GMC Terrain Years To Avoid | 14 Best & Worst Models 2023

Source: Motor Authority

Buying a car is a major decision that requires careful thought and planning. What kind of car you want, how much money you have, and where you want to buy it all need to be considered. However, the vehicle’s production year is often ignored, but it holds big value.

The GMC Terrain is an excellent SUV. However, you should stay away from particular Terrain model years. So, out of all available Terrain models, which model years of the GMC Terrain should you avoid and why?

GMC Terrain years to avoid include 2010-2016, 2018, and 2019; they are considered the worst. The best years for GMC Terrain include 2017, 2020-2023. This result was concluded from trustworthy sources such as NHTSA, Edmund, JD Power, and Kelley Blue Book.

GMC Terrain Years To Avoid

GMC Terrain is one of the good cars that combine good looks with practicality and reliability. However, there are specific Terrain model years that are not recommended:

9. Worst Year: 2019 GMC Terrain (3.78 Rating)

Source: CarBuzz

As the list’s final entry, the 2019 GMC Terrain is also a poor choice. Even while this number of complaints is much smaller than the worst-year totals, it was still high enough for me to rank this model dead last.

Forward automated braking system failure, peeling paint, and a frozen infotainment screen are some of the most often reported concerns with the 2019 GMC Terrain. Compared to other SUVs, most of these issues are minor and may be fixed for a reasonable price.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

8. Worst Year: 2016 GMC Terrain (3.75 Rating)

Source: pinterest

2016 GMC Terrain is another worst model that should be avoided. The main reason for its failure is problems with the powertrain, and faulty wiper motors make up the bulk of complaints.

Many vehicles from the previous model year have also been affected by the faulty wiper motor, prompting an inquiry by the NHTSA.

According to Carproblemzoo, Poor visibility, caused by factors such as broken wipers, ranks as the most prevalent technical issue. Engine and engine cooling issues are the second most frequent cause of vehicle breakdowns.

Related: 10 Best & Worst Years Of Chevy Tahoe | The Ultimate Guide

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

7. Worst Year: 2014 GMC Terrain (3.59 Rating)

Source: media.gmcarabia

2014 GMC Terrain has numerous high oil consumption issues, which may eventually cause the engine to break down. Its engine also experienced other problems, like suddenly turning off while driving or speeding up without warning.

There were electrical problems with this model year that rendered the radio inoperable and the windshield wipers useless in the rain.

Many drivers complained that their heater blew cold air. Water leaks, strange odors, and cooling failures were just some other HVAC problems with the 2014 GMC Terrain.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

6. Worst Year: 2018 GMC Terrain (3.44 Rating)

Source: Car and drive

Despite GMC’s claims that they’ve created the luxury small SUV market with the 2018 Terrain, customers have a lot of issues with the vehicle.

Consumers increasingly turn to the internet to report everything from routine electrical faults to major engine issues. The electronic stability control and the braking system have both received numerous complaints and recalls.

The three most commonly reported problems are defective service brakes, electrical systems, and powertrains. Furthermore, multiple 2018 GMC models were recalled due to a fuel system flaw that might cause fuel leaks.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

5. Worst Year: 2010 GMC Terrain (3.41 Rating)


This GMC Terrain model year is one of the weakest in the lineup, as is typical for introductory models. It was one of the worst years for the Terrain, with several reports of oil leaks and transmission issues from drivers. Due to these problems, driving was difficult and bumpy; even some vehicles could not complete their journeys.

CarComplaints reports that some owners have experienced transmission failures, which may be fixed for roughly $3,600. On average, it happens every 86,000 miles.

In addition, the 2010 model year’s excessive oil consumption is expensive to fix, costing roughly $4,000 at an average mileage of 102,000 miles.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

4. Worst Year: 2015 GMC Terrain (3.28 Rating)

Source: Edmunds

Users have reported that their 2015 GMC Terrains randomly lose power while driving, continuing a trend prevalent in prior model years. They still reported transmission failure and other transmission problems.

Many GMC Terrain customers complained that the faulty StabiliTrak electronic stability control system diminished the performance of their vehicles.

In addition to its heavy oil consumption, this GMC Terrain also suffered from poor fuel economy. There were also complaints of defective airbags and seatbelts that locked after the airbags were deployed. This year’s GMC Terrains were also recalled because of windshield wiper issues that blocked driver sight.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

3. Worst Year: 2013 GMC Terrain (3.12 Rating)

Source: the car connection

The 2013 GMC Terrain has every issue of earlier models, such as high oil consumption and transmission problems, as well as some new ones, such as faulty Bluetooth, water leakage within the cabin, and inadequate noise isolation.

While there was no transmission failure, owners did report vibration. There were multiple reports of significant engine damage, limited engine power, and the engine suddenly shut off on this particular model. Usually, this issue surfaced somewhere between the 52,000-mile and 108,000-mile marks.

Some drivers said they experienced a persistent check engine light, while others said their engines suddenly stopped working.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

2. Worst Year: 2012 GMC Terrain (3.06 Rating)


There were fewer complaints about the 2012 GMC Terrain than the 2011 model year, but it isn’t exactly a glowing recommendation for it.

Although transmission failure wasn’t a common issue with this model, some drivers complained about a clunking noise whenever they shifted gears. Engine stalling while idling and excessive oil use were also continuing issues with this model.

There were electrical problems with this GMC Terrain, including a broken navigation system and defective power seats. The faulty radio was another source of dissatisfaction.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

1. Worst Year: 2011 GMC Terrain (2.82 Rating)

Source: Auto evolution

Compared to other GMC models, this year’s Terrain receives the highest customer complaints and is considered the worst of all. The persistent issue of excessive oil consumption has resulted in more frequent oil changes and increased the engine’s deterioration.

Owners have also experienced complete transmission failure and engine stalling while driving, both of which point to a defective engine. Transmission failure was most commonly reported after 88,000 miles, while several owners said it happened after battling with jerking, lagging, and hard shifts for some time.

Some owners have had to replace their transmissions more than once, a costly endeavor that can easily exceed $3000. The presence of a perpetually illuminated “engine light” was another widespread issue with this model for the 2010 model year.

One more non-mechanical gripe with this model year is that the paint chips off after very little use. This particular GMC Terrain is highly unreliable and should be avoided.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

Best GMC Terrain Years To Buy As Used

The GMC Terrain is widely regarded as one of the best and most reliable compact SUVs available today. Now that we’ve covered the GMC Terrain models you should avoid let’s move on to the ones you should consider.

5. Best Year: 2020 GMC Terrain (3.88 Rating)

Source: Car and Drive

The 2020 GMC Terrain may have many safety and infotainment add-ons that can make your diving experience more thrilling and safe. Aesthetic options are available for you to elevate the vehicle’s high-class appearance further.

The interior of the 2020 model year has been upgraded with a more modern look and better-quality materials. The Terrain’s excellent suspension makes for a comfortable ride. There are two engine choices: a 2.0L Turbo that generates 252 HP and a 1.5L that generates 170 HP.

In conclusion, the GMC Terrain 2020 is a wonderful vehicle that you will like driving. It can pull a trailer up to 1500 pounds and features a stability control system.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

4. Best Year: 2017 GMC Terrain (3.88 Rating)

Source: The car connection

2017 GMC Terrain is the best model you can get from the first and second generation. The interior of this GMC Terrain is beautiful, roomy, and quiet, with more than enough space for people in the rear seat.

It has a wonderful 1500 pounds towing capacity and a lot of storage space. The 2017 version can go up to 31 mpg and has a maximum fuel capacity of 18 gallons. It also features a 6-speed automatic transmission.

All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations are offered on the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder vehicle. The headlights have a dusk sensor, a low tire pressure indication, and a rearview camera and parking sensors installed as standard safety equipment.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

3. Best Year: 2022 GMC Terrain (4.08 Rating)

Source: Motor Authority

The 2022 GMC Terrain significantly improved by being redesigned after four years. In all its look, this SUV is gorgeous. You will have access to the turbocharged engine no matter what model you choose.

In addition, the GMC Safety Suite is included on All-Terrain models so that you can concentrate on the road instead of the potential consequences of an accident.

Lastly, this SUV boasts improved road noise reduction. It also has a top-notch suspension system built to dampen any bumps you might encounter. Older versions of the SUV have this noise problem. So, it’s fantastic that the 2022 GMC resolved the issue.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

2. Best Year: 2021 GMC Terrain (4.11 Rating)

Source: weld county garage

The 2021 GMC Terrain is an excellent pick for cheap midsize SUV buyers. The similarities to the 2020 version are a strong selling point. GMC made the right call by not drastically altering the 2021 model year from 2020 because it has shown to be a solid performer.

You’ll want to take it for a spin every day because the exterior is so fashionable and cutting-edge. The version’s 28 mpg fuel economy is likewise excellent. The premium Denali model’s 2.0L turbo engine can produce 252 horsepower.

This vehicle isn’t built for towing, but it can pull up to 3500 pounds with the help of an optional tow package, which is amazing for its class.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

1. Best Year: 2023 GMC Terrain (4.42 Rating)

Source: Carbuzz

With zero recalls and complaints history and an excellent reliability score of 85 out of 100 from J.D. Power, this model has become the Second Best Compact SUV of the year.

In its class, including the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the 2023 GMC Terrain is among the most reasonably priced crossover cars.

The cabin has a dual-cockpit layout, ice-blue ambient lighting, and upscale, high-class accents that give the impression of a considerably higher price tag, but in reality, it is not.

There is a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine under the hood of the Terrain, which generates 175 horsepower and achieves 30 mpg on the highway, which is amazing. Every model comes fitted with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The normal drivetrain is front-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive is an option.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

Common GMC Terrain Problems

Source: QuiteAlright

Some of the most common complaints about this car on Car Complaints include:

1. Problematic Engine

The most common complaint was an engine issue, especially prevalent in the 2010 and 2011 models. For GMC Terrain owners, nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a malfunctioning engine. This issue may be risky and expensive.

2. Transmission Failure

The GMC Terrain’s transmission failure is the second-most common problem after engine failure. Repairing a faulty transmission might be twice as frustrating as fixing a broken engine. Problems with your transmission can prohibit you from getting to your daily destinations on time.

3. High Oil Consumption

This car doesn’t just consume high oil regularly; it goes through it like water. Avoid 2010 and 2011 if possible, as they both have high oil prices and high oil use. Without regular oil changes, your GMC Terrain will deteriorate quickly.

4. HVAC System Failure

There are issues with the climate control system in multiple years of the Terrain. Some consumers complained that their heater produced cool air instead, which was particularly unpleasant in very cold weather.

Water leaks from the climate system, odd smell, and diminished heating/cooling efficiency are more signs of a defective Terrain HVAC system.

5. Problematic Airbags

Several 2017 GMC Terrain owners have voiced concerns about faulty airbags in their vehicles. The complaints state that the airbags did not deploy during a crash or collision, which is a major safety issue. In addition to the airbag not deploying, one report also mentioned that the seat belt had locked.


Is GMC Terrain Reliable Car?

Consumer Reports and J.D. Power say the GMC Terrain can be trusted as a reliable vehicle. The anticipated dependability rating for the GMC Terrain in 2023 is 85 out of a possible 100.

While Terrain’s reliability rating is higher than average, it is still not the best in its class. The Toyota RAV4 is the most trustworthy SUV due to its expected dependability score of 92.

Is GMC Terrain A Luxury Car?

You might be surprised by what we find. The GMC Terrain also offers a high-end Denali luxury package. The plush, quiet cabin, premium materials, and cutting-edge security and entertainment systems all contribute to the vehicle’s high luxury. The GMC Terrain is a great choice if you need a high-end automobile but want to save money on it.

GMC Terrain Vs. Acadia: Which One Is Bigger?

Both the Terrain and the GMC Acadia are SUVs, although the Terrain is smaller than the Acadia. The Acadia is 11 inches longer, 3 inches wider, and 2 inches taller than the Terrain.

The Acadia is the superior option if you require a lot of room for passengers and cargo. It has more than twice the cargo space of the Terrain and can seat as many as eight people.

The Terrain may be preferable if you don’t require as much cargo room or value efficiency above everything else. Compared to the Acadia, which gets up to 24 mpg on the highway, this one can achieve up to 32 mpg.


Any GMC Terrain produced in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, or 2019 should be avoided if possible. However, It’s recommended to go with a more recent model year for a stress-free and entertaining SUV ride.

There have been many difficulties with this car, including a defective AC system, the airbags, the engine, the transmission, and the oil consumption. Make sure to check these parameters in your desired model before making a purchase.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments