Driving the 2022 GMC Canyon AT4 in NYC for a Week Was Kind of a Disaster, and I Loved It

Juxtaposition is a strong tool for viewing the world. In most of America, driving a lifted, 4×4 pickup truck isn’t anything special. I’d say it’s so normal as to nearly be a cliche. However, driving a big 4×4 truck around Manhattan is oddly strange. No. Not strange; it’s special. I spent a week with the 2022 GMC Canyon AT4 in NYC, and it didn’t go all that well, but I couldn’t help but enjoy every moment of cartoonish Americanism against the backdrop of one of the world’s great cities. As we say in NYC, “this isn’t America; it’s New York.”

2022 GMC Canyon AT4 on Jones Street in NYC
2022 GMC Canyon AT4 on Jones Street in NYC | MotorBiscuit: Peter Corn

Is the 2022 GMC Canyon a good pickup truck? 

Honestly, I wouldn’t know. Sure, I went upstate and ran it through some muddy fields. I sat on the bed with my wife and ate, drank beers, and cuddled. I even threw my trash in the bed when a garbage can was too far to be bothered with.

But I really didn’t do objectively “pickup truck things” like tow a boat or drop a load of gravel or whatever else they do in truck commercials. No. I mostly drove it around Manhattan and felt like a King amongst the peasants while I did it. And that, my friends, is the most pickup truck thing there is. 

Please understand that this is far from an objective review, nor will this grant any valuable consumer advice. This is no more than a love letter to the pickup truck, and more specifically, an expression of a growing appreciation for the 2022 GMC Canyon AT4. 

Can you drive a truck in NYC? 

2022 GMC Canyon AT4 in a field
2022 GMC Canyon AT4 | MotorBiscuit: Peter Corn

Hell yeah! It’s hard, though. 

I picked up the 2022 Canyon AT4 down in the poshy posh neighborhood of Chelsea. In fact, it was on 25th street, the part of town where the hippest and most blue-chip art galleries are located. I was fully and completely out of place. 

I pulled out of the garage alongside legions of Mercedes G-Wagens, BMWs-a-plenty, and piles of Teslas. This hulking GMC pickup truck might as well have been a horse and buggy. It felt great. 

I spent a few years as a driving instructor for fancy people. This job required the regular piloting of pure-bred supercars to and fro in the streets of Manhattan. I can tell you, no Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, or whatever else felt like this. In Manhattan, these cars aren’t all that special. The flashing of tail feathers is all too common. However, against this backdrop, a lifted 4×4 pickup truck, like the Canyon AT4, is a truly special thing. I felt cooler, more rebellious, and dangerous in the Canyon than any 700-hp weapon I’d driven before. 

For as cowboy as I felt driving my lifted, brand-new pickup truck, the pleasantries ended quickly. 

What is the Canyon AT4 package? 

Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of pickup trucks lumbering around the skinny and crowded streets of NYC. However, they are usually work trucks belonging to contractors. These are not quite the same thing. These are tools and nothing more. The 2022 GMC Canyon AT4 is something different. 

The Canyon AT4 is really fairly mild compared to the real monster trucks like the Ford Raptor or Ram TRX and other Dino-themed trucks, but it has presence. 

As Car and Driver notes, the Canyon AT4 nicely fills the gap between full-size pickup capability in mid-size truck packaging. Although the AT4 is an off-road package, the truck can still do some work. GMC’s 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6 paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission offers plenty of power to rip some burnouts and dirt sliding while still offering a max towing capacity of 7,700 pounds. 

Although the Canyon AT4 comes with a lifted suspension, bigger tires, and dampers, it still drives with a touch of grace and refinement. Even around the pothole-riddled streets of NYC, the truck felt firm and planted. The ride wasn’t comfortable per se, but if you want comfort, buy a Mercedes. The Canyon AT4 felt like driving a proper truck because that’s what it is, and it need not be anything more. 

How much does the 2022 GMC Canyon AT4 cost? 

The 2022 GMC Canyon AT4 starts at $41,395, but my test unit clocked in just over $43,000. This ain’t cheap. You could even call it a little pricy, but I’m not willing to claim it as excessive or anything like that. 

The gas mileage is also a factor in pricing. Under my stewardship, the Canyon AT4 got an average of 18 mpg. This is pretty standard fare these days. 

How hard is it to park in NYC?

Cars fill the SR2 freeway on April 25, 2013, in Los Angeles, California
traffic | David McNew/Getty Images

We discussed driving the truck around NYC earlier. While that side of things is pretty damn fun, there is another side to having a vehicle in NYC, parking. Street parking is doable if you have a small car, but parking a pickup truck in NYC is like hitting a half-court shot; it’s not impossible, but….

I took the Kingly pickup to a distant land called Brooklyn for some golf one night with a buddy. We golfed and then parked on the side of the road and ate Mexican take-out on the bed of the truck. It was the perfect use of a truck. However, Once we got back to Manhattan around midnight on a school night, there was no hope of street parking. 

I then visited my normal garage, by which I was turned away because “pickup trucks can’t fit.” This is wholly untrue; I began to see the dark side of pickup truck ownership in Manhattan; you are treated like a Pariah. I then spent the next hour being turned down by three more garages. The fifth garage said they would let me park for $50, but I had to get it out by 7 AM the next morning. It was around 1:30 AM. I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. I took my truck and kept searching. 

Just as the sun always rises, a parking spot will eventually open in NYC. It may be a long, cold night, but morning always comes.

Is the 2022 GMC Canyon AT4 worth it? 

It’s hard to say. For me, the truck scratched every pickup truck itch.

I loved driving it. I loved looking at it. I loved sitting in the bed to drink my coffee in the morning, which I did daily. It’s hard to say for sure if it was this particular truck that I loved or if it was just the segment in general. 

What I will say is because I love pickup trucks, I also loved the Canyon AT4. It represented its kind with aplomb. It may be on the smaller end, but it has the heart of 10 Ram dualies. 

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