The differences between GMC’s sub-brands

Some SUVs highlight safety features, such as the Honda CR-V and Genesis GV80. Other popular SUVs, such as the Land Rover Defender and Kia Telluride, emphasize power, performance and towing capacity. Segment competitors, such as Cadillac and Chevy Tahoe, are popular for their luxury, cabin space and technology. The GMC Terrain falls somewhere in between, along with the Volkswagen Tiguan, offering the best of all worlds. The GMC Terrain is an ideal choice for truck lovers looking for a compact crossover with a little more style. A crossover that does not lose its truck-like appearance.


General Motors is a leading crossover manufacturer today, with the GMC Terrain among the brand’s dedicated crossovers. The 2022 GMC Terrain is a trendy SUV right now, thanks to a special addition that continues the momentum of its predecessor. This year’s Terrain has been given a new look motivated by the brand’s prestige. With the demise of the SL model, the range has celebrated a new trim: AT4. Aside from the off-road range, the AT4 is available for all Yukon, Sierra and Acadia fleets. The AT4 trim is the ultimate SUV for adventurers, with performance that’s perfect for both on- and off-road driving.

GMC has refreshed the AT4 and Denali for the 2022 model year, along with the SLE and SLT trim levels. We’ll compare the specs and features and capabilities of the 2022 AT4 and Denali trims, with an eye on their standing in the segment.


The off-road lineup in 2022 gets a turbocharged engine

Via GMC

All 2022 Terrain trim levels are equipped with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood. This is the same standard engine offered on last year’s line-up. The standard engine produces 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque—enough to handle any challenging “terrain.”

The engine is combined with a standard 9-speed automatic transmission. This sends power to all four wheels via off-road AWD 4dr, which is standard on both the Denali and AT4. AWD is optional on the lower SLE and SLT. With that output of 170 hp, the 1.5-liter engine stimulates a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.

The Denali and AT4 have a 6.2-liter engine as standard on the Yukon truck lineup. This pushes the towing capacity up to 8,200 lbs. with the max trailer package. Since Acadia introduced the AT4 trim with a 310-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine, its towing capacity ranges from 3,300 to 4,000 pounds, depending on equipment. The brand discontinued the more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine on the Off-Road. This pushed last year’s tow rating to 3,500 pounds, which was enough to put the Terrain on par with the Subaru Outback. The 2022 GMC Terrain is now limited to 1,500 pounds of towing capacity.

Remember, segment leaders like the Land Rover Defender and Kia Telluride offer ratings of 7,716 pounds and 5,000 pounds. It sets the bar too high for the off-road, but not the Yukon and Acadia trucks. Still, the towing capacity of the standard Terrain matches the Toyota RAV4.

If you like off-road driving, we recommend the AT4. It offers a Traction Select System with Off-Road mode, a steel front plate and the AT4’s exclusive Goodyear® Sport Off-Road Tires. Across the Off-Road, Yukon and Acadia trims, the AT4 has greater approach and departure angles. In terms of performance, the Terrain Denali trim offers a Premium Suspension system. This has improved shock control, which is unique to the trim. The Denali is set to offer a smoother and more comfortable ride around town.

RELATED: Here’s everything you need to know before choosing the GMC Acadia

On the 2022 Terrain’s “truck-like” exterior

2022-terrain-at4-ext-gal-22PGTN00008
Via: GMC

For the 2022 model year, the entire GMC Terrain lineup gets a renewed exterior. The front end has a new and larger grille with the signature “GMC” in the center. Another exterior highlight is the front bumper, which looks undeniably stronger and bolder. It also gets fresh LED headlights and taillights. The series’ new 18-inch wheel design elevates the crossover’s side view and increases the SUV’s ground clearance. The Denali trim level gets special 19-inch ultra-light machined aluminum wheels. these have gray accents.

The entire AT4’s exterior design features dark accents with a black chrome finish. These are exclusive to trims.

The Terrain AT4 is sold in 6 colors: White Frost Tricoat, Ebony Twilight Metallic, Cayenne Red Tintcoat, Summit White, Desert Sand Metallic and Quicksilver Metallic. The higher Denali trim omits the Desert Sand Metallic paint. Instead, it adds the shades Marine Metallic and Hunter Metallic. Both trims have a curb weight of 3,622 pounds.

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AT4 vs. Denali: Interior, Comfort, and Technology

22-terrain-denali-interior-carbon black
Via: GMC

The 2022 off-road lineup has a luxurious interior that has a jet black shade. All off-road trims come with standard smartphone functionality and updated trim. The AT4 has a unique interior that comes with a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel. This comes as an optional feature on the SLE and SLT trims. The infotainment system has a huge touchscreen with buttons and dials underneath.

It’s clear that the Denali trim has more technology and safety offerings than the AT4. You get a larger 8-inch GMC Infotainment System with built-in navigation on the Denali. The higher trim also gets a wireless charging system and Bose 7-speaker audio system. The Denali also gets a standard head-up display, which is optional on the AT4 and SLT. Other notable features exclusive to the Denali include the 8-inch cockpit display, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear park assist, and lane departure warning with side blind spot warning.

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Final thoughts: Which crossover will come out on top?

2022 Terrain Rear View
Via: GMC

In comparison, it’s clear that the Terrain Denali trim takes the cake. It offers more and is widely considered a powerful alternative to the Denali. But one thing you have to keep in mind is that these crossovers have different purposes. The AT4 is utilitarian, and the Denali is luxurious. So the choice will depend on your preferences and your lifestyle. Also, according to The Drive’s interview with GMC Senior Manager Stu Pierce, the AT4 is catching on with new GMC buyers.

If you want an SUV that gives you a smoother ride around town, with more safety and technology features, the Denali will make an excellent choice. If you want an SUV that will be your off-road companion, the AT4 is your best bet. Plus, it costs less than the Denali.

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