Preview: 2013 GMC Terrain Denali

I have to say, I never thought in a million years that I would one day be squeezing out the sunroof of a yet-to-be released automobile in the Northern part of Michigan with a woman I hardly know. But I did. And here is how the story goes….

I received an invite on behalf of Traveling Mamas to preview the 2013 Terrain Denali by GMC (available sometime in October 2012.) Not only was I was excited to learn more about the GMC brand, I was also looking forward to visiting Northern Michigan near the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.

It proved to be a stunning backdrop for our test drive!

GMC 2013 Terrain Denali | Traveling Mamas
Northern Michigan provides the perfect backdrop for showcasing this sleek automobile. Photo by Susan Tucker using the Olympus E-PL3

Now, since I’m not a techy-car-person I couldn’t really tell you about all the engineering info with confidence (simply because I have no idea what I’m talking about, but you can access that information here.) What I can do is give you my honest mama opinion about the design features, functionality and drive-ability.

As I learned, the 2013 Terrain was introduced in 2010, and 2013 is the first year they will be offering the Denali trim package (a fancy GMC term for “make it sweet”) Clearly, we like the sweetness because this package has slowly gained popularity since it was introduced in the Yukon back in 1998. That and adding crossovers to their popular truck line-up seems to be working, as GMC is experiencing record sales.

After a quick rundown of the exterior features; signature honeycomb chrome grill, focused beam headlamp design, stylized chrome exhaust, chrome-clad aluminum wheels (did you note all that chrome?) and the oh-so-cool programmable back gate, our appetites were sufficiently whet and we were chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel.

GMC 2013 Terrain Denali | Traveling Mamas
Two separate satin chrome-clad aluminum wheel choices provide stylized flair. Photo by Susan Tucker using the Olympus E-PL3


GMC 2013 Terrain Denali | Traveling Mamas
And, this is how you work the programmable tailgate.... Photo by Susan Tucker

The first thing I noticed about the interior is the stunning red stitching on black leather seats and dashboard – a lovely detail in an automobile. And, the details didn’t end there! During the course of our drive I was noticing that every little nook and cranny had something to offer; a hidden cup holder in the door, a sweet navigational and Intellilink system which even showed us where to buy the least expensive fuel, powered smart-phone integration (I was able to charge my cell phone WHILE listening to the music on it, awesome!) and multi-flex rear seating (fit in that Costco run? no problem here! There is 8″ of “flex space”.)

2013 GMC Terrain Denaili | Traveling Mamas
Soft-touch instrument panel with French stitching. Photo provided by GMC
GMC 2013 Terrain Denali | Traveling Mamas
I'm easily dazzled. Love this super-secret beverage holder. Photo by Susan Tucker

Now, as any responsible mama would do, I had to find out about the safety features – not only is the Terrain Denali chock full of the modern -day features we’ve come to expect from new fancy cars, it ALSO has  really cool “lane departure warning” and “side blind zone alert.” Of course, while I was test driving all I could think was that this smart car thinks I’m a dumb driver… that dadgum “lane departure warning” beeper went off A LOT! (This feature can be switched off…. which is a feature in an of itself, the ability to choose the features you want… now, that is pretty cool!)

Driving the Terrain Denali made me giggle like a school girl. Passing big slow trucks on 2-lane highways took me 6.5 seconds. The power I felt beneath my feet was intoxicating – maybe a little TOO intoxicating to the GMC rep riding with us! But, despite my need for speed, I felt safe and sound inside our quiet zone of luxury. There is a 3.6 liter V6 option for a-little-too-in-a-hurry mamas like myself, and a 2.4 liter I-4 option for fuel-conscious mamas (not quite as powerful, but better on the wallet with a rating of 17/24 mpg.)

Of course, I had to find out the MOST important question of all. Can two adults fit in the sunroof? After all, every luxury car owner will want to hang out of it at some point, right? Luckily, our GMC friend didn’t mind and were able to capture the moment.

2013 GMC Terrain Denali | Traveling Mamas
Luxury + Silly = a whole lot of serious fun in a super sweet car. Here with my new friend, Leticia. Photo by Joe LaMuraglia using the Olympus E-PL3

Overall, I was impressed with the styling, comfort and detail of the 2013 Terrain Denali and think it would best suit families with either very young kids (great size back seat for dual car seats) or much older kids. I missed the 3rd row seat for my soccer-team-schleping needs (but, that choice is conveniently offered in the similarly featured Acadia Denali.)

MSRP for the Terrain Denali starts at $35,350. Add on all the bells, whistles and fancy drivetrain and that price goes up to $38,600.

Even though GMC hosted this trip, all opinions are mine and mine alone. Thank you GMC!

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One Comment

  1. The best thing about the 2013 Terrain Denali was all of the space – fitting four full-sized adults (or five if you count me since I’m a doublewide) is no problem. Everyone’s got a comfortable amount of space, no one’s cramped – not even the driver, who usually has to sacrifice leg-room in front of the pedals to accommodate for a passenger behind him.

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