2017 GMC Canyon Extended Cab

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2017 GMC Canyon Extended Cab Expert Review

By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor

KBB Expert Rating: 8.6

GMC’s 2017 Canyon pickup truck might be midsize on paper, but its looks, abilities and attitude seem pretty full size to us. A revised 3.6-liter V6 engine improves power and economy, while more trim and option packages give buyers even greater flexibility. With Ford’s Ranger still on the drawing board, the Canyon’s only real non-GM-related competition is the Toyota Tacoma or Nissan Frontier, neither of which can match the Canyon in the areas of towing, payload, engine choices and fuel economy (up to 30 mpg with the diesel options). Available with a choice of 5- or 6-foot beds and Extended or Crew Cab configurations, the Canyon comes perilously close to stepping on some full-size pickup toes, and that probably suits GMC just fine.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for the kind of power and ability commonly found in a full-size pickup, but want something less expensive and easier to park and maneuver, the 2017 GMC Canyon pickup is the perfect choice. From its diesel engine to its high-end Denali trim, the Canyon sets new standards.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need to tow more than 7,700 pounds, need maximum payload or prefer a truck with a proven track record, a full-size Sierra or Ford F-150 might be a better call. In the midsize-pickup segment, Toyota’s Tacoma delivers proven performance and better resale.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.6
  • 8.7
  • 8.2
  • 8.6
  • 7.4
  • N/A
How It Ranks
2017 GMC Canyon Extended Cab Low/wide front photo What's New for 2017

For 2017, the GMC Canyon gains an improved direct-injection 3.6-liter V6 teamed with a new 8-speed automatic transmission. New trim levels include a Denali version, Terrain X package and Nightfall Edition. Teen Driver is now standard, and a new 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system is offered with select trims.

Driving the Canyon Extended Cab
2017 GMC Canyon Extended Cab Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

An already enviable engine lineup gets even better this year as the 2017 GMC Canyon gains a new, direct-injection 3.6-liter V6 teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Base models keep...

... the reliable 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, while the torque-happy, high-mileage 2.8-liter diesel remains an option. Regardless of engine, the Canyon enjoys an exceptionally civilized ride, with handling that far exceeds what one might expect of a high-riding pickup truck. The steering is direct and responsive, and the suspension is able to absorb most road imperfections while still remaining stiff enough to deal with off-road adventures. GMC’s 2017 Canyon is tow-rated up to 7,700 pounds, a feat made easier by such features as trailer-brake control. From the driver’s seat, the view is pretty good, with tall comfortable seating and big windows all around. A standard rearview camera helps with parking and safety.

Rare in this segment, GMC offers such driver-assist features as forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning. Beyond these, the Autotrac 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system’s 2-speed transfer case automatically shifts between 2- (rear)-wheel and 4-wheel drive as needed.

A first in the midsize-pickup segment, the 2017 GMC Canyon’s Duramax turbodiesel makes a modest 181 horsepower but a stump-pulling 369 lb-ft of torque. With all that torque, a Duramax-equipped Canyon can tow up to 7,700 pounds and is rated at 30 mpg on the highway, 22 mpg in the city.

2017 GMC Canyon Extended Cab Details
2017 GMC Canyon Extended Cab Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The 2017 GMC Canyon’s interior is a lot nicer than market expectations might have required, and it’s a fine blend of modern style with truck practicality. Most of the functions are in a big center stack, with large knobs that should be easily operated by gloved hands. Directly ahead of the driver are those instruments concerned with getting down the road. There’s ample center console storage, and the Crew Cab should handle four adults with decent comfort and five in a pinch. Upholstery materials include vinyl, cloth and leather, and there is a variety of available infotainment and audio systems.

2017 GMC Canyon Extended Cab photo

While admitting that style is subjective we will unapologetically submit that we think the Canyon looks great. Up front is a large, squared-off, big-rig-style grille that, even on this compact pickup, looks just right and makes an unmistakable linkage to the bigger GMC Sierra trucks. LED running lights and projector-beam headlights give a look of class. The fender openings are somewhat large, but that just means plenty of room for bigger tires or tire chains. Each end of the rear bumper includes what GMC calls the CornerStep, providing an easy way to step up and reach into the cargo bed.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the base 2017 GMC Canyon is surprisingly well-equipped, with standard features including a 4.2-inch screen, 6-speaker audio, power windows and door locks, power driver seat and rearview camera, plus the CornerStep rear bumper, cargo-box lighting and a locking tailgate. The SLE trim level adds an 8-inch touch screen for the infotainment system, cruise control, rear defogger, remote keyless entry, steering-wheel audio controls, fog lights, 17-inch tires and wheels and additional trim and convenience items. The SLT and Denali add even more, including automatic climate control, remote start, heated front seats (ventilated on Denali), rear sliding window and 18-inch wheels and tires.

Optional Equipment

In addition to the various upgrades associated with the trim levels, GMC’s Canyon midsize pickup for 2017 is available with numerous packages, among them a Convenience Package, SLE Convenience Package, All-Terrain Package (on SLE only) and one we strongly recommend for its safety benefits, the Driver Alert Package. The Autotrac automatic 4-wheel drive simplifies 2WD or 4WD operation. Other options include a Bose premium 7-speaker audio system, choices of wheels and tires and several items geared to off-roading adventures and/or extra storage racks for canoes or surfboards and the like. The Canyon’s options list is a long one.

Under the Hood
2017 GMC Canyon Extended Cab Engine photo

The base GMC Canyon engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 200 horsepower and either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic; it’s ideal for work-truck applications. Next is an improved 3.6-liter V6 with 308 horsepower, available only with the 8-speed automatic and with all the power you could reasonably want. Both engines offer excellent combinations of power and economy. The 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel delivers 369 lb-ft of torque, a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 pounds and as much as 30 mpg on the EPA highway rating. We are tempted to recommend the turbodiesel except that, with a price premium of almost $4,000 over the V6, you’d drive a long time to make up the difference in fuel savings. Our pick has to be the V6.

2.5-liter inline-4
200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
191 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (2WD, manual), 20/26 mpg (2WD, automatic), 19/24 mpg (4WD)

3.6-liter V6
308 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
275 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (2WD), 17/24 mpg (4WD)

2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4
181 horsepower @ 3,400 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg (2WD), 20/28 mpg (4WD) 

Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

There are over 20 models of the 2017 GMC Canyon; the least expensive, the Canyon SL Extended Cab with 2WD, the 4-cylinder engine and the 6-speed manual transmission, has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $22,000. A fully loaded 4WD long-bed Crew Cab Canyon SLT with the V6 and 8-speed automatic can easily top $45,000. We think a good choice would be the mid-range SLE Crew Cab V6 long-bed with 4WD, and we definitely recommend the Driver Alert Package for its safety features. The turbodiesel adds about $4,000. Generally, the Canyon has to be considered very price-competitive with the Tacoma and Frontier. To get the best deal on a new Canyon, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price. Resale values for the 2017 GMC Canyon are expected to be on par with the Chevrolet Colorado, better than the Nissan Frontier, but well below the Toyota Tacoma.

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