Trucks & SUVs

Is There Anything Good About the 2021 GMC Canyon?

Consumer Reports is pretty harsh when it comes to trucks. I would argue that you can’t judge a pickup truck with the same set of expectations as a car. However, either way you cut it, the GMC Canyon scored a shockingly low 37 overall. The normal truck complaints were alive and well, rough ride, uncomfortable, loud, and so on – you know, truck stuff. But, is there anything redeeming about the 2021 GMC Canyon? Surely, there’s something? Right? 

Is the 2021 GMC Canyon reliable? 

Well, not exactly. Obviously, the 2021 model hasn’t been around long enough to know, but Consumer Reports gives it a predicted reliability of two out of five based on earlier models’ reliability. Former models, particularly from 2015-2019, experienced a good deal of transmission, drive system, and fuel system issues. The 2020 Canyon was found to be more reliable – so far. 

Is the 2021 Canyon practical for every-day use?

Yes and no. CR notes that the size of the truck allows for an easier driving experience and maneuverability. The size makes parking and day-to-day, in-town driving nice and easy. The full-size trucks have gotten so large that having a smaller option like the Canyon can help make new truck drivers more confident in handling the little hauler. 

The GMC Canyon is the worst selling pickup truck in the United States and CR hates it.
GMC Canyon | GMC

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The Canyon’s size makes it a bit more friendly at the gas pumps. With the majority of engine options, the 2021 GMC Canyon gets 18 mpg overall. This is pretty good especially considering the 3.6-liter V6 making 305 hp. The gas mileage gets even better if you opt for the 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel. The oil-burner not only offers a much-needed boost of low-end grunt, but it also gets 24 mpg, making the Canyon the most fuel-efficient truck on the market. See, there’s something good. 

How much can the 2021 GMC Canyon tow?

The most common version of the Canyon comes with the gas-powered V6. This verison can tow up to 7,000 pounds and carry a 1,550-pound payload; if you opt for the diesel motor, the towing bumps up to 7,700 pounds. For such a small truck, this is pretty good. The diesel pulls more than the Tacoma or Ranger. The diesel verison also comes with an exhaust brake and integrated trailer brake controller, which double down on the messaging from GMC that the Canyon is meant for towing. 

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The problem is that the V6 lacks the low end that truck people love and expect. At least there’s the diesel, right? Yes, and it does add that missed low end, but it comes at the cost of a very noisy diesel whine. Granted, truck folks love some diesel noise, but for most of us, that groan can get tiring and annoying pretty quickly. 

Come on, there’s got to be more positives, Even if Consumer Reports doesn’t think so 

CR goes on to trash the seats, ride, driving position, and price. Granted, the Canyon starts at $26k but climbs all the way up to nearly $45k. That is a lot of money for a little pickup. But we are here to find the positives after all. 

The cool thing about the 2021 GMC Canyon is that it is a small truck. Pickup trucks used to be this size and even smaller for the majority of the pickup’s history. As cars and trucks got bigger and bigger, the small all-purpose trucks faded away. More manufacturers see the market gap for a great, simple, small work truck, but it seems manufacturers are struggling to hit the mark of previous small trucks like the Chevy S10 and the old Tacomas. 

While Ford has the new Ranger and the Maverick, Honda with its Ridgeline, and GMC with the Canyon/Colorado, it would seem the segment is starting to fill back out. It’s a shame that the Canyon/Colorado isn’t performing very well because the need is there for these types of trucks, but I fear the manufacturers will stop making them since they aren’t selling well. The Canyon missed most of the marks, but it is still a great size, and it is getting closer to being the truck that most people can actually use.