All About GMC Terrain’s ECO Mode

When enabled, the GMC Terrain’s “ECO mode” function can help reduce fuel consumption and save you money on gas—click here to learn more.
Written by Andrew Biro
If you own a GMC Terrain equipped with a 2.4L engine that was built between 2010 and 2017, you can turn on the car’s economy or “ECO” mode function simply by pressing the “eco” button located by the shift lever.
When ECO mode is enabled, your engine’s power output is reduced and certain systems are restricted to conserve fuel. Rather than focusing on high-powered performance, ECO mode prioritizes energy efficiency, lower emissions, and can even help reduce wear on your GMC’s powertrain.
But if you’ve never owned a vehicle with ECO mode before, you might be wondering how it works, what it does, and when to use it—fortunately,
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What is GMC Terrain ECO mode?

Any GMC Terrain built between 2010 and 2017 and equipped with a 2.4L engine comes standard with an ECO or economy mode option, which allows the driver to switch the vehicle into a mode that is more fuel efficient than the base model.
This is achieved by altering the restrictions on certain vehicle parts and systems, such as lowering the six-speed transmission’s torque converter lockup speed to 1,125 rpm.
When your Terrain’s ECO mode is enabled, it:
  • Lowers the engine’s idle speed
  • Makes the gas pedal less sensitive
  • Forces the transmission to upshift sooner and downshift later
  • Quickly shuts off fuel to the engine upon deceleration
  • Allows the torque converter clutch to apply sooner and stay on longer
And because ECO mode restricts harsh acceleration, which in turn decreases the chances of harsh braking—both of which put undue stress on your vehicle—enabling it can actually help extend your GMC Terrain’s lifespan!

Does GMC Terrain ECO mode save fuel?

Yes—the entire purpose of the GMC Terrain’s ECO mode is to save gas and improve fuel efficiency, which in turn helps you save money at the pump. Most drivers notice a 1-3 mpg increase with ECO mode turned on, but the amount of fuel you actually save largely depends on how frequently you use ECO mode and the kind of driving you normally do.
Typically, ECO mode is most useful—and the benefits most noticeable—for those who regularly drive in stop-and-go traffic, suburbs, cities, and other highly urbanized areas. Enabling ECO mode on the highway or on long trips can’t hurt, but it generally isn’t as effective and you might not even notice a drop in fuel consumption.

Does GMC Terrain ECO mode drain the battery?

Despite reducing the engine’s power output, ECO mode won’t drain your GMC Terrain’s battery—there might be a marginal drop in charging speed if your alternator is affected when ECO mode is enabled, but not enough to where leaving ECO mode on all the time will leave you with a dead battery.

How to turn GMC Terrain ECO mode on and off

Turning your GMC Terrain’s ECO mode on and off is simple—all you have to do is press the “ecobutton on the center console by the shift lever. Once ECO mode is enabled, the “eco” light on your vehicle’s instrument cluster will automatically turn and your Driver Information Center (DIC) screen will display “ECO MODE ON.”
If you want to turn ECO mode off, simply press the “eco” button again and your GMC Terrain will return to its standard driving mode.
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Is GMC Terrain ECO mode worth it?

It depends. Whether or not GMC’s ECO mode is worth it largely depends on your driving habits and priorities.
If your main concern is saving on fuel costs and reducing your emissions, you’ll benefit greatly from switching your Terrain into ECO mode, especially if your vehicle is outfitted with an all-wheel drive system. AWD drops fuel efficiency by almost 3 mpg, but ECO mode can help bridge that gap and make up the difference.
Of course, ECO mode does have its drawbacks, namely a marked reduction in speed and acceleration—both of which can make it difficult to reach the higher speeds required for highway driving. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t leave ECO mode on while you’re on the highway—it’s not going to damage your engine, after all—but you likely won’t benefit from it and may have a harder time keeping up with traffic.
If, on the other hand, you do a lot of urban or city driving, this reduction in performance probably won’t affect you too much, so keep that in mind.

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