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2023 GMC Terrain Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2023 GMC Terrain Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SLE vs SLT vs AT4 and Denali

What 2023 GMC Terrain Trim Should You Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

The GMC Terrain returns for 2023, now with even more horsepower. This compact SUV has space for seven to ride comfortably. That's not only due to the generous interior space either. The Terrain has an excellent suspension that provides a smooth and comfortable ride. There's plenty of cargo space here too. There's 29.6 cubic-feet of storage space with the seats in their natural position. This increases to 63.3 cubic-feet with the rear seats folded down. The front-passenger seat also folds flat to accommodate larger objects.

The 2023 GMC Terrain is a fuel-efficient vehicle that won't cost owners too much at the gas pump. It has an attractive and somewhat aggressive exterior design. It looks rugged, like it belongs on a backwoods trail. It offers respectable off-road capabilities to match those looks, too. The interior is equally nice, with the Denali models being downright luxurious. There are four trims of the Terrain to choose from. Each has its own unique set of features and perks.

Here's a look at each of the four trims of the new GMC Terrain. Each and every trim will be compared to the one before it and after it. The trim levels increase gradually in cost from the base-model SLE trim to the final Denali model. After our comparisons, we will try to decide which is the best trim level overall. Special consideration must be given to who each model might be best for.


Compare the Terrain SLE vs SLT Trims. What Is the Difference?

GMC put indistinguishable powertrains into all four models of the Terrain. This includes a 1.5-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine has a dual-overhead-cam design with direct injection and variable-valve timing. It makes 175 horsepower with 203 pound-feet of torque. The Terrain has a combined fuel-economy rating of 26 miles-per-gallon according to the EPA.

The rest of the mechanical features are also the same when comparing the SLE and SLT models. They both come stock with front-wheel drive. There are 4-wheel, anti-locking disc brakes. The front and rear brakes have an E-boost feature. This allows the brake feel to be altered according to the driving mode one selects. These two trims get a MacPherson front suspension and a 4-link rear suspension.

These trims also get an Automatic Start/Stop feature. This feature shuts off the engine at strategic times during stops where the driver maintains pressure on the brake pedal. Once the pedal is released, the engine immediately starts again. This saves fuel and leads to more efficient engine performance. This feature can also be turned off as needed.

All four trims get GMC's StabiliTrak system. This is an electronically controlled stability system that also provides traction control. StabiliTrak enhances driver control, especially during emergency maneuvers. Advanced sensors engage this system when a difference is detected between driver intention and the actual path of the vehicle. Engine power and braking are also automatically adjusted when wheel slippage is detected.

The SLE and SLT trims have a single-outlet exhaust. GMC includes a mechanical jack and extra tools to help drivers change a flat. All trims get Keyless Start and Hill-Descent Control features. GMC offers an engine-block heater as an option. All four models have trailering provisions that allow the Terrain to pull around 1,500 pounds. That just about covers all of the major mechanical features of these two models.

The first difference likely noticed on the exterior comes from the wheels. The SLE comes with a set of 17-inch aluminum wheels. These are painted silver. The wheels are paired with a set of 17-inch, blackwall all-season tires. The SLT trim gets 18-inch, silver-painted aluminum wheels with 18-inch all-season tires. Both models come with a 16-inch, steel spare wheel.

The SLE and SLT have acoustic laminated windshields. GMC uses noise-cancellation technology for every model of the Terrain. This technology absorbs outside noise and vibrations. Interior microphones are also used along with an advanced system that distinguishes normal from unwanted noise. These two models of the Terrain get LED headlights and taillights.

IntelliBeam technology turns on the high beams automatically when needed. The headlights have Auto On/Off and Automatic Delay features for both trims. The SLT gets an extra set of fog lamps up front. Both models of the Terrain feature heated outside mirrors. The SLT models add on integrated turn-signal indicators for those mirrors. Both SUVs have deep-tinted rear glass.

One major difference for the exterior is the addition of a Hands-Free, Programmable, Power Liftgate for the SLT trim level. The SLT also gets roof-mounted side rails and the option to add some handy cross-rails. This roof setup provides even more storage space for long road trips. A SkyScape® power sunroof can be added to either trim for a small uptick in price.

The front seats are manually adjustable with a recline feature inside of the SLE trim. SLT models get an 8-way power driver's seat and a 6-way power front-passenger seat. These front seats also have power-adjustable lumbar support and heating. The upholstery gets upgraded to perforated leather for the SLT. Finally, the SLT model adds on a heated steering wheel and ambient interior lighting.

The SLE trim has Single-Zone Automatic Climate Control. The SLT gets Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control. There's a Universal Home Remote in the SLT. Both models of the Terrain have a 4.2-inch driver-information screen with multi-color graphics. Both trims have a similar infotainment system too. The SLE trim gets a 7-inch touchscreen while the SLT has an 8-inch touchscreen for this system.

Both infotainment systems have Bluetooth for music streaming. There's wireless Auto CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. Voice-Activated Technology allows for hands-free phone calls. The stereo system can play AM, FM and SiriusXM radio. The audio setup consists of six speakers for both trim levels. The infotainment system is WiFi hotspot compatible so that everyone can get connected.

The SLE and SLT trims both have a comprehensive airbag system. Both Terrains offer Forward-Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking and a Following-Distance Indicator. Both models get a rear-view camera, though the SLT has a high-definition camera. Lane-Keeping Assist with Lane-Departure Warning is standard. There's also a Tire-Pressure Monitoring system for both models.

All models of the Terrain are OnStar® & GMC Connected Services capable. All have GMC's Teen Driver tech. This system lets the owner activate customizable vehicle settings that are connected to a specific key fob. This can be done to encourage safer driving behaviors. The Teen Driver system also gives owners a report on the driving habits of younger, secondary drivers. There aren't too many differences here when it comes to the safety features of the SLE and SLT.

Compare the Terrain SLT vs AT4 Trim Levels. What Is the Difference?

The engine, transmission and suspension system are all identical when comparing the AT4 with the SLT trim. The performance specs are going to be basically the same here. One significant difference is that the AT4 comes stock with all-wheel drive. This means better traction and handling especially on wet or slick pavement. It also gives the AT4 models improved off-road capabilities. The AT4 also gets skid plates to protect the under-body during off-road excursions.

The AT4 gets glossy black, 17-inch aluminum wheels. These get all-season tires, just like the SLT. The rest of the exterior features of the AT4 are just carried over from the SLT model. On the inside, the features are also nearly identical when comparing these two trims. The AT4 does get some front sill plates. The seats are the same, but the AT4 has its trim logo on the upholstery.

The infotainment system also remains the same here. This includes the same 6-speaker audio system. The SLT and AT4 both get the 8-inch touchscreen display for their infotainment systems. A navigation system is available as an option for both trims. Last of all, the safety features and driver-assist aids are all the same for the SLT and AT4 trims.

There isn't a lot to discuss about the SLT and AT4 comparisons. The main difference is that the AT4 has all-wheel drive and a few features to enhance its off-road performance. Both trim levels get access to GMC's Terrain Pro Safety Plus package. This options package includes features like Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Park Assist and a Safety Alert Seat.

Compare the Terrain AT4 vs Denali. What Is the Difference?

GMC calls the fourth and final Terrain trim level, the Denali. The Denali includes everything that the AT4 has unless an upgrade has been made. The one other exception is that it loses the skid plates from the AT4. This makes it more suited for on-road driving than for off-road excursions. The powertrain is once again the same here. The Denali gets an upgraded suspension system for the smoothest ride yet.

The Denali gets 19-inch, Bright, machined-aluminum wheels with dark-gray accents. A set of all-season tires have you covered all-year round. The door handles of the Terrain now match the body color of the vehicle. The handles are also accented with chrome. Lower portions of the body also get some extra trim.

On the inside, the Denali gets a larger driver-information screen. The infotainment system now gets a GPS navigation feature. Automatic Parking Assist is a new optional feature. The audio setup gets upgraded to a premium 7-speaker system by Bose. The speakers are strategically placed for rich, concert-like sound. The Denali also offers a Heads-Up Display that projects vehicle information onto the windshield for easy viewing.

The Denali logo is emblazoned onto the leather-clad seats up front. The rest of the interior features are the same as those found inside of the AT4 models. When it comes to safety, the Denali gets a few extras here. There's Front and Rear Park Assist. The Denali now comes with Lane-Change Alert and Side Blind-Zone Alert. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is another great feature that can be found here.

One notable addition for the Denali is the GMC Safety Alert Seat. This seat works in conjunction with radar, advanced sensors and some of the other driver-assist features of the Terrain. The seat gives off vibration pulses in different locations to alert the driver. The driver can be warned of the direction of an impending crash. This enables them to take evasive actions before an accident occurs.


Final Thoughts

The 2023 GMC Terrain is a fine choice for anyone looking to buy a small SUV. It offers great performance and solid steering dynamics. There's plenty of room for your friends, family or entire entourage. The Terrain also provides copious amounts of storage space. The SLT makes a solid choice for just about anyone. It has an affordable price and a nice array of stock features. The AT4 is a good choice for off-road enthusiasts and nature fans.

For those who need the best of what GMC has to offer, there's the Denali. It's a luxurious trim with a lot of nice extras. Some of the best perks are the added driver-assist aids. The suspension-system can really be felt as one drives about town in the Denali. Why settle for anything below the best? The Denali may be the most expensive trim, but most buyers will find the cost increase worth it. The Denali is the clear-cut winner when compared to all other trims.

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Previous Year Trim Configurations:

2022 GMC Terrain Trim Levels