Although Pontiac is due to lose the Torrent as it becomes a "niche brand," GMC will gain a small crossover in the form of the 2010 Terrain. Based off the Theta platform that underpins the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and 2010 Cadillac SRX, the Terrain serves as the smallest offering within GMC's portfolio.
Despite its lightly altered cosmetics, there is no doubting the close relation to the Equinox. Nevertheless, the Terrain aims for a bolder appearance, thanks to both its large three-element grille and pronounced fender flares. We're guessing its design was intended to appear tougher than its Chevy and Cadillac counterparts, but we'll withhold judgment until we see it in the metal.
Like the Equinox, the Terrain is available in both front-and all-wheel-drive variants. Buyers can choose between two engines, although both come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The base engine is a 182-hp 2.4-liter I-4 with direct fuel injection, reportedly capable of reaching a best-in-class 30 mpg highway. Fuel efficiency is bolstered by the Terrain's electric power steering, as well as a driver-selectable 'ECO' mode. This mode tweaks the throttle response, shift programming, and sets the torque converter to lockup at lower speeds.
While the majority of buyers will find the 2.4-liter adequate, those wanting to tow more than 1500 lbs or needing just a little more gusto can opt for the 3.0-liter V-6 engine. It delivers a more robust 264, hp and can tow 3500 lbs. The six-cylinder is expected to get 25 mpg on the freeway and 18 mpg in the city.
Inside, the Terrain's interior is characterized by its red contrast stitching on the seats, doors, and center console and red ambient lighting that illuminates the door pulls and the "floating" center stack. The cabin also features plenty of storage in spaces such as the oversized glove box, a compartment under the center arm-rest, in the dash, and two-tier storage in the doors.
The rear can be configured for cargo or comfort with a 60/40-split rear bench that can slide fore or aft nearly eight inches to adjust for greater leg room or cargo carrying capability. No electronic device will go unpowered, thanks to four auxiliary power outlets throughout the cabin. The Terrain provides its passengers with further comfort through GM's first application of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology on the four-cylinder model. ANC quiets the ride by detecting booming noises in the vehicle and smoothing them out by sending out counteracting sound waves through the audio system's speakers.
Pricing for the Terrain is start around $25,000. The base price includes standard features such as a rearview camera, electronic stability control, OnStar, XM satellite radio, and dual front, side, and side-curtain air bags. Options will range from a programmable power rear liftgate to a dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system. The price of a loaded AWD V-6 model is expected to reach the realm of $35,000. GM says the Terrain will go on sale in late summer.