Up front, the Canyon clearly borrows styling cues likes its rectangular project beam headlights, its C-shaped LED daytime running lights and its bold radiator grille from the aforementioned Sierra. Pronounced wheel arches emphasize the truck's rugged looks, while a standard Cornerstep rear bumper also gleaned from the Sierra facilitates the task of climbing into the bed.
An available EZ Lift-and-Lower function uses built-in struts to allow the tailgate to be opened and closed with just one hand. For more practicality, the bed can be split into upper and lower sections thanks to a standard two-tier loading system.
Canyon buyers can choose from three different body styles: An extended cab model with a six-foot bed, a crew cab with a five-foot bed and a crew cab with a six-foot bed. The extended cab and the smaller crew cab model both stretch 212 inches long, while the crew cab with the long bed is 224 inches from bumper to bumper.
Inside, the Canyon's ruggedness is toned down in favor of a more elegant cockpit largely inspired by the world of crossovers. The truck is equipped with a full center console that houses the shifter and two generously-sized cupholders, an upright dashboard and an easy-to-read instrument cluster that integrates a configurable 4.2-inch driver information display.
Features like triple-sealed doors help give the Canyon a quiet, comfortable ride. An application called RemoteLink allows the driver to lock and unlock the truck, flash the lights, honk the horn and start the engine from a distance using a smartphone.
Most Canyons can be fitted with an eight-inch touch screen that runs GMC's IntelliLink infotainment system, which integrates entertainment and navigation functions (when equipped) and also offers access to smartphone-based apps like Pandora radio and Stitcher radio. The system can be controlled through dashboard knobs, steering wheel buttons or the aforementioned touch screen, and there is also a voice recognition system for hands-free calls, destination entering, song selection and more.
OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot is available, and drivers with an Apple iPhone can order the Canyon with Siri Eyes Free.
The Canyon comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline-burning engine that generates 193 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque. A standard six-speed automatic transmission sends power either to the rear wheels or to all four wheels, and a six-speed manual unit is available exclusively on base models ordered with an extended cab and two-wheel drive.
Buyers after more power can order an optional 3.6-liter V6 that churns out 302 horsepower and 270 lb-ft. of torque. The six-cylinder is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission that comes with a built-in Tow/Haul mode.
A 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine will be added to the lineup later in the production run.
The AutoTrac four-wheel drive system features an electronically-controlled transfer case that offers four driver-selectable modes: 2WD, Auto, 4WD-Hi and 4WD-Lo. When "Auto" is selected, the engine only engages the front wheels if it senses the rear wheels are slipping, a setup that improves efficiency and reduces wear.
Properly equipped, the Canyon can tow up to 6,700 pounds and haul a maximum of 1,450 pounds.
The four-cylinder Canyon returns 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway when fitted with two-wheel drive and a manual transmission. Opting for the automatic bumps mileage by one mpg in each cycle, while trucks with all-wheel drive return 19 in the city and 25 on the highway.
The V6-powered Canyon is rated at 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with two wheel drive. Selecting four-wheel drive lowers mileage to 17 and 24, respectively.
Standard and Optional Equipment
The Canyon is offered in four trim levels: SL, base, SLE and SLT.
Aimed largely at fleet buyers, the SL model comes standard with manual A/C, a 4.2-inch color display, a six-speaker audio system with a USB port, vinyl floor covering, black door handles inside and out, a four-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a manual day/night rear-view mirror, a rear-view camera, power windows and 16-inch aluminum wheels.
Opting for the base trim level adds carpet, floor mats and a folding rear bench seat (available on Crew Cab models only).
SLE models benefit from an eight-inch color touch screen, Sirius XM Satellite radio, an overhead console, a color screen integrated into the instrument cluster, chromed interior door handles, soft-touch material on the instrument cluster, aluminum-look trim on the dashboard, dual reading lights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in wi-fi hotspot, remote keyless entry, body-colored exterior door handles, power mirrors and 17-inch aluminum wheels,
Finally, SLT models gain automatic A/C, a remote vehicle starter, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a sliding rear window, heated front seats, chromed exterior door handles, heated mirrors, a full-size spare tire and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
Select Canyons can be fitted with a rugged-looking All-Terrain package that adds 17-inch painted aluminum wheels wrapped by all-terrain tires, a body-colored radiator grille accented by chrome trim, unique stitching on the seats, an automatic locking axle and a heavy-duty suspension.
All Canyons regardless of trim level come with six airbags, a rear-view camera as well as stability and traction control systems.
Electronic driving aids like forward collision alert and a lane departure warning system are available at an extra cost.
The mid-size pickup segment in the United States has been shrinking for years and the GMC Canyon's only direct competitors are the Nissan Frontier, the Toyota Tacoma and well-equipped variants of Chevrolet's own Colorado.