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In the Driver’s Seat: 2016 GMC Canyon 4WD Diesel

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Almost a year has gone by since GM sent us a new Chevrolet Colorado. The 3.6L V6 was completely capable of everything we asked of it, but in order to be a true work truck it needed more. GMC answered the call by dropping a 2.8L turbo diesel four into the 2016 Canyon, and sent it to us for a week of trucking fun.

At first glance, the Canyon and Colorado are almost identical. It takes a keen eye to spot differences until you notice the exhaust pipe. The large diameter outlet is a dead giveaway to a new engine. We have driven the 3.6L V6 in every car that GM makes, and it doesn’t disappoint. The problem is that it makes most of its power over 4,000 rpm. This is great for an ATS-V or Camaro, rewarding the driver with auditory praise.

2016 GMC Canyon SLT Diesel
2016 GMC Canyon SLT Diesel

But the power band of the V6 is unsuited for hauling anything more than two kids or a jet ski. This is why diesel makes sense. The 2.8L makes 181 hp and a whopping 369 lb-ft of torque. Trucks have almost no need for high rpm horsepower, because they rely on torque to get things moving.

After a week of daily driving, we come to the following realizations. Diesel is no longer the loud & obnoxious plague it once was. Clever gearing by GM’s powertrain engineers in the transmission and differentials keeps the engine near max torque if needed. Our 4WD test model was rated at 29 mpg on the highway, and the 2WD is rated at 31. Hauling a family of four around all weekend does not incur anywhere near the dismal ratings of similar V8 trucks or SUVs.

2016 GMC Canyon All Terrain Diesel
2016 GMC Canyon All Terrain Diesel

With left foot braking, your right foot is free to brake-boost the turbo for an enjoyable 4WD launch. To feel a midsize truck come out of the hole while such a vengeance is rewarding. To know that it can perform the same trick while towing 7,000 lbs is downright amazing.

We bestowed it with a nickname of Diesel Canyon, because the notion of such a place is downright foreboding. After a week with this new GMC, nothing can be farther from the truth. This comfortable & quiet truck has more luxuries than any other midsize truck. Apple Carplay and a 4G LTE hot spot keep the kids connected, and USB ports can be found everywhere. Lane departure and collision alert work with stability control to keep you on the road.

If you haven’t considered owning a diesel, now is the perfect time to see if this new GMC is right for you. Diesel Canyon is what happens when Mad Max meets Minivan, and for $44,365 it is a fully loaded crew cab with more style than any other small truck. Stay tuned to Autofluence for more truck news & reviews.

2016 GMC Canyon SLE
2016 GMC Canyon SLE