GMC's Denali brand has been synonymous with luxury since it debuted in 1999 with the Yukon. Since then, GMC has sold over a half a million trucks and SUV's with the Denali badge. The latest vehicle to be bestowed with the honor is the 2013 GMC Terrain. The Terrain Denali comes equipped with a serious facelift, tech/safety advancements and more horsepower courtesy of a brand new V6 engine.
One big question is how will the aesthetics Denali comes with, fit into the makeup of a small SUV. The most noticeable exterior change is the inset chrome grille with satin finish. The honeycomb shaped holes and floating style of the grille balance perfectly with the new headlamp design and separated fog lights. The chrome continues throughout the rest of the exterior along the side mirrors, door handles, body side moldings and 19" wheels.
The interior is what you'd expect from any vehicle that features the Denali badge. There is plenty of soft premium leather and mahogany accents throughout the cabin, as well as a few Denali embossments on the steering wheel and headrests. Unfortunately, the only option for interior color is jet black. Thankfully, remote start is an option, because no one wants to step into a scorching hot car in the summertime.
GMC's engineers did a great job of blending advanced safety features and drivability of the small SUV. The lane departure warning is something we've seen in other vehicles and it works well, but the sensitivity cannot be changed, it is either on or off. Forward collision alert is another very simple advancement that works well for drivers who tailgate a bit too much, this function can be adjusted to three proximity settings. There are also side and rear traffic alert settings. All of these features are standard, so there is no way anyone that buys this vehicle should be in any at fault accidents.
The bells and whistles are all good, but what really matters is how it drives. It was a big deal for GMC to get the Terrain Denali over the 300hp threshold, and they did that with a very efficient 301hp V6 that emits 14% more power and 23% more torque, with same fuel economy as the Denali-less Terrain. Takeoff is a bit sluggish, which can most likely be attributed to its nearly two-tons of curb weight. Overall performance is good, the torque handles the weight of the vehicle well.
To their credit, GMC has outdone themselves with the optional IntelliLink. The feature is extremely easy to use with the touchscreen. Users can access all of the standard navi features one would come to expect plus weather, movie times and local gas prices. The hottest thing about the touchscreen is that the buttons are interchangeable, meaning that if you don't use a particular feature, you can move the key to another screen. A proximity remote and push button start are pretty much standard on "luxury vehicles," so GMC not including it as even an option is a definite fumble, but overall, they achieved what they set out to do, which is make a quality small luxury SUV.
Power: 301hp, 272lb-ft
Engine: 3.6L V6
Fuel Consumption: 17/24 FWD. 16/23 AWD
MSRP: $41,720 as tested