Trucks & SUVs

What’s the Difference in the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado?

There is no doubt that General Motors is a major player in the auto industry as it owns a number of brands including GMC and Chevrolet. This allows GM to leverage concepts and technologies across companies, which can lead to similar vehicles under different brands.

This is the case with the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado, two vehicles trying to reinvigorate the compact truck market. While the two trucks share a common powertrain and some features, they are more like brothers than twins, with a few distinct differences setting them apart.

Similarities between the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado

The GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado have some important similarities that shouldn’t lead you to choose one over the other.

Powertrain

Both the Canyon and Colorado take advantage of the GM powertrain options. In either truck, you can get the standard 2.5 liter, four-cylinder engine, offering up 200 hp and 191 lb-ft torque. If this doesn’t fit your needs, there’s a 3.6 liter V6 with 308 hp and 275 lb-ft. One more unique option for both trucks is a 2.8-liter diesel engine with 308 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.

Because the engines are the same, both trucks have similar gas mileage. The base engine will give you 20 city and 26 highway MPG, while the upgraded gas engine gets 17 city and 24 highway MPG. If gas mileage is important to you, both trucks’ diesel engine gets a reported 20 city and 30 highway MPG.

Whether you choose the Colorado or the Canyon, the engine should not be the determining factor.

Payload and towing

The Colorado and Canyon’s identical powertrains have identical payload and towing capabilities The diesel engine brings the most power to the vehicle, towing up to 7,700 pounds and bearing a payload of 1,496 pounds.

Cabin space and cargo capacity

The Colorado and Canyon come in three body styles: an Extended Cab and two Crew Cab models. The models’ measurements are the same, with the Extended Cab truck box measuring at 6-foot-2 and the Crew Cab coming with either a 5-foot-2 or 6-foot-2 truck box.

The interior dimensions are also identical, with spacious headroom in the front and less impressive rear-seat legroom.

Differences between the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado

While the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon have many similarities, there are still reasons to choose one over the other.

Off-road capabilities

The Chevy Colorado is the better option if you’ll be doing serious off-roading. The truck comes with optional packages that amp up the off-roading potential. The Z71 package includes hill descent control and a differently tuned suspension.

The ultimate off-roading package is the ZR2, which includes advanced suspension dampers as well as front and rear lockers. These add-ons raise ground clearance and allows a 30-degree approach angle. The ZR2 Bison model also includes more rugged bumpers, boron-steel skid plates, and fender flares in a partnership with AEV.

The Canyon spends less time focusing on off-road potential. While it comes with similar offerings to the Colorado’s Z71, the capabilities aren’t a focus for this truck.

Style

The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 barrels down a dirt road
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 | Courtesy of Chevrolet.com

Even if what’s under the hood is the same for both trucks, the outside includes some notable differences. The Chevy Colorado’s stylish, rugged frame comes with a variety of paint options. The ZR2 and Bison trims amp up the visual impact with larger tires and sturdy, dramatic features.

The GMC Canyon’s style focuses on chrome, with the Denali option adding visual flair with a unique grille and exterior trim.

Which is right for you?

If you are shopping in the compact truck model segment, your decision will likely come down to off-road capabilities and style sensibility. An additional factor that may come into play is price.

The cheapest model of the Chevy Colorado costs $21,300 and can get up to about $45,000 depending on add-on options. The GMC Canyon is marketed as the slightly elevated version of the pair, and the price matches this. It starts at $29,100 and can get close to $50,000 depending on your options.

No matter which you choose, you are opting for a sturdy compact truck.