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Terrain Brings Safety To The Masses

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by , 02-25-2012 at 02:37 PM (10202 Views)
February 25, 2012
By: Nick Saporito


This week I've been piloting a 2012 GMC Terrain from GM's press fleet. While the Terrain has been on the market for some time now with no major updates, the 2012 model ended up debuting GM's forward collision warning (FCW) and lane departure warning (LDW) system. It turns out this simple, relatively cheap system makes a big impact.

The simplicity stems from the fact that the entire system utilizes one high-resolution camera to function. The camera is mounted in the windshield, on the right side of the rear-view mirror. The camera constantly takes four different exposures and runs them through algorithms to determine where the lanes are on the road and the relative distance and speed of a vehicle in front of the car. By comparison, most forward collision systems utilize radar on the front of the vehicle - usually the same radar utilized by adaptive cruise control systems.

The hardware's simplicity leads to the headline of the system: it's only a $295 option. So, is it worth it?

Short answer, yes. Both the lane departure warning and forward collision assistance work really well. Here's some notes I've taken during the last week regarding the system:


  • FCW cuts off the radio and alerts when a driver ahead of you has slowed down to turn. This is really useful when said driver fails to use their blinker.
  • Part of FCW is a "tailgating alert" function. When the Terrain detects I'm following someone close the visual alert goes off.
  • LDW does not pick up road lines when they are faded, which is fairly common considering the state of many state budgets.
  • Thanks to the camera's hgh location, the LDW alerts before the driver realizes that the vehicles is veering out of the lane.
  • LDW works even when there are only center road lines (no side lines).
  • If you utilize the blinker, LDW will not alert when you switch lanes.


Overall, I'm really impressed with the system and hope it proliferates the rest of the GM lineup quickly. For the price, it can't be beat. Stay tuned for my full review of the Terrain!

Updated 02-25-2012 at 02:53 PM by nsap

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  1. knack0125's Avatar
    We have the system and there is only one thing that bothers me about it. The fact that yes the option is only $295, the issue is that you must (atleast for 2012) purchase the Terrain/Equinox with the uneconomical 3.0L V6 engine. Don't get me wrong I love the power of the V6 and do get the combined mpg for the AWD version.

    What I want to know is why package it with the 3.0L engine when it comes out on the '13 Malibu and that vehicle will have only 4cyl power, what is the difference in the # of cylinders with what the system can be paired with?
  2. ChevyRules's Avatar
    Maybe we will be seeing more people using their blinkers more unless they want to hear that alert every time they go to change lanes or turn......
  3. aufeder's Avatar
    Both the lane departure warning and forward collision assistance work really well. Here's some notes I've taken during the last week regarding the system