I’ve been excited for a while about these new trucks coming out of GM. I’ve always been a fan of the smaller truck market and like seeing what manufacturers assume we want from a small truck. Looking at the field available just a few years ago, though, was pretty depressing. Your default choice was basically a Toyota Tacoma, which is a great truck, but has been in need of some major updates for some time. Now that the all-new Colorado and Canyon are out, it seems like the small truck market is picking up once again with Toyota recently showing a newly updated Tacoma (stay tuned for more) and even Hyundai throwing a concept truck against the wall, which excites me. We’ve had the chance to drive the Colorado both as a test vehicle and also during our Truck Rodeo event where we were able to take it off road, but this is my first time in the Canyon and I already have high hopes.
The Colorado was a great small truck that checked a lot of the right boxes, but there’s something about this Canyon. So what sets this truck apart from its Colorado cousin? Easy, refinement inside and out. Looking at the the full lineup from GMC, you’ll notice a very distinct design style. From the beautifully styled and jeweled headlights to the bold grille and beefy fenders, this new Canyon fits right in. I even had people mistake it for the full-size Sierra. I was pretty surprised just how much I liked the exterior styling of this truck as I found myself looking back at it in the parking lot like I would a fancy sports car.
Looking inside the truck, it’s pretty similar to the Colorado with a little more refinement. The black leather seats were nice and very comfortable. The whole cabin is covered in black leather and soft-touch plastics with wood trim in the doors and silver plastic surrounding the center stack. Overall, the interior isn’t the most premium out there, but it’s a lot better than you’ll get in pretty much any other truck of this size. It’s also put together really well and the color scheme screams luxury.
Under the hood, you have the option of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine or the one our tester was equipped with, the 3.6-liter V6. The V6 offers up 305-horsepower and has a best-in-class tow rating of 7,000-pounds. If you’re looking to tow, this is definitely the option you want to choose. The 4-banger pushes 200-hp and is available with a 6-speed manual transmission. There are talks of a small diesel being offered in the near future which should give you the best of both worlds; fuel efficiency and towing power.
The V6 equipped with 4-wheel-drive and a 6-speed automatic transmission was rated at 17-mpg city and 24-mpg highway. During our week with the truck, we averaged just over 21-mpg which is respectable. Take off the 4WD and you can bump those numbers up to 18-mpg city and 26-mpg highway. The most efficient setup is the 4-cylinder matched up with a manual transmission getting you up to 19-mpg city and 26-mpg highway. In my opinion, though, for a truck to live with everyday, give me the V6 and more power.
Another great thing about this new Canyon is the focus on bringing technology to these small trucks. In the past, these trucks were really second class citizens and you didn’t have the option to get all the best tech, but that’s changed now. Our tester was equipped with IntelliLInk, GMC’s infotainment and connectivity system. This controls your audio, phone, bluetooth, and navigation plus many other apps. All of this is displayed on a new 8-inch touchscreen. Although the screen inputs could be a bit laggy, connecting bluetooth to this system worked well and the navigation screen was clear and easy to use. This truck isn’t just about the infotainment, though. You also get a standard rearview camera, a multitude of USB and power outlets in the front and rear, and you can get heated and cooled seats.
Overall, this is easily my favorite compact truck on the market today. I like the refined looks of the Canyon over the Colorado and I like the extra technology and comfort you get from these trucks over the current Tacoma. If it was up to me, I’d have a crew-cab with the short box, the V6, and a SLT trim. Of course, we have yet to talk about the price. Our tester was the 4WD SLE Crew-Cab Long Box with the all-terrain package. With these boxes checked, our tester had an MSRP of $38,915. Comparing that to a similarly spec’d Tacoma you’d be looking at about $5,000 less, but you are getting more technology and refinement in the GMC. The real competition is moving up to a full size truck. You can get a full size truck with a nice interior, technology, and comfort for around $45-50k and if you buy it at the right time of the year, you can get heavy incentives, but this truck should really appeal to a different customer. Much like myself, if a full size truck just feels too big sometimes and you’re looking for something that matches your style, the Canyon really starts to make sense. Of course, if GMC really wanted to make me happy, they’d throw a cover over the bed and some 3-rd row seats to give us a modern Blazer/Jimmy (use different names) that could compete with with the best from Jeep and Toyota.