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2020 GMC Terrain Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 GMC Terrain Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SL vs SLE vs SLT, Denali & Elevation
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2020 GMC Terrain Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

The 2020 GMC Terrain is a sleek SUV that handles adventures, commutes and family duties. There are four trims, allowing you go from a premium SL or SLE to a luxury SLT to the knock-out Denali. With all-wheel drive, this SUV can live up to its name and take you off road.

With the standard HID headlamps, GMC adds C-shaped lighting. This creates an eyelike accent for the distinct, refined grille. As the Terrain moves ahead, the onlooker will notice the same signature LED lighting and C shape on the tail lamps. Heated side mirrors take care of frost or snow.

There are up to nine colors available. These include emerald blue, red quartz, and other metallic. You can keep things simple with white frost tri-coat or satin steel. Smokey quartz metallic is a dynamic brown choice.

Terrain cabins are created to cushion the passengers and engage the driver. The authentic aluminum trim adds an accent to the soft-touch surfaces all around you. Generous wiggle room includes 39.7 inches of rear legroom. Available in premium cloth or leather, interiors can be jet black, jet black and ash gray, or jet black and brandy. Deep tinted rear glass provides privacy and blocks the sun’s glare.

GMC keeps the cabin quiet with an acoustic laminated windshield. Active noise cancellation uses insulation and special engineering techniques to absorb sound. An in-cabin microphone recognizes unwanted engine noise and counters it.

Folding the split second-row seats, the owner has a front-to-back flat load floor. It can handle objects up to eight-feet long when you fold the front passenger seat flat. The hold measures 29.6 cubic feet and expands to 63.3 cubic feet.

Two turbos are offered to power the Terrain. The SUV is the only one in its class to combine a turbo with an available or standard nine-speed automatic transmission. A four-link rear suspension provides excellent ride quality.

In addition to 5-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GMC Pro Safety is standard on every edition. This vital equipment includes automatic braking when pedestrians or forward collision dangers are detected. The lane departure warning can trigger a lane keeper. Other elements include a following distance indicator and IntelliBeam headlamps.

Compare the 2020 GMC Terrain SL vs SLE Trims. What is the difference?

The Terrain engine is a 1.5-liter turbo four. Output is 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. Shoppers can enjoy peace of mind knowing that the five-year powertrain warranty includes up to five years of free roadside assistance.

The turbo’s smart engineering allows the Terrain to get 26 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway. Improving city fuel economy, the engine has a stop-start system for long red lights.

These front-wheel models have traction select. This includes a tow-haul mode which helps the SUV handles up to 1,500 pounds. Trailering equipment is required. For snow, the system has a snow mode. Helping the SUV roll over brush or snow, the Terrain has 7.9 inches of ground clearance.

SL cabins have a 7-inch touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for extra connectivity. Additional equipment includes a USB port and six speakers. 4G LTE is available through an OnStar Wi-Fi hotspot.

Saving space, the electronic transmission buttons are on the dash, facing the driver. An electronic parking brake can be activated with the push of a button. It can even set itself if it detects an incline.

Instead of the SL six-speed automatic, the SLE adds a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front wheel drive is standard for both models. All-wheel drive, however, is available only on the SLE. AWD traction select include front-wheel, all-wheel, off-road and tow-haul modes. In FWD mode, the system will disconnect the rear axle. This allows the Terrain to get the best fuel economy.

The SLE AWD model has the power to move torque to the front or rear wheels. This allows the driver to get traction on wet, snowy, or icy roads. For fun, the off-road mode improves travel on dirt, sand or gravel. In tow-haul mode, it uses all-wheel drive as needed for gravel roads, boat ramps or other unique surfaces.

Trailer sway control helps ensure safety at highway speeds. SLE AWD drivers will appreciate hill descent control which slows travel and protects the gears and brakes.

SLE cabins have a bigger 4.2-inch multi-color information screen behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel. They have the same premium cloth upholstery as the SL models.

Part of the SLE difference is its menu. Shoppers can choose upgrades that aren’t available on the SL. The cabin can include the SkyScape panoramic roof and a rear entertainment center. A power liftgate, adaptive cruise control and a blind spot system are available, too. The SLE convenience package adds remote starter, roof rack rails, and power-adjustable, power-heated front seats.

Compare the 2020 GMC Terrain SLE vs SLT Trims.  What is the Difference?

The SLT standard engine is the same as the SLE. Both are offered in front-wheel drive with an all-wheel drive option. SLE 17-inch alloys are upgraded to dark gray-accented 18-inch wheels.

SLT shoppers can choose the more powerful 252-horsepower turbo, which is not offered on the SL or SLE. Front-wheel and all-wheel drive models are available. Either way, GMC adds keyless start as part of its smart key.

The 8-inch diagonal touch screen includes SiriusXM connectivity and select smartphone apps. This SLT standard also upgrades the rearview camera to high definition.

In the cabin, perforated leather replaces the cloth upholstery. An 8-way power chair keeps the driver happy. Both front seats can be power-heated. Ambient lighting cheers up the kids at night. Dual-zone climate controls provide a regulated temperature. SLT shares the same options menu as the SLE, when the items aren’t standard.

The SLE and SLT offer a driver alert package. This adds a blind zone system and adaptive cruise control. A safety alert seat pulses to indicate collision dangers or lane departures. Parking is easier with a rear park assist and a rear cross traffic alert. Side mirrors are power-heated.

The SLE Infotainment Package adds the navigation touchscreen. This includes more USB ports and a three-month subscription to SiriusXM. The SLT package adds the larger multi-touch screen, navigation, HD radio, and Bose premium sound.

You can also get an SLT package that provides two driver presets for the power chair and power mirrors. It adds the hands-free power liftgate, front power chair, and heated steering wheel.

Compare the 2020 GMC Terrain SLT vs Denali Trims. What is the difference?

With the Denali trim, the standards and options list grows longer than the SLT. Heated front seats can also be equipped with power-ventilation, if you choose. The driver’s chair gains memory capability. A power liftgate lets you into the hatch. Rear assist helps with parking. A 7-speaker Bose system adds more sound. This is the only trim where a 360-degree parking camera system is available.

Leather upholstery dresses up the cabin. A heated steering wheel helps cut the winter chill. For safer highway travel, a blind zone system is on board. This includes a lane change alert and a rear cross traffic alert. A wireless charger takes care of your phone. Your eight-inch infotainment screen adds full navigation, more memory, and HD radio.

The Terrain Denali driver commands 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is 21 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway. Just like the SLT, Denalis offer a choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive models.

A new Denali suspension refines the struts and shocks with an internal valve system. This makes the ride more comfortable for passengers. It's also an asset if you take the Terrain onto gravel or dirt.

With FWD, Denali turbo fuel economy is 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. With AWD, that drops just slightly to 21 miles per gallon city. The combined rate drops from 24 to 23 miles per gallon.

With the towing package, the Terrain 2-liter turbo can tow up to 3,500 pounds. The trailering package includes a heavy duty cooling system as well as an electrical harness and sealed connector.

Marking their dominance at the top of the trim ladder, Denalis wear a multidimensional grille. Special chrome details and badging add to the look. The HID headlamps are upgraded to full LEDs. The available fog lights add more creative detailing to the exterior. Chrome side rails can be fitted with cross rails to carry cargo.

Furthermore, the trim trades the 18-inch wheels for 19-inch bright wheels with dark gray painted accents. You can also get 19-inch ultra-bright machined wheels with larger tires to match.

Owners will appreciate the hands-free power liftgate when their hands are full. Like the SLT, the Denali offers the SkyScape panoramic roof. This has dual panes that cover both rows of passengers. The front pane opens and tilts. It's a family favorite that really makes the cabin feel more open.

The Denali Advanced Safety package adds even more driver assistance. Automatic parking assist takes the guesswork out of parking. HD Surround Vision lets you see every bumper, tree branch, bush, person, bike or ball around the immediate perimeter. Adaptive cruise control makes travel simpler for the busy driver.

If you choose the Denali premium package, you get the Advanced Safety package plus more cabin amenities. This includes ventilated front seats for hot summer days. The second-row outboard seats gain individual power-heat capability.

Compare the 2020 GMC Terrain SLT/SLE Vs Elevation Trims.  What is the Difference?

You can choose the Elevation package on either the SLE or SLT. While the features stay the same, the look changes. The front grille is darkened. Trim badges, exterior accents, roof rails and mirror caps are all rendered in balck. The aluminum alloys are gloss black. In addition to Summit White, color options include metallics in Ebony Twilight, Graphic Gray or Satin Steel.

Which Trim to Choose?

The Terrain SL is tempting since it has those must-have driver assistance features and plenty of dash technology. However, it does not have a very good menu to allow you to choose features that may be important to you.

For that reason, the SLE is sure to be on the list of many shoppers. You can get all-wheel drive and do some light off-roading. There are many more cabin comforts and helpful safety devices. Furthermore you can add the SkyScrape Panoramic Roof.

However, neither of the first two models really have the feel of the SLT. That leather upholstery elevates the cabin’s comfort level and looks good doing it. With more standards, the SLT already has many items that would cost more individually on the SLE menu. For the best choice, the SLT safety package would round out the SLT offerings perfectly.

GMC makes sure the Terrain Denali is truly luxurious. This will tempt some to stray from the more affordable SLE and SLT to the top trim. Shoppers should keep in mind that they will still need the Denali premium package to have the most cutting-edge technology on the menu. Furthermore, the special SkyScrape roof is still an extra expense.
Used 2020 GMC Terrain:
Previous GMC Terrain Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 GMC Terrain Trim Levels