A black 2022 GMC Terrain Denali is driving down a two way road after leaving a used GMC Terrain dealer

Key Model Years for the GMC Terrain

Whether you’re simply interested in the history and background of the GMC Terrain, or if you’re looking for a used model to buy, it’s helpful to have a sense of which model years are particularly noteworthy. While some of this might be a bit academic, if you’re thinking about heading to your local used GMC Terrain dealer to see what they have available, then it can help to go in with a game plan. One of the easiest ways to simplify shopping for a vehicle is to narrow down which models and years you really want.

With the GMC Terrain, this is a bit easier than with a lot of other models because it’s only been around for a little over a decade. When you’re looking at some other model that goes back 40+ years, narrowing down your used options can get kind of tricky. But with the GMC Terrain, you’re only worried about two different generations and some key model years within those. Despite its relatively short model run so far, however, there are a number of very important differences between certain model years, so this does still matter. Let’s take a look at several model years that you should have in mind when considering used GMC Terrains.

The 2010 GMC Terrain

This is the very first model year, so if you’re interested in a used GMC Terrain, then this is as far back as you can go. When it was first introduced, the Terrain was built on the same platform as the Chevy Equinox at the time, so this is a midsize crossover SUV (that’s an important detail, so keep that in mind as you continue reading). It has seating for up to five people, and two different engines were available: a 2.4L 4-cylinder and an available 3.0L V6 that delivers up to 264 hp. As you’re looking at different used GMC Terrain models, finding one with the V6 engine is a great idea that really does make a difference when you’re behind the wheel.

When it was first released in 2010, the GMC Terrain featured four different trims levels: the SLE1, SLE2, SLT1, and SLT2. All four trims had the 4-cylinder engine standard and came with front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive was available for any of them, and the V6 engine was offered on all but the starting trim. It featured a spacious interior and plenty of good safety features for its time, but you should remember that what you’ll find on a model from 2010 can’t compete with the latest and greatest options. These models tend to be very affordable, but since they’ve been around a while, you’ll want to find one with low mileage if possible and a clean history.

A gold 2013 GMC Terrain SLE is parked in the driveway of an estate.

The 2013 GMC Terrain

There were two major updates for the GMC Terrain in 2013, both of which are pretty important. First, the Terrain got a new V6 engine for the 2013 model year: the previous 264 hp 3.0L engine was replaced by a 3.6L V6 that delivers up to 301 hp. So if you’re looking for a used GMC Terrain, a model with the upgraded available engine from 2013 or later is going to have more power and better performance than one from the first few years.

The second big feature for the 2013 model year was the addition of the Denali trim for the Terrain. This immediately became the new high-end trim for the GMC Terrain, as the Denali features a number of luxury items throughout the interior, including a soft-touch dashboard, black leather seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Denali also brought some nice chrome touches and some advanced safety features that you won’t find on the lower trims.

The 2016 GMC Terrain

For the 2016 model year, the GMC Terrain received a mid-cycle refresh and update while remaining in its first generation. Much of this refresh consisted of an overall exterior facelift, which included a new front and rear fascia, a new grille, new wheels, and LED daytime running lights. These changes aren’t monumental, but they are noticeable, so they’re worth keeping in mind when looking at used GMC Terrain models.

The GMC Terrain also received a number of interior updates as part of its refresh, including a new gear selector and additional storage options. Overall, the changes weren’t massive, and the same engines were available for this year as the previous years since 2013. Still, the update did offer some new features, and they can make for a more enjoyable ride.

The 2018 GMC Terrain

A second generation for the GMC Terrain kicked off with the 2018 model year, so this is an important one to keep in mind when looking at used models. There are some major differences with this second generation, starting with the fact that it was built on a new platform, making it a compact crossover model rather than midsize. It still offers a spacious interior with comfortable seating for up to five people, but it’s smaller overall than it was in its first generation.

Other major changes with the 2018 model year include the availability of three engines, rather than the previous two, including a diesel option. In fact, the engines are completely different from the year prior. Starting with 2018, the GMC Terrain comes with a 1.5L Turbo I-4 engine that offers 170 hp. There’s also an available 2.0L Turbo I-4 that delivers 252 hp or an available 1.6L Turbo-Diesel that offers up to 137 hp and excellent fuel economy.

The interior of the GMC Terrain was completely redesigned and improved for 2018 with a clean look and feel and soft-touch surfaces for more trims. It features an updated infotainment system, a 7-inch touchscreen standard with an 8-inch display available, and much more. With the second generation in 2018, six trims were offered for the GMC Terrain: the starting SL trim, then the SLE, SLT, SLE Diesel, SLT Diesel, and finally the luxurious Denali.

A black 2020 GMC Terrain is shown driving from the front.

The 2020 GMC Terrain

Perhaps the most recent year that you’ll probably find for the GMC Terrain when looking at used models, there weren’t a ton of changes made for 2020. That being said, there are still a few important things to note. A Black Edition had been introduced for 2019, but it was renamed the Elevation Edition for the 2020 model year and features gloss-black wheels with a dark-finish grille and mirror caps for a sleek and dark overall appearance.

The other major thing to note about the 2020 models is that the Turbo-Diesel engine was no longer available. That means you’ll only find the two standard gas engines on used models from this year, and it eliminated two of the six trim levels. So you can find SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali models of the GMC Terrain from 2020.

The 2022 GMC Terrain

It might seem a little strange to talk about an upcoming, brand-new model of the GMC Terrain when we’ve been discussing used options this whole time, but I feel it’s worth mentioning. GMC had planned a mid-cycle refresh and update for the Terrain for the model year 2021, but certain events made that impractical. The refresh was delayed, so it looks like 2022 models will have new exterior styling, LED headlamps and tail lamps, and a refreshed interior. An all-new AT4 trim will also be available, with a focus on adventure. There are plenty of things to love about the previous Terrain models, and there will be plenty to love about the new Terrain models that will be available used before you know it.