There’s no such thing as a truck that’s too off-road for its own good

When GMC unveiled the 2021 Canyon AT4 back in January, speculation started that a special edition model was already in the works. It probably took longer than GMC expected — blame the COVID-19 pandemic for that — but 10 months after the Canyon AT4’s arrival, the special edition model, dubbed the Off-Road Performance Edition, is finally here.

As expected, the Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition packs plenty of extra goodies, most of which are of the functional sort. There are visual upgrades, too, but this special edition truck is all about making sure that your travails on roads less travelled run smoothly and without any complications.

What makes the GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition a true special edition model?

2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition Exterior
- image 948089

Before we jump into the juicy bits, let’s get the aesthetic upgrades out of the way. There are no significant visual improvements to the Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition other than the addition of the Carbon Black AT4 logos that identify this truck as a special edition model. That’s largely it. You can add the rocket panel protectors and the aluminum front and mid skid plates, but they’re functional upgrades that serve real purpose beyond model identification. Those skid plates, in particular, are particularly useful in protecting the trucks’ lower radiator, steering gear, oil pan, and front differential. Last I checked, all these parts are important to the Canyon AT4.

2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition Exterior
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The set of bespoke 17-inch wheels are finished in glossy black so that counts as a visual upgrade, too. It’s the same thing with the exhaust tip, which is also finished in the same glossy black look.

For the most part, though, the GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition earns the status of a “special edition” model through all the mechanical upgrades that GMC added to the truck. Those 17-inch wheels that I mentioned earlier are wrapped in massive 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, ensuring that there’s no road that this truck can’t conquer. For those moments of physical unrest, the truck’s new bespoke suspension setup ensures smooth sailing when you’re driving on messy roads. A suspension levelling kit is also included in the list of upgrades.

2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition Exterior
- image 948099

Likewise, GMC fitted the Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition’s four-wheel drive system with an Eaton G80 Rear Automatic Locking Differential that’ll give you one less reason to be worried about your travels. The automaker is even adding an Advanced Hill Descent Control System for good measure.

What are the Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition’s specs?

2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition Exterior
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All these upgrades point to a truck that’s ready to conquer the outdoors. Of course, it also helps that the Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that produces 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque.

It can tow up to 7,000 pounds and it comes with a payload capacity of 1,531 pounds.
2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition specifications
Engine 3.6-liter V-6
Horsepower 308 HP
Torque 275 LB-FT
Towing 7,000 pounds
Payload 1,531 pounds

How much does the GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition cost?

2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition Exterior
- image 948098

GMC has yet to give pricing details on the Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition. The good news is that the truck builder is scheduled to start taking orders by the end of the year. For now, you can estimate that the special edition Canyon AT4 will cost more than the $40,000 price tag of the base Canyon AT4 version.

Final Thoughts?

2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition Exterior
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The 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition is a truck that’s built for the outdoors. There’s no denying that. With all the upgrades it’s carrying, you can be sure that all your weekend getaways will be as smooth on the open road as they are off the beaten path.

  • Leave it
    • Could be expensive
    • GMC could’ve added more upgrades
    • Best suited for those who regularly go to the outdoors
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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Today, GMC announced the new 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition, which enhances the Canyon AT4 and enables customers to confidently venture into rugged off-road environments, all while maintaining the premium comforts they have come to expect from GMC.

“When customers are looking for a capable off-road truck, we know that they want improved vehicle height as well as additional protection,” said GMC Marketing Director Rich Latek. “Whether it’s tackling die-hard off-road courses or embarking on a weekend adventure, the Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition provides an improved approach angle, enhanced maneuverability and underbody protection to key parts of the truck, while still delivering a premium GMC experience.”

When the Canyon AT4 debuted in January, its bolder design and premium detailing combined with confidence-inspiring capability signaled the brand’s continued commitment to offering premium, off-road capable vehicles.

Standard equipment on the Canyon AT4 includes 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac® tires, an off-road tuned suspension package with Advanced Hill Descent Control System and a four-wheel drive system with Eaton G80 Rear Automatic Locking Differential.

The Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition builds on this foundation to provide even more capability for drivers whether they’re venturing far off-road or navigating a trail. A factory installed suspension leveling kit and the removal of the front air dam improve the truck’s approach angle by more than 35 percent to nearly 30 degrees.

This increased approach angle is paired with rocker panel protectors and performance front and mid skid plates to provide increased off-road capability and maneuverability. The skid plates are made from sturdy, 5/32-inch aluminum and help protect the lower radiator, front differential, steering gear and oil pan. In combination with the transfer case shield standard on the Canyon AT4, the Off-Road Performance Edition offers the protection to the majority of the truck’s powertrain that off-road enthusiasts expect.

The Off-Road Performance Edition elevates the bold styling and premium refinement of the Canyon AT4 with the addition of:

Unique 17-inch Gloss Black wheels
Carbon Black AT4 logos
Gloss Black performance exhaust tip

After a day of off-road adventure, additional protection for the interior and the truck bed is provided in the form of accessory floor liners and spray-in bedliner.

The 2021 Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition will be available to order later this year.

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Press release

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