By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 12/7/2011
With the demise of the Ford Ranger, the 2012 GMC Canyon pickup truck (and its sister vehicle, the Chevrolet Colorado) are the sole domestic occupants of the compact-pickup market. And, while at first glance competing with the two biggest names in the Japanese auto industry (Toyota and Nissan) may seem a daunting task, the 2012 GMC Canyon actually has some attractive prospects. The GMC Canyon pickup truck's 4-cylinder engine has significantly more horsepower and torque than the 4-cylinder engines of the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, and unlike the Nissan Frontier, the Canyon offers a regular-cab model. You can also opt for a V8 engine, something neither the Tacoma nor Frontier provides. And, while it's true that the 2012 GMC Canyon pickup is not as wide as its competition, it can still do most jobs required of a compact pickup for a lot less money.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a simple, clean and inexpensive compact pickup to be used the way a compact pickup was intended (working, not cruising), the 2012 GMC Canyon is about as no-nonsense as you can get.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a more upscale interior big on roominess and comfort, the upper-end models from Nissan and Toyota make a better choice. Those who need to tow more than 6,000 pounds will be better served by a full-size GMC pickup.What's New for 2012
For 2012, GMC adds improved Bluetooth connectivity to the Canyon's option list, while a sliding rear window becomes standard on the SLE-2 4WD Extended Cab model. All 4WD and Crew Cab models gain an automatic locking rear differential.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2012 GMC Canyon's greatest strength can be found in its unique engine offerings and rigid frame. The 2012 GMC Canyon pickup's rigid chassis contributes to the truck's excellent road manners, as well as its stability off-road. Even over washboard roads, the Canyon exhibits none of the dash-rattling or squeaks that might be expected, although the rear axle does hop around quite a bit. On the flip side, the Canyon does have an unusually wide turning radius that sometimes requires a 4- or 5-point maneuver when making a 180-degree direction change. Power for the 2012 GMC Canyon pickup is provided by a peppy 4-cylinder engine that easily out-powers the base engines from Toyota and Nissan. A 242-horsepower 5-cylinder engine is optional, as is a stump-pulling 300-horsepower V8. Fuel economy is also impressive, especially on 4-cylinder models equipped with a manual transmission.Favorite Features
The 2012 GMC Canyon's tailgate can be set at a 55-degree angle that aligns the top of the tailgate with the tops of the wheel housings, thus allowing easy loading and hauling of large, flat panels.
Standard side-curtain airbags are an important safety feature that can protect occupants in the event of a side-impact accident.