The GMC Canyon is the rebadged twin of the Chevrolet Colorado and shares every bit of technical and design detail with its sibling. The latest model was launched back in 2004 but, during the years it received a few small upgrades to help it deal better with competition. Though, GMC decided to replace the vehicle in 2013 as despite the continuous upgrades it remained behind its rivals it terms of style and technology.
Similarly with the Chevrolet Colorado, the GMC Canyon is offered with three engines which develop 185 hp, 242 hp and 300 hp with three body styles including regular cab, extended cab and crew cab configurations.
While most of today’s pickup trucks have started to change their personality and have transformed slowly into lifestyle vehicles, the GMC Canyon is one of the fewer models that kept its manly, utilitarian character.
The Canyon may not look as modern as its direct competitors, but its design is perfectly suited for its arduous missions.
Up front we find a pretty simple grille flanked by a set of robust headlights. To break up the monotony GMC added a chromed horizontal bar which splits headlights in two sections giving the truck a distinctive appearance. The front bumper isn’t something to rave about, but it received a nice chromed treatment which helps it stand out from the crowd.
Moving on to the sides, we’ll find clean body panels and a set of asymmetrical wheel arches that despite their odd shape manage to gel well with the rest of the body.
The GMC Terrain’s ground clearance measures 10.2 inch which isn’t as high as other vehicles in the segment, but it’s enough to keep you out of trouble while driving off road.
The load bed comes with a standard drop-in bed liner and measures 72.8 inch long and 57.2 inch wide (42.6 inch between wheel arches), with a cargo volume of 44 cubic foots.
While the exterior design can still hold its head up against its more upscale competitors, the interior is where everything is starting to fall apart. The dashboard looks dated and the materials and plastics aren’t exactly first class. Sadly, the build quality won’t impress you either. But it’s not all bad news as overall, the cabin seems to be pretty solid and ready to endure severe punishment without letting you down.
We’ll also have to admit that we like the two tone color treatment given to the dash and center console and it makes us forget about the dated lines of the cockpit.
Fortunately, we’re quite fond of the overall ergonomy as everything is in the right place with all controls being easy to reach. We also like the clear instrument cluster which is fairly easy to read during both night and day. The standard equipment also includes the Driver Information Center which provides detailed information on a variety of vehicle functions, including oil life and the Tire Pressure Monitor System. Other standard convenience features include cruise control and adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel.
You won’t have any significant complains about the front seats, as they offer decent side bolstering and proper back support. As most vehicles of this type, the Canyon rewards you with a commanding driving position and a top notch road visibility. We also like the gargantuan door mirrors which keep all blind spots to minimum.
Engines and performance
The basic engines have a displacement of 2.9 and 3.7 liters, and develop 175 hp and 220 hp with 190 and 242 lb-ft. of torque respectively. Both engines use double overhead cams, aluminium blocks, four valves per cylinder and variable exhaust timing.
Judging by today’s standards, both units are a bit sluggish and aren’t as lively as expected, but they offer a decent punch and deal satisfactory with a fully loaded Canyon.
The most interesting engine option is without a doubt the 5.3 liter V8 which churns out 300 hp at 5200 rpm with a healthy torque of 320 lb-ft. @ 4000 rpm. This unit can deal effortless with anything you’ll throw at it and hits three digit speeds without breaking a sweat. Its main fault however, is the fuel consumption which is rated at 20 mpg for the highway.
Maximum payload is rated at 6000 lbs and the engines can be mated on either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.
GMC Canyon Engines Specifications
|Engine||hp @ rpm||lb-ft @ rpm|
|2.9 liter||185 @ 5600||190 @ 2800|
|3.7 liter||242 @ 5600||242 @ 4600|
|5.0 liter V8||300 @ 5200||320 @ 4000|
Ride and handling
The GMC Canyon features a well balanced ride and stays fairly well planted on its wheels. There is also a small bed shaking and the cabin feels pretty quiet, being able to keep most of the road noise and vibrations far from the passenger’s seats.
Every bump of the road is soaked up successfully by the gas-charged monotube shock absorbers and the rear leafs. Steering is pretty accurate too, serving you well at both high and low speeds.
Overall the truck feels civilized even on the bumpy roads and you won’t have any complains about the capable all wheel drive system either.
With a lot of modern pickups going directly head to head with the Canyon, the model’s fate was pretty clear. It’s dated design, cabin and engines weren’t able to keep it up with the strong competition and there is no wonder why GMC has decided to replace it.
Though, we’ll have to admit that there aren’t many pickups that are able to tackle the harshest terrains with the same enthusiasm, nor to offer the same handling abilities as the GMC Canyon . If GMC manages to keep all the good attributes of its aging truck and to solve all its faults, the new model could prove to be a winner.