Once the only available vehicle transmission, manual transmissions have faded in popularity as buyers choose automatics. In 1985, 22% of U.S. cars sold were manual, while by 2007, that number was down to 3%. In 2018, that was down even more to 2%. These metrics help explain General Motors’ decision to discontinue the manual transmission option in the GMC Canyon. Here’s a look at which model years of the GMC Canyon did offer a manual transmission.
Evolution of the GMC Canyon
The GMC Canyon and its equivalent, the Chevrolet Colorado, were introduced in 2003. The first generation was available for model years 2004 through 2012. The second generation became available after a two-year break, in 2015.
The first-generation Canyon had a five-speed manual transmission as one of its options. The manual transmission was only offered on the SL and Base Canyon trims with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It came with rear-wheel drive and wasn’t available with the other engine options or with four-wheel drive.
The second generation had an optional six-speed manual transmission, but it was only available through the 2018 model year. Like the first generation, it was only available on the Base and Work Truck trim levels with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A Chevrolet spokesperson told CarBuzz that “we dropped the manual transmission from the Colorado and Canyon for 2019 model year. Unfortunately, the demand was so low for the manual transmission that it did not justify continuing to offer it.”
The 2020 GMC Canyon
The 2020 Canyon starts at $23,295 and has either an extended- or a crew-cab body style. It comes with either a 5.2-foot or a 6.2-foot bed. The Canyon has six trim levels: SL, Canyon, SLE, SLT, All Terrain, and Denali. Even at higher trim levels, there are lots of plastics, and the interior doesn’t get a fully luxurious finish. Denali is the top trim, which Car and Driver says does have a “stylish interior and exterior.”
The Canyon has plenty of space in the front seats, but the rear ones have less legroom. It does include lots of storage spots and bins for smaller items. It has an easy-to-use infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Canyon doesn’t come with a full array of driver-assistance features though. It also was not rated as well as some of its competitors in crash tests.
2020 Canyon powertrain options
The 2020 GMC Canyon has three available powertrain options: a gas four-cylinder, a V-6, and a four-cylinder diesel. The smallest engine is the 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Car and Driver says the four-cylinder engine is “anemic.” Previously available with a manual transmission option, the 2.5-liter engine is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission starting with model year 2019.
This engine has 200 horsepower and 191 lb.-ft. of torque. Canyons with this engine can tow 3,500 pounds and have a payload capacity of 1,599 pounds. With rear-wheel drive, Canyons with this engine get 20 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway. Four-wheel drive reduces that to 19 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway.
The second engine option is the 3.6-liter V-6 with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Car and Driver says this is “one of the quickest mid-size pickups” that they’ve tested. It has 308-horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque, and with the Trailering Package, it can tow up to 7,000 pounds. The V-6 has nearly the same fuel efficiency as the smaller engine, getting 17 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway.
The diesel 2.8-liter four-cylinder engine with six-speed transmission has fuel efficiency and towing power. It has 181-horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. The Canyon with this engine can tow 7,700 pounds, with the Trailering Package, and has a payload capacity of 1,605 pounds. The diesel engine gets an estimated 19 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway.
If you’re looking for a manual transmission pickup, consider a used GMC Canyon from 2018 or before. For 2020, there are only three new pickup trucks with manual transmissions to pick from: Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma.