Highlights: The new midsize truck returns to the segment dropping its awkward 5-cylinder engine for an all-new fuel-efficient 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engine. A new turbo diesel engine is slated to join the mix for the 2016 model year. Chevy has a version of the truck, too. It’s known as the Colorado.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $39,090
Extended Cab 4x2: $21,880 (base model)
Crew Cab 4x2: $26,130 (base model)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags; daytime running lights; LED headlights; 18-in compact spare tire; traction control; a locking tailgate; a rear camera with back up lines; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a cargo box light
Standard Equipment (base 4x2 model): 16-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; black manually operated outside mirrors; corner step rear bumper; a/c; manually adjusted front seats; cloth seats; front bucket seats; rear folding bench seats; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and vanity mirrors
Standard Upgraded Features On SLE Model: 17-inch tires; body colored door handles; power manual foldable outside mirrors; and manually reclining front passenger seats
Options On Review Model: a Z71 off-road suspension package; a hill descent control; a rear body color bumper; cloth (power front) seats; heated front seats; assist steps; remote vehicle start; an automatic a/c; a premium Bose audio system; 8-inch navigation screen; GM’s Intellilink system; a spray-on bedliner; a trailering equipment package; and a 3.42 rear axle.
Crew Cab Base
Crew Cab SLT
Suspension System: independent coil over shock; twin-turbo shocks (front)/ solid axle with semi-elliptic two-stage multiple-leaf springs; twin turbo shocks (rear)
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM stereo
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 mile warranty
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 mile warranty
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/200-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 17-city/24-hwy
What’s New: After being absent from the segment for several years, GMC returns with an all-new segment-buster for the 2015 model year.
Pros: The GMC Canyon proudly wears the bold grille of its big brother, the Sierra. The Canyon is available in a variety of configurations: Crew Cab, Extended Cab, a 5-foot bed, a 6-foot bed, a 4x2 or a 4x4.
Yes, there is a truck to meet every need. In fact, those who need more carrying capacity can opt for the crew cab with the 6-foot bed. By lowering the tailgate, one can expand the bed to 8-feet. An 8-foot bed allows this midsize truck to compete directly with the larger trucks.
We were fortunate to get our hands on a well-equipped Canyon Crew Cab SLE 4x4 model, with a 5-foot bed. While this wasn’t the model’s top of the line SLT trim, it was still equipped with a number of features. The only features our vehicle lacked, after adding-on about $4,000 in options, were chrome door handles, 18-inch wheels and leather bucket front seats (pseudo rear leather seat area), all of which are exclusive to the SLT model.
The Crew Cab SLE 4x4 model we reviewed had a starting price of $34,935, before adding on options. However, for truck buyers yearning for leather seats, they’ll have to step up to the SLT model where the pricing climbs by $2,950, because its packaged with other features.
And, just like its twin sibling, the Chevy Colorado, these are the first midsize trucks in the industry, offering such optional safety driving aids as a forward braking collision alert system and a lane changing alert driving system.
Moreover, besides those noted high-tech safety features being available, the Canyon is still considered to be a solid work horse. Side corner steps, a locking tailgate, an easy-to-use tailgate, a bed that can be sectioned off with its two-tier system and the ability to tow up to 6,700 lbs reminds of that. Yes, everything one expects in today’s fullsize trucks can also be found in a smaller and more manageable package with the Canyon.
Inside the cabin of the Canyon, it’s quite obvious that there has been a lot of attention to detail. With our optional Terrain package, there was stitching throughout the vehicle. Evidence of this premium look could be found in the seats, the door panels and the instrument pant. The column shifter has been relocated to the center of the bucket seats, giving the vehicle a more modern appearance. And the rear foldable seats provided additional storage.
Added to that, soon this midsize truck can be converted into a mobile office, with GM’s optional built in Wi-Fi system. In advance of that feature, GM has designed a center console that can easily store away one’s tablet, when not in use. Yes, there was a lot of attention to details in this new truck.
Lastly, the sturdy SLE model we reviewed was also outfitted with a standard back up camera and an easy-to-navigate 8-inch navigation screen, which integrated both traffic and weather updates.
Besides our concern about the price, again it’s quite obvious almost every attention to detail was considered inside the cabin. However, we have a few gripes. The front center armrest needs to be extended to accommodate those who are vertically-challenged, additional padding should be added to the bottom of the front seats and a slot to play musical CDs.
Lastly, for the life of us we can’t figure out why are side assist steps offered on this midsize truck? We found the side assist steps to be both annoying and a personal safety issue, when entering and exiting the vehicles. With the vehicle we reviewed being a 4x4, the ground clearance isn’t high enough to justify the optional steps.
Verdict: Chevy offers a version of this truck which costs about $900 less than the Canyon. Unlike the Chevy, the GMC Canyon grille is very distinctive, looking just like its larger sibling, the Sierra. Many truck buyers who needed something just a little smaller than today’s fullsize trucks will be ecstatic to know that GM has delivered with a solid, well-built, high-tech vehicle, with premium quality materials, that is available in a variety of configurations to meet one’s work and lifestyle needs. Yes, GM’s absence from the segment has been worth the wait!
Competition: Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma