IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
The redesigned 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 2004-2012 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.
After its redesign for 2015, the Canyon gains an available 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine that puts out 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Inside, the GMC IntelliLink infotainment system receives Apple CarPlay capability.
Fuel-economy numbers for the new diesel engine were not available as of this writing. EPA estimates with the 4-cylinder are 20 city/27 highway with rear-wheel drive and 19/25 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 18/26 with rear-wheel drive and 17/24 with 4-wheel drive. In Consumer Guide testing, a 4WD GMC Canyon SLT Crew Cab short bed averaged 20.1 mpg in a slight majority of highway driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
The GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado now face strong competition from the redesigned-for-2016 Toyota Tacoma, but they still take top honors in our book because of their broad model lineup, the newly available diesel engine, and the availability of a full-time 4WD system on the Canyon. Pricing on top-line Canyons and Colorados 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 new Canyon (or Colorado) is a great choice.
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$20,955 – $37,750|
|BODY STYLES||EXTENDED CAB AND CREW CAB|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||200-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cyl.; 181-hp 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cyl.; 305-hp, 3.6-liter V6|
|DRIVE WHEELS||Rear or 4-Wheel Drive|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||17-31 MPG|
Other Best Buys in this Class