four stars for risk of rollover.
Standard safety features on all Terrain models include six air bags, hill-descent control, and Stabilitrak traction controls.
And Terrain’s standard safety technologies are notable.
The GMC Pro Safety package layers on automatic emergency braking, a following distance indicator, forward collision alert and front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and auto-dimming IntelliBeam headlights.
And I would choose two more safety options because of their safeguards, which contributed to the top NHTSA safety rating:
GMC Pro Safety Plus, $645, includes Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Rear Park Assist. The package also includes Adaptive Cruise Control and Safety Alert Seat.
Tech Package, $850, includes HD Surround Vision, Head-Up Display and Front and Rear Park Assist. The head-up display rises from a small plastic panel behind the gauge array. The small screen can be an obstruction to sightlines in heavy traffic, but it can be closed.
Terrain designers pack a lot into a compact cabin, and that includes soundproofing.
With the many updates over the years, the AT4 cabin has a desirable collection of standard features. Among the conveniences are smart key entry with push-button ignition, leather-trimmed and perforated upholstery, HD rearview camera, heated steering wheel and two-function heated front seats, leather-wrapped four-spoke steering wheel with cruise controls and redundant audio controls, 4.2-inch color driver-info gauge display, eight-way power driver seat and a four-way power front passenger seat.
Headroom of 38.2 inches with the panoramic sunroof should fit most adults. Omit the sunroof and there is tall headspace of 40 inches. But the more significant fit consideration is what feels like a subcompact cabin. Shoulder and elbow room are snug, and the front seat bottoms are short in length for large-adult thigh support.
Sightlines are OK across the hood and at the side mirrors, but the ascending body line challenges over-the-shoulder views at the rear quarter. The rearview camera is a big help in cramped parking, but the screen is small; the optional 360-degree camera would be even better.
There are many areas, ledges, and nooks for small-item storage, front and rear.
At first glance, there is lots of black plastic throughout, with the good stuff up high where it is seen and felt. Harder plastics are below, which are suitable for scuff and wear resistance.
The shift console neatly packages an e-bin charging area with two USBs, audio input, and a 12-volt plug. But while there is ideal space for a wireless charging pad, there is no availability for that, yet. The armrest console box is deep with two more USBs and a slim pencil-box type of tray.
With the flat floor, a long 39.7 inches of legroom, reclining window seats, and the pano sunroof, the back seat is a pleasant but subcompact space. The three-position bench is short on adult thigh support, but the 60/40 folding seatback has a wide, fold-down armrest with a pair of can or small cup holders. Other conveniences include two more USB ports, a 12-volt plug, and a 120-volt, 150-watt household plug.
The cargo capability has an asset not talked about much by GMC. Because the front passenger seat can fold flat forward, it is possible to have almost 9 feet in length. Think of the possibilities for carrying lumber, ladders, stage props or long surfboards. It adds excellent utility, when few other small SUVs offer such a fold-forward front seat. But folding the seat is a bit of a struggle. The seat-side lever (at door-side) is about 2 inches too short to grasp easily with your hand wedged between the seat and door.
Raise the power-opening tailgate, and the cargo opening is wide at 43 ½ inches, with 29 ½ inches tall from floor to headliner. Fold the back seat for about 6 feet in length.
The cargo space includes a pair of seatback levers and a 12-volt plug but just two cargo tiedowns when four is the norm. There is no lighting or roller cover, but a $210 package includes the roller cover and a vertical cargo net.
The previous-gen Terrain had three turbocharged engine choices: a 252-hp, 2.0-liter; a 170-hp 1.5-liter; and a 137-hp 1.6-liter turbo-diesel, with 240 foot-pounds of torque.
For 2022, the 1.5-liter four-cylinder is the only choice, and it will feel underpowered to most drivers. The engine has fuel-economy ratings of 25 mpg city, 28 highway and 26 mpg combined, on 87 octane fuel. My best average was 29.2 mpg with much highway driving. Daily around-town driving yielded a max of 22.8 mpg. With careful driving, the AWD fuel tank of 15.6 gallons could yield a driving range of up to around 450 miles.
Gear engagement is by a short row of switches at the base of the center stack of cabin controls. The style and action are similar to window-lift switches. The process isn’t particularly smooth at first, but it gets easier in time.
The nine-speed automatic rolls easily through the gears, but the shifting performance is for fuel economy.
A Sport mode would be most helpful to put some spark into the acceleration, especially for the 3,659-pound Terrain. “Fuzzy logic” transmission calibrations attempt to provide shift performance keyed to the driver’s manner of driving. But when a burst of acceleration is needed, there is a three-count before tapping into the torque range of 2,000-4,000 rpm. By that time, the emergency is over. But the system continues to provide sharper performance for a while and then relaxes into mileage mode.
And remember to shift this transmission to Neutral when using an automatic car wash.
Somewhat unique to the transmission modes is an “L” setting at the transmission-select keys. This mode is for hill descents when towing. Engaging Low mode allows manual shifting and a one-pedal drive function to help control downhill speed by using engine braking.
The Terrain is rated to tow up to 1,500 pounds with an unbraked trailer.
Despite what appears to be a blunt front end, the wind noise at highway speeds is well controlled and the cabin feels snug. The Terrain’s settled highway ride is due in part to its long wheelbase of 107.3 inches. It is a few inches longer than many of its compact-class competitors, including the Jeep Cherokee, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-30, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4.
The Terrain AT4 is more of a country rambler than a trail-conquering SUV, but it looks the part. GMC says it worked with Goodyear to develop a suitable Sport Terrain tire. The result is the 17-inch, 225/65 Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT. It has aggressive-looking tread blocks at the tread edge for the off-road stance. The tire has a fairly hard 680 treadwear rating, which translates to a 65,000-mile warranty.
Despite the off-roader appearance, the ride is not noisy or with vibration. The tall sidewall is good curb protection and contributes to the comfy ride quality, but the tires’ flex and softness also curb enthusiastic driving.
An independent suspension helps keep tires pressed to the pavement or trail; front MacPherson struts with coil springs and a stabilizer bar; four-link rear independent.
Four-wheel-disc brakes give a firm response without grab. For longer service, the brakes feature low-drag calipers and Duralife rotors formulated for hardness and to resist corrosion. The front rotors are 11.8 inches, with 11.3- inch rotors at the rear, with ABS and electronic stability control.
The GMC Terrain is an economical vehicle with SUV function and low-cost maintenance. This current generation will be at its best when the weather is at its worst.
The mild redesign of 2022 will be short-lived. A more significant redesign (but not a complete re-engineering) is scheduled for 2024. But with all of the supply-chain issues that continue to impact vehicle production, it might be wise to wait for the redesigned 2024 models. The new Terrain will be much improved — but also more expensive.
Body style: compact, 5-seat, 5-door AWD SUV
Engine: 170-hp, turbocharged and direct-injected 1.5-liter 4-cylinder; 203 lb.-ft. torque from 2,000-4,000 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed automatic with AWD terrain modes and a low mode for hill-descent towing control
Fuel economy: 25/28/26 mpg city/hwy/combined; 87 octane
0-60 mph acceleration: 8.9 seconds
Trailering capacity: 1,500 pounds
BY THE NUMBERS
Fuel tank: 15.6 gallons
Cargo space: 29.6-63.3 cubic feet (floor to headliner)
Front head/leg room: 38.2*/40.9 inches *40 inches without sunroof
Rear head/leg room: 38.2*/39.7 inches
Length/wheelbase: 182.3/107.3 inches
Curb weight: 3,659 pounds
Turning circle: 37.4 feet
Standard equipment includes: smart key entry with push-button ignition, leather-trimmed and perforated upholstery, HD rearview camera, heated steering wheel and 2-function heated front seats, leather-wrapped 4-spoke steering wheel with cruise controls and redundant audio controls, 4.2-inch color driver-info gauge display, 8-way power driver seat, 4-way power front passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights-taillights, running, hands-free power tailgate with a GMC logo projected on the precise spot.
Safety features include: 6 air bags, hill-descent control, and Stabilitrak traction control;
GMC Pro Safety (standard) includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning and IntelliBeam headlights;
Base price: $37,145, including $1,395 freight charge; price as tested $41,810.
Options on test vehicle: Ebony Twilight black metallic paint $495; Skyscape sunroof $1,495;
GMC Pro Safety Plus, $645, includes Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Rear Park Assist. Also included are Adaptive Cruise Control and Safety Alert Seat;
Tech Package, $850, includes HD Surround Vision, Head-Up Display, and Front and Rear Park Assist;
Infotainment package, $1,180, includes 8-inch diagonal GMC Infotainment System with navigation, multi-touch display, AM/FM/SiriusXM radio, and Bose premium 7-speaker system
Where assembled: San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Warranty: 3-years/36,000-miles bumper to bumper with no-cost first scheduled maintenance; 5-years/60,000-miles powertrain with roadside assistance and courtesy transportationRead more