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2019 GMC Terrain Denali Review

Jerry Reynolds | January 15, 2019
2019 GMC Terrain Denali Review

This week we are taking a look at the 2019 GMC Terrain Denali, a very popular small SUV that was completely redone in 2018.  Not much has changed for 2019 except a much-improved rear camera and some new colors.


The Terrain has the signature GMC Professional Grade bold grill and flat front end.  19” wheels sit under squared-off wheel wells, and the lines of this SUV have a distinct curve upwards at the rear, giving it a “floating roof” that is popular these days.  Dual exhaust and a rear spoiler complete the aggressive look of the Terrain Denali.


Terrain comes standard with a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine, or an optional 1.6-liter diesel, which I reviewed last year.

When you go up to the Denali, it comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine putting out a pretty strong 252-horses that feels much like a 6-cylinder.  It is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission.  Terrain comes standard as front-wheel drive, but my tester is the all-wheel drive version.


The interior is nice and well laid out.  The front seats are comfortable and gauges are easy to read and they are configurable.  There is no gear shifter on the center console, instead there are shift buttons on the center stack.  I like that there are knobs for the radio and air conditioning controls.

Also on the center console there are USB and data ports, and just in front of the center armrest is a handy cell phone charger.

There is an 8” color touchscreen that operates the navigation system, Bluetooth, 4GLTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple Car Play and Android Auto. This is also where you operate two of my favorite features, the Rear Seat Reminder which warns you when you get where you are going that you put something in the back seat, and Teen Driver, which has a number of safety features, from muting audio until seat belts are buckled to turning on active safety technologies.  The in-vehicle report card shows information about your teen’s driving so you can identify potential problem areas.

Overall the interior is well done, it does have a lot of plastic, but that’s not uncommon in this price range.


The back seat was surprisingly roomy, and the cargo area will give you a respectable 63-cubic feet of storage with the back seat folded down.

Options on the Terrain Denali add up to just over $3,000.  This one has the Driver Alert package, which is adaptive cruise control, low speed forward braking, lane keeping assist, forward collision alert, and front pedestrian braking.

It also has the Comfort Package, which is heated and cooled front seats, and heated rear seat. This one has the trailer-towing package.  Everything else you see on this loaded SUV comes standard.

Ride and Drive

The ride and handling of the Terrain Denali are good, the steering is exceptional, and acceleration is strong with just a slight turbo lag when pressing it hard.

Fuel economy is rated at 21 in the city, and 26 out on the highway.

Just so there are no surprises, this vehicle has the automatic start/stop feature and it cannot be disabled.  The SUV shudders every time the engine starts back up.  Some people don’t care about it one way or the other, but I hate it.

What You'll Pay

Total MSRP as equipped is $43,550, which frankly is a little high versus some other competitors and this vehicle does not have a moon roof like most.  Of course, there will be large incentives to lower that price.

2019 GMC Terrain Denali

  • What I liked most:  Ride, drive, and fuel economy.
  • What I would change: Give me a disable button for the start/stop.      
  • MSRP: Base price $39,500 as equipped $43,550 with transportation.
  • Fuel Economy:  21 city/26 highway/23 combined.
  • Official Color: Satin Steel Metallic.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 8100 miles.
  • Weight: 3801 pounds.
  • Spare Tire:  Compact temporary spare.    
  • Length-Width-Height: 182.3” long/72.4” wide/65.4” high.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.6 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
  • Towing Capacity:  3500 pounds.
  • 2019 Terrain Denali in a few words:  Roomy, economical SUV that drives and handles very well.
  • Warranty:  3-years/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 5-year/60,000 mile power train warranty, free first free scheduled maintenance visit.
  • Final Assembly Location: San Luis Potosi, Mexico.     
  • Manufacturers website: www.GMC.com  
  • Up Next: 2019 Mercedes E450

Photo Credit: GM

Tags: 2019 GMC Terrain, Denali, SUV, Terrain
Jerry, as usual, I completely agree with you about the disable button for the start/stop. I hate it more than I can say.

For those of us dead set against the start/stop, is there a list of what new vehicles have a "disable" button for start/stop vs. those who force us to put up with this social engineering? I'll never, ever buy a car with an auto stop on it. At least not a gasoline or diesel powered one (electric might be OK, it' doesn't make any difference for a true electric vehicle, I'd imagine.)



Amy P.
Albert, i donít know of such a list, but I note it in every review I do. Luckily, there is a device to disable that really seems to work: https://www.4dtech.com/startstop/

Good to hear from you!

Jerry Reynolds, President