Today we had the privilege of attending the first of two media days for the State Fair of Texas Auto Show. We met up at the Studios of Las Colinas only knowing that today would be dedicated to General Motors, more specifically Buick and GMC. We were in for a treat with two vehicles that I have actually been eager to check out and drive. With all the hype around GM bringing better quality and design to their brands, I knew that these cars would have to be good.
Our first treat was the all new GMC Terrain, GMC’s new mid-sized crossover SUV. GMC is excited about this new model hoping that it would appeal to a wider audience than the everyday GMC. The Terrain, although built on the Equinox platform, only shares two body panels with the Equinox. It will be offered with a 2.4 liter inline four or a 3.0 liter V6 both mated to a 6 speed automatic gearbox with a manual mode. One big thing GMC tried to tackle in this new SUV was fuel efficiency. The 2.4L has an estimated 22 city and 32 mpg highway rating, which is unbelievably good. Even the V6 has a 17 city and 25 mpg highway rating while still maintaining 264 hp and 222 lb-ft torque and a towing capacity of 3500 lbs. So all in all I think the they did a great job in the fuel efficiency standpoint.
So what about the looks a feel of the Terrain? The outside looks sleek and bold. It keeps the masculine look associated with GMC with flared fenders, big headlights, and a big bold grill. The interior was about the best I’ve seen from any GM brand in a long time. The contrast of textures and colors, the sophistication and ease of the center control panel, and the steering wheel and cluster look and feel gives the Terrain an upscale feel. During the drive the suspension felt smooth and direct and the power was never lacking. The Terrain drives with ease like a smaller car or SUV but with the look and feel of a bigger SUV.
I think that GMC and GM has really hit the nail on the head with the Terrain. I was very impressed and thats coming from someone that doesn’t like big SUV’s. I accept GMC will have a real hit on their hands with this one.
Next up was the all new Buick LaCrosse. Ever since I saw this car as a concept I pleaded for Buick to bring something with as bold and sporty design to the market. Needless to say I think the car looks great on the outside and seeing it in person did not disappoint. It will be offered with a 3.0 liter V6 with 255 HP (replaced later this year with a 2.4 liter four) or in the CXS top of the line you get GM’s 3.6 liter V6 pushing out 280 HP and 259 lb.-ft of torque, both with a six speed automatic gearbox with manual mode. The drive was smooth but not as smooth as you would expect from a Buick. The other thing I just can not get over, even arguing with others at the media event, was the interior. You could tell that they put a lot of thought into the layout and the materials in the car but it just didn’t seem as luxurious as the Terrain, or even any more than an Impala at that. I couldn’t put my finger on it, I just couldn’t get into the gray leather and gray dash and gray headliner. The one good thing that stuck in my head was the instrument panel with backlit gauges and a beautiful ice-blue ambient glow throughout the cabin. All in all I would say the LaCrosse’s design is a success but is it enough to draw people away from Acura or Lexus? I don’t think so.
The big surprise after driving the Terrain and the LaCrosse was a set of new Camaros. Review coming soon! Tomorrow we check out what Ford, Dodge, and Toyota have for us.