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The Terrain Denali is the range-topping model in GMC's Terrain compact crossover lineup. As with other Denali models, it boasts a monochromatic body kit, unique and upscale interior trimmings and a long list of standard features.

Recent Changes

For the latest model year, the Terrain gains minor updates inside and out, including new trim on the bumper and an additional storage shelf on the center console.


The Denali is differentiated from the standard Terrain by a signature Denali chrome grille, satin chrome accents, monochrome front and rear fascias, monochrome rocker panels and satin chrome molding. Unique headlamp and taillamp designs add a bit of extra flair to the trucklet's blocky design, while chrome exhaust tips for the V6 (or a single tip for the four-cylinder) adorn the rear.

Inside, exclusive black leather adorns the seats and door inserts, while red French stitching contrasts on the dashboard. Smoked mahogany faux wood trim, Denali logos and illuminated door sills round out the package. Otherwise, the interior is much the same as in the standard Terrain, with a modern dashboard and well-organized center stack. Cargo space behind the rear seats is a useful 31.6 cubic feet, with 63.9 cubic feet available with the rear seats folded.

Aside from cosmetics, the new trim level also adds dual-flow dampers, which provide a smoother ride and improved handling.

Under the Hood

Two engines are available for customers to consider. The entry-level motor is 2.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection that produces 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque. With front-wheel-drive, the mill delivers 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, while the optional all-wheel-drive system lowers mileage to 20/29 mpg.

Peak fuel economy is achieved in part with an "ECO" mode that is activated via a console-mounted button. When engaged, it lowers the torque converter lockup speed to 1,125 rpm to help save fuel on models equipped with the motor. The crossover's rack-mounted electric power steering system provides greater fuel efficiency on four-cylinder-equipped models, saving nearly 11 miles per tank of gas.

Those looking for a bit more power to motivate the crossover's substantial 4,200 pound curb weight can opt for a new-to-the-Terrain 3.6-liter V6 with 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque. The motor is a slightly detuned version of the engine used in the Terrain's Cadillac SRX kissing cousin. The SRX and Terrain share much of their platform. Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 16/23 mpg with all-wheel drive.

A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard with both engines.

Standard and Optional Features

The Terrain Denali comes well-equipped with leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a programmable power lift gate, adaptive cruise control and intellilink, OnStar with 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, GMC's voice-controlled infotainment system with Bluetooth smartphone integration and apps like Pandora and Stitcher Smart Radio. 18-inch alloy wheels are standard on four-cylinder models, while the six-cylinder comes with upsized 19-inch alloy units.

Occupant Safety

The Terrain Denali is fitted as standard with a number of safety features that are optional on lesser Terrain models. These include forward collision alert system, lane departure warning, a blind spot monitor and a rear parking assist with cross-path detection. Other safety items include dual front, side and side-curtain airbags as well as traction and stability control systems.

Key Competitors

Those looking for a small, luxurious crossover like the Terrain Denali should also cross-shop two kinds of competitors: fully-loaded versions of mainstream 'utes like the Ford Escape and the Honda CR-V, and entry-level luxury machines like the Acura RDX and the Infiniti QX50.