Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 2014 Pickup Truck Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Best AWD Cars & SUVs Under $25,000
  • 10 Best Midsize SUVs
  • Class of 2015: New Vehicles Ready to Roll
Go

2012 GMC Canyon Regular Cab

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 GMC Canyon Regular Cab Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 6.0

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 the Canyon Regular Cab

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.

Tailgate Design
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.

Side-Curtain Airbags
Standard side-curtain airbags are an important safety feature that can protect occupants in the event of a side-impact accident.

2012 GMC Canyon Regular Cab Details
Interior

While we wouldn't call the 2012 GMC Canyon pickup truck's interior innovative or elegant, it is clean and functional, with simple-to-read gauges and essential switchgear placed within easy reach of the driver. We like the Canyon's seats as they offer firm foam that provides good lumbar and lower thigh support; the seats are also covered in a durable and easy-to-clean cloth fabric. In the Crew Cab models, a rear seat is offered, but we think its upright seatback will be a bit uncomfortable on long trips. Extended Cab models feature two flip-down seat bottoms intended for passengers looking only for a quick lift to the job site or, preferably, their own vehicle. Upper-level models offer a bit more contrast and upgraded seating, but the overall hard plastics and drab primer-gray color aren't very uplifting.

Exterior

The 2012 GMC Canyon distinguishes itself by its slab-sided sheet metal punctuated with bulging fender flares and big, bright alloy wheels. A sort of miniaturized GMC Silverado, the Canyon has the definitive look common to all of GMC's work trucks. Rolling on a 111.3-inch wheelbase, Regular Cab Canyon models are shorter than the Extended and Crew Cab trucks, which ride on a 126-inch wheelbase. Bed lengths vary too, with Regular and Extended Cab models supporting a 6-foot bed, and Crew Cab models offering a 5-foot bed. The 2012 GMC Canyon pickup truck's tall bed walls allow more storage and give the Canyon best-in-class cargo volume. Another clever and useful feature is the Canyon's 2-stage tailgate that can be opened flat or propped at a 55-degree angle. This prop feature allows long items such as plywood or sheet rock resting on the tops of the wheel housing to remain level as they pass over the tailgate's top edge.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 GMC Canyon SLE-1 comes standard with a 2.9-liter 4-cylinder engine that develops a healthy 185 horsepower. You'll also find a 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, cruise control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), StabiliTrak stability control, head-curtain airbags, chrome front and rear bumpers, dual outside mirrors, automatic headlights, a tilt steering wheel, AM/FM stereo with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and tachometer. Various additions for the SLE levels of trim include a CD/MP3 player and upgraded upholstery, as well as engine-upgrade options for the SLE-1.

Optional Equipment

Options include 4-wheel drive, a 4-speed automatic transmission, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, running boards, automatic locking rear differential, the Z71 off-road package, a tow package, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, a chrome package featuring chrome fuel door and exhaust tips, power and heated leather seating, ZQ8 sport suspension and 17- and 18-inch wheels.

Under the Hood

Engine choices for the 2012 GMC Canyon compact pickup include 4- and 5-cylinder powerplants, as well as an optional V8. The standard 2.9-liter 4-cylinder and the optional 3.7-liter 5-cylinder might seem small, but they are both big on power. The 2.9-liter produces an impressive 185 horsepower and offers up most of its 190 pound-feet of torque between the ranges of 1,200 and 5,600 rpm. That's enough power to muscle any lightly equipped 4-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. While the 5.3-liter V8 offers impressive power, its fuel-economy figures fall far short of its smaller stablemates.

2.9-liter in-line 4-cylinder
185 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
190 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (2WD), 18/24 (4WD, manual), 17/23 (4WD, automatic)

3.7-liter in-line 5-cylinder
242 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
242 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (2WD), 17/23 (4WD), 16/21 (4WD, Crew Cab)

5.3-liter V8
300 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
320 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 14/19 (4WD)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 GMC Canyon Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 278 Ratings for the 2004 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Nice truck, but not perfect

By on Saturday, June 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Good for towing, good looking, reliable"

Cons: "Poor fuel economy, stiff seats, horrible OEM radio"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Other than a 1,500 dollar wheel hub replacement at 58,000 miles, I've had no major maintenance issues. Even with the V8, it's still slow to the get go. Enough to move on an on-ramp, but towing a trailer leaves some power to be desired. Fuel efficiency isn't great for a modern V8. I spend around 60-65 dollars to fill up. Somewhat comfortable truck. Seats are stiff but you get used to them. Center console and cupholders are well placed and there is plenty of storage. Overall it's a sharp truck and I'm glad I bought it."

18 people out of 38 found this review helpful

Good truck

By on Tuesday, May 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I was not sure about buying this truck but I wanted a GM product mid size with a V8 in it, this truck I have ia a great machine its fast reliable and it has all the creature comforts I am used to in a truck, being that this truck is rare because it has a 5.3 L V8 I ended up with the color black, its not that hard to keep up but it does require more attention than another color would, other than that gas mileage is about 20 mpg on the freeway and about 14 in town with A/C on I do not regret this purchase and feel I got a good price on the truck."

16 people out of 36 found this review helpful

190 thousand and going strong

By on Thursday, April 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 190,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Mechanically solid, good mileage"

Cons: "Could tow a bit stronger"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought this truck new and have personally driven 99% of the miles. Good power out of the 5-cylinder engine with consistent 23 MPG (blend city/hwy). Have had a few minor issues with the Delphi electronics, mainly nuisance stuff like the fan relay and window switches. Truck has held up well to rural conditions - bumpy dirt roads & such. Could have a bit more strength in the towing capacity - a friend with similar model added spring stiffeners and greatly increased towing."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Has a great deal of power

By on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "A lot of power and zip"

Cons: "A lot of cabin noise. Not comfortable"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"V8 provides a great deal of power. The turning radius is poor. Ride is average with quite a bit of noise when on the highway. Problem with consistent spark knock."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great Truck, best I ever had

By on Saturday, March 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 178,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "good price fun too drive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This truck has been the most dependable of any car or truck I have ever had. When I needed to use as a truck it was great, As a car it was very good on trips and the gas mileage was good."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great truck, had some minor electrical issues

By on Sunday, February 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great power in small package"

Cons: "needs some QA work by GM on break and elect."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"had some minor electrical problems with window switches, and 4X4 actuator, however, repaired without problems by dealer. Do not like the front rotor/abs design but problem came up at 150K and was resolved by replacing with timkin hubs. Still, rotor replacement is a pain. Best think I can pass on is to replace rotors, pads, calipers, hubs, and abs sender all at the same time and you will have no problems. Had 154K on truck before first pad change !!!! all highway driving. I have the 20005 off road Z71, 4 door, 4x4 3.5L crew cab and should a chipped the the computer to increase mpg (g force chip) early in life!! the truck will pull a house (fully loaded dump trailer) !!! run 85mph down the road in wind, and have never been stuck (mud, snow up to the windows, and sand at angles. This truck would be #1 with a little more QA work by GMC"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

See if you qualify for
up
to
Cash Back
on a new
Details