GMC's midsize crossover, the five-passenger Terrain, has been a hit right out of the box since the current generation was introduced for 2010.
Now there's even a high-end Denali version available for 2013, the fanciest model yet in the Terrain lineup. This makes the fourth GMC model to get the Denali treatment, which General Motors describes as a luxury sub-brand.
Previously introduced -- and still available -- are Denali versions of the GMC Sierra pickup (1500, 2500 and 3500 models), the Yukon and Yukon XL full-size sport utilities, and the Acadia large crossover. There were also Denali models of the now-discontinued Envoy SUV.
GM says the Denali concept "has comprised a core set of design characteristics," with such features on every model as chrome wheels and chrome trim in the grilles and body-color moldings, with the Denali name "displayed prominently on the outside of each front door."
Inside, the automaker says, the Denali models are known for their premium materials, such as soft leather upholstery and mahogany wood trim. They also come with other premium features, such as better audio systems and ventilated front seats.
Besides the usual Denali interior and exterior cues, the Terrain Denali comes with exclusive 18-inch satin-chrome aluminum wheels (19 inches with the optional V-6 engine). It also gets new technology, including radar-based blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts.
Standard is the same 2.4-litre Ecotec four-cylinder engine found in other Terrain models, with 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. Transport Canada ratings are 9.2 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 6.1 L/100kmhighway.
The new, optional 3.6-litre V-6, which also comes with a six-speed automatic, has 301 horsepower and 272 foot-pounds of torque. All Terrain models are available with all-wheel drive. Other trim levels for 2013 are the SLE 1 and SLE 2, and the SLT 1 and SLT 2. All Terrain models are available with all-wheel drive.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard, along with electronic stability control and traction control, and six air bags: dual front, roof-mounted head-curtain side and seat-mounted front side.
An "infotainment" system is standard on the Denali, and it includes voice-command ability, along with iPod/iPhone controls, Bluetooth phone connection and streaming Internet radio apps such as Pandora and Stitcher.
A new package adds such high-tech safety features as forward collision alert, lane departure warning and rear park assist.
The interior comes with soft-touch black leather on the seats and door inserts, complete with contrast stitching and red accent lighting. There is also a leather-wrapped steering wheel with smoked-mahogany wood accents, Denali logos embossed on the front seatbacks, eight-way power driver and front-passenger seats, and a sunroof.
The tester came with the V-6 engine, which added the 19-inch wheels. It also had a color touch-screen navigation system; trailer-towing package; cargo package, with a cargo cover, convenience net and luggage-rack cross rails; and the Iridium Metallic paint.
The V-6 engine adds a real kick to the Terrain, but miser that I am when it comes to burning gasoline, I would leave off this option and stick with the four-cylinder. There's plenty of power with the four, unless you have a trailer to tow.
There is a programmable power tailgate that can be adjusted to a lower height to make it easier to reach for short people, or to clear garage obstructions, GM says.
There is a standard sliding rear seat that can be moved forward or rearward a total of eight inches to give passengers more legroom or give the cargo area more space, whichever is necessary at the moment.
The rear seat has a 60/40-split-folding back that can be lowered to increase cargo space. With the seatback in place, there is 31.6 cubic feet of storage. There are four 12-volt power outlets inside the vehicle, including one in the cargo hold.
For technology buffs, there is GMC's IntelliLink system, which works in tandem with OnStar to add infotainment options to the vehicle, linked through a smartphone. It can all be operated by voice commands.
Automatic climate control is standard on Terrain SLE 2, SLT and Denali models, along with a seven-inch touch-screen audio display and USB and auxiliary inputs. A premium Pioneer audio with subwoofer and amplifier comes on the SLE 2, SLT and Denali.
Also available is a rear DVD entertainment system.
Electric power steering is standard, along with power windows/mirrors/door locks and cruise control. The optional remote-start system allows the car to be started using the remote-control key fob so its interior can be warmed up or cooled down before the passengers get in.
Outside, the Terrain's rocker panels are integrated into the doors to make it easier to enter and exit, a design that prevents getting pants legs dirty. A flush-fitting windshield and rear glass were designed to help reduce wind noise inside the vehicle.
There are many storage cubbies, including an oversized glove box, a bin above the center stack in instrument panel, and a closed bin under the front center armrest that is big enough to hold a laptop computer, allowing it to be hidden from view while the vehicle is parked.
The "floating" centre instrument stack was designed to make it easier to operate the climate-control and audio systems. XM satellite radio is included on all models.
-- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Type of vehicle: mid-size front-wheel drive or AWD five-passenger crossover utility vehicle
Engine: 2.4L DOHC four-cylinder; optional 2L V6
Power: 182 hp @ 6,700 rpm; 172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm (2.4L)
Transmission: 6-spd automatic
Brakes: 4-wheels disc with ABS
Length: 470.8 cm
Wheelbase: 285.7 cm
Curbweight: 1,748 kg
Fuel consumption (L/100km): 9.2 city 6.1 hwy (2.4L) BASE PRICE: $28,695 (FWD SLE-1) to $39,935 (FWD Denali)