Should You Take the 2022 GMC Terrain Off Road?

The 2022 GMC Terrain is not built for off-roading adventures, it’s much more comfortable on the blacktop.
Written by Zachary Morgan
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The 2022
GMC Terrain
is a crossover SUV that can handle a gravel road, but not much else. First introduced in 2009, the Terrain has gone through a few redesigns, but it’s always been more of a grocery-getter than a trail-conqueror.
With all the toll roads, highways, and interstates that we have to drive on every day, it’s easy to forget how fun it is to go somewhere where the roads are less… paved. Driving something that’s geared towards off-road performance is like having an all-access pass to the Great Outdoors, but which vehicles are tough and dependable enough to make the cut?
, the
super app
and surefire way to earn
car insurance
savings, can tell you all about the GMC Terrain’s off-road capabilities. We’ll go over some of the relevant specs and even give you a few substitutions if the Terrain doesn’t seem like the best car for you.

Can the 2022 GMC Terrain go off-road?

Not really, no. The Terrain is a small SUV that sits low to the ground and it could never really compete with the likes of a truck (like the
Ram 1500
) or trail-rated SUV (like the
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Starting at around $29,000 for the base model, the 2022 GMC Terrain comes in four trims, all of which are equipped with the same anemic 1.5L four-cylinder paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is an optional upgrade. 
Let’s take a look at some other important off-road specs and how the Terrain fares in each category.
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Ground clearance

One of the most important specifications to know before going off-road is your vehicle’s ground clearance, which is a measurement of the space between the ground and the underside of your car. Experts recommend a minimum of 8.5 inches of ground clearance before going off the beaten path.
Unfortunately, the Terrain is sorely lacking in this category, as it only has 6.9 inches of ground clearance. This makes it much more vulnerable to undercarriage damage caused by rocks, sticks, or other materials.


Another key to quality off-road performance is low-end torque, which equates to high amounts of torque at a lower RPM. When you’re out on the trail, it’s more important to keep the wheels in motion than it is to go fast.
The 2022 GMC Terrain achieves 203 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM, which isn’t terrible but not particularly impressive, either.


The tires you use will also have a significant impact on how your car fares off the beaten path. The P225/65R17 on the 2022 Terrain are perfectly fine for driving to work or going down the interstate, but they’re less than ideal for off-roading excursions.
The best off-roading tires are A/T or
all-terrain tires
. These usually feature a tread pattern with a better grip, so that your vehicle maintains good traction and doesn’t throw you around the cabin. They’re intended for people who want to mix off-road fun with everyday driving, but they’re not quite as durable or long-lasting as regular all-season tires.


Another important quality for off-road vehicles is all-wheel drive (AWD). The standard 2022 Terrain is a rear-wheel drive SUV powered by a nine-speed automatic transmission, but AWD is available as an optional upgrade.


Break out the protractor, because off-roading is all about angles. In particular, you need to be aware of your car’s approach angle and departure angle:
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Terrain doesn’t really excel in this category, either. Its approach and departure angles are 15.2 and 23.5 degrees, respectively. With those numbers, the Terrain is simply incapable of climbing much of anything.

Off-road rating: Don’t try it

We’ve rated the 2022 GMC Terrain using
in-house DIRT rating system, explained in the table below:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
By Jerry’s estimate, the 2022 GMC Terrain earns a D rating, meaning it should stay on the pavement as much as possible. Sure, it comes with AWD (at a price) and the torque isn’t that bad, but the Terrain’s weak engine and low underbody clearance make it too much of a risk to take off-roading. This one’s a highway driver—not that there’s anything wrong with that! 

The best off-road alternatives to the 2022 GMC Terrain

If you’re in the market for a safe, unremarkable car that’s a good value for the cost, the GMC Terrain would be a fine choice. If you want something that can chew up the trail, spit it out, and ask for seconds, you’ll have to look elsewhere. 
Whatever your reason, let’s take a look at some good alternatives to the Terrain:
2019 Chevrolet Equinox
This compact crossover SUV from Chevy has three engine options to choose from, buttery smooth handling, and a variety of luxury features not found on other SUVs in this class.
2022 Chevrolet Blazer
A midsize SUV with the agility of a much smaller vehicle, the Blazer has an optional V6 engine upgrade that is perfect for anyone who wants an SUV with a little extra “oomph.”
2021 GMC Acadia
As a midsize SUV, the Acadia fills the gap between the tiny Terrain and the much-larger Yukon in GMC’s catalog. If you want an extra row of seating, more engine options, and better ride quality, the Acadia just might fit the bill.
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

If you’re in the market for a high-performing off-road vehicle, you know just how expensive they can be, both to purchase and insure. Because it’s such a dangerous hobby, insurers will charge a higher rate for your off-road vehicle, no matter how big the tires are.
So, what’s the solution? Use
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