GMC and cousin Chevrolet have always been known for their full size pickup trucks. When the Japanese started outclassing them with smaller, more efficient offerings it took them years to develop a response. The first Canyon and its counterpart, the Chevrolet Colorado, were released in 2004 and ended in 2012.
Reborn for the 2015 model year, these new midsize trucks have the competition running. GMC sent us a bright red, long-bed, crew-cab Canyon to play with for a week, and we were impressed. Body panel gaps were very tight and paint quality is top notch. The styling is chunky and muscular, with the bulging fenders almost resembling something from a trophy truck. A big skid plate ties the front crossmember to the bumper and evokes smiles from 4WD enthusiasts.
If you own a supercar, a practical small truck is nice to have. Traditionally, smaller trucks have lacked the content of their full size brethren, but GMC has pulled out all the stops. The Canyon is the first in this segment to have projector headlights, electric power steering, lane departure warning, active grille shutters and a power tailgate.
Those are the features they advertise, but after a week I found a few more that are just as loveable. Four USB ports complement the 4G LTE OnStar system. The infotainment screen is 8” and easy to navigate. Power comes from the Camaro’s 3.6 V6, and it returns 26 mpg on the highway. A lot of time went into abating wind and road noise. The windshield is flush mounted and the doors are triple sealed. This allows the Bose system to bring out more treble and clarity than we’re used to in a truck. Both front seats have power lumbar, another plus if you have a significant other.
Driving is relaxing, but you still know it’s a truck. I figured they would use torsion bars for the front suspension, but it’s a true coil-over with twin tube shocks. Out back is a traditional leaf spring rear axle with a locking differential. Our truck had 3.42 gears, which strained the V6 down low; 3.73 or 4.10 would be a welcomed option. The six speed automatic is a lighter version of the Camaro’s box and it has great response and crisp shifts. Power is rated at 305 hp and torque at 269 lb-ft. We would like to see a bit more torque, but a nice exhaust and intake upgrade can accomplish that in an afternoon.
Loaded with everything from StabiliTrak to Climate Control, this fully loaded GMC Canyon has a sticker of $38,915. That may seem insane for a midsize truck, but you will have a luxurious and tech loaded pickup with much better mileage than the big guys.