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2013 GMC Terrain: Used Car Review

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author photo by Ron Sessions October 2015

The 2013 GMC Terrain is a car-based compact crossover SUV sharing much of its chassis and running gear with the Chevrolet Equinox. With room for five passengers, the Terrain slots in under the larger, almost full-size 7-passenger GMC Acadia. The Terrain comes equipped with an impressive list of standard equipment for the price. It offers a full complement of safety gear, including dual front, overhead and front-seat side airbags, OnStar crash notification, anti-lock brakes and traction and stability control. The Terrain features a rugged, squared-off appearance with aggressive wheel flares and a stylish interior with a floating instrument panel, ambient lighting and upgraded materials. A segment-unique feature is its sliding rear seat, which can be moved nearly 8 inches front and back to apportion rear-passenger and cargo space as desired.

The Terrain is roomy for the compact class, offering up to 31.6 cu ft. of cargo space behind the rear seat and 63.9 cu ft. with the rear seat folded. The base 4-cylinder is rated to tow 1,500 pounds, but the optional 3.6-liter V6 increases trailering to 3,500 pounds. New for 2013 is a larger, more powerful 3.6-liter V6, a luxury-oriented Denali model loaded with standard equipment, a new safety package with forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and rear park assist, as well as a complete rollout of GMC's IntelliLink touch screen infotainment system.

The GMC Terrain is a stylish, roomy and efficient compact crossover SUV and a good choice for young families on the go.

What We Like

Roomy back seat; standard 7-in touch screen and backup camera; lively V6 performance; good 4-cylinder fuel economy; attractive cabin design and materials; programmable power liftgate

What We Don't

Hard seat cushions; harsh ride impacts; thick roof pillars create blind spots; wide turning circle

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The Terrain's base engine is a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with a class-leading fuel economy rating from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway for front-wheel-drive (FWD) models and 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy for all-wheel-drive (AWD) versions. A 6-speed automatic is standard. The 2.4-liter is a flex-fuel engine able to run on regular unleaded or E85.

Optional is a new-for-2013 301-hp 3.6-liter V6. The EPA mileage estimates are the same 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy for FWD versions and 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy for AWD models as last year's optional 3.0-liter V6, but performance is livelier now. The V6 is also an E85-capable flex-fuel engine and comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Standard Features & Options

The 2013 GMC Terrain is available in SLE, SLT and Denali trims.

The SLE's standard equipment consists of a SiriusXM radio, air conditioning, a backup camera, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, the OnStar communication system, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with a 7-in color touch screen and USB connectivity, a trip computer, automatic headlamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, fog lamps, a rear wiper/washer, a power driver's seat, 17-in alloy wheels, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, a split-folding rear seat, an outside-temperature display, a compass, power doors, power windows and heated power mirrors.

The SLT trim adds standard heated leather seats with memory, steering-wheel audio controls, auto air conditioning, an 8-speaker premium audio system and 18-in alloy wheels. Popular options include the V6 engine, the IntelliLink infotainment system, remote vehicle starting, a programmable power liftgate, a power moonroof, 2-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment, a navigation system, 19-in chrome-clad wheels, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert and a rear park-assist system.

The new Terrain Denali gains the 3.6-liter V6, dual-flow shock absorbers, standard red-stitched leather and mahogany interior trim, a power moonroof, a power liftgate, power front passenger seat, rear-seat entertainment, a universal home remote, forward-collision alert, lane-departure alert, blind side monitoring, rear cross-traffic monitor and the IntelliLink infotainment system with a reconfigurable home screen, Bluetooth, voice control and Pandora, Stitcher and Gracenote apps.


Professional Grade GMC models are considered more upscale than their Chevrolet counterparts, so expect to pay more. Compact and midsize crossovers, such as the Terrain, are huge hits with families, because they'll hold child safety seats, pets, sports gear and all the related trappings while retaining car-like drive qualities and returning decent fuel economy in daily use. The spate of safety recalls for many GMC models hasn't hurt sales or resale values of the Terrain. For a good idea of the GMC Terrain's price range, we suggest checking out the used-car values at You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced no safety recalls for the 2013 Terrain as of this time.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA rated the 2013 Terrain at four stars overall, with four stars for front-impact protection and rollover performance, and five stars for side-impact protection.

The 2013 GMC Terrain continues as an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick. IIHS gave the Terrain Good scores for moderate-overlap frontal and side impacts, as well as roof strength, head-restraint and seat crash performance.

GMC covered the 2013 Terrain with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with roadside assistance, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

GMC certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles can't have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO GMC Terrain undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains on the transferable, original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Also included is a 2-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan with roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2013 Ford Edge -- Ford's stylish 5-passenger crossover offers up to 68.9 cu ft. of cargo space with the rear seat folded. Powertrain choices include a 285-hp 3.5-liter V6 and a 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 for Edge Sport models, plus a 240-hp EcoBoost 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, EPA rated at 30 mpg hwy. The 6-speed automatic crisply shifts, but braking and handling aren't as crisp as the Terrain's, and the Edge's rear seat doesn't adjust front and back as with the Terrain.

2013 Dodge Journey -- Think of the Journey as a wagon version of the Dodge Avenger/Chrysler 200, capable of carrying up to seven passengers (provided the rearmost pair is junior-sized). The Journey offers an excellent 8.4-in Uconnect infotainment system, and premium trims have a hidden storage compartment under the front-passenger seat cushion and two under the rear floor. Engine choices are a 173-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and a flex-fuel 283-hp 3.6-liter V6.

Autotrader's Advice

The GMC Terrain is bigger and heavier than most of its compact-crossover competition, yet it's one of the better-handling examples out there. It's stable on the highway, and the precise steering and lack of body lean in corners help it perform admirably on curvy roads. However, the ride may be stiffer than some prefer, with bumps and ruts in the road intruding on the otherwise quiet cabin. Most buyers will be satisfied with the performance and pleased with the fuel economy of the 182-hp 4-cylinder. The optional 301-hp 3.6-liter V6 adds a considerable performance boost but must be gently driven to avoid a considerable dip in fuel economy. Unless you live in the mountains, FWD offers sufficient winter-weather traction. Go for a GMC CPO when available, and check with the dealer to make sure any applicable safety recalls have been performed.

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2013 GMC Terrain: Used Car Review - Autotrader