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GMC’s freshened 2016 Terrain takes on the concrete jungle

Despite its name, the 2016 GMC Terrain is only really equipped to handle flat pavement, and maybe the occasional pothole. So maybe it’s best that GMC will unveil it at the 2015 New York Auto Show, and not somewhere more rural.

Like the related Chevrolet Equinox, the 2016 Terrain gets a mild styling refresh and a few new technology features to keep it competitive in the compact crossover class.

The Terrain gets new front and rear fascias, including a front bumper that’s sprouted some gills, LED daytime running lamps, a new grille, and “power dome” hood.

An upscale Terrain Denali (pictured above in black) model returns with even more glitz, plus dual-flow dampers for a smoother ride.

If nothing else, the Terrain’s blocky styling is still a bit more distinctive than the mechanically-similar Equinox, although it isn’t exactly the prettiest vehicle on the road.

The interior doesn’t get quite as noticeable a makeover, but GMC says the redesigned center stack features an extra storage shelf and new control graphics. There are also some new interior trim options, and a smattering of extra equipment.

A with most of new General Motors models, the Terrain is available with OnStar 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot that can handle up to seven devices.

Powertrain options are unchanged, meaning buyers can choose between a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, or a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 301 hp and 272 lb-ft.

Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission, and standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.

Overall, the changes for 2016 aren’t too dramatic, but as GM continues to put off a redesign of its Theta-platform crossovers, they will have to do.

Sales of crossovers and SUVs shot up last year, overtaking cars for the first time. Smaller crossovers were in the vanguard of that spurt, so even if it proves to be uncompetitive, GMC is likely to rack up some more sales with the updated Terrain.

The 2016 GMC Terrain goes on sale this fall. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, and will probably stay just above the Terrain’s Chevy Equinox sibling to maintain GMC’s status as a premium brand.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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