2013 GMC Terrain Denali gets all-new 3.6-liter V-6 engine

2013 GMC Terrain Denali

2013 GMC Terrain Denali in UIridium Metallic (c) GM Corp

While the combination of smaller engines and turbocharging is all the rage in automotive engines now abouts, GM has taken something of an opposite approach with an all-new and larger V-6 engine. The new engine will see its first application in the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali, which itself is the introduction of GMC’s premium trim line to the brand’s compact crossover-SUV.

The new 3.6-liter V-6 engine in the GMC Terrain Denali replaces the Terrain’s current 3.0-liter V-6, and with 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque eclipses the older engine’s performance. However, with technology including direct injection and continuously variable valve timing, the 3.0 is expected to have a fuel economy rating matching the three liter.

The V-6 engine introduced in the Terrain Denali has an integrated cylinder head/exhaust manifold design, similar to that used on Chrysler Group’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. The GM engine saves about 13 pounds compared to a non-integrated design. The new GM V-6 also has a composite intake manifold which is about 5.5 pounds lighter than an equivalent aluminum intake counterpart. A lightweight structural front cover and high-strength connecting rods also save weight.

2013 GMC Terrain Denali

All-new 3.6-liter V-6 finds its first home in the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali. (c) GM Corp (Click to enlarge).

Compared with the new Chrysler Group’s six, the new GM 3.6-liter V-6 comes out just ahead in output, the Pentastar engine in the Dodge Charger, for example,  at 292 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque. The Chrysler Group’s engine, however, is paired with an eight-speed transmission instead of the GM gearbox that has a mere six speeds.

In addition to the new engine, however, the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali will get a number of special exterior design cues, including a Denali chrome grille, body color front and rear fascias, new headlamp and taillamp designs and dual chrome finish exhaust outlets. Inside, befitting a GMC’s premium trim line, the Terrain Denali will feature soft-touch Jet Black leather with contrast stitching on the seats and door inserts, smoked mahogany wood trim accents, illuminated front sill plates, eight-way power driver and passenger seat and more.

Not surprisingly, the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali will be loaded with GM’s tech features, including GM’s Intellilink infotainment system, forward collision alert and lane departure warning, blind zone and rear cross traffic alert and again, more.

The new 3.6-liter V-6 will also be available in non-Denali GMC Terrain models, and the 2.4-liter four-cylinder Terrain will continue as the base model.

Buyers will have to wait until the third quarter of 2012, however, before taking home 2013 GMC Terrain Denali, with pricing not available until closer to the vehicle’s arrival in dealer showrooms.

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John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others. John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association. John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.