What Consumer Reports Thought When It Drove the GMC Canyon

While many trucks are getting bigger, GMC is focusing on the compact truck market. The main players in the segment have been Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, but neither model has seen a redesign since 2005. With the GMC Canyon, the automaker packs a big punch in a smaller package. Consumer Reports took the truck for a drive to see if it delivers. Read on to see what it found.

Consumer Reports took the truck for a drive to see if it delivers. Read on to see what it found.

What does compact mean to GMC?

Before you decide to drive a smaller truck, it is important to understand what “smaller” really means. There are two main areas where compact trucks lose dimensions compared to full-size trucks:

  • Width: The Canyon loses six inches in width compared to a full-size truck. While six inches seems small, Consumer Reports found that the loss actually makes driving and parking the truck much easier.
  • Cabin space: Rear cab space can be a pain point for trucks, and this is the case with the GMC Canyon. The compact model loses rear seat room in the Crew Cab, so rear passengers may feel a bit cramped.

The compact nature of the Canyon requires some compromises. What you get in improved handling and parking, you will lose in cabin space.

The GMC Canyon’s engine options

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The Canyon comes with three engine options:

  • Base model: The Canyon comes with a 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder gas engine with 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. It can tow up to 3,500 pounds and gets a reported 20 city and 26 highway MPG.
  • Optional: The optional engine is a 3.6 liter, V6 gas engine with 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. It has a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds and 1,500 pounds of payload. Slightly less fuel-efficient than the base model, it gets a reported 17 city and 24 highway MPG. This engine costs $4,995 for the upgrade.
  • Diesel: The GMC Canyon now offers a diesel engine option with improved towing capacity and fuel efficiency. The 2.8 liter Duramax diesel engine has 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It offers a best-in-class towing capability of 7,700 pounds and 20 city and 30 highway MPG.

The GMC Canyon’s upgraded features

As compared to other compact trucks, the Canyon does come with a handful of additional, enticing features. First, the interior is nicely finished with a soft-touch instrument panel that’s easy to use. The exterior has steps are cut into the side bumpers as well as an easy lift-and-load tailgate.

The GMC Canyon also comes with safety technology that’s exclusive to the Canyon in this segment, including optional forward collision and lane departure warning technology. The truck comes with a standard backup camera, helping with safety as well as towing.

Is the GMC Canyon worth it?

The real question is whether the GMC Canyon will woo full-size truck drivers or SUV drivers to opt for a compact truck. The outlook isn’t promising.

Consumer Reports found that while the Canyon has a quiet cab and softer ride than some other trucks, the driving experience isn’t a big enough improvement to seduce SUV or full-size truck drivers, especially with only a minor cost differential.

While the price tag of the GMC Canyon is about $10,000 below a full-size truck, full-size trucks often come with thousands of dollars of incentives. It seems unlikely that many drivers will choose a smaller truck for the same price. Time will tell if the GMC Canyon finds enough fans to stick around.