- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2009

DETROIT | At the core of the reinvention of General Motors is a promise to deliver customers greater value with strong new products. For the 2010 GMC Terrain, that means taking the brand’s 100 year-plus tradition of engineering and capability and presenting it in a smaller, more fuel-efficient package for today’s buyers.

“Yukon, Acadia and now Terrain - we’re continuing to build on the successful formula of taking the bold styling, premium features and functionality our customers have come to expect from our full-size truck products and creating smaller vehicles to appeal to a broader audience,” said Susan Docherty, general manager of Buick GMC. “Although it’s smaller on the outside, Terrain offers more on the inside. We believe it will attract customers by giving them totally new choices without compromising what it means to own a GMC.”

The 2010 GMC Terrain is prepared to deliver for its owners in 10 notable ways:

1. Design: The Terrain has the bold design of a GMC sport utility vehicle, with the commanding outward view that many customers appreciate. The Terrain’s front end, with squared-off edges and flared fenders, appeals to those who want something stronger looking than the typical “soft road” vehicle.

“We wanted to carve the GMC Terrain away from the pack and establish its identity as a powerful, fresh small SUV with a confident and strong stance,” said John Cafaro Jr., director of exterior design. “The Terrain has a look all its own that reflects GMC’s professional grade legacy and communicates a sense of tailored toughness and passionate craftsmanship.”

Terrain also has a GMC-signature three-element grille accented by a prominent chrome surround and projector-beam headlamps mounted in large, chrome-accented rectangular housings.

2. Fuel economy: When equipped with the new 2.4L direct injected Ecotec engine and six-speed automatic transmission, the Terrain is EPA-rated at 22 mpg in the city and a segment-leading 32 mpg on the highway (FWD model). That’s not just a little better than the competition - it’s a lot better.

On the highway, the Terrain easily tops the 27-mpg rating of Honda CR-V, or the 28 mpg offered by the Ford Escape. It even beats the 31-mpg highway mileage of the Ford Escape Hybrid.

“The Terrain’s great fuel economy with the new 2.4L engine is something we’re really proud of and it underscores our commitment to delivering fuel economy solutions that customers can benefit from today,” said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman. “Best of all, Terrain doesn’t trade efficiency for performance; its direct injected engine delivers power on demand for a confident driving experience.”

Maximum fuel economy of 32 mpg on the highway is achieved in part with an “Eco” mode activated via a console-mounted button. In Eco mode, the torque converter clutch engages at lower engine speeds to help save fuel.

With the Terrain’s FWD V-6 models, fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg on the highway. That’s better than all of its V-6-powered main competitors, including the Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7, Nissan Murano and Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s comparable to the Ford Escape, too, while the Honda CR-V doesn’t offer a V-6 option. Terrain even tops the fuel economy of the BMW X3 while offering more horsepower.

Add a driving range of more than 500 miles (800 km) with any engine/drivetrain combo and the less-frequent fill-ups save time as well as money.

3. MultiFlex sliding rear seat: Terrain’s standard MultiFlex sliding rear seat greatly increases the flexibility of the interior, allowing it to be optimized for five adult passengers or cargo, or even both. With it, the seat can be moved fore or aft nearly 8 inches. When moved rearward, it allows more legroom for rear-seat passengers than any other vehicle in its class; and when moved forward, it expands the rear cargo space. Fold down the seat and create nearly 64 cubic feet (1809 liters) of total cargo space. No other competitor offers this kind of best-in-class flexibility.

The MultiFlex seat is handy for new parents, as the sliding features allow a baby riding in a rear-facing child seat to be more easily buckled into the standard Latch child-restraint system. Even toddlers in front-facing car seats are easier to reach from the front passenger seat.

Terrain is flexible in other ways, too: The rear seat’s 60/40-split rear seat back offers additional configurations for passengers and cargo. The cargo area behind the rear seat offers 31.6 cubic feet (894 liters) of storage, as well as one of the Terrain’s four auxiliary power outlets. Also, the Terrain can tow up to 1,500 pounds (680 kg) with the 2.4L engine and an unsurpassed-in-class 3,500 pounds (1588 kg) when equipped with the 3.0L V-6 engine. In practical terms, that means 2.4L-equipped models are great for towing a pair of personal watercraft or motorcycles, while V-6 models can handle many single-axle camping trailers.

4. Interior: The high-quality look and feel of the Terrain’s premium interior reflects GM’s renewed commitment to interior design and execution. One of the cues of the progressive interior is the use of red ambient lighting to warm up the passenger space, which creates an inviting and even soothing glow throughout the cabin.

“Ambient lighting is one of the details that really stands out with customers,” said Helen Emsley, director of interior design. “It exemplifies Terrain’s place as a 21st century GMC - a vehicle that blends a heritage of professional grade trucks with a thoroughly modern approach to design and customer expectations.”

The interior styling was influenced by industrial sculpture and features contemporary fashion and interior design details, such as contrasting stitching and materials that convey a structured, integrated appearance. Cloth seating is standard and heated cloth and leather-trimmed seats are available.

Beyond the rich-looking, detailed instruments with backlighting that complements the ambient lighting, the Terrain designers also wove in many clever storage spaces, such as an oversized glovebox; a convenient closed storage area in the instrument panel above the center stack; a closed storage compartment under the center armrest large enough for a purse or notebook binder; and two-tier storage in the doors. There are also four power outlets for phone chargers, laptops and other can’t-live-without-them portable devices.

5. Smart, integrated features: More than just a collection of high-tech toys, the Terrain offers a number of standard and optional features, each selected for its contribution to making the driving experience safer and more convenient. They include:

c Standard rear-vision camera that provides a view of objects or people directly behind the vehicle.

c Standard USB audio connectivity and MP3 playback for your portable music player - plug it in and control the features right from the radio or the optional steering wheel controls.

c Standard OnStar provides the comfort of a live adviser to provide turn-by-turn directions or assist when things go wrong.

c Standard XM Satellite Radio provides coast-to-coast tunes when things are oh-so-right.

c Programmable power liftgate can be set to open to a lower height, clearing garage obstructions or making it easier to reach for those of shorter stature.

c Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, so the driver can remain focused on the road.

c Remote vehicle start that can be used to automatically heat up a cold Terrain on a January morning , or cool it down on a hot August afternoon.

c Seven-inch touch-screen navigation system and a 10-gigabyte hard drive. The navigation system has touch-screen control and the screen itself is large enough to safely view at a glance, while the 10GB hard drive enables a radio-station-like song library to be stored for instant playback through the radio.

c DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system with two independent screens and inputs, allowing one viewer to watch a movie and the other to play video games. The controls can be overridden from the front seat - just in case separate entertainment choices still aren’t enough to elicit rear-seat sibling harmony.

6. Direct injection and six gears: Direct injection and six-speed automatic transmissions are the primary elements of the Terrain’s standard 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder and optional 3.0L DOHC V-6 that contribute to its exceptional fuel efficiency with no loss of performance. In the engines, direct injection delivers fuel directly into the combustion chamber, rather than first mixing it with air in the intake manifold.

“It is a precise process that enables a higher compression ratio to increase horsepower, while also promoting a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture,” said Mr. Stephens. “That means more power and fewer emissions are made with less fuel. In fact, cold-start emissions are reduced by up to 25 percent with direct injection.”

The 2.4L engine is rated at 182 horsepower (136 kW) and the 3.0L V-6 engine delivers 264 horsepower (197 kW). Both engines are mated to efficiency-enhancing six-speed automatic transmissions. The six-speeds enhance fuel economy by allowing the engine to turn fewer rpm on the highway. The lower rpm also reduces the engine noise heard in the interior.

Terrain’s powertrains also benefit from long-life engine components that need less maintenance, as well as GM’s Oil Life Monitoring System, which encourages less-frequent oil changes by essentially telling the driver when a change is needed.

7. Ride and handling: The Terrain rides on a long, 112.5-inch (2,857 mm) wheelbase that stretches farther than the Nissan Murano and even the Acura RDX. It supports a very smooth ride that is complemented by wide front and rear tracks to give the Terrain carlike ride and handling traits. The long wheelbase and wide tracks reduce body roll for a stable, confident driving experience.

Underpinning the Terrain’s ride characteristics are front and rear independent suspension systems that meet the pavement via a family of large wheels, including 17-inch and 18-inch aluminum, with available 19-inch chrome-clad wheels. There’s also a rack-mounted electric power steering system (2.4L models) that contributes to greater fuel efficiency, because there’s no engine-driven pump.

8. Safety: For a family vehicle like the Terrain, safety isn’t “optional” - it’s built into every part of the vehicle. Standard features include four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with StabiliTrak electronic stability control, seat belt pretensioners and traction control, as well as six air bags (dual frontal air bags, head curtain air bags and pelvic/thorax seat-mounted side air bags) and an electronic child system lock system. OnStar with one-year Safe and Sound service is also standard.

The Terrain’s body structure is built with strategically placed, high-strength steel sections that help the vehicle better protect occupants if a crash occurs.

9. Quality: A rigid, body-integral structure with single-piece body side stampings allows more precise assembly, with tighter and more uniform gap tolerances. The result is a vehicle with a tighter feel that will feel solid for years.

Higher-quality materials and the use of many long-life engine/powertrain components reduce the need and frequency for servicing; and the backing of GM’s five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty delivers even greater assurance.

The Terrain is produced at the CAMI assembly facility in Ingersoll, Ontario, one of the highest quality, most efficient assembly plants within GM’s network.

10. Value: Terrain is offered in SLE and SLT trim levels, with front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models. The entry price for the Terrain is an SLE1 FWD model that starts at $24,995 (including a $745 destination charge). It includes the 2.4L engine and six-speed automatic plus a long list of standard features uncommon for the lowest-priced model, such as air conditioning, rear-vision camera, USB-equipped radio, ambient lighting and 17-inch aluminum wheels. At the top of the range is the SLT2 model that starts at $29,995 (including destination), which includes such standard equipment as 18-inch wheels, heated leather seats, rear park assist, a sunroof and the power liftgate.

Adding options is simple regardless of which trim level is selected. The all-wheel-drive system is available on all trim levels, and those opting for the fuel efficiency of the four-cylinder engine can still equip a Terrain with premium features such as the navigation radio and rear-seat DVD systems, options normally reserved only for the most expensive models.

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