We recently had the chance to spend a week behind the wheel of a 2009 GMC
Canyon SLE. While we liked its overall "beefier" look versus the regular Canyon -- courtesy of the Off Road Package that includes chrome-clad wheels and fender flares -- the main highlight was the optional 5.3-liter V8 engine under the hood. New for the 2009 model year, this bigger powerplant is offered as a step up to the current four- and five-cylinder engines, and although it's not completely necessary for daily driving, the extra power did make the Canyon a lot more fun. With 300 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft of torque, the V8-equipped Canyon's off-the-line acceleration was fairly quick, and it was easy to pass sluggish semi trucks
on the highway. Its 6,000-pound towing capacity is also really impressive, but alas, we had no chance to make use of it.