2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD review: New terrain for the Terrain

2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD

2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD

The Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossover SUVs have been unalloyed successes for General Motors. The two crossovers, which are mechanically identical but have entirely different bodies—sharing only roof and windshield—chased the struggling Suzuki XL7 (a different model from the Suzuki XL-7 but sharing mechanicals with the Equinox/Terrain) from the CAMI factory. The Equinox and Terrain inspired GM to buy Suzuki’s share in that facility, and go on overtime and expand body production of another plant to build the Chevrolet/GMC siblings.

So as likely was planned, all things otherwise going as hoped for, GMC has added the GMC Terrain Denali to is crossover SUV lineup.

2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD interior

The steering wheel of the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD has buttons for collision alert and lane departure functions. (Click to enlarge).

The skeptical questioned a front-drive GMC vehicle when it debuted in 2010—the Terrain also available with all-wheel drive (but not more rugged four-wheel)—but then GMC chief Susan Docherty saw it as a way to expand the GMC franchise to where it hadn’t been before. A Terrain Denali was not outside the realm of possibility, she said, but no plans, blah, blah, blah…

Never fear, the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali is here. The Denali lineup—GMC dubs it a “sub-brand”—has come to the Terrain. Denali has been used by GMC to denote its premium-equipped models, including the larger crossover GMC Acadia Denali, the full-size SUV Yukon Denali, pickup Sierra Denali and heavy-duty pickup Seirra HD Denali.

2013 GMC Terrain Denali V-6 engine

The 2013 GMC Terrain Denali is powered by an all-new 3.6-liter V-6 engine. (Click to enlarge).

And  the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali is premium equipped as its name suggests, From the outside, it is distinguished by features found on the bigger Denali models,  including a chrome grille, body-color fascias and rocker moldings, satin-chrome accents, distinctive headlamp and taillamp designs, and dual chromed tailpipes (single pipe with the 2.4-liter four). The Denali Terrain also gets its own 18-inch (with the 2.4L) or 19-inch (with the 3.6L) wheels.

Inside the Terrain Denali is drenched in black leather on the seats and door panels, and red accent stitching details the interior, including the seats, steering wheel, doors and dash. Real wood–smoked mahogany, to be specific—is used on the steering wheel and interior trim, providing a particularly rich look.

The 2013 GMC Terrain Denali abounds in the regular premium stuff, including a standard sunroof and eight-way power seating for driver and front passenger, plus power liftgate that can be programmed so it doesn’t slam into your garage ceiling.

Also standard on the Terrain Denali are forward collision alert and lane departure warning, the first single-camera crash-avoidance system to visually and audibly warn drivers when a collision is imminent or the vehicle crosses a lane marker. The Terrain Denali also has blind zone alert (warning of a vehicle in the Terrain’s blind spot) and rear cross traffic alert, that can “see” passing traffic  when trying to back out of a parking spot between vision-blocking vehicles, providing visible and audible warnings.