2019 GMC Terrain SLT Black Edition Review: All Black Everything in a Compact Crossover Package

The handsome Terrain gets a little sexier with the Black Edition, though the upgrades are only skin deep.

byCait Knoll|
GMC Reviews photo


Welcome to Critic's Notebook, a quick car review consisting of impressions and marginalia regarding whatever The Drive writers happen to be driving. Today's edition: the 2019 GMC Terrain AWD SLT Black Edition.

The 2019 GMC Terrain AWD SLT Black Edition, By the Numbers:

  • Base Price (Price as Tested): $32,600 ($40,550)
  • Powertrain: 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four, 170 horsepower, 203 pound-feet of torque; nine-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel-drive
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
  • Black Attack: According to GMC internal sales data, "roughly one in five new SUV buyers spends additional money after purchase to personalize their new vehicle’s appearance."
  • Quick Take: This is the Terrain for those who like—nay, love—the color black. This special edition's focus is primarily on the exterior, and that's surely going to work for those who see "looks" as a paramount reason to purchase a vehicle. 

2019 GMC Terrain AWD SLT Black Edition: The Pros

  • I seem to see blacked-out SUVs everywhere these days, and GMC is capitalizing on the trend. The package looks good, too; I'm a fan of the 19-inch black gloss aluminum wheels that are new to this trim, and the darker grille helps set this Terrain version apart. Black mirror caps, roof rails, and badging round out the blackout. 
  • The Black Edition is available on all SLE and SLT models, which helps it stay attainable to the masses who don't necessarily want to throw down Denali money for style. 
  • In keeping with the personalization theme, GMC is offering the Black Edition in five colors: Ebony Twilight Metallic, Summit White, Graphite Gray Metallic, Satin Steel Metallic, and Sedona Metallic. My loaner had the Ebony Twilight Metallic treatment, and I'd have to say I'd go with it to really get that full "fade to black" feel. 
  • The Terrain itself is very utilitarian for a compact SUV, and it's nice that you can still have that all function in a sleeker looking package. It's also nice that the Terrain gets a five-star government safety rating.
Cait Knoll

2019 GMC Terrain AWD SLT Black Edition: The Cons

  • Though the Terrain does great in the safety tests, safety features that come standard on many other competitors are only available as pricy options on the Terrain. Want a blind spot alert or fear cross traffic alert? You'll need to cough up an extra $445. Lane departure warning? That's part of a $745 "Driver Alert Package." 
  • This isn't necessarily the Terrain's fault, but GM's infotainment system struggles. It's not a difficult system to navigate, but simple things that should be reliable in brand new cars—say, pairing your phone with Bluetooth—are interrupted regularly, and the system really doesn't present itself as very tech-conscious. It's an issue that needs to be sorted out up and down all the General Motors product lines. 
  • Just like so many vehicles out there, to get what you really want out of the Terrain, you're probably going to want to load up on options—and it's going to cost you. My Black Edition came with a whopping $6,995 worth of upgrades. And again, some were as simple as "rear park assist" or a "navigation-capable" infotainment system. The Black Edition option itself registers $795.
Cait Knoll

2019 GMC Terrain AWD SLT Black Edition: Value

If you're sweet on the Terrain and are considering post-purchase personalization, the Black Edition might be made for you, since it lets you skip an aftermarket step on your way to blacked-out fierceness. As mentioned above, the Black Edition option package will run you just under $800, which is something to consider when pricing out how much it'd cost to customize your rig. Also mentioned above is a bigger value issue with the Terrain—the fact that you must add between $500 and $1,300 of options to get the safety alert features many are now accustomed to. It's a factor on all trims, and it might be one of the biggest negatives for this particular vehicle. 

Cait Knoll

2019 GMC Terrain AWD SLT Black Edition: The Bottom Line

The Terrain was already a good-looking option in the small SUV world, and the Black Edition gives it just that much more visual edge. It really comes down to what you look for in a vehicle, though—the Black Edition could be off-putting to those who don't see why you'd spend additional money for these simple exterior changes, while others seeking popular aftermarket-style changes will rejoice that they can easily add them to their build when buying a new vehicle. Whether you see the value in blacked-out trim or not, it's hard to argue that it doesn't make this family-oriented SUV look a little more badass. 

Cait Knoll
GMC Reviews