By Allyson Harwood
KBB Expert Rating: 8.8
GMC's 2015 Canyon is a midsize truck that has plenty of capability – it can tow a 7,000-pound trailer (best in class) or carry over 1,600 pounds of payload – yet it's small enough to park in a garage. There are plenty of combinations: Extended Cab or Crew Cab, 5- or 6-foot bed, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. Setting it apart from the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier are the Canyon's powerful engines, standout styling and interior refinement. It has best-in-class fuel economy and is first in its class to offer features like Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. Other cool tech features should also attract owners of crossover SUVs who left the midsize truck market when changes slowed to a stop.
The 2015 GMC Canyon is small enough to fit in a garage and is easier to park and has better fuel economy than a full-size truck, yet can still tow a trailer or carry gear. But the Canyon is refined, with arguably the nicest interior in its segment.
The Canyon has less of a track record than the best-selling Toyota Tacoma. Plus, full-size trucks can offer the power, interior space and towing capacity a midsize truck can't.
KBB Expert Ratings
All-new for 2015, the Canyon is based on a tough frame like that of the frame of the full-size GMC Sierra, has a modern look, efficient engines and a refined interior.
Driving Impressions The 2015 GMC Canyon, the best-looking truck in the segment, offers a lot more than just style. Both the 3.6-liter V6 and the 2.5-liter inline-4 engines are strong, with responsive...... acceleration, and both are backed by a hard-working 6-speed automatic. (A 6-speed manual comes standard with the inline-4.) It takes more to get the 4-cylinder Canyon going than with the V6, but with the smaller engine, the truck felt spry and agile. The brakes were responsive, and the ride was compliant, but not mushy. The Crew Cab, which offers enough room for five people, is the layout we expect most people to buy, but the extended cab is a good choice for those who want a work truck. Whatever the cab, the new Canyon's very quiet interior is available with features like an 8-inch touch screen, standard rearview camera, and the ability to make the Canyon a Wi-Fi hot spot.
There are safety features that aren't available on the Toyota Tacoma or Nissan Frontier, such as forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning. It's also the only small truck available with Autotrac, which essentially works as all-wheel drive when the weather gets rough.
EZ LIFT-AND-LOWER TAILGATE
No matter the size of the truck, wrestling with a heavy tailgate is no fun. That's why the 2015 GMC Canyon is available with a tailgate that has a damper that makes it easier to lower, and a torsion bar that allows you to lift the tailgate with one hand.
GMC does a fine job of balancing premium materials with capability, and nowhere is that as evident as in the cab of the 2015 Canyon. This new truck uses soft-touch materials and genuine aluminum trim in its impressively quiet cabin, and also has cool features like an 8-inch touch screen, seat heaters and MyLink connectivity. Though this interior is reminiscent of that of a crossover SUV, it is durable enough to handle hard work.Exterior
The new 2015 Canyon has striking, squared-off looks that align its styling with that of the full-size Sierra. Design cues that separate the new Canyon from the other trucks in the segment include LED running lights and projector-beam headlights. A key exterior element that makes it easy to load and unload cargo is the standard CornerStep rear bumper, which provides a convenient way to get to gear that's in the truck bed.
When it comes to pickups, the base trim levels are often equipped to be bare-bones work trucks. However, every 2015 GMC Canyon comes standard with a 4.2-inch screen for the 6-speaker stereo, power windows and a rearview camera, plus work-friendly features like the CornerStep rear bumper, cargo-box lighting and a locking tailgate. Most people will buy the SLE and SLT models as opposed to the base SL and Canyon, and with those higher trim levels, features like cruise control, OnStar, an 8-inch touch screen and navigation system, an overhead console and a rear defroster are standard.
You can get the new Canyon with fog lights, a spray-on bedliner, Autotrac all-wheel drive, a trailering package and an All-Terrain Package with a locking rear differential. There are plenty of standard safety features, but the Canyon is one of very few midsize trucks available with Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. Other style and comfort features that are available: heated front seats, heated side mirrors and multiple styles of 17- or 18-inch aluminum wheels (16-inch wheels come standard).
For 2015, the new GMC Canyon comes with either a 2.5-liter inline-4 or a 3.6-liter V6. Most will choose the 6-speed automatic transmission, but those who want a third pedal can get a 6-speed manual gearbox with the 2.5-liter. When compared with competitors' 4- and 6-cylinders, these engines have best-in-class fuel economy (in rear-wheel-drive models). Another engine that should offer even better fuel economy is a third engine that's coming for 2016: a 2.8-liter diesel, a powerplant that should also produce plentiful torque.
200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
191 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (rear-wheel drive, manual), 19-20/25-27 mpg (automatic – mpg varies depending on cab, bed and drivetrain configuration)
305 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 17/24 mpg (4-wheel drive)
The Canyon SL Extended Cab with rear-wheel drive, the 4-cylinder engine and the 6-speed manual transmission has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $21,830, including destination. A 4-wheel-drive long-bed Crew Cab Canyon SLT with the V6 and the 6-speed automatic tops out at $44,810 with most of the bells and whistles. (There are a few more the dealer can install, including a tonneau cover.) While that top-of-the-line cost may sound pricey, it is right in between those of the Frontier and the Tacoma. To make sure you get the best deal on a new Canyon, be sure to check out the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price. Since the Canyon is an all-new truck, it's still a little too early for us to predict its resale value.