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2022 GMC Terrain gains AT4 trim, loses engines

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

GMC is leading General Motor Co.'s charge into electrification with the battery-powered Hummer pickup/SUV twins. But for now the brand's meat and potatoes are gas-fired trucks and SUVs, and its compact Terrain SUV is one big potato.

The compact ute was GMC's best-selling ute in 2020, and the brand wants to keep it that way with 2022 updates that include a new, off-road AT4 package as well as fancy electronics like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Competing against other premium brands like Mazda, Buick, Jeep, and Volkswagen that straddle the line between mainstream and luxury, GMC distinguishes itself with bold styling and dirt-kicking capability born from its iconic pickup line. In that vein the Terrain SUV adds the rugged AT4 variant — complete with skid plate, black trim and all-wheel-drive. It will be the last vehicle in GMC's seven-vehicle lineup to gain the trim.

The Terrain saw record, 114,311 unit sales in 2018 with the launch of its current generation platform. Sales were interrupted by COVID in 2020 and dipped to 86,020. Pricing for the 2022 model will be announced closer to its summer delivery date, but expect its sticker to start in the $26,000 range.

Terrain's upscale Denali trim — which can crest $40,000 into Cadillac XT4 territory — also gains upgrades to go with Terrain's refreshed fascia and rear end. With its sculpted flanks and C-clamp, LED headlights, the Terrain has consistently won raves as one of the most visually striking vehicles in segment.

Curious, then, that GMC scales back on some premium amenities for 2022. While rival Mazda CX-5, for example, has added a powerful, 250-horse, 2.5-liter, turbo-4 cylinder engine to its lineup and Buick boasts a 228-horse, 2.0-liter turbo-4 of its own, the Terrain has eliminated its 252-horse, 2.0-liter turbo-4 and stump-pulling diesel options.

Only a 170-horse, 203-torque, 1.5-liter turbo-4 will be on offer, an engine that lags in horsepower to the competition and only tows 1,500 pounds compared to the 2.0-liter mill's 3,500-pound rating.

 

"The larger (2.0-liter) turbocharged version — is a lively partner. The standard engine is generally apathetic," wrote enthusiastic auto magazine Car and Driver of the 2021 model.

The 1.5-liter engine is shared with GMC's cousin, the Chevy Equinox, as is its excellent, firm chassis. From Camaro to Sierra pickup to Terrain, GM has made a commitment to lightweight, well-engineered chassis in recent years. The engine is mated to GM's ubiquitous, smooth, 9-speed automatic transmission used in front-wheel-drive-based autos.

Terrain's interior takes bold styling cues from big bother Sierra while also boasting innovations like a "trigger shifter" — a compact, dash-mounted unit featuring buttons that frees up console storage space. Space abounds in the Terrain, one of the roomier vehicles in class.

The Terrain is not as generous as other premium brands in standard features. The GMC Pro Safety suite includes emergency braking and lane keep assist but does not add blind-spot assist or adaptive cruise control found standard on many competitors. For the first time, the Terrain Denali adds a head-up display, but it's a generation behind compared to competitors like the Mazda. The Terrain display is projected off a plastic pop-up plane rather than the windshield.

Terrain will also gain four new colors and 18 and 19-inch wheels. The updated 2022 Terrain is manufactured at GM's San Luis Potosí, Mexico, facility and will be available in three trims — SLE, SLT and AT4 — this summer.

The top-trim Denali will arrive on dealer lots in the fall along with the top-trim, Edition 1 Hummer EV.

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