If the best ability is availability, especially in these auto supply-constrained times, then one of the 2022 GMC Terrain’s most appealing aspects is that company officials are expecting a healthy supply coming – healthy being a relative term, these days. Also rare these days, and also important to many buyers: a price cut on most Terrain models, outside of the luxury-oriented Denali.
So in GM Canada’s fight to woo those considering a Toyota RAV4
, Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue
, among others, executives with GMC not only pointed to various upgrades of the 2022 model – including a new AT4 Terrain model that offers increased off-road ability with upscale features – but also took the rare step of highlighting upcoming “healthy supply” of the compact SUV hitting the market soon, as well as favourable lease rates brought on by a combination of lower prices and good GMC resale values.
As the refreshed 2022 Terrain went on sale in more limited numbers in fall 2021, GM Canada officials already have some sales data to back up that the new AT4 model will be a popular addition to the Terrain lineup. The Terrain was the last GMC vehicle to receive an AT4 option, which typically adds some off-road upgrades as well as luxury features inside, though not up to full-luxe Denali levels.
After a full day’s drive of the AT4, along with some seat time with the top-of-the-line Terrain Denali, the AT4 model seems a worthy addition to the Terrain lineup, but doesn’t distinguish the Terrain much from its rivals, or even its slightly less pricy Chevrolet Equinox corporate cousin, with which it shares a platform and engine.
The compact Terrain SLE starts at $32,488 for 2022, which is $600 less than its 2021 MSRP. All models receive new upgrades such as a LED lights front and back, auto climate control, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, plus a shut off switch for the auto start/stop engine function.
Unique features to the AT4 include a steel front skid plate, upgraded Goodyear Sport Terrain tires with blacked-out wheels, plus assorted darkened exterior trim and AT4 badging.
Speaking of its exterior design, the Terrain doesn’t look radically different in newly refreshed form, and not nearly as boxy as it used to be before its last major redesign for 2018. The rear window treatment behind the rear doors blends into the rear glass similarly to the larger Nissan Murano, its rather prominent grille highlighting its GMC truck family lineage.
One interesting design note I wasn’t expecting on the off-road oriented Terrain: no visible tailpipes. This is a growing design trend among many gas-powered vehicles, but could also perhaps be a subtle nod to GMC’s Hummer EV and overall electrification ambitions with the Sierra EV it’s set to unveil later this year.
Inside, the Terrain offers plenty of stretch-out space for this segment, helped by a unique way to move the vehicle: instead of a shift lever or knob in the centre console, there are transmission rocker buttons on the dash that need to be pulled out towards the driver, while Park and Neutral are still push buttons. This frees up centre console real estate, but could be an awkward reach-around if you often travel with large water bottles or coffee mugs.
Despite a button for heated seats on the dash, pushing them doesn’t light them up, nor provide any seat heat. Due to the lack of available chips, GM decided to delete the heated seat function in 2022 Terrain models, and plans to recall these vehicles to the dealership when the chips are available to retro-fit them as designed.
There’s no predicted time frame as to when they’ll be available, said GM Canada executives, but GM does provide a $50 credit for the acknowledged inconvenience factor involved, at least.
This is unfortunate especially on Terrain Denali versions, which come standard with cooled and heated seats normally, plus heated seats in the rear that are also on hold. And on the Denali, unlike most heated seats, you can choose whether you want heat on the backrest and seat, or either one.
Outside of those missing features, the Terrain scores well in practicality terms, with a large back seat that in our AT4 offered dual rear USBs and a 110-volt power outlet that could charge three devices at once, plus another two USB ports upfront. Wireless phone charging is standard on the Denali, but you’ll need a cord on other models.
There’s also a large and flat cargo floor in the Terrain, as well as a fairly shallow but still useful covered well under the cargo floor, which is deep enough to carry trays of large food orders without them sliding around.
All AT4 models come with all-wheel drive, an option on base SLE models, and every Terrain is powered by the same 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s no powerhouse at 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque, and the nine-speed automatic transmission may have benefitted from shift paddles but it was relatively quiet and refined. Plus it’s rated to tow 680 kilograms, or 1,500 pounds.
From a fuel consumption perspective, the Terrain is not very ambitious, as it doesn’t offer the hybrid or plug-in hybrid variants of some rivals like the Ford Escape or RAV4
. Officially rated at 9.0 litres of regular fuel per 100 kilometres in combined city and highway driving, after over 350 km of mixed driving, it ended up displaying closer to 10.5 L/100km overall.
Overall then, the 2022 GMC Terrain AT4 offers a roomy and practical compact SUV whose sweet spot in the market could be as a lease that’s available relatively soon, especially for folks who need to replace a thirstier older vehicle with one that is predicted to hold its value relatively well, as should also be reflected in lower lease payments overall.
By the end of that lease, GMC will have multiple full electric crossovers and trucks on the market, compared to zero electric models in Canada now. The transformational BEV driving feel and fuel efficiency savings – available elsewhere now – are yet to begin for GMC owners as this is written, but for those who prefer to drive gas-only, the Terrain provides a reasonable value-proposition, if you don’t mind the lack of heated seats, at least for an undetermined period.
2022 GMC Terrain AT4
Front-engine, on-demand all-wheel-drive, nine-speed automatic transmission
1.5-litre inline four-cylinder turbo (170 hp, 203 lb-ft)
(Regular) 9.6/8.3/9.0L/100 km city/highway/combined
838 litres (29.6 cu-ft); Seats down: 1,793 L (63.3 cu-ft)
PRICE: Base AT4
$36,198; as tested $42,948
The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.