2019 GMC Canyon
A pickup truck must have some level of distinction and competency. That’s what truck buyers want in the end.
For mid-sized pickup trucks, distinction and competency are expected to go hand-in-hand. Which is why General Motors offers their GMC Canyon in the Denali trim. This is the only “luxury” pickup truck in its class.
Our turn in the GMC Canyon Denali provided us with a chance to see whether a mid-sized pickup truck can be as luxurious as it is useful – especially in a class that offers more “play” trucks than work ones.
The Denali trim was added a few years ago on top of GMC’s midsized pickup lineup. The overall design of the Canyon has been around for several years, the Denali’s upgrades makes it fresh. The chrome grille, nicer wheels, and badging distinguishes this luxury pickup from the rest.
However, the Canyon offers a mid-size truck with plenty of style from its larger brother – the Sierra. From its blunt front end to the read end badge, it is a solid truck from the outside.
Stepping inside, you have the look of a Denali, but not the panache of it. The seats are leather with contrasting stitching, but it feels a bit firm for some bodies. For the driver, there are power adjustments for rake, height, and lumbar, but a manual adjustment for the recline. They are also heated and cooled, as well. Rear seat is fine for average sized adults and children.
As with lower Canyon models, the instrumentation is straightforward with an information screen in-between the dials with analog fuel and temperature gauges above it. The center stack is crowned by an 8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, with tactile controls below it for audio, climate, and some vehicle functions. The lighting and 4WD knobs are hidden behind the steering wheel to the left. The steering wheel controls are fine, but some familiarity with GM vehicles will help in navigating their functionality.
The Canyon offers three different engines, which some are available based on the trim level you choose. Across all trim levels is the 3.6-liter V6 that is found on a lot of GM vehicles. In the Canyon, this engine offers 308 horsepower with 275 pound-feet of torque. It is also equipped with Active Fuel Management, which shuts off half the cylinders when cruising at highway speeds. It is a rather decent engine in terms of performance overall.
Our tester came with the standard eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels through a two-speed automatic transfer case. This driveline is capable of towing up to 7,000 pounds. In our care, we averaged 20.9 MPG.
A lot of the suspension components are shared with other Canyon models, but our Denali tester actually drove quite well for a mid-sized, four-wheel-drive pickup truck. The ride quality is good, though some slight bouncing is noticed on uneven surfaces. This Canyon actually corners very well and handles through evasive maneuvers with ease.
The steering system is quite good for a truck of its size. We found the turning radius to be solid with good response from the steering wheel. The brakes are among the best in its class, with excellent pedal feel and stopping power at the wheels.
The GMC Canyon lineup is offered in three configurations with two cab choices and two bed sizes. There are also five trim levels to choose from. Starting price for a Canyon pickup truck is $21,500. Our top-of-the-line Denali tester came with a sticker price of $45,775.
The GMC Canyon could be considered as a stand alone vehicle in its class. However, this truck is compared to the Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline, and Chevrolet Colorado.
To be distinctive and competent, you have to offer something different for your customer base. The “professional grade” GMC Canyon has enough distinction separating it from the rest of the mid-sized pickup truck class. It is more than competent, as well. You do have a lot of choices – check out the Canyon, if you are shopping for a smaller pickup truck.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors