2013 GMC Terrain Denali Review

Jerry Reynolds | March 7, 2013
2013 GMC Terrain Denali Review

In the crowded compact SUV segment, there are a lot of great choices. The Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain have been success stories for GM and now they have taken it to another level with the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali. It is still extremely square in design, but much has been improved. Let’s start under the hood with the new 3.6-liter V6 and a six-speed automatic. This engine replaces the old 3.0 V6 and increased the horsepower to 301, from 268. They made this performance increase without dropping the fuel economy. All Denalis come as all-wheel drive models. The Denali has the signature chrome mesh grill, 19” chrome wheels, and they all have a very attractive black leather interior with red stitching. The Terrain Denali sets itself apart from the other Terrain models inside and outside.


The list of standard equipment is impressive.  Some notable no-charge items include, forward collision alert, blind spot warning, keyless entry, power sunroof, power liftgate, remote start, rearview camera, heated seats, Intellilink, GMs voice activation and Bluetooth system. Intellilink is the intuitive system that helps you stay in control of all your infotainment. Color Touch Radio with Intellilink connects you to your favorite Pandora or SiriusXM stations with the sound of your voice. New for 2013, available navigation and Travel Link by SiriusXM features are at your fingertips. You get real time sports scores, weather, traffic and much more. This is one of the easier to operate systems I have experienced. My press car has the navigation system, which for $795 is a real bargain, and it has the rear entertainment system with dual screens to keep the little ones occupied, that is a $1295 option. Headroom is good for all occupants, and a neat feature I really like is the second row seat slides forward and backwards for more room. Cargo space in back is good at almost 64 cubic feet.


The Terrain Denali has strong acceleration and it rides and handles much better than the last Terrain I reviewed, thanks to dual-slow dampers that make you feel less of the road, and tightens the cornering capabilities of the SUV. It is rated to tow 3500 pounds The Terrain was picked as a top pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and with the collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear view camera with cross-traffic alerts, stability controls, and anti-rollover technology, it is easy to see why.

I like the Terrain Denali, I really do. The interior is great, it’s macho on the outside, it drives great, has terrific steering wheel controls, and it is overall quite enjoyable. I know you are waiting for the but, so here it comes. The price for me is troubling. As a reviewer who rates on value as much as the technical aspects of a vehicle, I think this SUV is priced too close to the base Cadillac SRX. As equipped, I’d have liked for the price to come in around $38,000 on the sticker. Once you get past the money issue, it’s a great SUV.

What I liked most: The interior and improved ride and handling. What I would change: As noted above, a lower price. MSRP: $41,525 as equipped. Base 4-cylinder model starts at $36,275 Fuel Economy: 16 City and 23 Highway. Warranty: 3 years/36,000 mile bumper to bumper coverage, plus 5 years/100,000 on the powertrain, and roadside assistance. 2013 GMC Terrain Denali in a few words: A great SUV but pricey. Car Pro Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.


Tags: 2013, gmc terrain, denali
Steve M.
I bought a base level AWD 2011 Terrain in Jan 2011 for $27,000 and now have 28,000 miles on it. So for so good but. I like driving it and love the large rear seat for my 6 foot plus boys. My 4 CYL had the cam shaft actuator problem. The dealer fixed it about 22K miles. That made the intermittent noise go away and oil use went from 1500 miles a quart to 3000. So over all I really like it but I have fears about long term engine issues.