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The 2020 GMC Terrain proves once again that familiarity, style, comfort, and technology are a potent package in the cutthroat compact SUV market.

What’s New for the 2020 GMC Terrain?

For 2020, the GMC Terrain loses its diesel engine option but picks up a ton in the realm of safety. Forward collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist, and front pedestrian detection are all standard now. In addition, GMC has improved the suspension of the 2020 GMC Terrain to provide better comfort.

2020 GMC Terrain - gmc.com

2020 GMC Terrain – gmc.com |  Shop 2020 GMC Terrain on Carsforsale.com

Body Style

Starting Price

MSRP $26,195

Drivetrain

Drivetrain

FWD or AWD

Drivetrain

Fuel Economy

26 City / 30 Hwy (MPG)

Number of Seats

Seating

Seats 5

The Breakdown

Fast touchscreen infotainment

Great 2.0-liter engine

Cool hidden cargo space in the rear

Lackluster interior

Disappointing 1.5-liter engine

Listless handling

Why is the diesel gone again?

2020 Terrain Specs

Trims & Pricing

SL - $26,195
SLE - $29,595
SLT - $32,395
Denali - $39,495

2020 GMC Terrain Powertrain

2020 GMC Terrain 1.5L I4 - carsforsale.com
2020 GMC Terrain 1.5L I4 - carsforsale.com

The 2020 GMC Terrain is a tale of two vehicles depending on which engine is under the hood. While the steering is nice and smooth regardless, and braking performance is similar, things change after that. The smaller, 1.5-liter engine produces a serviceable 203 lb-ft of torque. That’s just barely enough to shuttle this 3,700 pound SUV around. Since power is at a premium, it’s unlikely that drivers will experience any sort of serious body roll or discombobulation from the Terrain.

Bump up to the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and the game changes in a few key ways. First, the whole SUV feels more capable and more modern. The nine-speed automatic used for both engines feels much happier to snap between gears with more than 250 horsepower on tap too.

2020 GMC Terrain 2.0L I4 - carsforsale.com
2020 GMC Terrain 2.0L I4 - carsforsale.com

Get the all-wheel-drive version of the Terrain and you’ll find that a selector dial in the center provides flexibility to drive in either two or all-wheel-drive. That means maximum fuel economy or traction at the twist of a wrist and we can’t complain about that.

Towing & Payload

For front-wheel-drive Terrain customers, they’ll max out at just 1,500 pounds of towing capacity. That’s not much, but we don’t expect too many folks towing in the Terrain. For those who want to, the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine can tow up to 3,500 pounds when outfitted with the tow package.

2020 GMC Terrain Fuel Economy & MPG

2020 GMC Terrain - media.gmc.com
2020 GMC Terrain - media.gmc.com

The 2020 GMC Terrain offers fuel economy that will keep up just fine in its segment. The smaller motor can achieve up to 27 mpg according to the EPA and the larger 2.0-liter turbocharged engine only drops to 24 mpg when using front-wheel-drive. Competitors like the Mazda CX-5 offer slightly better numbers.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo Space

2020 GMC Terrain - carsforsale.com
2020 GMC Terrain - carsforsale.com

The inside of the 2020 GMC Terrain will delight most of its demographic. It’s simple, straightforward, and incredibly familiar. If there’s anything inside that won’t feel like an old glove to new buyers it might be the gear selector buttons situated in the center control stack. The “Low” gear and gear selector switches are a bit odd, but for folks who need them, it’s great that they’re available.

2020 GMC Terrain - carsforsale.com
2020 GMC Terrain - carsforsale.com

The Terrain is also one of the most spacious cabins in the segment with more than enough room for both full-sized adults in the front and rear rows. Both legroom and headroom are copious in the back seat and that’s rare for a vehicle as compact as this is. That’s even the case in Terrain’s equipped with the massive panoramic sunroof.

Rear cargo space is a polarizing subject for many. Some think it’s too much, others, not enough. We think that people-space matters more than gear space so we’re a fan. There’s even a cool cubby space under the main floor of the cargo area with thermal shielding to keep goods at their correct temp.

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2020 GMC Terrain - carsforsale.com
2020 GMC Terrain - carsforsale.com

If there’s anything that detracts from the inside of the Terrain it’s the cheap-feeling materials throughout. At $26,000 it’s no big deal, but considering that the prices pop well over $35,000 with only a few option boxes checked, we wish it was nicer inside. Even the Denali features fake wood, cheap plastic, and underwhelming leather upholstery.

Entertainment & Technology

2020 GMC Terrain - carsforsale.com
2020 GMC Terrain - carsforsale.com

GMC puts on a clinic when it comes to how fast and snappy a touchscreen should be. Regardless of whether buyers get the 7 or 8-inch screen inside their GMC Terrain, they’re both as quick as your mobile device when swapping from one task or screen to the next. Including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as a Wi-Fi Hotspot is a fantastic package.

Go for the 360-degree camera system and you’ll get one of the most comprehensive versions on the market. The infotainment system allows you to pick from any of the available lenses and get a crystal clear view of your position. The 360-degree top-down view is equally impressive.

We also love simple straightforward conveniences. Open the driver’s door and on the panel, you’ll find a dial that allows you to set up exactly how high the power liftgate sits. That’s small, but it’s important if the Terrain is in a low garage.

Safety Features

It’s great to see GMC stepping up and providing more safety equipment for their customers in 2020. No matter what trim level buyers select, they’ll get automated forward collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist, and automatic high-beams are all included. In addition, the NHTSA has given the Terrain a five-star crash test rating. The IIHS also found the 2020 GMC Terrain to score well enough for a “Good” evaluation.

2020 GMC Terrain Trims & Pricing

2020 GMC Terrain SL - carsforsale.com
2020 GMC Terrain SL - carsforsale.com

SL – $26,195

Base Terrain buyers will get the 1.5-liter engine mated to a nine-speed automatic that drives the front wheels. It also gets a 7-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Heated mirrors, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and new suspension tuning aimed at ride comfort are all standard as well. Safety equipment gets a boost over the 2019 model with lane-keep assist, forward collision mitigation, and low-speed collision warning are all standard equipment.

2020 GMC Terrain SLE - gmc.com
2020 GMC Terrain SLE - gmc.com

SLE – $29,595

We might suggest skipping the 2020 GMC Terrain SLE because, while it does open up other packages for purchase, it only comes with additional standard equipment like body-colored mirror caps, a 4.2-inch driver information display, and heated and power-adjustable mirrors.

2020 GMC Terrain SLT - carsforsale.com
2020 GMC Terrain SLT - carsforsale.com

SLT – $32,395

The SLT is more luxurious with 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, perforated leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and remote start. A high definition rear camera is also included.

2020 GMC Terrain Denali - gmc.com
2020 GMC Terrain Denali - gmc.com

Denali – $39,495

At the top of the range, the 2020 GMC Terrain Denali comes with navigation inside of the larger 8-inch infotainment system, 19-inch wheels, the larger 2.0-liter engine, LED headlights, a hands-free power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, a Bose seven-speaker premium sound system, and a wireless charging pad.

Warranties

The 2020 GMC Terrain is offered with a limited warranty that covers 3 years or 36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty that stretches to 5 years or 60,000 miles. A single complimentary visit is covered by GMC, but it’s nice to know that Terrain buyers get up to 5 years of roadside assistance.

What we think

2020 GMC Terrain - media.gmc.com

2020 GMC Terrain – media.gmc.com |  Shop 2020 GMC Terrain on Carsforsale.com

The 2020 GMC Terrain is the perfect compact SUV for those who are familiar and agreeable with the brand and its strengths. It’s comfortable, quiet, and simply laid out. The only gripes we had were the loss of the diesel engine option and some of the lower quality interior pieces, but it’s otherwise a well-rounded compact SUV.

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Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers is a car enthusiast who loves all things built with passion, extending to nearly all car cultures. After obtaining an occupational studies degree in sports medicine, Stephen turned his attention to sports cars. He was employed as an auto shop manager, spent time in auto sales, and worked as a software developer for a racing company, but Stephen began writing about cars over 10 years ago. When he's not in front of a computer screen, he's racing his own Bugeye Subaru WRX in as many autocross and rallycross competitions as he can.

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