Trucks & SUVs

The GMC Canyon Has the Unfortunate Distinction of Being the Least Satisfying Truck

The GMC Canyon has always enjoyed a certain level of popularity among midsize trucks. But when it comes to owning a GMC Canyon, does it meet expectations? Does the evidence suggest consumers who buy the Canyon keep the truck a long time?

The automotive research site iSeeCars recently conducted a study of owner satisfaction for several vehicle categories. One was “Pickup Trucks for Owner Satisfaction.” So how did the GMC Canyon fare?

The GMC Canyon’s ranking

For its research on pickup trucks, iSeeCars found that, on average, 16.4 percent of original owners still had their 2012 and 2013 trucks. Six trucks were retained above that average, including the Chevy Colorado, a model similar to the Canyon. But the Canyon landed at the bottom of the list with a 12.1 percent retention.

The Chevy Colorado placed sixth on the list, just above average. iSeeCars’ researchers said the Colorado and fourth-place Nissan Frontier were both affordable in their class. The researchers suggested the value these trucks offered might’ve contributed to their owners keeping them longer.

With the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado’s similarities, what knocked the Canyon down to the last space on this list? 

Why owners aren’t satisfied with the GMC Canyon

RELATED: The 2021 GMC Canyon Has No Business Being More Expensive Than the Toyota Tacoma

Consumer Reports‘ data on the GMC Canyon reveals some insights. The 2021 Canyon earned an overall score of only 44 out of 100. Though it earned an average score on CR’s road test, the consumer site gave it a predicted reliability score of just 2 out of 5. CR’s predicted owner satisfaction is 3 out of 5.

Predicted reliability is important because if you invest in an undependable vehicle, you might end up with many costly repairs. And if your truck is constantly in the shop, you’ll need another form of transportation. Though the Canyon’s predicted reliability rose to a good level in 2020, three of the past five model years had the lowest rating.

Looking at Consumer Reports’ predicted owner satisfaction score for the GMC Canyon, you’ll see it achieved an average rating in 2020 but lower ratings in the previous five years. 

The latest model also received below-average ratings from CR for fuel economy, emergency handling, and comfort. 

The 2021 Canyon at a glance

One poor showing on a research site’s list doesn’t mean the GMC Canyon is a terrible truck. The Chevy Colorado’s fancier cousin is a midsize pickup with a lot to offer and has enjoyed great popularity. 

GMC considers the Canyon a premium truck, competing against the likes of the Jeep Gladiator and Ford Ranger. The problem is, Car and Driver explains, the Canyon’s top-trim Denali doesn’t quite hit that note. Though the Canyon can be dressed up with a slew of chrome and a feature-laden cabin, it has still fallen behind the competition. 

It offers a choice of three engines. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder is lackluster. A diesel four-cylinder isn’t the quickest but helps with towing. And a 3.6-liter V6 engine makes 308 hp. Paired with a decent eight-speed automatic transmission, the Canyon’s V6 features cylinder deactivation for fuel preservation. It’s also one of the quickest powertrains in a midsize truck.

Car and Driver praises the Canyon for its composed ride and good handling for a non-crossover truck. As a result, it does a great impersonation of a full-size pickup with decent hauling and towing chops.