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- 2019 GMC Terrain Denali

Is the Terrain Denali Really a Luxury CSUV?

Most people today are making the jump from sedans to compact SUV's. Why? I do not understand. GMC noticed this at the beginning of the decade by creating the Terrain and adding the Denali option with it. Fresh in its second generation, the Terrain has been upgraded to be not only better than before but greater than everyone else. But how does it compare to the competition. Let's dig deeper.

"...reveal the terrain's signature..."

The styling of the Terrain Denali gives me mixed feelings. The front fascia is edgy and rounded with some very uniquely designed headlights. Shaped like a "C," both the head lights and tail lights reveal the Terrain's signature during the day and night. What could have been better, in my opinion, is to give the fog lights some better lighting. They're small and nearly dull. Turning them all does not show any difference whatsoever. This just means they should be included, or make them brighter. Since it is a Denali it needs chrome. Luckily, GMC did not go too overboard with it to make it look distasteful. The problem I have mainly with the Terrain is the trunk. It looks like the back of a van. Flat and dull. The taillights are the only thing that make it somewhat interesting.

"...back side windows are useless."

The interior of the Terrain has a lot of space for something that does not look as big on the outside. I could fit adults comfortably in the front and back. And if I had things that were too big for just the trunk, the back seats fold down to give me more room. As for large and long objects, the front passenger seat folds down just as evenly as the back. What else? The styling and comfort in the Terrain Denali feels luxurious. The trim is a mixture of plastic, wood, metal, and leather but it all blends neatly together to make it easy on the eyes. The seats are as comfortable as a cat's bed and offers as much support as a leg on a table. Two of the most convenient features inside the Terrain are the tabs to release the back seats and gear selectors. Although they are pretty much buttons, the gear selectors come in handy with the space that is created around the center console. Speaking of the center console, as noted in the Enclave I drove, the Terrain has almost the same slot to store things but instead of it being open, it is divided for each the driver and passenger. Now, my only complaint for the interior is the visibility. Sure, when I look around I can see everything but looking in the back I feel like the rear window is shaped like goggles and there is absolutely no point to have the porthole sized windows on both sides of the rear. Looking at the Terrain from the outside, it would seem that the window shows just as much as I can see as I would on the inside. I say no because, if anyone has ever owned or been in a Nissan 350z, the back side windows are useless. That is exactly where GMC went with the Terrain. It is a true disappointment.

So, what is the asking price of this particular GMC Terrain Denali? $43,500. What does that give me? Well, it gives me for starters a "5 Star" Overall safety rating with 5 stars going to everything except rolling over, which received 4 stars. Safety features that come with the Terrain include dual-stage frontal airbags, side airbags, curtain side impact airbags, lane change and blind one alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist, "Teen Driver," stability and traction control, tire pressure system, and safety alert seats. For comfort and convenience, the Terrain has heated power front seats with power lumbar support, heated steering wheel, Bose premium sound system consisting of 7 speakers, cruise control with low speed forward auto braking, forward collision alert, pedestrian braking, following distance indicator, skyscape sunroof, wireless device charging, Bluetooth connectivity with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, WI-Fi hotspot, sat-nav, multiple USB ports, and OnStar.

"The Terrain likes to move..."

Performance for the Terrain Denali comes as a surprise. Sure the engine is a turbo 4 cylinder, but it can unleash 252 horsepower at the press of the pedal. And since it is the Denali option, I can control weather the power goes only to the front wheels or to all four. Acceleration is quite peppy considering everything. The Terrain likes to move, regardless of the conditions of the roads. But the only problem is the torque steer. It really got me when I attempted to get off at the line sometimes. Steering is light and responsive. The suspension gives some body roll in the corners while it can also handle bumps and potholes like a champion. Fuel economy is not so bad given the Terrain is 3,500 pounds and is powered by a turbo four cylinder. It gets 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway.

"...meets the criteria..."

So, is the Terrain really a luxury CSUV? I would say yes. Despite the horrible visibility with the rear side windows, the plain rear-end, and the odd shaped rear glass, it is. It meets the criteria of luxury. It is simple to drive, offers plenty of space and comfort, and is not only safe but looks great as well. Some luxury cars and CSUVs just look dull all around with the same offerings as the Terrain. I could go on to say that the Terrain Denali in itself is the best CSUV out there, but I need to try out the competition to be sure. For now, I do hold it at the top compared to the competition.

I would like to take a moment and thank Burns Buick and GMC for allowing me to use their vehicle for this review. I appreciate their cooperation and professionalism.

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