Best & Worst GMC Terrain Years

We've ranked each GMC Terrain model for every generation so you can avoid picking the worst GMC Terrain years and pick the best GMC Terrain year.

In this guide, I’ll analyze all GMC Terrain generations, highlighting the finest and most dependable years for the GMC Terrain to buy and the least reliable years to avoid.

Armed with data from NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and Edmunds, we delve into owner feedback, safety ratings, and recall histories, offering you information you can trust.

You’ will be discovering each GMC Terrain model year’s performance, reliability, safety and tech, common owner-reported problems, recalls, and average resale values.

Let’s dive right in!

Related:Best & Worst GMC Acadia YearsBest & Worst GMC Yukon Years

GMC Terrain Generations

The GMC Terrain, first introduced in 2010, quickly established itself as a competent compact SUV in the market. It was praised for its roomy interior, comfortable ride, and stylish design.

The Terrain offered a range of engine choices, including a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder, a more powerful V6 option, and available all-wheel drive, making it a versatile choice for various driving needs.

Let’s take a closer look at the different generations of the GMC Terrain from 2010.

1st generation (GMT177)2010-2017
2nd generation (GM D2XX)2018-Present

Listing the generations helps provide a more precise understanding, as significant changes between generations can often be a key factor in making an informed purchasing decision.

Table of ContentsShow

GMC Terrain Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When ranking and categorizing the best and worst GMC Terrain model years, we consider a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

The upcoming graph combines all these ratings, providing a comprehensive view of each model year’s performance and reliability.

GMC Terrain Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

The table below categorizes each model year of the GMC Terrain into the best, neutral, and worst years based on our extensive evaluation criteria.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation (GMT177)2016
2nd generation (GM D2XX)2020

Neutral Years don’t distinctly fall into the best or worst categories. They represent years with mixed or average feedback and performance indicators.

Factors like NHTSA recalls negatively impact our categorizations. Higher numbers of complaints and recalls typically indicate lower reliability for a particular model year.

Let’s dive into the GMC Terrain’s best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for GMC Terrain 1st Generation (2010-2017)

GMC Terrain 1st generation 2010 model
The 2010 GMC Terrain

The first-generation GMC Terrain, launched in 2010, marked a significant step into GMC’s mid-size crossover SUV segment, blending rugged capability and family-oriented utility.

2016 and 2017 are the first-gen GMC Terrain’s best years to buy, while the worst years to avoid span between 2010 and 2013.

The Best Years: 2016, 2017

The GMC Terrain’s best years, 2016 and 2017, represented a high point regarding reliability and overall performance.

These models offered two engine options: a 2.4L I4 engine delivering decent fuel efficiency with an EPA estimate of 21 city/31 highway MPG and a more powerful 3.6L V6 engine, perfect for those requiring more robust performance.

Trim levels ranged from the base SL to the top-tier Denali, with higher trims offering advanced features like a power liftgate, a sunroof, and enhanced safety technologies, including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

These years saw a significant reduction in previously reported problems, making them a more reliable choice for buyers.

The Neutral Years: 2014, 2015

The 2014 and 2015 GMC Terrains were transitional years, offering improvements over earlier models but still experiencing some issues.

Both years continued with the same engine options as the best years, including the fuel-efficient 2.4L I4 engine.

These models featured trim levels from the base SL to the luxury Denali, each progressively offering more features like enhanced infotainment systems and leather upholstery.

While these years saw improvements in the infotainment system’s reliability, they were still plagued by excessive oil consumption and timing chain problems.

Safety recalls for windshield wiper failures were also notable.

The Worst Years: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

With various engine, transmission, and electrical system problems, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 are the worst years for the first-gen GMC Terrain, which are wise to avoid.

The 2010-2013 GMC Terrain models were powered by a standard 2.4L I4 engine, notorious for excessive oil consumption, and a 3.0L V6 option in earlier years, replaced by a 3.6L V6 in 2013.

These models had significant engine and transmission issues, including timing chain and transmission failures, which impacted their overall dependability.

Electrical problems were widespread, affecting the infotainment systems, instrument clusters, and climate control units. GM also issued service bulletins for power steering loss and inoperative windshields.

The 2012 GMC Terrain was also recalled for its tire pressure monitoring system.

Recalls during these years included inoperative heating, air conditioning, defrosting, radio, and panel illumination due to software errors.

See NHTSA 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 GMC Terrain recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for GMC Terrain 2nd Generation (2018-Present)

GMC Terrain 2nd generation 2018 model
The 2018 GMC Terrain

The second generation of the GMC Terrain, introduced in 2017, marked a significant leap forward in practicality, technology, and performance.

2018, 2019, and 2022 are the worst GMC Terrain years of the generation, while the best years to buy are 2020, 2021, 2023, and 2024.

The Best Years: 2020, 2021, 2023, 2024

The GMC Terrain’s second generation peaked in the 2020, 2021, 2023, and 2024 model years, showcasing significant reliability and improvements in feature offerings.

These models come with two engine options: a turbocharged 1.5L I4 (LYX/LSD) and a turbocharged 2.0L I4 for those seeking more power.

Regarding fuel economy, the 1.5L engine offers around 26 city/30 highway MPG, which is quite respectable for its class.

These years offered a range of trim levels, from the practical SLE to the luxurious Denali, with advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and automatic emergency braking.

The infotainment system received upgrades for better connectivity and user experience, and the interior design and materials saw significant enhancements, making these years desirable for their balance of features and reliability.

The Worst Years: 2018, 2019, 2022

The early years of the second-generation GMC Terrain, specifically 2018 and 2019, were marred by several issues.

Engine stalling was a notable problem, along with oil and coolant leaks, which were prevalent in these models.

The 2018 GMC Terrain suffered transmission problems, including transmission oil leaks and brake vacuum pump failures, leading to braking issues.

Safety recalls included missing bolts on the start/stop accumulator, driveshaft fractures, and insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pistons.

The 2022 model encountered specific issues like fuel pump failures and tire tread separation, which led to significant recalls.

These persistent problems in the 2018, 2019, and 2022 models make them less favorable choices for buyers seeking reliability and peace of mind.

See NHTSA 2018, 2019, 2022 GMC Terrain recalls and complaints.

GMC Terrain Resale Values

This insightful resale value graph explores how GMC Terrain models retain their value over time.

GMC Terrain Average List Price


To sum it all up, when considering a GMC Terrain, aim for the best model years like 2016, 2017, 2020, 2021, 2023, and 2024 for reliability and avoid the 2010-2013 and 2018, 2019, and 2022 models due to their issues.

What features do you value most in a GMC Terrain?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Relevant For You

The Best and Worst Years For Buick Encore
Best & Worst Buick Encore Years
Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.