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GMC Tests Out How Automotive Christmas Decorations Affect Performance


Christmas is right around the corner but General Motors is going all Scrooge and pointing out the obvious, decorating your car is a bad idea.

As part of this year's Christmas celebrations, the company sent aerodynamic performance engineer Joel Ruschman to the Lockheed Martin low speed wind tunnel in Georgia to test out a GMC Terrain Denali with an assortment of holiday decorations.

According to USA Today, reindeer antlers and a big red "nose" increase the Terrain's drag coefficient by three percent and this causes the crossover's fuel economy rating to drop by about 1 mpg on the highway.

While a big bow might not seem like it would have much effect, it actually increased drag by 15% and caused the fuel economy rating to drop by 3.5 mpg. However, the biggest offender was a Christmas tree which caused a 70% increase in drag.

If you can't resist the urge to decorate your car, the best choice would be a wreath as the wind tunnel tests determined it didn't have any effect on the Terrain's fuel efficiency.

Speaking of mileage, the 2018 Terrain Denali has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 252 hp (187 kW) and 260 lb-ft (352 Nm) of torque. It is connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission which can be paired to an optional all-wheel drive system. In the latter configuration, the crossover returns 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

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