With a name like Terrain, you know GMC’s newest SUV was built for outdoor adventure. However, having recently taken it for a weeklong spin around Portland, Oregon, we were surprised to discover it just might be the perfect city vehicle as well. That starts with the compact, yet nevertheless formidable design, and extends to the extremely intuitive features. Put simply, the 2018 GMC Terrain Denali is a luxurious stunner that handles like a champ and makes navigation an absolute breeze.
In addition to its clean and curvaceous body, the Terrain hosts a wide and toothy front grille, LED headlamps and 19″ wheels. The chassis–which is slightly smaller than the previous model–is more or less the same as on the popular Chevy Equinox. Ultimately, the exterior is sexy, modern and powerful, but not outspoken, which in a way best summarises the vehicle itself.
The Terrain Denali comes equipped with a 9-speed transmission and a 2.0L turbocharged engine. That engine delivers 252 hp and 260 lb-ft. of torque, and quiets to a lull during stops. Pair that with a Traction Select system allowing you to switch between Front-Wheel and All-Wheel drive, and you’re looking at a dynamic ride to say the least.
Where the 2018 GMC Terrain Denali really shines, however, is in its responsiveness. Put simply, we’ve rarely experienced such comfort, control and awareness at the wheel. For instance, there’s a small icon that pops up on the side-view mirror when cars are passing by. Similarly, if you’re getting too close to another car while parking, the seat vibrates with an alert. Also there to assist are a small legion of cameras. In addition to the front and rear cameras, there’s a surround camera that provides a virtual overhead view of the car. The majority of those visuals go down on an intelligent, Bluetooth-enabled touchscreen, which makes for quite the infotainment and GPS system as well.
When driving the 2018 GMC Terrain Denali, all those unobtrusive safety mechanisms only enhanced–and never distracted–the experience. They were joined by other new features to which we quickly acclimated. The most notable among them was the electronic precision shifter, a series of buttons that make your standard gear shifts seem almost overly complicated by comparison. Naturally, the new shifter took some getting used, but by day two we were simply loving it. Meanwhile, in the ceiling is one of the most epic sunroofs we’ve ever laid our eyes upon.
Between it’s rugged construction, sleek design, seamless comfort and sharp responsiveness, the 2018 GMC Terrain Denali is ideal for the urban warriors out there who wander outside the city limits for the weekends. It’s also an impeccable bridge between the future and the past, simultaneously familiar and forward-thinking. In other words, this is a modern SUV that you feel like you know inside and out by the second or third time you get behind the wheel, which is really what every vehicle should strive for. Thanks for the lift, General Motors!