IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
The GMC Canyon (along with its slightly less-ritzy cousin, the Chevrolet Colorado) offers up-to-date technology features and excellent all-around refinement, along with some options that its competitors can’t match.
Rather steep prices escalate further as options are added, and rear-seat space is stingy, even in crew-cab models.
The Canyon is notably bigger than its first-generation predecessor—and its Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma rivals—but is about a foot-and-a-half shorter, six inches narrower, and three inches lower than the full-size GMC Sierra pickup.
WHAT IS IT?
The Canyon is GMC’s “compact” pickup, though it’s large enough to be more accurately called a midsize pickup. Extended-cab and crew-cab body styles are offered, but a regular cab is not. Though both the Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado are built on the same basic platform, the GMC has a more premium feel than the Chevy. The Canyon’s upscale features include more-formal exterior styling, a ritzier interior with a soft-touch dashboard on most models, and an exclusive “Auto” full-time 4-wheel drive system that allows 4WD to be left engaged on dry pavement. On the safety side, a rearview camera and GM’s OnStar assistance system are standard, and options include forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Available comfort and convenience features include remote start, power lumbar adjustment for both driver and front passenger, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, and heated seats. Available connectivity items include an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, navigation system, voice recognition, Siri Eyes Free (for those with iPhones), and text-message alerts.
A top-line Denali trim level joins the Canyon model roster, adding upscale trim features such as a unique chrome grille, 20-inch aluminum wheels, and heated/ventilated front seats. Also new is the Nightfall Edition, which includes a body-color grille and 18-inch aluminum wheels, and the All Terrain X package, which adds off-road suspension, all-terrain tires, and hill-descent control. The 3.6-liter V6 is a new design; it utilizes cylinder deactivation and exchanges the previous 6-speed automatic transmission for an 8-speed automatic. GM’s Teen Driver monitoring is a new standard feature on all Canyons, and a heated steering wheel is now available on the SLT trim level.
EPA estimates for the 4-cylinder are 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive and 19/24 with 4-wheel drive. The 4-cylinder with the 6-speed manual (which is available only with rear-wheel drive) is rated at 19/26. Numbers for the V6 are 18/25 with rear-wheel drive and 17/24 with 4-wheel drive. The diesel is rated at 22/30 with 2WD and 20/28 with 4WD. In Consumer Guide® testing, a diesel-powered SLT Crew Cab averaged 24.8 mpg in 70-percent highway driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
The GMC Canyon faces strong competition from the Toyota Tacoma and new Honda Ridgeline, but continues to achieve Best Buy status because of its broad model lineup, the available diesel engine, and the availability of a full-time 4WD system. The addition of GMC’s popular Denali trim and the fuel-economy potential of the new 3.6 V6/8-speed powertrain are attractive as well. Pricing on top-line models reaches into the territory of full-size trucks that offer more passenger space and cargo/hauling capacity. However, for shoppers who need a truck that’s more economical and easier to maneuver, the Canyon is a great choice.
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$20,940 – $43,120|
|BODY STYLES||Extended Cab And Crew Cab|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||200-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cyl.; 181-hp 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cyl.; 308-hp, 3.6-liter V6|
|DRIVE WHEELS||Rear Or 4-Wheel Drive|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||17-30 MPG|