USED: The 2016 GMC AWD Terrain Denali Review: Can It Serve My Country Girl/City Girl Split Personality?

A Girls Guide To Cars | Used: The 2016 Gmc Awd Terrain Denali Review: Can It Serve My Country Girl/City Girl Split Personality? - Sbcterrainselfie

A Road Trip Reveals All.

Living in New York City, I spend much of my time on mass transit riding subways, buses or walking around on foot. So when I get the chance to hit the open road, I’m game. Recently, I had the opportunity to drive the 2016 GMC Terrain AWD Denali from New York to southern Maryland and on to Virginia – a big treat for this city girl.

2016 Gmc Terrain Denali

The grille of the 2016 GMC Terrain Denali brings out the country with its truck like design. Photo: Terri Marshall for AGirlsGuidetoCars

The GMC AWD Terrain Denali let me bring along both of my personalities

Actually, I wasn’t originally a city girl at all. Born in north Georgia and growing up in a small Florida town, I spent much of my life as a country girl. Then I relocated to New York and transformed into a city slicker. It turns out that the country and city combination is well suited for the GMC Terrain Denali. The grille reminds me of a GMC truck – the kind you need in the country. But the minute you slip into the luxe leather appointed seats and wrap your hands around the leather wrapped steering wheel–luxury is what Denali stands for – it’s all city style. The White Frost tricoat paint job on the exterior was pretty citified too.  The $41,000 price tag for the Terrain Denali satisfied both my city and country sensibilities: the SUV was well priced for its size, capabilities and all the luxury and safety features it had.

Who this car is for

  • The GMC Terrain Denali works for families: it has a sizeable backseat and sufficient cargo space.
  • For families with growing teens or young adults, the adjustable rear seat provides plenty of leg room.
  • Couples or singles who frequently drive with adult friends or family along will find the interior roomy and comfortable
  • For city dwellers, the GMC Terrain Denali provides a touch of luxury while you’re waiting out those gridlock traffic conditions
  • And for country folk, the GMC Terrain Denali gives you the look and feel of a truck without sacrificing comfort and style
2016 Gmc Terrain Denali

Shaded navigation screen keeps the reflections down. Photo by: Terri Marshall for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Plenty of technology to keep you safe and connected

On a road trip, I always keep a bit of my country roots in the car with the radio set to the country music stations.  And in the Terrain, with its Pioneer Premium 8 speaker system with amp and subwoofers, the country music came to life. I felt like Tim McGraw was sitting in the passenger seat singing Humble and Kind as I motored along.


2016 Gmc Terrain Denali

A backseat roomy enough for Mama and her son-in-law. Photo: Terri Marshall for AGirlsGuidetoCars

City or country, we all love our technology and the GMC Terrain Denali has everything you need. Safety features include side blind zone alert, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert and rear vision camera.

To keep you and your passengers connected, the Terrain Denali is equipped with OnStar and a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, GMC Intellilink with hands-free smartphone integration, Bluetooth audio streaming and voice activated audio controls. The GPS navigation system displays logo icons for local businesses along the route – which kept the city girl inside of me happy as I searched for Starbucks.

  • 2016 Gmc Terrain Denali

    The adjustable back seat slides 8 inches to give more knee room for longer legged adults. Photo: Terri Marshall for AGirlsGuidetoCars

What I loved

  • Hands down, my favorite feature of the 2016 GMC Terrain Denali was the Side Blind Zone Alert system.  It’s extremely helpful to know there’s a vehicle coming up beside you when you’re zipping down the New Jersey Turnpike with all those – um…well, unpredictable drivers sharing the road with me
  • The 3.6L V6 engine gave me enough get up and go to get on the highway quickly and out of the way of the aforementioned drivers
  • The design of the dashboard includes a built-in shade that protrudes over the navigation screen which keeps reflections off the screen. Brilliant idea (pun intended)
  • The driver seat had 8-way power adjustable positions with Lumbar support and memory settings – a must for any vehicle we buy given my husband is tall and I’m only 5’2”
  • And speaking of being vertically challenged, the GMC Terrain Denali has a programmable power liftgate to assist shorter drivers and to accommodate low garage heights
  • And for those backseat drivers, the exclusive Multi-flex sliding rear seat can be adjusted fore or aft by 8 inches

    2016 Gmc Terrain Denali

    Center console has room for a small laptop when the shelf is removed. Photo: Terri Marshall for AGirlsGuidetoCars

What you should know

  • The base price is $35,725.  The model I drove , including that sparkling White Frost tricoat paint job, is $41,680
  • Gas mileage for the AWD mode is 16 city and 23 highway. I averaged around 21 for the mostly highway drive down to Solomons Island, Maryland. Those numbers obviously work better with lower gas prices.
  • Take regular gas
  • The GPS system for the model I drove got a little confused on the back roads in Maryland. She also seemed a little disoriented when I changed directions in northern Virginia outside Washington DC. I could have sworn she told me to make an illegal U-turn on several occasions – which, of course, I ignored!
  • Ground clearance isn’t sufficient for serious off-roading, but it worked just fine for the dusty gravel roads that led me to Mallows Bay for an afternoon of kayaking.


The GMC AWD Terrain Denali was provided by GMC for my road trip.  Opinions expressed here are all my own.

Terri Marshall grew up road-tripping around the country. Her love for the open road remains strong today. A travel... More about Terri Marshall