By Tim Spell, Motor Matters

Crossovers and sport utility vehicles that blend functionality and luxury are in demand. GMC is working at enhancing its entire lineup with the premium Denali treatment. For 2013, the truck manufacturer gives Denali prestige to its Terrain, adding style and sophistication to this small crossover.

Like its larger Acadia and Yukon siblings, the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali ups the ante with distinctive interior and exterior appointments, as well as with new infotainment and safety technologies. Starting at $35,350 with FWD and $37,100 for the AWD version, the Terrain Denali's exterior is distinguished from the standard Terrain with upscale appointments.

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This premium Terrain wears the signature Denali round-hole chrome grille, boldly adorned with a red GMC logo; more satin-chrome accents, including special side molding, door handles, heated power mirrors and roof-rack side rails; front and rear body-colored fascias; and distinguishing headlamps and taillamps.

Models powered by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine get a single chrome-finished exhaust outlet and 18-inch, five-spoke satin-chrome-clad aluminum wheels. The 3.6-liter-V-6-powered Terrain Denali models have dual chrome-finished exhaust outlets and roll on 19-inch, six-spoke satin-chrome-clad aluminum wheels.

Powering the Terrain Denali is a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder, delivering 182 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,900 rpm. Benefiting from Direct Injection and camshaft phasing, the four-cylinder's estimated fuel economy is 22 miles per gallon city and 32 mpg highway on FWD models, and 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway on AWD models.

The four-cylinder is a respectable performer, but the optional 3.6-liter V-6 provides a considerable power boost, albeit at a sacrifice in fuel economy. The V-6, which adds $1,750 to the price tag, generates 301 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 272 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. While the 3.6-liter is more powerful than its 3.0-liter V-6 predecessor, its estimated fuel economy is the same -- 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway with FWD and 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway with AWD models.

Both engines are mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, and regular-unleaded gasoline is recommended to fill their tanks -- 18.8 gallons for the 2.4-liter and 20.9 gallons for the 3.6-liter.

An engineering highlight exclusive to the 2013 Terrain Denali is a new dual-flow damper system, which enhances the suspension with a smoother ride quality and better handling across a wider range of driving conditions.

Along with a compliant ride, those aboard the five-passenger Terrain Denali enjoy an interior with a luxurious look and feel. Seats and door inserts are clad with Jet Black perforated leather with contrasting stitching, and driver- and front-passenger seats provide eight-way power adjustability. Front seatbacks are embossed with the Denali logo and the soft-touch instrument panel is trimmed with French stitching. Smoked mahogany wood trim accents the interior, including the leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The 60/40-split-fold rear seat can be moved fore and aft, and the seatbacks recline. Folding the seatbacks flat expand cargo capacity to 63.9 cubic feet. The cargo compartment is accessed via a programmable power liftgate, featuring a memory function that stops the liftgate at a chosen height.

Standard entertainment/infotainment features include: GMC IntelliLink Hands-Free smartphone integration with Bluetooth Audio Streaming and voice-activated audio controls; and Color Touch AM/FM/Sirius FM radio with 7-inch screen, CD/MP3 player, auxiliary input and USB port; and premium eight-speaker sound with amplifier and equalization.

Radar-based safety systems standard on Terrain Denali include Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Forward Collision Alert audibly and visually warns drivers when the chance of a collision is high; Lane Departure Warning alerts the driver with three low-pitch beeps that the vehicle is straying out of the lane; Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert help avoid collisions by using radar to watch spots the driver may not be able to see.

StabiliTrak electronic stability control and traction control, and four-wheel-disc brakes are standard, as well as six airbags -- dual frontal airbags; head curtain side airbags and pelvic/thorax seat-mounted side airbags.

GMC's smallest Denali is a solid addition to its family of premium vehicles, adding an extra dose of style and luxury to the company's "Professional Grad formula.



VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger FWD compact SUV

BASE PRICE____________________ As tested: $35,350

MOTOR TYPE___________________ 16-valve 4-cylinder w/DI


HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 182 at 6700 rpm

TORQUE (lb.-ft.)________________ 172 at 4900 rpm

TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic

OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 187.8 in.

TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb)––– 40.0 ft.

CURB WEIGHT__________________ 3,881 lbs.

FUEL CAPACITY_________________ 18.8 gal.

EPA MILEAGE RATING____________ 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway


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