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2018 GMC Terrain SLT Diesel Test Drive

Jerry Reynolds | March 13, 2018
2018 GMC Terrain SLT Diesel Test Drive

This week I bring you the all-new 2018 GMC Terrain compact SUV.  This second generation Terrain is redesigned and was downsized, without sacrificing any interior room, which is never an easy feat.  It also shed 400-pounds.

The big news for 2018 is the addition of (2) new gasoline 4-cylinder turbocharged engines and also what I have today, a turbocharged diesel. 

My review vehicle has a 4-cylinder, 1.6-liter Ecotec turbodiesel that puts out 137-horses and 240 pound-feet of torque.  It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.  This one is two-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available.

I like what GMC did with the exterior appearance including the signature GMC grill, LED lighting, very attractive 18” wheels, and the appearance of a floating roof, a style that has become very popular of late.

2018 GMC Terrain SLT

This is the middle-of-the-road SLT trim.  You can go down to the SL and SLE or go up to the sporty Denali.

As you enter the cabin, the interior is nice, but a bit underwhelming.  The gauges and driver info center are easy to read, and the heated steering wheel has controls.  The center console is well laid out and roomy, thanks primarily to the lack of a gear shifter.

The GMC has pushbuttons for the transmission, which I find a little odd to operate.  You push to go to park or neutral but pull for reverse or drive.  Seems strange you would not push for all of them, but I digress.

Above the shift buttons is the GMC Infotainment system where you operate by touchscreen the audio, Bluetooth, navigation system, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and the available apps.  Everything is simple to operate and I like that the climate control system is operated by large knobs.

For a compact SUV, the Terrain is roomy inside with good headroom, and two adults will be comfortable in the back seat.  The back seat folds down to give you 63 cubic feet of cargo area, and if you fold down the front passenger seat, that bumps to 81 cubic feet.

Standard Equipment

The Terrain SLT comes with a high level of standard equipment including leather heated seats, power liftgate, remote start, rear camera, automatic climate controlled air conditioning, and heated steering wheel.  It also comes with Teen Driver to monitor the behavior and set limitations of other drivers, and the back seat reminder, which I love.  If you open a rear door, when you turn the engine off, it will remind you to look in the back seat because there is something back there!

Also standard is the automatic start/stop system that kills the engine at a light or stop sign to save fuel and no, much to my dismay, it cannot be disabled.  I will say, it’s not as bothersome as some I’ve driven, but it would be a deal killer for me.


Options on this one include the Driver Alert 1 package for $840 which gets you low-speed automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and safety alert seat which vibrates if it senses any danger.  This is a nice feature, it keeps any passengers from being panicked.

It also has the $1180 infotainment package, which gives you the navigation system, Onstar subscription, and an updated Bose HD stereo.

Diesel Upgrade

This SUV rides and drives well, visibility is good, and it is quiet inside.

I like the diesel engine a lot, it’s quiet and has good takeoff power, but weak acceleration at highway speeds.  The diesel is a $2800 upgrade, but when you do the math versus the 1.5-liter gas engine, the fuel savings are only $50 per year figuring 15,000 miles per year and a 50/50 mix of city and highway.  If you drive more highway miles, the savings are greater, and you can assume engine longevity with the diesel is much greater, but the math bears out it takes 14 years to break even with this diesel engine.

Fuel Economy and What You'll Pay

The GMC Terrain diesel is rated at 28 city and 39 highway, and it is rated to tow 1,500 pounds.  Total MSRP is $37,555, as this one is equipped.  If you take the upgrade for the diesel off the MSRP, Terrain is priced comparably to other compact SUVs out there.

2018 GMC Terrain SLT Diesel

  • What I liked most:  Interior room and exterior appearance.
  • What I would change: A start/stop disabler and the transmission buttons. 
  • MSRP: Base price $34,165, as equipped $37,555.
  • Fuel Economy:  Rated at 28 City/39 highway/32 Combined.
  • Official Color: Graphite Gray Metallic with Jet Black interior.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 4200 miles.
  • Weight: 3632 pounds.
  • Length-Width-Height: 182.3” long/72.4” wide/65.4” high.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.9 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
  • Towing Capacity: 1500 pounds.
  • 2018 Terrain Diesel in a few words: Nice SUV, but think long and hard before getting the diesel engine.     
  • Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, with roadside assistance, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, two free maintenance visits.
  • Final Assembly Location:  San Luis Potosi, Mexico.    
  • Manufacturers website: GMC
Tags: diesel, GMC, terrain
Jerry Reynolds
Sorry about that! Here you go: https://www.carprousa.com/2018-audi-s5-cabriolet-test-drive
Mike F.
Wrong Link for the Audi convertible. I tried 3 X. I kept getting the GMC!
colsteve .
I own an 06 HHR. It has been a great car but I had to replace the transmission because of internal relays failing. At 115K this was considered unusual as all maintenance had been done on or before schedules. That said I looked around at my Chevy dealer offerings. I like the interior room of the HHR, I also own a 2012 GMC Terrain but the rear seats do not fold flat for going to Home Depot and other chores. I am sticking with the HHR which also gets great fuel mileage on the freeway. That is a plus here in over-gas-taxed California.

I drove a '18 Cruze for a week, nice car, got used to the Stop/Start gimmick and I liked the keyless proximity system. No flat seats and I am not sure if the hatchback Cruze would make a good errands car. The Cruze does have great MPG which is very nice.