The Terrain is GMC’s entry in the compact SUV segment.
The stylish vehicle features plenty of passenger and cargo space and a 1.5-liter four cylinder engine as standard.
The Terrain is built to be a tough yet small SUV, but how long will it last you?
Here is the short answer to how long the GMC Terrain lasts:
The GMC Terrain can last 300,000 miles which could mean more than 20 years of service. However, this is dependant on the car being well maintained, regularly serviced and driven sensibly, failure to do so can result in significantly reduced longevity.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a GMC Terrain?
How long a vehicle lasts is often more dependent on the user than the vehicle itself.
That being said, a GMC Terrain that has been properly looked after could have a lifespan of 300,000 miles, which equals 20 years of service, and should comfortably pass the 200,000 mile mark.
Keeping up to date with the services schedule, carrying out basic maintenance and adopting good driving habits is the key to getting the most life from any vehicle.
As the GMC Terrain approaches and exceeds the 300,000-mile mark it will likely need major repairs, and at this point the owner should weigh up the long-term costs and consider investing in a new car.
To keep your Terrain running for as long as possible keep up to date with the factory recommended service schedule, this will usually be every 7,500 miles or every 6 months depending on whichever comes first.
To save yourself a few headaches when buying a second-hand terrain, avoid the 2011 model at all costs, according to Car Complaints this the worst model year by far.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a GMC Terrain?
According to some Terrain owners, rust has been seen on the vehicle within 2 years of purchase.
The 2010 to 2014 models are particularly prone to rust with GMC recalling these specific models in 2015. The main problem areas were in the side door hems.
Residents of States in the Salt Belt or those living by the coast are at an increased risk of rusting due to the amount of salt there cars will be exposed to.
Salt buildup on vehicle surfaces is corrosive, and the sand, dirt and snow that accumulate can trap moisture in wheel wells and underbody structures.
During the winter months, when the roads are salty, it’s important to make time to give your car a good clean. If you can afford it, pay to have the car professionally cleaned.
Please also read our article: where are GMC Terrain’s made?
How Long Do GMC Terrain Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
Being in the small SUV category means that the GMC Terrain has some tough opposition.
Let’s see how it fares against some of its competitors...
GMC Terrain vs. Toyota Rav4
Coming in as one of the more expensive small SUVs at $27,325, the Rav4 certainly makes a bold statement. It has been popular for years and touted as the ‘perfect’ compact SUV.
The Rav4 can last between 200,000 and 250,000 miles. This means that it can give the owner a good 16 years of service, however it has a potentially shorter lifespan than one can expect of a GMC Terrain.
The maintenance costs of the Terrain are slightly higher at $558 annually whilst the Rav4 costs $429 per year.
In terms of reliability, Repair Pal has awarded the Rav4 a solid 4.0 out of 5.0, whereas the Terrain receives a slightly lower rating of 3.5 out of 5.0.
The vehicles are evenly matched in terms of size and performance and will both take up a similar amount of space in your garage.
If you’re on a tight budget and your main focus in longevity, we recommend the Terrain, however the Rav4 is widely considered the better all-round vehicle.
GMC Terrain vs. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is a frontrunner in the small SUV category and is one of the most popular models available.
With well-built engines, the CR-V model can last up to 300,000 miles, on par with the GMC terrain.
However, in the ownership costs department, the CR-V is slightly cheaper.
According to Repair Pal, the CR-V costs $407 annually to maintain, that’s $150 cheaper than the GMC Terrain.
In terms of reliability the GMC earned 3.5 out of 5.0 from RepairPal whereas the the CR-V scored an impressive 4.5 out of 5.0.
Its hard to argue the case for the Terrain in this comparison however if you’re a fan of GMC vehicles its still a solid option.
GMC Terrain vs. Volkswagen Tiguan
Base trims for both of these models sit around the $25,000 mark.
In terms of longevity, the Tiguan is expected to last around 150,000 – 200,000 miles, which is significantly less than what the GMC Terrain could last you.
Repair Pal has calculated the maintenance of costs of the Tiguan to be $730 per year which works out at $172 more than that of the Terrain.
Repair Pal awarded the Tiguan a 3.0 out of 5.0 for reliability and finished last in its SUV category.
For longevity, reliability and lower maintenance costs, the Terrain would be the smarter choice.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do VW Tiguans Last?
How Reliable Is a GMC Terrain?
From our research we can say the GMC Terrain is a reliable vehicle.
The GMC Terrain scored a 3.5 out of 5.0 for its reliability on RepairPal, this puts it 22nd out of 26 for compact SUVs.
Earlier models certainly seem the more problematic and there is a noticeable downward trend in terms of the number of issues – 2011 being the worst year and each subsequent year there are fewer and fewer complaints.
This is to be expected to some degree as the car was only released in 2010 and it seems GMC have ironed out a lot of the earlier engine problems.
Newer models of the Terrain score well on JD Power with consumer ratings hovering around the 83/100 mark.
You may also be interested in our article: how long do GMC Acadia last?
Reliability Compared to Other SUVs
|Subaru Crosstrek||4.5 / 5.0|
|Honda CR-V||4.5 / 5.0|
|Toyota RAV4||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Rogue Select||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Tucson||4.0 / 5.0|
|Kia Sportage||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Outlander Sport||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Outlander||4.0 / 5.0|
|Jeep Cherokee||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mazda Tribute||4.0 / 5.0|
|Jeep Compass||4.0 / 5.0|
|Kia Sorento||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Rogue||4.0 / 5.0|
|Honda Element||4.0 / 5.0|
|Jeep Patriot||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford Escape||4.0 / 5.0|
|Subaru XV Crosstrek||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Xterra||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Captiva||3.5 / 5.0|
|Nissan Murano||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru Forester||3.5 / 5.0|
|GMC Terrain||3.5 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Equinox||3.5 / 5.0|
|Fiat 500L||3.5 / 5.0|
|Jeep Wrangler||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Tiguan||3.0 / 5.0|
|Avg. Compact SUV||4.0|
The Best and Worst Years for GMC Terrain
According to car complaints the best years, with fewest complaints are 2016 onward.
2011 is by far worst, with a total of 128 complaints, 86 of which were engine-related, specifically excessive oil consumption.
Some other common problem areas on the 2011 Terrain were the transmission and exhaust systems, all of these issues being quite costly to remedy.
The best years for the GMC Terrain are the 2020 and 2021 models.
So far these have seen no complaints at all. In fact, the models from 2016 and up have seen a cumulative of only 20 complaints, which shows that GMC has really upped their game in recent years.
We would recommend buying the most recent model, or anything newer than 2016.
What About Recalls for These Models?
The number of recalls for the GMC terrain is quite low. The highest number of recalls are for the 2018 model which saw a total of 4.
Notable recalls are for the 2013 and 2015 models. The 2013 model saw an issue regarding windshield wipers failure and the 2015 model had airbag deployment issues.
Most of the other issues were benign and not of a serious nature.
|Model Year||No. Of Recalls|
GMC Terrain Model Year List
Here is the full list of models for the GMC Terrain:
Are GMC Terrain Expensive to Maintain?
It costs $558 per year to maintain a GMC Terrain According to Repair Pal.
This is slightly above the average of $521 for small SUV’s, however it is below the average vehicle maintenance cost of $652 per year.
|Model||Avg. Annual Repair Cost||Frequency of|
Unscheduled Repairs (per year)
|Probability of |
|Nissan Rogue Select||$436||0.3||10%|
|Mitsubishi Outlander Sport||$498||0.3||10%|
|Subaru XV Crosstrek||$631||0.4||11%|
|Avg. Compact SUV||$521||0.3||11%|
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
The brake pads on the GMC Terrain usually last 30,000 and 70,000 miles.
Repetitive heavy braking drastically decreases the brake system’s operating efficiency and significantly reduces the life of the equipment.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
Generally, the lifespan of tires on a GMC Terrain is around 50,000 miles.
As a general rule of thumb, most tires should be inspected, if not replaced, at about six years and should definitely be swapped out after 10 years, regardless of how much tread they have remaining.
How Long Do the Transmissions Last?
According to GMC Terrain owners, the transmission lasts between 130,000 and 180,000 miles.
This is about half of the total lifespan of the car.
How Long Do the Batteries Last?
GMC Terrain batteries should last between 3-5 years on average.
This is dependent on a number of factors such as climate and driving habits.
Long periods of time spent in a discharged state will reduce the life of a battery.
Also, warmer weather tends to increase damage due to sulfation.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
Spark plugs normally last around 30,000 miles when your engine is functioning correctly.
However, these are normally replaced when the car is taken in for maintenance.
What About Insurance Cost?
According to Finder, the GMC Terrain costs around $123 per month to insure, this adds up to $1,476 per year.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your GMC Terrain
Here are some tips on how to prolong the life of the Terrain:
- Drive smoothly and avoid heavy braking.
- Wash the vehicle regularly, especially when salt is being used on the roads.
- Keep up to date with the service schedule.
- Check tire pressures regularly
- Ensure cooling fluid and oil levels are topped up