For 2022, GMC has updated the styling of their Terrain compact SUV and added a new AT4 trim, which is described as “The Pioneer of Premium Off-road”. Spotted Cars got invited to a Media Drive event to test the new Terrain and drive it on several types of pavements throughout the day.
The day started in Laval, at the “Château Taillefer Lafon”, where people from GMC spoke about the brand, their present, and what to expect in the future. For the first part of the drive, I was behind the wheel of the Terrain Denali, the most luxurious model of the range. For 2022, Terrain Denali includes new LED lighting, a new front fascia, and grille as well as new 19-inch wheels. Step inside and you will discover leather-appointed front seats and real aluminum accents. In the center of it all is an 8-inch Infotainment System Display that works very well, I’ve tried it several times in other GM products, and I really like it, it’s very responsive and easy to use. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
The first part of the drive was about 70 kilometers long to test the Terrain on the highway. For this part of the drive, we had to enter the destination in the Navigation system, which is standard on the Denali, and optional on the other trims. I found the seats to be very comfortable and supportive, I would happily have spent more time in them. Another great quality is the visibility, you can see very well out of the Terrain, which is great for both safety and sightseeing. Speaking of sightseeing, you will be able to bring a lot with you on road trips since the Terrain offers up to 838 litres of cargo space, which can be increased to 1792 litres by folding the rear seats. Under the hood of the 2022 Terrain is a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder developing 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque, which is enough, but no more. Let’s put it that way, more power definitely wouldn’t hurt. AWD being standard on the Denali, power is sent to all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission. The transmission works fairly well and the shifts are smooth, but confusion about what the optimal gear should be does happen on occasion.
We then arrived at the “Centre Notre-Dame de la Rouge”, which was a short break for refreshments and snacks, a very interesting camping area where I took the opportunity to take a closer look at the Terrain, a very nice looking vehicle, in my opinion. For 2022, the exterior changes made it more muscular, and more distinct, which are welcome changes, especially in such a popular segment. We then left for the second part of the drive, and no Navigation system this time! We had to follow the turn-by-turn instructions in our leaflet, which turned out to be great fun. Highways and nice roads are long gone as we drive the Terrain on bumpy, curvy roads where some parts of the road were entirely gravel. Even in these conditions, the Terrain remained very comfortable, and in the curves and the gravel, the AWD system worked wonders—I also was truly surprised by the handling. Trying to concentrate on the road as much as possible, I was pleased by the heads-up display, which is standard on the Denali, but available on the AT4. Halfway through this second part, I switched cars with another journalist and got behind the wheel of the main attraction, the all-new, first-ever Terrain AT4.
Before going back on the road, I noticed the different interior with AT4 embroidery on the headrests and other AT4-exclusive touches. I also noticed the smaller driver information screen, which was an 8-inch configurable display in the Denali and is now a 4.2-inch screen in the AT4. Driving the AT4, I immediately felt the differences in the way it drove, the suspension is softer and the direction is more assisted, maybe too much in fact. I preferred the direction in the Denali, which was firmer and made for a more dynamic drive.
After roughly 100 kilometers of driving, we arrived at our second stop; the “Stonehaven Le Manoir”, in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts. A house built in 1908 that has been restored and transformed into a luxurious hotel. Thank you to the team at GMC for the opportunity of discovering such an impressive building!
Following a great meal with the other journalists and the people of GMC, I stepped outside to take a closer look at the AT4, which, just like the Denali, is a handsome SUV. Whereas the Denali has a sleeker look, with chrome wheels and grille, the AT4 goes for a rugged look, with a blacked-out grille, wheels, and other elements. Even though the AT4’s enhancements are mostly esthetic, they also include some great practical additions such as a front steel skid plate, black 17-inch wheels with exclusive off-road tires, and Traction Select which is a driving mode selector with 3 choices, perfect for light off-roading, which is what the AT4 is made for.
After taking a few photos, I jumped back into the AT4 and drove back to the starting point in Laval, which approximately took an hour. Once again, the Terrain turned out to be a competent and comfortable highway cruiser, even with the bulkier tires.
To conclude, the Terrain is a competent SUV, with great looks, good tech and several trims to choose from, but it could benefit from a more powerful engine and some transmission tuning. With the new AT4, you get an SUV good for both long highway drives and light offroading, which are characteristics that are high in demand at the moment. Thanks to the team at GMC for organizing such a fun day, as well as to the employees of each of the stops.
Photography by Olivier Lessard