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2018 GMC Terrain Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2018 GMC Terrain Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SLE vs SLT, SL & Denali
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What 2018 GMC Terrain Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between the Trims?

As part of its program to update and refresh its product line, General Motors has been updating many of its cars and crossover SUVs over the last few years, with the new GMC Terrain being one of the latest updated models to hit the market.

As part of its refresh, GMC has worked to distinguish the Terrain from the other compact GM crossover that shares its platform - the Equinox. The new 2018 GMC Terrain is more upscale with more engine and technology options, as well as a nicer interior. In addition to those features, its fuel efficiency, good driving dynamics and spacious cabin have made it a strong contender in the cutthroat compact crossover category.

The new 2018 Terrain carries over a similar trim structure to the outgoing model, though with a few significant changes. It has been simplified, so that each trim level is self-contained with a number of optional packages rather than having sequentially-numbered sub-levels. However, it has also been made more complicated by the larger selection of engines - three in total.

This article delves into the new equipment setup of the 2018 GMC Terrain, outlining what each trim level offers and showing buyers how they can maximize the value of their new Terrain purchase.

Compare the 2018 Terrain SL vs SLE Trims. What is the difference?

The 2018 GMC Terrain’s base SL trim level falls near the high end of the starting prices for compact crossovers, but it also offers a decent selection of standard features though it is missing out on some key options.

It includes all of the expected basics such as power doors and windows, cruise control, air conditioning, and a rearview camera, as well as bundling in a number of nice premium extras. It comes with a smart key and push button start, as well as a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, four USB ports, Bluetooth, and in-car Wi-Fi. There is also a digital information screen in the instrument cluster, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, and an active noise cancellation system among its standard equipment.

Where the SL model of the Terrain is at its weakest are its options. Of the three engines the Terrain offers, the SL can only be equipped with the base 1.5-liter turbocharged one. It is also the only model that can’t be outfitted with all-wheel drive, and there are no major optional packages for this trim level. Aside from that, it can easily match many mid-level trims from its competitors, though it comes in at a similar price point as well.

The SLE adds a few minor convenience and style features to the base SL equipment. Its side mirrors are body-colored, and the interior rearview mirror is replaced with an auto-dimming model. There is also a one-touch rear seat release to make folding them down easier. While these features may not be very exciting upgrades for most, the variety of options that the SLE adds to the equation make up for that.

It is the first model available with all-wheel drive, as well as the first model with all three engines to choose from. The base 1.5-liter turbo from the SL remains the standard choice, and it offers a solid balance between power and efficiency. The 2.0-liter is the much stronger choice, raising the power from 170 horsepower to 252, though at the expense of 4 miles per gallon in the city and 2 mpg on the highway. The other option is the turbo diesel, which increases the mileage by up to 11 mpg on the highway and 4 in the city, though it is also the weakest at 137 horsepower.

The SLE also offers several attractive optional packages. The Driver Convenience Package adds dual-zone climate control, a power driver’s seat, front seat heating, and a remote starter. The Driver Convenience Package is standard on turbo diesel models, together with a powered liftgate. The Infotainment Package I grows the touchscreen to 8 inches and adds a navigation system, satellite radio, and two more USB ports. The Driver Alert I package adds a blind spot monitoring system with a rear cross traffic alert, rear parking assist, and the GM Safety Alert Seat that vibrates when one of the active safety systems detects a dangerous situation. There are also a number of appearance options available as well. 

For drivers who are not really planning on adding all-wheel drive or picking one of the more advanced engine or equipment options, the base SL is certainly a good buy. It features a lot of nice mid-range options as standard features at a very good price. However, anyone planning on exploring some of the Terrain’s more attractive options or feature combinations will do well to upgrade to the SLE. Its packages are very nicely priced for what they offer, though the base model without one of the added options is not a good pick over the SL. 

Compare the 2018 GMC Terrain SLE vs SLT Trims. What is the difference?

The GMC Terrain SLT is a more upscale version of the SLE that offers a very similar set of options for drivers to choose from. The SLT comes with full leather upholstery and all of the contents of the SLE Driver Convenience Package, including dual-zone climate control, a power seat, front heated seats and a remote starter. Also standard is a set of 18-inch alloy wheels and the larger 8-inch infotainment screen, though it does not include the navigation system.

Just like the SLE, the SLT can be specced out with all-wheel or front-wheel drive, and any of the three Terrain engines. Similar to the previous model, the diesel engine is bundled with a further set of upgrades including a hands-free power liftgate, a power passenger seat, heated steering wheel, and driver’s seat memory.

The SLT offers a number of upgrades on the SLE packages as well. Infotainment Package II adds a navigation system, HD radio and Bose audio, while the Preferred package adds the hands-free liftgate, power for both front seats, memory for the driver’s seat, and a heated steering wheel.

This package is available on all SLTs except for the diesel model, which includes it as standard equipment. The Driver Alert I package returns on the SLE, and can be further upgraded with the Driver Alert II package that includes a forward collision warning with automatic braking, a lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and smart headlights. The appearance packages from the SLE also return, with the addition of a few SLT-specific options. 

The upgrades that the SLT offers it a fair upgrade from the SLE based on the price. It also comes with all of the same great selection of options when it comes to extra equipment and engine options, as well as being the first trim that offers a full selection of advanced safety equipment. It is also the first model with the leather upholstery, which makes it the go-to trim level for anyone interested in having that equipment. 

Compare the Terrain SLT vs Denali Trims. What is the difference?

At the top of the GMC Terrain trim line lies the luxurious Denali. The Denali nameplate is the luxury sub-brand of the GMC model line, indicating vehicles that offer the upscale appearance and impressive options available on luxury brand cars.

The Terrain Denali includes much of the optional equipment from the earlier models. The hands-free liftgate, navigation, Bose audio, and the blind spot monitoring system are standard on this model. It also comes with 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, and is exclusively equipped with the premium 2.0-liter engine. There are also a few high-grade interior and exterior accents.

The Denali includes the Driver Alert I and the Preferred Package as standard, and offers the same Driver Alert II package as on the SLT. Also available are an Advanced Safety Package with a 360-degree camera and automatic parking assist, as well as a comfort package that adds ventilation for front seats and heating for rear seats, as well as wireless device charging.

  As the premium Terrain model, the Denali is easily a strong alternative for many entry-level or mid-range luxury cars, including GMs own Buick models. Its upscale interior and a good feature set make it an attractive option for many buyers. It offers few exclusive features however, and there are no options for different engines on this model, which can make the SLT a more versatile and price-worthy model. However, for the best degree of equipment and comfort, the Denali can’t be beat.

Final Thoughts

All four of the GMC Terrain models have been nicely optimized to give buyers a good balance of utility and price. The entry-level SL is very nicely equipped for an entry-level compact crossover, which can make for a great deal for buyers who don’t mind the absence of all-wheel drive or advanced engine options.

The SLE is an incredibly versatile model that can be fitted out with the perfect equipment for each driver’s needs, and the SLT keeps the same engine selection and optional features with the addition of a leather interior.

The Denali, meanwhile, offers a good all-in-one option and a strong alternative to many luxury-level compact crossovers at a much more favorable price. Depending on the kind of equipment you are interested in, any one of these options can be an excellent selection.

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