Reestablishing its maker's presence in the mid-size pickup truck segment, the 2015 GMC Canyon made its world debut in Detroit. While sharing all of its basic platform and powertrain elements with the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado that was unveiled in November at the LA Auto Show, this newest GMC offering boasts unique styling and a host of premium features that help set it apart and above its Chevy cousin as well as from current would-be segment rivals like the Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma.
Available in both Extended Cab and Crew Cab configurations -- the latter with either a 5'2" bed or the 6'2" unit found on the Extended Cab -- the Canyon's differentiation process starts with its visual profile. Save for the roof panel, it shares virtually no sheet metal with the Colorado and incorporates bolder, GMC signature cues seen on the full-size Sierra and Sierra HD pickups into its fascias and aluminum power-dome hood as well as to the front and rear quarters. Even the Canyon's tailgate stamping is unique. Key boasting points include standard projector beam headlamps set off with C-shaped LED running lights, aero-enhancing active shutters on its prominent grille, a CornerStep rear bumper and a selection of 16-/17-/18-inch alloy wheels.
Other notable Canyon standard exterior touches include two-tier bed loading capability with four stationary and 13 reconfigurable tie-downs along with bed rail/tailgate protectors while options range from a factory spray-in bed liner and a fitted tool box to a custom tonneau cover and a torsion-bar-assisted EZ Lift-and-Lower locking tailgate. The Canyon lineup will include base, SLE and SLT trim grades plus a dedicated All-Terrain Package on the SLE that brings unique exterior bits as well as bespoke suspension tuning and 17-inch alloy wheels with all-terrain tires.
Like its exterior, the well-finished, well-appointed cabin of the Canyon also embraces the step-up mentality. Highlights here include an abundance of Sierra-like soft-touch surfaces and real aluminum trim on SLE and SLT variants as well as inlaid doors with triple seals to help ensure the Canyon snares quietest-in-class honors. Seating for five is standard in all Canyon variants, as is leather upholstery and heated front buckets on the SLTs. However, GMC plans to offer Extended Cab Canyons with a rear-seat delete for those who'd rather ditch its modestly-scaled rear perch for some genuinely usable inside stow space.
Among the Canyon's coolest new features are an 8.0-inch color IntelliLink multimedia system with advanced navigation, GM's latest OnStar with just-announced 4GE LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hot spot, Siri Eyes Free Mode capability for the iPhone set and an ever-expanding range of apps than can be downloaded from the GMC AppShop. The Canyon also will offer a new Teen Driver feature that operates through IntelliLink and allows parents to preset things like maximum vehicle speed and radio volume plus access a data log that records various max-acceleration and ABS braking events.
Two engines will be available at the start for 2015, both featuring direct injection and variable valve timing. Standard motivator is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes a segment-best estimated 193 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque while a 302-horse/3.5-liter V6 that develops 270 lb-ft of peak twist will be optional. The former can be backed by a 6-speed manual in the base, Extended Cab rear-drive Canyon, but all other models will come with a 6-speed automatic transmission. GMC expects that formula will let this newcomer earn segment-leading projected payload (1,400-1,450 lb) and tow (6,700 lb) ratings while also netting top fuel economy marks. There's more good news on the horizon, as the Canyon's engine lineup will expand for 2016 with the arrival of an even more capable and more fuel-efficient 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel.
Rear-drive or 4-wheel drive, the 2015 GMC Canyon is underpinned by a scaled-down/purpose-tweaked version of the fully-boxed perimeter frame and suspension elements introduced on the full-size Sierra. In addition to highly efficient electric power steering, the standard kit includes StabiliTrak with rollover mitigation circuitry, hill-start assist and trailer sway control plus 4-wheel disc brakes with long-lasting Duralife rotors. In addition to an optional auto-locking rear differential, the Canyon's available AutoTrac 4-wheel drive setup features an electronically controlled dual-range transfer case that also can automatically apply traction to the front wheels anytime it senses slippage at the rear axle. In addition to six standard airbags, the GMC Canyon will offer two segment-first safety options, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.
Production of the 2015 GMC Canyon will start this fall in GM's Wentzville, Missouri, assembly plant. Pricing and final specs will be announced closer to the actual on-sale date.
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