2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV

MSRP $39,495 - $41,095

Ranked #17 in Compact Suv

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2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: October 18, 2021

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Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The GMC Terrain has been around for quite some time now and has managed to carve a niche out of the huge and ever-growing crossover SUV market. Since its launch, the Terrain has been considered a more luxurious and premium iteration of the Chevrolet Equinox, and the Denali trim tops it off nicely. The SUV entered its second-generation model back in 2018 and has remained unchanged since yet it is due for a complete redesign for the upcoming 2022 model year.

See detailed review »

Pros

Spacious and upscale cabin

User-friendly infotainment system

Refined and comfortable ride quality

Decent list of standard features

Cons

Optional extras result in a quick price bump

Sluggish performance from the standard powertrain

Smaller-than-average cargo capacity

What's New?

No major changes


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$39495

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

91 cu.in.

horsepower

170 hp @ 5600 rpm

torque

203 lb.-ft. @ 2000 rpm

transmission

6 speed automatic w/OD

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

brake rotors (f/r)

11.8/11.3 in.

capacity

passenger volume

99.6 cu ft.

cargo volume

63.3 cu ft.

towing capacity

1500 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

9.3 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

17.2 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

25/27/30 mpg

highway range

447 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

powertrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

6 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$39,495 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV in Alpine White color
Alpine White

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide


The 2021 Terrain Denali, as mentioned before, remains unchanged for this consecutive year too. The SUV is built on the latest GM D2XX platform which it shares with the Chevrolet Equinox and the Buick Envision. Powered by a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged motor, the Denali trim doesn’t get any enhancements in terms of the power output and performance as compared to the regular Terrain with the only difference being in terms of exterior styling. In the segment, the vehicle goes head-to-head against the Honda CR-V Touring, Ford Escape Titanium, and the Chevrolet Equinox Premium.

2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV Features

The 2021 GMC Terrain Denali is the top-end trim level of the Terrain lineup and comes with a distinctive styling and adequate luxurious appointments inside. Despite all the styling changes, the car remains almost unchanged mechanically. Being a Denali, the SUV gets some premium features such as a Denali Premium Suspension setup with enhanced shock control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with heating, multi-dimensional Denali grille with a satin-chrome finish, and Denali-specific 19-inch aluminum wheels. On the interior, features such as French-stitched leather front seats and burnished aluminum accents set it apart from the regular Terrain SUVs. 

Model

GMC Terrain Denali

MSRP (FWD)

$35,900

MSRP (AWD)

$37,500

Feature

19" aluminum wheels

 

Dual-zone automatic climate control

 

Denali premium suspension

 

Heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel

 

Bose 7-speaker audio system

 

GMC Pro Safety Plus is standard

 

Leather upholstery

 

Multi-Level Heating Driver seat and Passenger seat

 

8" Infotainment display

Which trim should you buy?

The GMC Terrain Denali is the range-topping trim of the Terrain lineup, hence there are no options to choose from. Moreover, the SUV comes fully equipped with almost all the available features, eliminating the requirement of the optional extras.

2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV Engine and Performance

The GMC Terrain Denali is powered by a 1.5-liter LYX turbocharged I-4 motor that is standard across the entire trim levels of the Terrain SUV, unfortunately. For performing day-to-day tasks, the motor feels adequately powerful, and even under a full load and relaxed driving conditions, the motor hardly breaks a sweat. The moment you wish to go full pedal-to-metal, the powerplant starts to show its weakness, compelling you to ease up on the gas pedal. The 9T45 9-speed automatic transmission works perfectly in tandem with the motor to keep things seamless, offering a hassle-free and smooth driving experience. The SUV can sprint to 0-60mph within 8.3 seconds, a decent time as opposed to the segment rivals with similar powertrain and power figures.

Model

GMC Terrain Denali

Honda CR-V Touring

Ford Escape Titanium

Chevrolet Equinox Premium

MSRP

$35,900

$33,250

$36,455

$32,595

Engine

1.5L turbocharged Inline 4

1.5L turbocharged Inline 4

2.0L turbocharged Inline 4

1.5L turbocharged Inline 4

Drivetrain

AWD

AWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

9-speed automatic

CVT

8-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

Power (hp@rpm)

170 hp @ 5500 rpm

190 hp @ 5600 rpm

250 hp @ 5500 rpm

170 hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque (lb-ft@rpm)

203 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

179 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm

280 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm

203 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

0-60 MPH (seconds)

8.3

9.3

6.2

8.3

Quarter Mile (seconds)

16.2

16

14.6

16.3

Top Speed (mph)

132

127

130

124

60-0 MPH (ft)

130

128

128

121

The Honda CR-V Touring gets a 1.5-liter turbocharged motor yet puts out slightly more power yet a considerably lower torque output of 179 lb-ft. Despite making more power than the Terrain Denali, it takes a while 1 second more to complete the 0-60mph sprint and has a lower top speed as well. The Ford Escape Titanium poses to be the star performer here with its bigger 2.0-liter EcoBoost motor generating over 200 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque and posting an impressive 6.2 seconds of 0-60mph sprint time. The Chevrolet Equinox is the mechanical twin of the Terrain Denali, hence the power and performance stats are identical with the latter as well.

How well does the 2021 GMC Terrain Denali handle?

The Terrain Denali comes out as an agile and nimble handling vehicle in the segment while being more comfortable than the regular Terrain owing to the Denali Premium Suspension setup with enhanced shock control. On open roads and within the city, the SUV glides over almost any tarmac conditions and the enhanced suspension system also helps to keep the ride comfort to a great extent. Going around the corners aren’t boring and lethargic too, with the vehicle maintaining its composure well enough. The steering wheel also provides certain levels of feel and feedback, making for an overall engaging drive every time.

2021 GMC Terrain Denali Braking Performance

Even though the GMC Terrain Denali gets an upgraded and enhanced suspension over the regular Terrain, the brakes do remain the same and so does the braking prowess. Being quite a hefty SUV with tipping the scales at 3,801 lbs. The brakes manage to halt the vehicle within 130ft which is a decent number as compared to the competition. The 12.6-inch front brakes and the 11.3-inch rear rotors get an additional performance lining for better overall braking performance.

Models

GMC Terrain Denali

Honda CR-V Touring

Ford Escape Titanium

Chevrolet Equinox Premium

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

12.6

11.1

12.8

12.6

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

11.3

10.2

12

11.3

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,801

3,398

3,299

3,274

60-0 MPH (feet)

130

128

128

121

The Honda CR-V gets the smallest set of brakes when compared to the vehicles on the list yet it manages to post an impressive 128 ft of stopping distance and stays at par with the rivals here. The Ford Escape gets the biggest set of brakes here and with a relatively light curb-weight of 3,299 lbs., its performance can be rated at decent at the most since the CR-V performed equally with smaller brakes and higher curb-weight. The Chevrolet Equinox posts the shortest braking distance since it has the lowest curb weight yet houses similar-sized brakes to the Terrain Denali.

2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV Fuel Economy

Modern crossover SUVs have become surprisingly fuel-efficient that further enhances their overall practicality as a friendly urban cruiser. The 2021 GMC Terrain Denali returns an average of 25mpg within the city, 28mpg out on the highways, and a decent 26mpg of combined mileage. With a 14.9-gallon gas tank, the vehicle goes on to offer a near-400 mile driving range of 387 miles within the city and a whopping 447 miles of highway driving range.

Model

GMC Terrain Denali

Honda CR-V Touring

Ford Escape Titanium

Chevrolet Equinox Premium

MPG (city)

25

28

23

26

MPG (highway)

28

34

31

31

MPG (combined)

26

30

26

28

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

14.9

14

15.7

14.9

Range (City/Hwy/Combined) (mi)

387/447/402

392/ 476/ 429

345.4/439.6/NA

387/477/417

The Honda CR-V impresses here too with its overwhelming mpg figures. It returns 28mpg within the city, 34mpg out on the highways, and an exceptional 30mpg of combined mileage. Even though it comes with a 14-gallon gas tank, it inches closer to the 400-mile driving range with its 392 miles of city range. The Ford Escape has the lowest city mileage here yet has a better highway mileage than the GMC Terrain. It gets the biggest gas tank measuring 15.7-gallon, offering some decent driving range numbers. The Chevrolet Equinox has slightly better mpg ratings as compared to its mechanical twin, the Terrain Denali, owing to its lighter curb weight.

2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV Interior

The interior of the 2021 GMC Terrain Denali is one of its highlights since it comes with all the major optional features from the regular Terrain SUV as standard. The overall interior design looks quite similar to the Terrain’s bigger sibling the Acadia. The layout of the cabin is quite convenient with all the controls placed within the driver’s reach. The steering gets wrapped in leather along with a heating function and the front seats feature a multi-level heating function for enhanced comfort during cold weather conditions. The headroom and legroom on offer are excellent while the rear seats offer a decent amount of comfort too with adequate space for tall adults. The only area it lacks is in the overall cargo space that at 29.6 cu.-ft is lower than average as compared to the segment rivals.

Model

GMC Terrain Denali

Honda CR-V Touring

Ford Escape Titanium

Chevrolet Equinox Premium

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

40.0/57.2/40.9

40.1/57.9/41.3

40.0/57.6/42.4

40.0/57.2/40.9

Second row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.5/55.6/39.7

39.2/55.6/40.4

39.3/56.0/40.7

38.5/55.5/39.9

Cargo Volume with rear seats up (ft.3)

29.6

37.6

34

29.6

The Honda CR-V Touring gets a utilitarian yet comfortable cabin much like other vehicles from the brand. On the design front, the SUV has a more modern touch inside as compared to the GMC Terrain Denali and the luxury appointments along with a long list of standard features complement the cabin in every way possible. Also, the CR-V has one of the highest cargo capacities of 37.6 cu.-ft within the segment. The Ford Escape has a robust and practical cabin but lacks the premium and plush feeling that you’d find on the Terrain Denali or the CR-V Touring. Apart from that, the vehicle has the second-best cargo capacity here among the rivals and also ranks among the best in the segment in this aspect. The Chevrolet Equinox might be the mechanical twin of the Terrain and has almost similar interior dimensions, but when it comes to design, the Equinox feels more sleek and modern as compared to the Terrain’s interior.

Some of the standout interior features include:

  • Front bucket seats with 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and 6-way power-adjustable passenger seat
  • Power-adjustable lumbar support for driver’s seat
  • Leather Upholstery
  • Flat-folding front passenger seatback
  • Rear seat release levers
  • Front and rear carpeted floor mats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The GMC Terrain Denali comes with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display and the system comes quite loaded with features. Almost all the basic and optional features from the lower trims are loaded as standard within the system here and get almost all your requirements covered. The user interface is smooth and intuitive yet it could’ve been more refined like the one you’d find in the Honda CR-V. Nonetheless, the abundance of features makes up for the slight lack of refinement here. Some of the interesting features include built-in Amazon Alexa, a Connected navigation system with real-time traffic updates, 4G LTE, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Some of the standout infotainment features are:

  • 8-inch touchscreen display
  • Amazon Alexa built-in
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Premium Bose Audio system
  • Connected navigation with real-time traffic data
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth connectivity

2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV Exterior

The Denali trims of GMC vehicles usually get a healthy dose of chrome inserts and detailing to stand out from the regular trims of the same vehicles. The 2021 GMC Terrain Denali exterior also gets a decent amount of chrome inserts and a unique multidimensional Denali front grille with satin chrome finish and it gives a distinctive character to the vehicle as well. Moreover, the 19-inch ultra-bright machined Denali wheels gels in perfectly with the chrome accents and uplifts the overall exterior appeal of the vehicle. The LED HID headlamps with the C-shaped running lights illuminate the road ahead brightly and the running lights look cool during daytime. The LED taillights also bear the same C-shaped design and give an impactful design from the rear end of the vehicle. The handsfree programmable power-operated liftgate further adds to the convenience offered by the SUV and makes loading cargo a breeze.

Model

GMC Terrain Denali

Honda CR-V Touring

Ford Escape Titanium

Chevrolet Equinox Premium

Curb Weight (lbs)

3449

3452

3299

3350

Length (in)

182.3

182.1

180.5

183.1

Width (in)

72.4

73

74.1

72.6

Height (in)

65.4

66.1

66.1

65.4

Ground Clearance (in)

6.9

7.8

7.9

6.9

Wheelbase (in)

107.3

104.7

106.7

107.3

The Honda CR-V Touring gets a proper crossover SUV exterior design and wears a mildly aggressive look at the front end. There are sleek yet noticeable chrome inserts and accents all around the vehicle yet the Terrain Denali still has more chrome details. Also, the CR-V has a better ground clearance than the Terrain and combined with the shorter wheelbase, poses as an ideal soft-roader. The Ford Escape might be placed within the crossover SUV segment yet its compact design makes it look more like a lifted sedan from the front end. The Chevrolet Equinox also gets a proper and intimidating SUV appeal, especially the front end. Around the sides, the curves and the width also give a proper character to the SUV as well.

Some of the standard exterior features include:

  • LED HID headlamps
  • Multi-dimensional satin chrome Denali front grille
  • 19-inch ultra-bright machined Denali wheels
  • Handsfree programmable power-operated liftgate

2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV Safety

The 2021 GMC Terrain secured some excellent crash-test ratings from both the NHTSA and the IIHS. The NHTSA gave a perfect 5-star rating while the IIHS gave the best possible rating of “Good” in a majority of test parameters. Apart from the exceptional safety ratings, the Denali gets all the optional safety features as standard, making for a feature-loaded safety suite. Some of the features include Lane keep assist with lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, and follow distance indicator.

Some of the notable safety features are:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Front Pedestrian Braking
  • Intellibeam headlamps
  • Forward Collision alert

2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV Competition

2021 GMC Terrain Denali vs. 2021 Honda CR-V Touring

The Honda CR-V does not only pose as a serious competitor to the Terrain, but it is also one of the most competitive ones among the entire segment. It does have a slightly more powerful engine yet it is held back by the CVT transmission. Apart from that, the CR-V has an immensely practical cabin with plenty of storage space and a huge cargo area. The only area it lacks is the handling where the Terrain Denali shines.

2021 GMC Terrain Denali vs. 2021 Ford Escape Titanium

The Ford Escape Titanium is a rather slightly pricier option as compared to the Terrain Denali. On the performance side, the SUV absolutely smashes the competition by generating some beefy power and torque figures as compared to the rivals here. Moreover, it offers a bigger cargo capacity, proving itself to be more practical than the Terrain. Yet, it loses out on the overall exterior and interior design in front of the Terrain Denali.

2021 GMC Terrain Denali vs. 2021 Chevrolet Equinox Premium

The Chevrolet Equinox is essentially the corporate sibling of the Terrain and is powered by the same powertrain. However, the Terrain Denali has some key differences such as a premium and more comfortable suspension setup. On the other hand, the Equinox has a lighter curb weight that translates to slightly better braking performance and fuel economy numbers.

2021 GMC Terrain Denali SUV Final Verdict

The GMC Terrain Denali aims to provide a premium experience at a competitive price and target the buyers who seek features and comfort more than performance. Apart from being quite plush, the SUV is quite practical too and offers a decent cargo hold as well. On the features front too, the vehicle will impress on most parts. Overall, if you’re looking for comfort and premium looks, the Terrain Denali would be a perfect choice, or else, the Honda CR-V stands as a more sensible buy.