By KBB.com Editors
The Canyon is the mirror image of its sister vehicle, the Chevrolet Colorado. GMC adds a few upscale touches to try and distinguish its truck, but for the most part the two are interchangeable at every level. As with the Colorado, the Canyon offers customers a compact truck that is big on value, with a choice of four or five-cylinder engines, two-wheel or four-wheel drive and three configurations: Regular Cab, Extended Cab and Crew Cab. Though not as powerful or roomy as the imports, the Canyon does have its strong points, namely an affordable base price and relatively good fuel economy. Isuzu, however, markets a version of the Canyon known as the i-Series, which carries a far superior standard warranty yet is similarly priced to its GMC and Chevrolet counterparts.
If you like the rugged, bold look of the full-size GMC Sierra pickup, but want it in a smaller package that gets better fuel economy, check out the Canyon. We think the optional five-cylinder engine is an unappreciated gem.
If you need something with more interior room, cargo space or towing capacity, you will be better off looking at a full-size pickup.
The Canyon gets two new engines: a 2.9-liter four-cylinder and a 3.7-liter five-cylinder. Also new is a standard tire pressure monitoring system.
Driving Impressions The Canyon's greatest improvement over previous GMC compact trucks can be found in its chassis and powertrain. The new body-on-frame chassis is much more rigid and you can feel it...in the way the Canyon handles, both off-road and while cornering. Even over washboard roads, our Canyon exhibited none of the dash-rattling or squeaks we'd expected, although the rear axle did jump about quite a bit. GMC has created a number of performance and off-road packages to enhance the Canyon's rugged image. Oddly, despite its short wheelbase, the Canyon exhibits an unusually large turning radius. As for power, the standard in-line four-cylinder is fairly potent for such a small engine. When ordered with the manual transmission, it also offers exceptionally good fuel economy.
The Canyon's rear tailgate can latch at an angle that aligns the tops of the wheel housings with the tailgate's top edge.
Optional roof-rail mounted side-curtain airbags are a first for this segment.
The Canyon's interior layout is highly functional, with all the gauges and controls within clear sight and easy reach of the driver. The seats offer firm bottoms and good lumbar support, and the cloth fabric is both durable and comfortable. The Canyon offers a bit more contrast inside than its Chevy cousin, which helps break up the monotone color scheme and lends an upscale look.Exterior
The Canyon's bold look falls right in line with GMC's "Professional Grade" ad campaign. Bulging fender flares and bright alloy wheels punctuate tall slab sides. Regular Cab models ride on a 111-inch wheelbase while Extended and Crew Cab models ride on a 126-inch wheelbase. The bed length for the Regular and Extended Cab is six feet, while the Crew Cab model offers a five-foot bed. Both beds feature tall sidewalls, for deeper storage, which give the Canyon best-in-class cargo volume. The Canyon features a clever tailgate that can be folded a full 90-degrees or set at a 55-degree angle, effectively placing the top of the gate in line with the top of the rear wheel wells, a handy feature for carrying large panels, for example.
The Canyon SL comes with a 2.9-liter four-cylinder engine that rates a healthy 185 horsepower. You'll also find a five-speed manual, air conditioning, cruise control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), chrome front and rear bumpers, dual outside mirrors, automatic headlamps, a tilt steering wheel, AM/FM stereo, tachometer and 15-inch steel wheels. The SLE adds a CD player, revised suspension package and aluminum wheels.
Options include four-wheel drive, a four-speed automatic transmission, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, limited-slip rear axle, the Z71 off-road package, the ZQ8 sport package, a tow package, six-disc CD changer, side airbags, head-curtain airbags, traction control and a rear tonneau cover.
Engine choices for the Canyon include four- and five-cylinder powerplants. The standard 2.9-liter four and the optional 3.7-liter five are both derivatives of the new in-line six found in the GMC Envoy, and although engines of these sizes might seem small, they are both big on power. The 2.9-liter four produces an impressive 185 horsepower and offers up most of its 190 pound-feet of torque between the ranges of 1200 and 5600 rpm. That's enough power to muscle any lightly-equipped four-wheel drive vehicle through the toughest terrain. The optional 3.7-liter engine makes 242 horsepower. Both of these engines produce class-leading horsepower while returning outstanding fuel economy.
2.9-liter in-line 4
185 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
190 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 (2WD manual), 17/24 (2WD automatic), 18/24 (4WD manual), 16/23 (4WD automatic)
3.7-liter in-line 5
242 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
242 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (2WD), 16/23 (4WD), 16/22 (4WD Crew Cab)
By TruckDriver on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 186,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've had this truck for 11 years and driven it everywhere. It has been very reliable, both as my main vehicle and then as my daughter's first vehicle. Only major repair - replacing the transmission a few months ago at around 170,000 miles."
By the3pointlegend on Monday, March 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "can go any were with 4wd version"
Cons: "inside can be seen as not very fancey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"this truck is great it is easy to work on fun to drive and gets around 21 mpg on the high way it has room for lots of things since its an extended cab"
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful
By dodger on Thursday, January 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,700overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, comfortable to drive."
Cons: "No factory nav radio or backup camera available."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I just purchased this truck. I previously owned a 2005 Canyon 4WD crew cab. I like the Bluetooth feature on this truck, although the button should have been located next to the radio. Wish it had a factory nav radio upgrade. It is stylish, economical, and comfortable to ride and drive in. I am looking forward to driving it on the beach, as the 2005 performed well."
18 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By Ubba on Friday, October 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great overall vehicle for road and off road"
Cons: "the factory bed cover purchased had to be returned"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I was pleasantly surprised on how great this truck handled on gravel roads, even quite rough roads. 5 cylinder may be a bit under powered for pulling heavy loads more than 2,500 lbs. Gas mileage is acceptable. Off road through snow, mud and rough terrain is excellent."
27 people out of 50 found this review helpful
By timbo on Friday, October 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 133,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "durability, dependability"
Cons: "interior carpet- low grade"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"this is a great truck! 10 years and 133k miles and only one repair (ignition coil)other than that ...... only general maint. i.e. tires, oil change etc. Still runs like new!!"
8 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By peggy on Friday, October 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives like a car and love the size."
Cons: "Gas milage not very good. Engine too small."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Have enjoyed use for trips or for work truck. I have 2 acres to keep up and built a new garage last year. Gas milage was a disapointment. Thought I'd get more with the 4cyl. Looking forward to trying the 6cyl."
8 people out of 14 found this review helpful