Should You Choose the 2023 GMC Canyon or the 2023 Ford Ranger?

Is this a fair comparison? The 2023 GMC Canyon is all-new in the midsize truck segment, while the 2023 Ford Ranger marches on with very few updates. Does it matter whether the comparison is fair or not? Both of these trucks play in the same sandbox, so we get to figure out which would be better to drive. Should you choose the Ford or the GMC in this midsize truck battle?

The four areas we’ll cover are:

  • Performance and Capability
  • Fuel Economy
  • Interior and Features
  • Price

Performance and Capability: Does the 2023 GMC Canyon make enough changes?

Black 2023 GMC Canyon Denali midsize truck posed
2023 GMC Canyon Denali | GMC

The new Canyon only comes with one powertrain. This is a huge change for the midsize truck, but this new powertrain brings the half-ton capability to the midsize truck market. The new engine is a 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder model that delivers 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. This power is sent to the wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The GMC Canyon tows up to 7,700 pounds with the Elevation trim in RWD. Once 4WD is added, the towing capacity drops to 6,000 pounds. The GMC Canyon payload numbers are:

  • Elevation – 1,640 pounds
  • AT4 – 1,550 pounds
  • Denali – 1,360 pounds
  • AT4X – 1,250 pounds

Without any significant updates to the Ford Ranger, except at the Raptor trim level, the Ranger is limited to 1,860 pounds of payload and 7,500 pounds of towing. This gives the Ford a payload advantage over the GMC truck.

Car and Driver tells us the new Raptor model receives a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 391 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. Will you stretch to the Raptor model of the Ranger or choose one of the off-road trims of the GMC Canyon? By the way, all trims of the Canyon are set up for off-road performance.

Fuel Economy: The 2023 Ford Ranger saves fuel

2023 Ford Ranger Global Model
2023 Ford Ranger Global Model | Ford

The official fuel mileage numbers for the GMC Canyon haven’t been released yet. That said, reaching 26 mpg on the highway doesn’t seem out of the question for a truck that’s lighter than the full-size truck on the powertrain for which it was originally made.

The current powertrain in the Ford Ranger delivers 21 city/26 hwy mpg in 2WD models and 20 city/24 hwy mpg in 4WD models. This might be strong enough to put the Ford over the GMC in the midsize truck class.

Keep in mind three of the four trims of the GMC Canyon come with standard 4WD, which lowers the fuel economy numbers.

Interior and Features: Does the GMC Canyon continue with a luxury bend?

Red 2023 GMC Canyon AT4X Climbing a steep hill
2023 GMC Canyon AT4X | GMC

The GMC name on a truck has always signified premium quality and a bend toward luxury features, especially in the Denali trim. The 2023 Canyon midsize truck has an 11.3-inch diagonal touchscreen, and an 11-inch instrument cluster in the AT4X and Denali trims, while the lower trims have an 8-inch unit. This new truck will be the first in the market with a head-up display.

Ford Ranger models sold overseas have an 8-inch instrument cluster and a 10.1-inch infotainment screen. The U.S. models should offer the option of an upgraded 12-inch infotainment screen. Unfortunately, this truck doesn’t have a head-up display, giving the advantage to the Canyon.

Prices: Which midsize truck offers the value you desire?

The 2023 GMC Canyon price range starts at $40,000 and ranges to $63,350 for the AT4X Edition 1 models. This is a pretty good price range, but it’s a little high for the starting point of a midsize truck.

The starting price of the 2023 Ford Ranger is $26,400, and it reaches over $40,000 in its current configuration. Adding the Raptor model should bring the top starting price to $52,000.

Should you drive the 2023 GMC Canyon or the 2023 Ford Ranger?

2023 Ford Ranger Raptor Jumping on Sandy Trails
2023 Ford Ranger Raptor | Ford

If you’re looking for a midsize truck with off-road equipment at every trim, the GMC Canyon is the truck you want to drive. When you’re looking for more variation in equipment and a lower price, you’ll turn toward the Ford Ranger. In our comparison, the Canyon is more capable and has better equipment, but the Ranger is proven to be efficient and more affordable.

Next, learn more about towing with a hybrid truck or watch this off-road truck comparison in the video below:

This article was updated on 12/7/2022.