Going & Stopping

Having driven both the four-cylinder and V-6 Equinox, I can attest that the difference in power isn't appreciable unless you're pushing the car hard or carrying a load of people. My V-6 Terrain drove the point home: With 264 horsepower on tap — and no all-wheel drive to weigh things down — I'd expect a bit more oomph, especially given that competitors like the V-6 Toyota RAV4 feel downright fleet-footed. The Terrain does, however, weigh a few hundred pounds more, and so it lumbers along at a more leisurely pace.

That lumbering can be an issue. A six-speed automatic is standard, but it isn't exactly the paragon of responsiveness. Kick down takes too long at any speed, and it's often accompanied by uncertain gear hunting. I also noticed a vexing case of accelerator lag. It has a way of creeping up on you: Acceleration from stoplights was acceptable, but when driving around 30-40 mph it occasionally took a full second for the Terrain to respond to my right foot. I'd invariably respond by stabbing the gas pedal harder, and when the cavalry finally arrived I'd get overkill.

If anything, the 182-hp four-cylinder should have enough power for most drivers. I didn't detect any of the V-6's accelerator lag in the four-cylinder Equinox I tested, and the pedal felt tuned for quicker response. Overly responsive accelerators are an old trick for a lot of four-cylinder cars — and a short-lived one, when you need sustained power up an on-ramp — but I never found the base Equinox gutless. The same should be true of its GMC sibling.

GMC and Chevrolet have Toyota — and everyone else, for that matter — beat in four-cylinder gas mileage. With an impressive 22/32 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder and front-wheel drive, the Terrain beats all competitors with similar configurations. Adding all-wheel drive or the V-6 knocks mileage down quite a bit; at that point, the Terrain ranks midpack.

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard, but the pedal has a mushy, trucklike feel, so smooth stops can take some practice. On the upside, suspension dive while braking is fairly minimal.

When properly equipped, the four-cylinder Terrain can tow 1,500 pounds. The V-6 tows a competitive 3,500 pounds.

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