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GMC Terrain Real World MPG

ray80ray80 Posts: 1,233
Trying to keep the forum from getting rusty from lack of use.

On a 1100 mile trip last week I managed to average 26.5 MPG (calculated).
Not much city driving at all and terrain was fairly flat. Kept speeds at 60 MPH or below with cruise on when I could.
Not to bad with the AWD 6 CYL that has EPA highway estimate of 22MPG.
This is the other halfs daily driver and she drives under less then ideal conditions (plus the foot may be a tad heavier), but the average MPG as indicated in D.I.C. is hanging in at 23.1 for the last 5k miles or so since last reset.

Anyone else getting reasonable milage out of theirs?


  • I bought a 2011 Terrain and have 7200 miles on it. I have the 4 Cyl FWD SLT-2. It's rated at 32 mpg highway. However, I am getting 25.9 on average. My daily commute is 50% 60 - 75 mph highway and 50% city traffic traveling around 40 - 60 mph.
    I wonder if the larger engine would actually get me the better gas mileage due to the speeds I'm traveling. I'm guessing the 32 mpg rating was driving a constant 55 mph.
  • My 2011 4 cyl Terrain averages 22.7 MPG with ECO or without. Long way from the 32 in their ads and 38 MPG as a high on the sticker on the car when I bought it. :cry: This is my last GMC product! Dealer says not their fault...MPG is set by EPA...EPA is not smart enough to pour one gallon of gas in car and drive it until it runs out of gas! I will go with Ford or Japan product next purchase! You are doing better than that is good news for you!
  • 2012 V6 AWD...18.4 stinking MPG...18.4!!!!!!!! It's almost laughable and I want to scream every time a commercial comes on touting the MPG .
  • My 2010 AWD V6 for the last 2200 miles averaged 21.4 mpg.
    This is around town, both hwy & city.
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,233
    edited December 2011
    Ours has done well also after the first 3500 miles or so on it. Does best when the tach is in the 1450~> 1500 RPM range if I can find a speed and gear that will keep it there. Also don't use auto-climate control.
  • bwall2bwall2 Posts: 30
    I share all of your thoughts on this disgusting vehicle. I bought it for the gas mileage - 32 mpg - and thought it might get 27-28 on the highway. I can get that when I tow it behind my motorhome with the engine off. Every time I saw that commercial, I wanted to reach out and grab those folks. I have had GM products for many years (I am 62) but also have had Toyotas and Hondas. I only wish we would have looked at the CRV - but, GMC was touting better gas mileage!
    A class action suit would be great - I think "tweeting" and Facebook would bring in lots of angry folks. Of course for me, I refuse to drive it - my wife drives it to work - I drive a Toyota Hybrid Camry (76000 miles on it) - and I get 38-41 mpg. Of course it is not made in America by GM!
  • cmccullcmccull Posts: 33
    The EPA rating is not done by GM.
    GM may use the ratings for ads.
  • If I may, here is some information on the fuel economy estimate process.

    The fuel economy estimates are based on results of tests required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These tests are used to certify that vehicles meet the federal emissions and fuel economy standards. Manufacturers test pre-production prototypes of the new vehicle models and submit the test results to EPA. EPA re-tests about 10% of vehicle models to confirm the manufacturer's results. The vehicles are driven by a professional driver under controlled laboratory conditions, on an instrument similar to a treadmill. These procedures ensure that each vehicle is tested under identical conditions; therefore, the results can be compared with confidence.
    There are two different fuel economy estimates for each vehicle in the fuel economy guide, one for city driving and one for highway driving. To generate these two estimates, separate tests are used to represent typical everyday driving in both a city and a rural setting. Two kinds of engine starts are used: the cold start, which is similar to starting a car in the morning after it has been parked all night; and, the hot start, similar to restarting a vehicle after it has been warmed up, driven, and stopped for a short time.

    The test used to determine the city fuel economy estimate simulates an 11-mile stop-and-go trip with an average speed of 20 miles per hour (mph). The trip takes 31 minutes and has 23 stops. About 18 percent of the time is spent idling to simulate waiting at traffic lights or rush hour traffic. The maximum speed is 56 mph. The engine is initially started after being parked overnight. Vehicles are tested at 68 F to 86 F ambient temperatures.

    The test to determine the highway fuel economy estimate represents a mixture of "non-city" driving. Segments corresponding to different kinds of rural roads and interstate highways are included. The test simulates a 10-mile trip and averages 48 mph. The maximum speed is 60 mph. The test is run with the engine warmed up and has little idling time and no stops (except at the end of the test).

    I hope this helps to clarify how these tests are done; while it is almost certain that the fuel economy experienced will differ from the estimate, these figures are provided for comparison shopping.
    GM Customer Service
  • chet11chet11 Posts: 3
    Thanks Sarah for your comments. The problem is GM puts a sticker on my Terrain that states 26 city and 38 highway and the ads show 32 average with 600 miles a tank of gas...this car doesn't exist. I averaged 22.7 mpg city/highway. Since these mpg are set by EPA you can't take legal action on this scam. So I traded my new Terrain for the new Prius know what? I am getting 43 mpg which is the figure on the sticker. Liked the V so well that I went back and purchased a Prius shows 55 mpg but I am averaging 57 mpg! I won't buy another GM product again. I cannot understand some reviews stating that they get 32 mpg on the 2012! I have talked to other Terrain customers and they are getting 18-21 mpg. So we are a Prius family (is owning 2 Prius make us a Prii Family?). Thanks for your comments but at the consumer end we want results on mpg claims and not testing procedures explained or consumer blamed for not driving correctly.
  • bwall2bwall2 Posts: 30
    I wish I could get rid of the Terrain - but it is worth so little (2011) that I will be stuck with it until I can again afford a new vehicle. It is interesting how the Toyota products actually do achieve what the sticker says - my 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid actually does 39-41 mpg and it has 80,000 miles on it. That miserable Terrain will do 22-23 mpg on the highway. Of course the testing that was done is accurate???? Sounds to me like GM has some kind of deal with the government - like the "bailout".

    All I can do now is continue to inform people that it is a "gas hog". I will continue to post wherever I can how poorly it performs. I too will not buy another GM product! I would like to see results as well - and I don't think testing procedures and driving habits cause it to perform at such a low level.

    And Sarah, if you do want to contact me (I will not go through GM's website and answer 40 questions before I can leave an email) you can contact me directly at
  • cmccullcmccull Posts: 33
    I'm not sure how or why you would compare a Terrain to a Prius. They are not even close to the same type vehicle. Most Prius drivers drive like an old lady so they will get better MPG. And, Toyoto's biggest complaint on the Prius: It doesn't get the advertised MPG. Go figure!
    On my V6 AWD I'm averaging 20.5 MPG combined hwy & city. And I drive like a maniac.I am very happy with my Terrain. :)
  • mcitymcity Posts: 1
    Two weeks into ownership of my 2010 SLE-2 3.0 with 25k miles, I have a fill-up confirmed average of 25.5MPG. This is all metropolitan driving; 30% city-suburban surface street, and 70% urban freeway.

    I have found the best city mileage is obtained by accelerating to get to 40MPH reasonably quickly, so the trans locks. On the highway, economy drops off rapidly over 70MPH.

    This vehicle is pretty heavy for the engine, so momentum is your friend on the road to decent fuel economy.
  • bwall2bwall2 Posts: 30
    I continue to complain about the mileage on a 2011 Terrain - 4 cyl. The best I could get was a trip this summer - 2400 miles PHL to Minneapolis...55-70 mph - no city driving at all. I got 27.3 mpg.

    GMC did a consumption test when I got home - drove 86 miles - city & highway and GUESS WHAT - they said it really does 38.88 mpg! Wasn't that a great test? I guess someone has been siphoning gas out of my tank for the miles that I have driven since I can't get close to 32 mpg!

    Wish I had never seen this vehicle - but now am stuck with it! Guess I need a locking gas cap!!!
  • I am a Terrain owner and enjoy my vehicle. Until this purchase, I have always driven a Ford product and was looking to improve my fuel mileage when the Terrain was introduced. I do own the 4 cyl. vehicle and I did purchased it mostly for the MPG, but I am also impressed by the interior space and other basic features. I have had no problem with the crossover and enjoy driving it very much. To those that have had difficulty obtaining the maximum MPG...try driving with the "ECO" on at all times. It did take a little getting use to, but I have adjusted. I always average at least 30 mpg on the highway and close to the max in city. To those that are comparing their Terrain to a hybrid of some are not comparing apples to apples and my guess is that you paid quite a bit more for your vehicle.

    I am happy with my choice to purchase a Terrain :)
  • We're so glad to hear that you're enjoying your Terrain, twoyou!
    Many more happy miles,
    GM Customer Service
  • I purchased this vehicle for the MPG, and the MPG ONLY. It is a 2011 with 20,000 miles on it. I traded a 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 Z71 Crew Cab due to relocation, and my commute changing from 1 mile to 100 miles a day. In retrospect, I could have kept the giant gas guzzler I loved as it only got 2 MPG less than this miserable excuse for a fuel efficient vehicle. The only reason I purchased this vehicle was due to the 32 mpg fallacy that was printed on the window sticker. My daily commute is 98% 4 lane highway with a 65 mph speed limit, and I average 23.2 mpg. I have driven this vehicle for an uninterrupted 35 miles on a flat, Mississippi delta highway, with the cruise set to 55, and the air off in 85 degree weather, and could not touch 30 MPG, much less the 32 MPG advertised.

    The worst part in all of this is that now, the trade value is next to nothing due to the current incentives placed on the vehicle. As no one in their right mind will buy this vehicle, GM has placed incentives on it that practically give it away; thus, making us practically have to give them away to get rid of them.

    I can honestly say, after having this vehicle, I will never buy another GMC product again (to emphasize the significance of my displeasure, 5 of my last 8 vehicles in the last 11 years have been GM products.) GM, you either need to pull this vehicle and do some serious R&D, or brace yourselves to lose many more loyal customers.
  • bwall2bwall2 Posts: 30
    Yes - it is a piece of crap. The dealer did fuel consumption test on my 2011 terrain and had the nerve to tell me that it really did 38.9 mpg on their test of my vehicle! I too have had many GM products in the 47 years I have been driving - and no, there will never be another GM product. We are paying twice - considering the government bailout - what a fiasco!
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,233
    I assume you have the 4 cyl, I have seen elsewhere some get close to the EPA numbers on sticker, and of course others don't. On my 6 cyl it doesn't shift into highest gear until 56 MPH or so and I usually set cruise to 57-60 MPH for better numbers. A couple times when on a trip I have noticed MPG isn't what I would expect and after checking found it was inadvertently left in re-circ or defrost mode for HVAC, correcting that made for better numbers ( I also for some reason don't like the auto setting for HVAC)
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,055
    Good morning amburkes,

    We're sorry to hear that you are not satisfied with the fuel economy you are getting with your Terrain.

    The fuel economy estimates are based on results of tests required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These tests are used to certify that vehicles meet the federal emissions and fuel economy standards. Manufacturers test pre-production prototypes of the new vehicle models and submit the test results to EPA. EPA re-tests about 10% of vehicle models to confirm the manufacturer's results. The vehicles are driven by a professional driver under controlled laboratory conditions, on an instrument similar to a treadmill. These procedures ensure that each vehicle is tested under identical conditions; therefore, the results can be compared with confidence.

    The EPA's fuel economy estimates are designed to allow consumers to comparison shop. Your fuel economy will almost certainly vary from EPA's fuel economy rating. This is based on a number of factors, such as weather, road conditions, driving and maintenance habits, and the use of air conditioning. For more information on how your fuel economy can vary, or tips to improve your fuel economy, please visit "Your MPG Will Still Vary" and "Gas Mileage Tips" on

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • Like most Terrain Drivers I cannot get any where near the mileage displayed on the car and advertised in all the media ads. Simply put, this vehicle does not get 32 MPG on the highway. I have owned numerous vehicles, mostly GM and have ALWAYS achieved the mileage posted on the sticker and more. So what's the dealio GM? You know you have a problem. Why can't you admit it take it on the chops like Hyundai and reimburse owners of the vehicle and the Chevy Equinox? Even the dealers I spoke to warned my not to expect the mileage on the sticker. Based on my past history I thought they were fools. No more, it was me that was fooled. The service people say the same thing. They have no idea why the vehicle does not get the mileage as advertised.

    It probably has something to do with government buyout. The old stand on your own two feet GM built vehicles that performed. My 2012 SLE FWD 4 Cyl is very disappointing. I have seen it get up to 28 but that's about the best I can expect.
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