Where the GMC Canyon stands within the midsize truck market has raised some questions about the automaker’s production strategy in this vehicle class. Canyon sales have been low since the UAW strike of September 2019 and recovery has lagged.
However, GMC’s recent production move of adding an available diesel engine option to the 2021 Canyon has Kelley Blue Book reviewers love struck. What’s got KBB all shook up? Let’s take a closer look.
What Kelley Blue Book had to say about the 2021 Canyon
GMC was on the verge of becoming completely ignored among midsize trucks. However, the sleeping giant has awakened with an unprecedented move of making a diesel engine for its 2021 Canyon an available option; something that has everyone talking, especially Kelley Blue Book. Besides dumping last year’s SL, SLE, and SLT designations, GMC has labeled their midsize truck lineup Elevation Standard, Elevation, AT4, and Denali, but the AT4 designation represents more than just a name change.
2021 represents the debut of the first-ever GMC Canyon AT4. The intent behind the 2021 Canyon AT4 is to provide a premium off-road truck with better capabilities in the dirt than the outgoing Canyon All Terrain. A specially-tuned suspension and riding on 31-inch all-terrain tires are among the standard features on the 2021 Canyon AT, which also includes a rear-locking differential and a transfer case skid plate. A larger grille, red recovery hooks, and dark chrome trim round out the distinguishing features of the AT4.
KBB notes several similarities between AT4 and Denali, which begins with an upgrade from the standard 4-cylinder engine in the Elevation models to a 308-hp 3.6-liter V6. In addition to an engine choice upgrade both models also allow buyers to choose between Extended Cab or Crew Cab body styles with either a short bed or long bed option. The Denali still steps up the option package with additional luxury features, but the most celebrated upgrade available for these two options is the diesel engine option.
KBB loves the Duramax Turbodiesel engine available on 2021 Canyon. This 181 hp 2.8-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel is not available on a midsize truck from any other competing automaker. Consequently, only the 2021 Canyon AT4 or Denali has the option to provide full-size rivaling 369 lb-ft torque, tow ratings at 7,700 pounds along with 30 mpg highway fuel economy. Basically, it is hard not to be a little love struck with a midsize truck with workhorse capabilities.
Additional features on the 2021 Canyon capable of turning heads
Buyers looking for workhorse features in a midsize may have already found all they wanted among the features already listed, but there are some other upgrades included in the 2021 Canyon to pull those lingering few off the fence. Upgrades on the 2021 model include a much-awaited, more aggressive face-lift, which exudes a brawny, ready-for-business look to match its exciting new off-road features.
Canyon’s upgraded suspension features include Advanced Hill Decent Control as well as a more substantial wheelbase on wider tires. Inside, the 2021 Canyon can comfortably seat larger individuals while accommodating the need for greater functional control through larger knobs without ignoring high-demand infotainment options like onboard Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto capabilities.
2021 Canyon establishes a new standard by adding the diesel option to midsize truck class
As critics were questioning GMC’s midsize truck production strategy, it seems that the automaker was behind the scenes planning something new and exciting to kickoff a new decade. The 2021 Canyon provides a substantial response to those irritating questions, punctuating its response with superior-level off-road features along with the availability of a diesel engine option found only on its Chevy cousin.
With the availability of a high-torque diesel engine option on a midsize truck, the 2021 GMC Canyon has made a positive step toward restoring its status and throwing down the gauntlet to the competition while giving Kelley Blue Book plenty of good reasons to love it.