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William Maley

Quick Review: 2012 GMC Terrain SLT-2

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

July 20, 2012

Back in January, Drew got his hands on a 2012 GMC Terrain SLT-2 AWD with the 3.0L V6. Seven months later, I have almost the same GMC Terrain, right down to the black paint.

However, Drew has driven the Terrain and its platform mate, the Chevrolet Equinox before. This would be my first go with it.

After a week, what would I think about the Terrain?

Has anything changed since the Terrain's last visit to C&G Garage?

Only a few items of note. In the infotainment department, the Terrain dropped its base radio and replaced it with a large, seven-inch touchscreen radio. Also, GMC's Intellilink which provides smartphone integration, and the ability to stream Pandora and Stitcher Internet Radio is now on the option list.

Also on the options list (only for the SLT-2 model though) is lane departure warning and forward collision alert.

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The Outside & Inside Story


Exterior

The Terrain definitely fits the "Professional Grade" persona that GMC puts out there. The front end features a large, bold chrome grill that lets everyone know what you're driving. A pair of large, square headlights and a uniquely sculpted hood complete the front. The side profile features prominent front and rear fenders, body cladding running along the bottom of the doors, and a set of five-spoke, eighteen-inch chrome wheels. The back end has a set of taillights that flank a large chrome bar hiding the release for the hatch and a rear-view camera. Also featured on the rear are twin exhaust pipes.

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However, the designers pumped up the fake testosterone too much and the end result looks like it is trying too hard to fit the Professional Grade persona.

Given the choice between the Terrain and the Chevrolet Equinox, I would choose the Equinox every time.

Interior

Stepping into the Terrain's interior, I was amazed as to how much interior space there was for passengers. Front seat passengers get a pair of heated leather seats, with the driver getting eight-way power-adjustments. Back seat passengers will have nothing to complain about with Terrain as head and legroom are well above average. Also, back seat passengers can also recline and move the seat backwards and forward. Cargo space for the Terrain measures at 31.6 cu.ft. with the seats up and 63.9 cu.ft. with the seats down.

As for the Dash, build quality and materials are good. The center stack is laid out well and most of the controls are in easy reach. The only set of controls that I would move is for the trip computer. The buttons are set too low in the stack for easy reach. I would put them onto a stalk on the steering wheel column like other GM vehicles.

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The Terrain comes with a variety of infotainment options, ranging from a standard seven-inch touchscreen radio that provides AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD and USB input to a Naviagtion system with a 10 GB hard drive for music. This particular Terrain came with GMC's Intellilink system. Like the Chevrolet Malibu Eco and Buick Verano, I had a couple of problems (iPod playback at Alvin & Chipmunks speed on certain tracks and Pandora playing without sound).

Powertrain, Ride, Safety, and Verdict


Drivertrain

The Terrain comes with the choices of a 2.4L direct-injection four-cylinder or a 3.0L direct-injection V6 engine, and front-wheel or all-wheel-drive. This Terrain is equipped with the 3.0L DI V6 producing 264 horsepower and 222 lf-ft of torque and all-wheel drive. No matter which engine or drive configuration you choose, the only transmission available is a 6-speed automatic. The 3.0L V6 makes its 222 lb-ft of torque at a high 5100 RPM leaving the crossover's transmission constantly on the hunt for the right gear. Making a pass requires a lot of planning.

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Fuel economy for the V6-AWD is 16mpg city and 23mpg highway, which shockingly, is identical to the more powerful, larger, and heavier GMC Acadia V6 AWD. Somehow, I was able to coax out 21 MPG for my average.

If you want/need V6 power in your Terrain, wait for the 2013 models with the 3.6L DI V6 to begin rolling out.

Ride & Drive

Driving the Terrain is very a pleasant experience. The suspension does a good job of providing a comfortable ride and isolating road imperfections.

Also, the suspension does a good job of keeping the Terrain stable in cornering and emergency maneuvers. As for the steering, it is weighted just right.

Noise from the engine and the road is kept to a minimum thanks in part to triple door seals, double pane glass, and other sound deadening materials.

Safety

This particular Terrain was equipped with the optional lane departure warning and forward collision alert. Using a camera mounted in the rear-view window, the two systems warn you if you're drifting into another lane or are about to run into the back of a vehicle. In theory, both systems should work very well. In practice, one out of two isn't bad.

The lane departure warning is more a nuisance than a help, just a warning light and audible beep. Also, a study from HLDI found out vehicles equipped with lane departure warning were in more accidents than vehicles without the system. The forward collision alert is a good system, flashing a big, red light on the dash and beeping. The system also prepares the braking system for the driver to hit the brakes quickly.

One item I do have to give GMC kudos for is the dual mirrors for the side-view mirrors, which helps minimize the Terrain's blind spots.

Verdict

The GMC Terrain is one of the best CUVs on sale today. Despite my dislike for the exterior styling, most of the overall package is just right for most crossover buyers.

There is an Achilles heel though to the Terrain and that is the optional 3.0L V6. The power isn't quite where you want it in certain situations, the six-speed automatic hunts for gears, and fuel economy makes you think you're driving a larger vehicle. This is a case of right car, wrong engine.

For most buyers, the 2.4L Ecotec four is all you need. For those who need V6 power, wait till the 2013 Terrain comes with the 3.6L V6. You'll sacrifice nothing in fuel economy but gain more horsepower and torque.

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Disclaimer: General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gas for this review.

Year - 2012

Make - GMC

Model - Terrain

Trim – SLT-2

Engine – 3.0L DI V6

Driveline – All Wheel Drive, Six Speed Automatic

Horsepower @ RPM - 264 @ 6950

Torque @ RPM - 222 @ 5100

Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/23/19

Curb Weight – 3798 lbs

Location of Manufacture – CAMI Assembly, Ingersol, Ontario

Base Price - $33,010.00

As Tested Price - $36,495.00 (Includes $810.00 Destination Charge)

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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Great review, I do Disagree with you as the Chevy Twin is way to Female for me. The Terrain is awesome looking.

Still Wish GMC would make a Black Diamond edition.

Metallic black paint with lots of clear coat, Black Chrome rims, all body chrome is black chrome and then black out windows. I think that would be a perfect package.

I do agree after having driven one a couple months back at a dealership when my son was shopping around, I was disappointed in the V6 and would say the 4 is more than enough for now and people who want the power should wait for the 2013.

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Solid review.

The Terrain is extremely well sorted, and although I didn't first like the look, in person, on the road, and especially after one was added to the family, I think it looks great where the Equinox is well done but blands out for me.

My mother is up to about 23k+ on her 2011 SLT-1 AWD with the 3.0L, and having put more miles on it faster than any previous vehicle, zero issues and still pleased with the 3.0L smoothness, power and fuel economy. Continues to do well on fuel, especially versus the 3.6L in her Camaro before, and the 3.0L is a butter smooth revver. Doesn't initially seem torquey but likes to rev and moves smoothly. Now if only it had rear seat vents for the HVAC, their only complaint. Large inside and can get hot/cold in the back seat area.

Black & chrome. Sharp tester.

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I just bought a Carbon Black Metallic 2012 Terrain nearly identical to the one used for this review. Mine doesn't have the lane departure warning or the front-end collision alert. I've only had it for 2-3 weeks, but I'm very pleased. The 3.0 liter is smooth and the ride is decent even over rough roads.

I traded my '08 Equinox Sport with the DOHC 3.6 VVT V6. The 3.0 has the same 264 HP, but it does not have the torque available at lower rpm's that I'm used to (the Equinox had 250 lb ft available at 3200 rpm).

I would have gotten the 2013 Denali with the new 301 HP V6, but the deal on the SLT was too good to pass up. If mpg is not your chief concern and you want better than average performance with SUV functionality and a well appointed interior choose the 2012 SLT with the 3.0 liter. The 2013 gives you the optional 3.6 with sports car-like performance (standard on the Denali). The Denali gives you more Chrome trim, wood accents inside and a few more features including an 8-way power passenger seat.

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Guest RJ

I just bought a Carbon Black Metallic 2012 Terrain nearly identical to the one used for this review. Mine doesn't have the lane departure warning or the front-end collision alert. I've only had it for 2-3 weeks, but I'm very pleased. The 3.0 liter is smooth and the ride is decent even over rough roads.

I traded my '08 Equinox Sport with the DOHC 3.6 VVT V6. The 3.0 has the same 264 HP, but it does not have the torque available at lower rpm's that I'm used to (the Equinox had 250 lb ft available at 3200 rpm).

I would have gotten the 2013 Denali with the new 301 HP V6, but the deal on the SLT was too good to pass up. If mpg is not your chief concern and you want better than average performance with SUV functionality and a well appointed interior choose the 2012 SLT with the 3.0 liter. The 2013 gives you the optional 3.6 with sports car-like performance (standard on the Denali). The Denali gives you more Chrome trim, wood accents inside and a few more features including an 8-way power passenger seat.

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Guest RJ

I just bought a Carbon Black Metallic 2012 Terrain nearly identical to the one used for this review. Mine doesn't have the lane departure warning or the front-end collision alert. I've only had it for 2-3 weeks, but I'm very pleased. The 3.0 liter is smooth and the ride is decent even over rough roads.

I traded my '08 Equinox Sport with the DOHC 3.6 VVT V6. The 3.0 has the same 264 HP, but it does not have the torque available at lower rpm's that I'm used to (the Equinox had 250 lb ft available at 3200 rpm).

I would have gotten the 2013 Denali with the new 301 HP V6, but the deal on the SLT was too good to pass up. If mpg is not your chief concern and you want better than average performance with SUV functionality and a well appointed interior choose the 2012 SLT with the 3.0 liter. The 2013 gives you the optional 3.6 with sports car-like performance (standard on the Denali). The Denali gives you more Chrome trim, wood accents inside and a few more features including an 8-way power passenger seat.

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I missed this one before.

I agree with almost all that is stated.

The styling is subjective as you either love it or hate it. I at fiirst hated this thing but once I really started to compare the Nox andTerrain the Terrain grew on me. It is almost like you crossed a Torrent and a Hummer. Ther is no right or wrong you either like the Nox or the Terrain and that is just what both are supposed to do.

The tranny is fine and does not hunt once you learn to drive the vehicle and the engine in the sweet spots. The 3.0 and 3.6 need to be driven with RPM, The engine pulls from 3,000 to 6,000 RPM and if you keep the revs up it does not jump around. THe tranny will drop down in gear once you are moving but you need to apply the gas and it will kick down to 3rd gear and move back through them in a smooth undetected manor. This thing is just does not drive like a Small block with a Turbo 350.

The lane departure and collison detector is a pain in the ass. The lane detector likes to go off often on secondary roads that are not wide. It is ok on the interstate of state highways. We leave this off all the time anymore. It was the first thing the wife said to shut off.

The collision alert is a little better. It still has some false detections that can catch you when you are not ready. It does activate the brake system or trottle as the car seems to feel like it studders and loses power or the brakes start to apply. I am not sure what it is doing but the forward motion is lost just slightly. This is not a good thing under false alarm conditions. This is the poor mans system and is not as advanced as the Cadillac. We keep this system on but at the lowest setting. Knowing what I do now I would delete it if I could.

Mileage is good but not great,. But at over 4000 pound it is very acceptable. If you want more MPG buy something less than 2 tons.

I just checked out a Denali today and I am glad I did not wait for it. It is nice but not worth the extra cost. The is just little value int he Denali package vs what you get in the SLT2.

The 3.6 is nice and the extra power is always welcomed but the percentage of power increase is small and it is not enough power to make me regrett getting the 3.0. The 3.6 should have been there in the first place but The 3.0 is not a bad engine either.

The 8 way passenger seat is not really a factor with us as once the passenger seat is set we never change it power or not.

Over all we are very happy and the only thing that is sad is they deleted the Mocha Steel color that we have. It was one of the most popular colors too.

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      To do this, GMC has two new features that are exclusive to the Sierra. First is the CarbonPro bed. Optional on the Denali, the bed is comprised of lightweight carbon fiber composite panels for the inner panels and floor. Not only does it promise "best-in-class dent, scratch and corrosion resistance", it also drop 62 pounds out of the Sierra's curb weight. Second is the MultiPro Tailgate that offers "six unique functions and positions
      " such as standing workstation.
      The Sierra's exterior takes a bold approach with a larger front grille and C-Shaped headlights. Denali models appear to have a lot of chrome trim. 22-inch wheels are standard equipment on the Denali and SLT. We don't know much about the exteriors for lesser Sierra models as GMC is focusing on the Denali and SLT models for the time being.
      Like the Silverado, GMC has focused on cutting weight in the 2019 Sierra - up to 360 pounds depending on the configuration. Aluminum panels are in use for the doors, hood, and tailgate. 
      Don't expect any drastic differences between the Sierra's and Silverado's interior aside from some additional chrome trim. The Sierra does come with some interesting tech including a full-color heads-up display, a trailering smartphone app that allows a driver to check the lights, trailer tire pressures, and perform electrical diagnostics; and hitch guidance system to make hooking up a trailer easier.
      Engines will include the 5.3L and 6.2L V8s, and the all-new 3.0L turbodiesel inline-six. 
      We'll hopefully have more details and pictures as GMC will be holding an event later tonight in Detroit. The 2019 Sierra arrives at dealers this fall.
      Source: GMC
      Press Release is on Page 2


      GMC Introduces the Next Generation 2019 Sierra
      Commanding design, segment-leading technologies redefine premium truck
      DETROIT — GMC is taking its most popular pickup truck to the next level with the completely redesigned 2019 Sierra Denali and SLT.
      Distinguished by bold design and segment-leading technologies, the next generation Sierra Denali once again redefines the premium pickup, while advancing Denali’s legacy as the pinnacle of GMC design, capability and refinement.
      “GMC ignited the premium truck segment 17 years ago with the original launch of the Sierra Denali,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global GMC. “The next generation 2019 Sierra Denali establishes a new benchmark in capability and refinement. It exemplifies precision in every detail.”
      Powerful proportions and distinctive Denali design help define the Sierra’s unmistakable exterior, while the driver-focused cabin strengthens the brand’s reputation for refinement with premium materials, improved interior space and innovative storage solutions. 
      The 2019 Sierra Denali affirms its position as the most premium Sierra ever with segment-leading technologies and exclusive features, including:
      GMC Exclusive, Industry-first MultiPro Tailgate is the most innovative pickup tailgate ever, with six unique functions and positions offering enhanced second-tier loading and load-stop solutions, a standing workstation and easier access to items in the box. GMC Exclusive, Industry-first Carbon Fiber Pickup Box, the CarbonPro, was developed to increase durability, efficiency and functionality while offering best-in-class dent, scratch and corrosion resistance, making it the most durable pickup box in the segment. All-new ProGrade Trailering System with Trailering App offers a connected comprehensive suite of trailering technology that brings more confidence to the towing experience than ever before. Segment-first Multi-Color Head-Up Display projects key, customizable vehicle data on the windshield in a 3x7-inch display to help drivers keep their eyes on the road. Segment-first Rear Camera Mirror offers an optimized view via an available dual-function interior mirror that expands vision to overcome common visual obstructions like occupants or cargo. This next generation system features a higher resolution camera and display and the ability to tilt or zoom the view.   The redesigned Sierra Denali offers a full suite of available advanced safety features, along with exclusive chassis technologies such as Adaptive Ride Control.
      “The heritage of the GMC brand is rooted in full-size trucks, of which the Sierra is our cornerstone, with our SLT and Denali models contributing 87 percent of our total crew cab sales,” Aldred said. “The next generation Sierra caters to these unique customers who demand a premium, innovative truck that supports their professional and personal passions.”
      A commanding presence
      The 2019 Sierra Denali debuts a profound new GMC design. A taller, more confident stance gives Sierra Denali powerful proportions complemented by hallmark details such as a chrome grille with a sharp, precise dimensional pattern that epitomizes the truck’s attention to detail.
      “The next generation Sierra Denali has a deliberate, commanding presence,” said Matt Noone, director of design, GMC Exteriors. “Its unmistakable design embodies the essence of GMC, while advancing the brand’s core styling elements — rooted in inherent capability — with a new expression of its signature cues.”
      Sierra shows refinement and strength through a larger, more-dominant upright grille, a taller hood, and a bolder, more pronounced take on GMC’s C-shaped lighting signature.
      Advanced lighting technology distinguishes the Sierra Denali from every other truck on the road. GMC’s front lighting signature is conveyed through a prominent “light blade” that delivers uniform LED illumination for the daytime running lamps. LEDs are also used for the headlamps, taillamps, fog lamps and other illuminative elements, with lenses constructed from durable material with an almost crystalline quality.
      The truck is larger than the previous truck in virtually every dimension, and the larger grille and dramatic lighting accentuate its broad-shouldered stance. The wheels are pushed closer to the corners and wear larger diameter tires. Denali features available 22-inch Ultra Bright aluminum wheels; the SLT model offers its own unique 22-inch dark aluminum wheels finished with chrome accents.
      New, more prominent badging includes a bold DENALI nameplate on the tailgate —expressed in a new block-style typeface that echoes the truck’s strong proportions — below the signature GMC identification.
      An elevated interior refined
      The Sierra Denali’s new interior builds on the refinement and sophistication that have become synonymous with Denali, topping the segment with best-in-class front head- and legroom (maximum), providing a more spacious, driver-centric environment finished with premium materials. 
      Putting the driver at the center of experience starts with a higher seating position that offers a confident view behind the wheel. The optimized ergonomics emphasize easy, intuitive interaction with the vehicle’s technologies, such as the all-new Trailering App and segment-first Head-Up Display.
      Denali-exclusive materials — including premium leather-appointed seating, authentic open-pore wood trim and dark-finish aluminum decor — help raise the interior to a new level of refinement. The exclusive leather appointments have a distinctive, large-pebbled grain with a contrasting stitch pattern that is both premium in appearance and touch without sacrificing durability, and the wood trim features an open-pore texture evocative of hand-planed furniture.    
      When it comes to the space and storage vital to truck customers, the 2019 Sierra’s crew cab has nearly 3 inches of additional rear-seat legroom compared to the current model. The outboard rear seat backs open to reveal rectangular storage spaces large enough for storing tablets or laptops, tie-down cords, umbrellas or other important accessories.
      Groundbreaking cargo box capability and materials
      The next generation 2019 Sierra debuts a GMC exclusive, industry-first MultiPro Tailgate that is the segment’s most innovative tailgate ever. Standard on SLT and Denali, the MultiPro Tailgate features six unique functions and positions, offering enhanced second-tier loading and load-stop solutions, a standing workstation mode and easier access to items in the box.
      The MultiPro Tailgate also incorporates a step entry and egress mode that, when paired with the assist handle, offers both step and seated functionality, with a maximum weight capacity of 375 pounds (170 kg). Ease of use is enhanced with two buttons on the tailgate handle that allow convenient inner gate release.
      This multifunctional tailgate offers proven strength and durability, having undergone more testing and validation than any tailgate in GM’s history. Sierra is the first and only truck to offer the MultiPro Tailgate, providing premium truck customers the ultimate flexibility. MultiPro Tailgate will be standard on Denali and SLT.
      The cargo boxes also offer best-in-class cargo volume — 63 cubic feet (1,784 liters) on the short box, as well as additional tie-downs and a new, available 110-volt power outlet. The bed continues to be made of roll-formed, high-strength steel, yet a revised alloy offers 50 percent more strength than the current model.
      The 2019 Sierra Denali will offer, later in the model year, an available GMC exclusive and industry-first carbon fiber box — the CarbonPro — developed to increase durability, efficiency and functionality of the truck. It replaces the standard steel inner panels and floor with a lightweight, purpose-designed carbon fiber composite that offers best-in-class dent, scratch and corrosion resistance, making it the most durable pickup box in the segment.
      “In 116 years of making GMC pickup trucks, our industry-first carbon fiber box is the toughest and most durable pickup box we have ever made,” Aldred said.
      The new CarbonPro box is 62 pounds (28 kg) lighter than the steel version, and is one example of GMC’s strategic use of materials in engineering the Sierra. The strategy also incorporates aluminum for the doors, hood and tailgate, while relying on steel for the fenders, roof and standard cargo box to shave up to 360 pounds (163 kg) from Sierra compared today’s model.
      ProGrade Trailering System with Trailering App
      The 2019 Sierra offers a more confident towing experience thanks to GMC’s new ProGrade Trailering System, standard on Denali and SLT. The trailering system includes an all-new Trailering App featuring a Pre-Departure checklist, Maintenance Reminders, Trailer Light Test, Trailer Electrical Diagnostics and Trailer Tire Pressure and Temperature Monitoring.
      Many of the Trailering App’s functions, including the lighting test and pre-departure checklist, are also available with the MyGMC app on compatible Android and iOS smartphones, a feature that offers great convenience when outside the truck or trailer.
      The next generation Sierra also offers Hitch Guidance with Hitch View and Auto Electric Park Brake to help with perfect positioning when hitching. The available side view cameras and a trailer-mounted HD camera provide additional assistance when driving down the road or in reverse. With exclusive Trailer Theft Detection, owners can receive text and mobile alerts from OnStar when the trailer has been detached from the truck without permission.    
      Purposeful technologies
      Seamless, driver-focused technology has long been a Denali standard, and the 2019 Sierra Denali establishes a new benchmark by incorporating purposeful technologies.
      These technologies work together to increase functionality and enhance comfort and convenience. Highlights include:
      Segment-first Multi-color 3x7 Head-Up Display: The 2019 Sierra is the first full-size truck to offer this technology, which projects key vehicle information on the windshield within the driver’s line of sight. Advanced GMC infotainment: This new, dynamic platform offers a smartphone-like experience with an intuitive interface, faster response and improved voice recognition. Sierra Denali’s standard 8-inch diagonal system includes navigation.  Segment-first Rear Camera Mirror: This available dual-function interior mirror offers an optimized camera view that can help the driver’s view around potential vision obstructions such as occupants or cargo, while also offering a greater field of vision. This next gen system features a higher resolution camera, a higher resolution display and the ability to tilt or zoom the view. A conventional mirror view is also available. Surround Vision: Offering a bird’s-eye view of the truck, this available feature displays an overhead image on the infotainment screen, helping the driver detect potential obstacles when backing up, including when trailering. Full suite of advanced safety features: The 2019 Sierra Denali offers a full range of available advanced safety features, including Side Blind Zone Alert, Pedestrian Detection and Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking. Sierra performance
      New versions of the proven 6.2L and 5.3L V-8 engines will be joined by an all-new 3.0L inline-six turbo-diesel engine, expanding the powertrain lineup for the 2019 Sierra.
      The 5.3L and 6.2L engines feature stop/start technology and new Dynamic Fuel Management that enables the engine to operate on one to eight cylinders, depending on demand, to optimize power and efficiency. The new diesel builds on GMC’s expertise with Duramax turbo-diesels offered in Sierra HD and Canyon models. The available 6.2L and 3.0L engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
      Sierra Denali features an exclusive Adaptive Ride Control suspension system designed to provide premium driving refinement with exceptional responsiveness. It employs sophisticated sensors to monitor road conditions and chassis responses in real time, enabling adjustments to active dampers every 2 milliseconds.
      Coming this fall
      The 2019 GMC Sierra Denali and SLT go on sale this fall. Additional details will be released closer to the start of production.

      View full article
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