While GMC is not the typical marque found in the pages of DRIVEN, we fully acknowledge when a vehicle exceeds expectations. And we have to say the new GMC Terrain goes beyond.

We recently spent a day in Patterson, New York, with Haviland Hollow Polo Club owner Sam Ramirez and Top Chef’s Sam Talbot to talk ponies, good eats and country-bound vehicles.

The new GMC Terrain exceeds expectations on a trip upstate

Our excursion began in a fully equipped black Terrain, ready to tackle anything. However, the real test wasn’t our trip in, but rather the trip out.

Making our way into the sprawling hills upstate on a frigid fall day, we weaved in and out of traffic with ease.

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As with any brand-new vehicle rolling off the factory floors, you expect nothing less than a silky-smooth ride. Check.

Pushing forth into the scenery and our approach on winding side roads, we demanded more of our Terrain and received what a heavier foot deserves.

Before we’d had time to register the fact, we arrived at our destination.

We demanded more of our Terrain and received what a heavier foot deserves

Upon a hearty greeting from the club’s owner Sam Ramirez, we warmed ourselves up with hot apple cider and received a brief introduction to the farm.

Touring the polo facilities, we got acquainted with its quadruped inhabitants and nimble ponies.

The extensive fields and indoor arena serves as the New York polo connoisseurs’s destination of choice.

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Continuing our conversations on the sport of kings, we were greeted by Top Chef’s Sam Talbot after which we dined while discussing the finesse of the meal he masterfully orchestrated.

Interrupting conversation, a sudden snowstorm descended, and a return to Manhattan was deemed unfeasible by our patrons and fellow diners.

Why not kill time with a tryout of the indoor arena? Challenge accepted.

Working off the food, we mounted a polo pony and began the first of a few chukkers’ worth of horse-mounted antics.

Working off the food, we mounted a polo pony and began the first of a few chukkers’ worth of horse-mounted antics

As we polished our polo brass at Haviland Hollow, the ponies continued with surprising endurance.

Lifting our gaze from the arena incited by burning forearms unused to wielding a mallet, it was quite evident from the wintry landscape that we had overstayed our visit and should be bound back toward the city.

Entering the Terrain once again, we were reassured by the presence of the big SUV.

Traversing roads untouched by other vehicles, we progressed in the direction of Manhattan with unhindered performance.

As we made our way into more populated stretches of snowland, we paraded past hordes of vehicles defeated along the side of the road or returning in shame from hills too steep to be negotiated.

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To others on the road, it must have seemed like we were dragging a banner with “Screw You” painted across it.

We were so cavalier as to set the pace at double-time by venturing onto the road’s indistinguishable dirt and gravel shoulder, and further put thumb to nose and wave our fingers.

Before we knew it, we were back on the highway and negotiating a slick sludgy surface that would normally seem unsafe at any speed.

However, the best part of the drive was not the sense of calm in a storm, but rather the consistent and unchallenged temperament of our ride all the way through our return to the concrete canyons.

The best part of the drive was the consistent and unchallenged temperament of our ride

Upon exiting the Terrain in a freezing rain, we were quite pleased with the thought of a vehicle capable of handling hazardous country outings with little wear and tear to either the metal or the wallet.

Now if we could only kick the mud off our boots and say “Made in America”—but Canada will just have to do….

– Fernando Morales