What Is The GMC Terrain Towing Capacity?

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Close up of a gmc terrain on the road with a poor towing capacity

When it comes to towing, you don’t want just any vehicle. You want a strong and capable vehicle that will do the job.

While most SUVs, including the GMC Terrain, aren’t notorious for being outstanding at towing heavy loads, they can tow to some extent. So what’s the GMC Terrain’s towing capacity?

Is it a capable tow vehicle worth considering? Let’s dive in and look closely at the numbers!

What Is Towing Capacity?

Vehicle manufacturers set the towing capacity for a vehicle during manufacturing.

This rating is the maximum weight a vehicle can safely and legally tow. It’s only one of the many crucial tow ratings drivers need to know about their vehicles and any loads they haul.

Why Does Towing Capacity Matter?

Towing capacity matters because it helps improve everyone’s safety on the roads. A vehicle may be physically capable of pulling more weight than the towing capacity, but it will not be safe.

Vehicles exceeding their towing capacity are more likely to experience trailer sway and will drastically increase the distance necessary for stopping.

In addition, exceeding a vehicle’s towing capacity can cause legal issues. Insurance providers can deny any claims of a driver in an accident while towing a load exceeding their vehicle’s towing capacity.

This could cause serious financial issues and a costly lawsuit against anyone experiencing injury or property damage in the accident.

About the 2023 GMC Terrain

The Terrain is a compact SUV GMC has made since 2010. It’s similar to the Chevrolet Equinox and the Ford Escape.

The 2023 GMC Terrain features a boxy design with the appearance of performance and capability. However, the base trim levels are lacking in several key areas. It may leave you wishing you had chosen a higher trim or a different vehicle altogether.


The GMC Terrain has four trim levels. The base level is the SLE, and GMC climbs the ladder of luxury and features with the SLT, AT4, and Denali.

They seat five and get approximately the same fuel efficiency. Drivers choosing the SLT and above can enjoy conveniences like a power liftgate to make loading and unloading as convenient as possible.

In Car and Driver’s GMC Terrain review, they stated that many of the features drivers want most come standard in the Denali model. Not only does it provide a bit more comfort and luxury, but also performance. 

A gmc terrain on the road with a poor towing capacity


The 2023 GMC Terrain comes standard with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. However, this four-cylinder engine disappointingly only cranks out 175 horsepower.

The disappointment continues when you look at the fuel economy. It gets approximately 24 miles per gallon in the city and 28 to 29 miles per gallon on the highway. Some of the competition gets 10+ miles per gallon better than the GMC Terrain.

Standout Features

While the GMC Terrain may not win any awards regarding its specs, you can feel the quality of craftsmanship from the moment you get behind the wheel. Many models feature heated seats that also fold flat for maximum storage. 

Some key features of the GMC Terrain include 19-inch gloss-black aluminum wheels, a darkened front grille, and a hands-free programmable power liftgate. Wave your foot under the rear bumper, and the power liftgate will do the rest.

If you’re trying to find the spot to wave your foot at night, a GMC logo projects onto the ground to help you find it.

the inside of a gmc terrain on the road with a poor towing capacity

Can a GMC Terrain Tow a Camper?

Like most other typical and compact SUVs, the GMC Terrain isn’t a towing beast. Lower your expectations if the vehicle has the standard 4-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine. It won’t tow much weight.

However, older models allowed drivers to upgrade to the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, providing more muscle for towing.

With the beefier turbo engine, drivers would likely have enough towing capacity for a lightweight pop-up or tear-drop-style camper. However, don’t expect to haul much more than that.

The payload and towing capacities are severely lacking in the GMC Terrain. While the 2.0-liter engine is an improvement, it does nothing for the minimal 1200 pounds towing capacity.

What Is the GMC Terrain Towing Capacity?

Knowing the towing capacity of a vehicle is essential to help ensure you don’t overload a vehicle.

Doing so can not only cause damage to the vehicle but also decrease safety. Let’s look at the GMC terrain’s towing capacity over the last few years.

2023 GMC Terrain Towing Capacity

The 2023 GMC Terrain comes with a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. However, GMC decided not to offer the 2.0-liter engine option for 2023 models. The 1,500 pounds towing capacity is as good as it gets for the 2023 GMC Terrain.

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2022 GMC Terrain Towing Capacity

The 2022 GMC Terrain has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. Although the initial reports were that the 2022 GMC Terrain would include a beefier 2.0-liter engine, GMC changed its mind.

The result is an underperforming vehicle, especially for drivers looking to tow any significant weight.

A gmc terrain driving through a muddy road with a poor towing capacity

2021 GMC Terrain Towing Capacity

The 2021 GMC Terrain was the last year this vehicle came in 1.5 and 2.0-liter engine options.

Drivers opting for the 1.5-liter engine will have a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, and the upgraded 2.0-liter engine has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

2020 GMC Terrain Towing Capacity

The 2020 GMC Terrain allows shoppers to consider the 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter engines.

These engines provide 1,500 and 3,500 pounds of towing capacity, respectively. They did not design the Terrain for towing a massive amount of weight.

What Are the Advantages Of Towing With a GMC Terrain?

There aren’t many advantages to towing with a GMC Terrain, and drivers may find it challenging.

The minimal 1,200 pounds of payload capacity will quickly reach its limits with the weight of a driver and your gear. Once you hitch up to a lightweight trailer, you could drastically exceed the vehicle’s payload.

One of the only advantages of towing with a GMC Terrain is that you’ll have decent fuel efficiency when unhitched. However, even that is a hard sell for many drivers as the GMC Terrain underperforms regarding fuel efficiency compared to other compact SUVs.

A gmc terrain on the road with a poor towing capacity

What Is the GMC Terrain Elevation Edition?

The GMC Terrain Elevation addition is a blacked-out edition available on the SLE and SLT trim levels. It features a few key upgrades, providing a slick and clean look.

Some enhancements include 19-inch gloss-black aluminum wheels, a darkened front grill, black exterior badging, black accents, and mirror caps. 

How Much Does a GMC Terrain Cost?

A GMC Terrain’s starting costs are $27,990 for the SLE and SLT trim levels, $34,000 for the AT4, and $36,600 for the Terrain Denali.

However, additional features and upgrades will quickly drive this price north. You can typically find well-equipped GMC Terrains for $35,000 to $45,000.

Keep in Mind: GMC Terrain may not have the best towing capacity, but what about the GMC Sierra 2500? Let’s dive in!

Is a GMC Terrain Good for Towing? 

There’s no easy way to put this, but the GMC Terrain is unsuitable for towing. Even if drivers can find a lightweight trailer, the 1,200-pound payload capacity will be a significant limiting factor.

A driver and passengers could quickly eat up a quarter of the payload capacity alone. Once you add any gear or other items to the vehicle, there’s little to no room for additional weight from a trailer.

Can the GMC Terrain tow tiny trailers? Absolutely. However, don’t expect to tow anything with significant weight.

Would you use a GMC Terrain as a tow vehicle?

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