A gray 2021 GMC Terrain is shown parked on a brick roadway.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2021 GMC Terrain

The 2021 GMC Terrain is here. This compact SUV is GMC’s most popular SUV model, offering an excellent balance of comfort, capability, and cost in a rugged and reliable package. If you are looking for a Professional Grade vehicle that is not a truck, then the 2021 Terrain is a great place to start. However, potential shoppers, enthusiasts, and GMC fans are probably curious to learn what is actually new or different about the 2021 GMC Terrain and how it measures up to the 2020 model year?

There are also some important details to unravel related to the way the Terrain performs, how well the SUV has hit it off with critics, and what you can expect from the 2021 model year version of GMC’s compact SUV. While not much has changed on the outside, some new features and technology have been added to keep this popular vehicle up to date.

What’s New For the 2021 Model Year?

The 2021 GMC Terrain is still being billed as a compact crossover SUV. So the dimensions and sizes haven’t gone through any major changes for the 2021 model year. If you were hoping for a bigger iteration of the SUV, then you will still be better served by the midsize GMC Acadia. But if you were hoping to get your hands on a compact crossover with a lot of spacious interior and passenger volume, then this is probably good news for you.

A new GMC Pro Safety Plus Package has been added to the line-up of features for the model year and made standard for all trims. The GMC Pro Safety Plus Package comes with a variety of advanced safety assistance features, such as lane-change alert, blind zone alert, lane departure warnings, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, front pedestrian braking, automatic emergency braking, a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, and IntelliBeam technology.

The gray and brown front seats and dash are shown from the rear seats in a 2021 GMC Terrain.

What Are the Differences Between the 2020 and 2021 Models?

With new safety features made standard on all trims for the 2021 GMC Terrain, what other changes were made between the 2020 and 2021 model year iterations? Well, the 2021 model does have a few more changes from the 2020 model.

The Smokey Quartz Metallic color for the body’s exterior has been culled from the line-up, but you still have access to a total of 8 different colors for the exterior, including Blue Emerald Metallic, Ebony Twilight Metallic, Graphite Gray Metallic, Quicksilver Metallic, Red Quartz Tintcoat, Satin Steel Metallic, Summit White, and the stunning White Frost Tricoat.

The less popular 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has also been removed from the line-up, leaving Terrain drivers with the reliable 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The Chrome Package was also cut from the SLT trims, which consisted of 19-inch machined aluminum wheels, a chrome grille, chrome mirror caps, and chrome surround side rails. However, it was replaced with a Bright Accent Package that includes most of the same features.

However, this is made up for the fact that the GMC Pro Safety Plus Package is now standard across all trims. Previously the Driver Alert Package was separate and required the Convenience Package in order to give drivers access to all of the additional safety features. So it’s good news that you no longer need the Convenience Package to access all the other driver aids. Making those features standard now on all trims is something that many potential buyers will likely find enticing.

Popular 2020 Features Carrying Over Into 2021

There was plenty for critics and customers to enjoy about the 2020 GMC Terrain, and GMC was wise to utilize that feedback and kept many of the popular features from the previous model year for the 2021 model year outing. Some of the most praised features about the 2020 model year included the smorgasbord of content available in the infotainment department. This ranged from standard built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, as well as 4G LTE Wi-Fi support. Bluetooth connectivity is a standard feature for all Terrain trims as well, so you can wirelessly connect your smart device to the vehicle without any issues.

The 2021 SL and SLE trims come standard with a 7-inch diagonal touchscreen, a carryover from the 2020 model year. The SLT trim, however, comes standard with a slightly larger touchscreen at 8-inches. The GMC Infotainment System offers full navigation support, as well as HD radio and SiriusXM satellite radio. The continued use of voice-activated technology with the 2021 GMC Terrain allows you to make calls or interact with the GMC infotainment system while keeping both hands on the wheel.

The 2021 GMC Terrain also retains its dimensions from the previous model year, which has been one of the highlights from the 2020 model. The Terrain can still seat up to five people across two rows, and it makes use of up to 63.30-cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row with the rear seats folded and up to 29.60-cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row of seats. So there is some room to play around with when it comes to storage and cargo capacity.

The 2021 Terrain boasts 40-inches of front headroom and up to 54.40-inches of front hip room, so drivers have plenty of room to move about in the cabin. The total passenger volume comes up to 103.20-cubic feet of space. For the 2020 model, many owners loved the space they had in the Terrain, especially for larger people who noted feeling cramped in other small crossover SUVs from competitors, so having that extra room in the 2021 model will likely be appreciated by people looking for a roomy SUV.

A close up shows the taillight on a 2020 GMC Terrain.

Don’t Worry – the Denali Isn’t Going Anywhere

One of the most popular trims that GMC has included as part of their vehicular offerings is the Denali. It’s the top-of-the-line trim that represents convenience, luxury, and comfort to the highest order. Not every GMC model year has a Denali trim available, but thankfully for the 2021 GMC Terrain, the Denali is making a return.

The Denali features 19-inch machined aluminum wheels, LED headlamps with a signature C-shape design, a distinctive grille, and a Bose premium 7-speaker surround sound setup. The trim is currently available as part of the 2020 GMC Terrain line-up, and some potential buyers may have worried that with a few features getting the axe in 2021 that Denali may have been one of them. However, the good news is that the Denali trim will retain availability for the Terrain, bringing the total trim count to four, including the SL, SLE, and SLT.

There is a caveat to this, though: the Denali will only be available in late 2021. I suppose if you absolutely had to have a GMC Terrain Denali right now, then you could always get the 2020 model, but if you wanted the 2021 GMC Terrain for its included and standard safety features courtesy of the GMC Pro Safety Plus package, then you will simply have to wait it out and get a hold of a GMC Terrain Denali later into 2021.

Keep an Eye on the 2021 Gmc Terrain

Now that you have an idea of what the 2021 GMC Terrain comes equipped with, the trim line-up, the standard features, and the returning amenities, you can better gauge where the Terrain fits on your radar and whether the 2021 model has been worth the wait. Overall, the Terrain is a great step up for someone who wants an affordable and luxurious compact SUV – especially if you opt for the one-of-a-kind Terrain Denali.