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If you’re thinking for a moment that GMC is bringing yet another SUV to the market, let’s make it clear that the new 2010 Terrain isn’t a sport utility vehicle but rather a cars-based crossover with truck-like looks. The terrain, to debut at the New York auto show this week, is also the replacement for Pontiac’s Torrent, a model that’s been discontinued for model year 2010, which makes it blood brother to Chevy’s Equinox.

The Equinox, improved in every way including styling, was introduced virtually in December prior to wearing its full metal jacket in Detroit earlier this year, and impressed all who saw it. The tough-and-tumble styling of the Terrain is already polarizing viewpoints, which is exactly what the GMC brand could use in order to fade away into the horizon as an also run brand. Clearly, despite commentary to the contrary, General Motors is not about to give up on a brand that makes money, but giving GMC a more distinctive brand identity won’t hurt its chances of maintaining a position within the GM portfolio of mainstream brands.

GMC is not making the mistake of producing a V6-only crossover, as four-cylinder engines are now more popular than ever before. The entry-level mill is 2.4-litres in displacement and makes a solid 182-horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, which should be enough for spirited driving and, when the foot isn’t completely buried into the throttle, an impressive fuel economy rating of 7.8 L/100 km (30 mpg) on the highway.

In order to minimize the buzziness that can be inherent in a vehicle powered by a four-cylinder engine, GMC installed noise-cancelling technology. Another interesting tidbit is an Eco button the drive can press in order to improve fuel economy, resulting in a remapped throttle system for slower response, modified shift patterns and a torque converter lockup speed.

The 2010 Terrain is expected to arrive in dealer showrooms later this year.
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