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The Introduction of the 2021 GMC Terrain

A white 2021 GMC Terrain AT4 is parked on a snowy road.

GMC hasn’t backed down from their claim they made back in 2018 regarding an eventual introduction of an All-Terrain four-wheel drive (AT4) variant to most of their beloved lineups. Fans of older small size SUVs from the manufacturer have had a lot to look forward to recently, and more so now that the news has been finalized. The big news for GMC: the 2021 GMC Terrain is getting its own AT4 model, increasing GMC’s number of AT4 vehicles in production to six so far.

Although we haven’t gotten much information regarding the remaining Terrain models, the AT4 has certainly been the center of attention in recent media. There are many reasons why you should consider an AT4 vehicle, including a focus on off-roading features and packages. The 2021 Terrain is rightfully referred to by GMC as a “premium off-road small SUV,” and the AT4 reflects exactly that.

What’s New For 2021

The AT4 Terrain comes with tires exclusive to the model, and it receives a black chrome grille and larger headlights than its contemporaries. When paired with the included off-road kit, we certainly see potential. Fans of off-roading will likely be drawn to the AT4 variant of the new Terrain as it’s likely the most capable of the bunch.

We imagine the AT4 can help us figure out more info on the remaining Terrain trims that have yet to be seen, including features found on the inside and or exterior design changes such as the larger headlights and upgraded grille, which line up with other recent GMC refreshes. But until those models are officially unveiled, the info stays true for the AT4 as it’s the one that has been shown at multiple trade shows and so forth, but the remaining trims have yet to be seen in public, and thus their specifications and designs remain pure speculation.

A white 2021 GMC Terrain AT4 is driving in the snow.

What Will Return: Engines and Transmission

For now, GMC has confirmed the return of the SLT, SLE, and the Denali, but that doesn’t mean they’re getting rid of any previous trims. We can expect to see the same choices we had when it comes to engine types as those found in the 2020 Terrain, and that’s not particularly a bad thing either. Just for reference, the two engines you can fit your Terrain with started with the base 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which can produce 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. This engine also has a max towing capacity of 1,500 lbs. When this engine is fitted into the 2020 Terrain, the SLE trim, to be exact, it holds an EPA mileage estimate of 26 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway with a combined MPG rating of 27. Overall, it is a solid standard engine that provides ample performance.

The second engine GMC offered in the 2020 Terrain is a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, and this time has the ability to produce 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque with a 3,500 pound maximum towing capacity. The 2.0L engine comes standard on the Denali and is only optional for the SLT, whereas the SL and SLE get the 1.5L engine without the ability to have either engine.

As far as fuel economy goes for the turbocharged 2.0L when it is paired with a 2020 Terrain with the Denali trim, it is able to achieve 22 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway with a combined rating of 24 MPG. Both engines come standard with front-wheel drive, but you can opt for all-wheel drive on any of the available trims. It’s also worth noting that both of these engines come paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission standard, and overall we’d be perfectly fine seeing these engines again in 2021.

Interior Similarities

We expect a majority of interior features will be brought over from the 2020 Terrain, such as the infotainment center. The infotainment screen comes in both seven and eight-inch sizes, depending on the trim level you have chosen for the 2020 model year. These infotainment centers have increasingly grown in popularity over the past couple of years as they give your vehicle a host of new improvements surrounding quality of life features such as a customizable touch screen that can display useful information such as the built-in turn-by-turn navigation for example.

To take customization to the next level, these infotainment hubs support both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These implementations allow you to connect your mobile devices to your vehicle and lets you access a majority of its features. Both CarPlay and Auto contain their own respective app stores, allowing you to personalize your apps, and use the ones that you find most useful.

The infotainment center included on the 2020 GMC Terrain features a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and we can imagine this will remain the same for 2021. Once you have a Wi-Fi hotspot in your vehicle, you’ll never want to switch back, and neither will your passengers. Your passengers will no longer be subjected to long boring drives as they can now connect their wireless devices with ease. They can browse the web or stream content from sites such as Netflix or YouTube without having to worry about their cell signal or data usage.

The dashboard and infotainment screen in the 2021 GMC Terrain are shown.

GMC Provides the Safety

One of our favorite parts about the 2020 Terrain is the fact that every Terrain comes standard with GMC Pro Safety, which is a bundle of high-end safety features by GMC that can make a world of difference. The features present in GMC Pro Safety include Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam Headlamps, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Front Pedestrian Braking, and a Following Distance Indicator.

There is a lot here in terms of safety features that come standard with this included package, and GMC even offers a couple of additional features should you desire, including Adaptive Cruise Control and Rear Park Assist. With all of these features combined, you will have peace of mind, knowing that your vehicle is alert of its surroundings and can assist in avoiding otherwise unavoidable accidents.

With help from alert systems such as Front Pedestrian Braking, this technology assists in applying the brakes if the system detects an imminent collision with a pedestrian or bicyclist while you’re traveling at speeds below 50 mph. Driving at night now gets a little easier as well with the integration of IntelliBeam Headlamps, which switches between your high beams and low beams, depending on any oncoming traffic. This eliminates the need for you to perform this action yourself. Overall, when it comes to safety, we can continue to trust GMC, and you should too.

The GMC Terrain Going Forward

GMC has done an excellent job of keeping us and their loyal fans everywhere on their toes when it comes to how they see their Terrain going forward. The 2020 Terrain was a very capable SUV, and we are certain the same will be said about the 2021 models as well. The addition of an AT4 is exciting and is a decision that is sure to win over even some of the biggest of off-roading fans. GMC has done a fine job at reinvigorating Terrain’s spot as an SUV with both power and the off-roading performance its fans crave to see, and we can’t wait to see it in action.

The 2021 GMC Terrain will be launching in the Fall of this year, and we have yet to hear official pricing by GMC. We’re especially interested to see how the AT4 model will be priced, however. For reference, the 2020 Terrain started at an MSRP of $26,195 so we’ll see if that changes at all in the months to come. No longer are smaller SUVs limited by their size and looked down upon by enthusiasts. Today, we’re seeing some fantastic innovations that push them further than ever, and GMC will always remain there at the forefront.

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