One frequently cited culprit of GM’s past quality-control problems is badge engineering, or the practice of building different versions of the same vehicle for multiple brands. The premier example is the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and its multitude of badge-engineered clones, which even the internet does not afford us the space to list.
The practice seems to be slowly sneaking back into vogue. The full-size Chevrolet Traverse is the fourth vehicle to be built on the General’s excellent Lambda platform. Likewise, the GMC Terrain will be the fourth vehicle to be built on the TE small-SUV architecture, following the Saturn Vue, Chevrolet Equinox, and Cadillac SRX.
GM today is less blatant about its badge engineering, with differences in appearance extending beyond just grilles and headlamps to the point that each vehicle wears wholly unique sheetmetal over similar underpinnings. Still, four derivatives is a quantity we feel surpasses the threshold of discretion for badge engineering, and the Saab 9-4X—a vehicle whose future is uncertain at best—would bring the TE total to five, although the Caddy and Saab will be built on a heavily revised version of the platform.
While the Terrain’s mechanicals will be pilfered from GM’s other trucklets, from what is visible beneath the minimal camouflage in our spy shots, it appears that the styling is cribbed both from its Lambda big brother, the Acadia, and the Sierra pickup. The Sierra lends its large-mouth grille and squared-off headlights to the Terrain, while the Acadia donates its high roofline, reverse-canted C-pillar, and the slope of its backlight. Together, those elements should make the Terrain instantly recognizable as a GMC, which is more than can be said of the TrailBlazer family’s grille and badge differentiations.
Like its siblings, the Terrain will likely offer a selection of four- and six-cylinder powerplants, with the most likely choices coming from the Equinox: a direct-injected (DI) 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 182 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque, and a DI 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 255 hp and 214 lb-ft. Power will travel through a six-speed automatic transmission to either the front or all four wheels.
If the handsome and cohesive design is any indicator, this could be GMC’s best small SUV ever. As buyers continue to migrate from full-size, body-on-frame barges into smaller vehicles offering the same sightlines and sense of security, well-executed compact SUVs will be a potentially huge profit center. And, with the future of Saturn, and therefore the Vue, in doubt, perhaps four TE-based SUVs isn’t too many after all.
© Source: caranddriver
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