2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali
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2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali

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2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali

Test Drive

Written by Marco Carvajal
Photographs by Katrin Krjanina

The Terrain Denali is a majestic and stylish Premium Compact SUV made by General Motors. The 2018 version is the second generation of the Terrain, it comes supercharged with a 2.0 Litters Turbo Engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission.  

This redesigned version is very stylish, enhanced with many appealing new features to attract new car buyers on the very competitive SUV market.

2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali



All-Wheel Drive System


9-speed automatic 9T50, electronically-controlled with overdrive


2.0 L Turbo DOHC engine 4-cyl


252 @ 5500


260 @ 2500 – 4500

Fuel Tank

16 gal

Fuel Economy MPG


Combined Estimated MPG

21 City / 26 HWY


I am test driving the GMC’s Terrain Denali in Florida, this is a premium compact SUV.  Although it is called a compact SUV, it doesn’t feel so compact inside, it is very spacious because of good architectural design and planning.

The first generation Terrain was introduced back in 2009, since then the Terrain have been very successful selling almost 1 Million units in North America. GMC success has not been an easy task in such a competitive SUV market, several car manufacturer competitors are trying to get a bigger piece offering SUVs with more features for a lower price.

The second generation Terrain, the 2018 model, was introduced in January 2017 at the Detroit Automobile Show receiving very good feedback from car experts and fans, with a good sales forecast. Today the beautiful 2018 Denali Terrain is available and selling well in the U.S.

The new model GMC Terrain 2018 has been enhance and redesigned. This car received an a new body shape, a stylish and modern interior, the latest equipment, and powerful economical turbo-engine. Among many improvements, this new SUV has a great aerodynamic shape for better efficiency. This second generation SUV is built based on the new General Motors D2XX platform, which has been ver successful in the latest Opel and Chevrolet cars.

The 2018 Terrain is available in 4 different versions: SL, SLE, SLT and DENALI.  All of them are equipped with a new four-cylinder turbocharged power engine.

Denali is the top model with all the features of the SLT plus a 2.0 Litters Turbo engine, 19″ Ultra-Bright aluminum wheels with premium Dark Gray painted accents, LED headlamps, Hands-free power programmable lift-gate, Rear Park Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Side-blind zone alert with lane change alert, Heated steering wheel, Navigation and a great sound quality with a Bose® premium 7-speaker system.  The 2018 Terrain Denali is available as a front-wheel drive FWD, or as an all-wheel drive AWD for a small increase in its price.

GMC “Denali” name

Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in North America. Alaskan Indian tribes called Mount McKinley “Denali”.  Apparently GMC took the name as a symbol of the highest one.   In the Terrain family, the Denali is the highest model, the top of the line. 


The price for the 2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali starts around $40,295. If you don’t need all-wheel-drive then you can save around $1,750 by purchasing the FWD version with a base price around $38,595.  However I personally think that it is worth having the AWD so that your Terrain Denali will be completely powerful and ready for any type of road and weather conditions.  If you want to go for a more basic version of the Terrain, then the Terrain SL starts around $25,000 what is a great price for a nice SUV.

Model Approximate Price
2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali Starting at $40.295


The new Terrain Denali is smaller and lighter than the first generation, especially with reduced size on the cargo area. The interior is actually slightly larger as the result of great architecture.

The exterior look of the Terrain is strong, elegant, majestic and stylish. This redesigned SUV is very stylish with great appealing.

Some of the Standard Exterior Features include

  • Roof-mounted side rails
  • Hands-Free power programmable liftgate
  • Mechanical jack with tools
  • Body-color door handles with Chrome surround
  • Front fog lamps
  • Automatic on/off headlamps
  • LED headlamps
  • C-Shaped LED Signature Lighting
  • Outside heated auto-dimming power-adjustable body-color mirrors with turn signal indicators
  • 19” Ultra-Bright machined aluminum wheels with premium Dark Gray painted accents

Some of the available Optional Features include

  • Front and rear splash guards
  • Molded assist steps
  • Roof rack cross rails
  • License plate front mounting package
  • IntelliBeam headlamps
  • Skyscape Sunroof


The 2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali is a five-seat SUV with a spacious interior, especially in the front. As I drive the Terrain Denali I enjoy the nice interior finish with great quality materials like aluminum trim and soft-touch materials on the instrument panel.  Doors with standard active noise cancellation work well to create a premium feel.  The interior looks more luxurious than the previous generation.

Folding rear seats and a new fold-flat front passenger are very practical for those who need more cargo space. The trunk is not huge, but it has a good volume of 838 liters.

The center console has been enhanced with underneath pass-through storage. Side-by-side cupholders and more to create a more comfortable interior.

Some of the Standard Features included in the Terrain

  • Dual-zone automatic air conditioning
  • Power windows with driver Express-Down/Up
  • Rear Vision Camera
  • Remote Start
  • Universal Home Remote
  • Keyless Open and Start
  • 4.2″ multi-color driver information screen
  • Driver Information Center
  • SiriusXM Satellite and HD Radio
  • Bose premium 7-speaker system
  • USB dual data ports (2), located in the front console bin and USB dual charging-only ports (2), located in the rear of the center console
  • SD Card Reader
  • Bluetooth for phone and audio streaming
  • 8″ diagonal GMC Infotainment System with Navigation
  • 8-way power driver seat adjuster
  • 6-way power front passenger seat adjuster
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel

Some Available Features

  • Heated rear seats
  • Automatic Parking Assist
  • Surround Vision
  • Wireless Charging
  • Horizontal cargo net

Safety & Security

The Terrain is loaded with active safety and adaptive technologies based on radars and cameras, designed to increase driver awareness and facilitate parking.

Safety features

  • Air Bags, Dual-Stage Frontal & Side Impact, Driver And Front Passenger, And Head Curtain Side-Impact, Front & Rear Outboard Seating Positions
  • Lane Change Alert W/Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Rear Park Assist
  • Rear Vision Camera
  • Safety Alert Seat
  • Keyless Open and Keyless Start Teen Driver
  • Stabilitrak – Stability Control System W/Traction Control
  • Rear Door Locks, Child Security
  • Theft Deterrent System
  • Tire Pressure Monitor, W/Tire Fill Alert (Excl. Spare Tire)


The 2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali is a great premium compact SUV, fully loaded at a price of $40.295. If low is very important then you can purchase the base model, the Terrain SL version priced around $25,000.

Considering the Denali is the top of the line of the Terrain family, the price seems actually low and very competitive for a premium SUV. A great buy for those who want a premium and stylish SUV with the brand name of General Motors.

For those who like to have plenty of features, GMC has been very generous on the standard and optional features available for the Terrain. All wheel drive, high-tech features like multimedia system Intellilink with a modern touch screen. Internet access, Wi-Fi router, a rear-view camera, synchronization with mobile devices and many other characteristics make the Terrain Denali very appealing.

Follow Marco Carvajal:
Marco Carvajal has many years of experience in the editorial world, in the entertainment industry including events, cars, music and other fields. He also has wide experience in business, e-business and e-commerce. He is actively involved in the development of AutomotorPro.com and other affiliated car publications, from marketing and business management, to the editorial department as a contributing writer and editor for other writers. His passion for automobiles, travel and art, supports the development of AutomotorPro.com in an original and unique way, as a leader in the automobile editorial industry, nationwide in the United States and international territories. Marco graduated from the University of Miami, in addition to additional studies at other universities and institutions. In the field of business, he has created several enterprises and multinational projects related to publishing and entertainment. As a writer, the number one goal for Marco Carvajal is to be able to communicate clear information easy to understand for our subscribers, in an easy language, very detailed, about automobiles and lifestyle. He also likes to show a different perspective, with innovative style, about the information and characteristics of each car, mostly oriented to the daily life, about what each person may want learn about each car, thinking on the practical daily use of cars in real life. Marco Carvajal tiene muchísimos años de experiencia en el mundo editorial, en la industria del entretenimiento incluyendo eventos, autos, música y otros, así como gran experiencia en los negocios, e-business y e-commerce. Se envuelve activamente en el desarrollo de AutomotorPro.com, desde aspectos de mercadeo y manejo de negocios, hasta el departamento editorial donde también escribe y edita artículos de otros escritores. Su pasión por los autos, viajar y el arte, le ayudan a AutomotorPro.com a desarrollarse de una forma original y única, como un líder en la industria editorial automotriz a nivel nacional en Estados Unidos y otros territorios internacionales. Marco se graduó de la Universidad de Miami, además de haber realizado estudios y cursos en otras universidades e instituciones. En el área de negocio ha fundado varias empresas y creado varios proyectos multinacionales en el área editorial y del entretenimiento. Como escritor, la meta número uno de Marco Carvajal es lograr transmitir información sobre automóviles fácil de entender para los lectores, en un idioma sencillo, los más detallada posible. Además de lograr mostrar un lado diferente e innovador sobre la información y características de cada auto, principalmente orientado a lo cotidiano, a lo que cada persona puede aprender sobre cada automóvil, pensando en la vida diaria, en el uso de cada auto en la vida práctica.
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