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Not every redesign lands well with consumers. Some automakers invest considerable time and resources in new engineering, features, and tech, only to be savaged by consumers and critics alike. But GMC’s overhaul of the Canyon for 2023 is already a hit with both, thanks to some great new features that accentuate everything buyers look for and love about the model.

Three different 2023 GMC Canyon trucks lined up on a road.
The 2023 GMC Canyon lineup | GMC Media

What was the 2022 GMC Canyon like?

Just because the 2023 Canyon is a great improvement over previous models doesn’t mean the 2022 version was a bad buy. In fact, quite the contrary.

This midsize pickup option is largely the same as the Chevrolet Colorado, though it’s slightly more expensive. The Canyon’s exterior styling is suitably rugged for the segment. It also sports three different powertrain options. There’s a 200-hp 2.5-liter I-4, a 308-liter 3.6-liter V-6, and a 181-hp 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel I-4, all available with either RWD or 4WD.

The Canyon is available with either a Crew Cab or Extended Cab option. With the Crew Cab, prospective buyers can get either a short box (61.7-inch bed) or a long box (74.0-inch bed). The Extended Cab is only available with the long box.

Each Canyon comes with an infotainment touchscreen (7.0-inch standard, 8.0-inch on higher level trims) compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as forward collision and lane departure warning systems.

Where the Canyon falls short is in its cabin. It’s a bit tight, and while the styling is serviceable, it doesn’t really stand out. It’s also a bit more expensive than other vehicles in the segment, making the mediocre interior quality, especially on the higher trims, stand out. And the above-mentioned safety features are all that come standard. There aren’t a lot of additional ones available for an upcharge either.

How the 2023 GMC Canyon improves upon previous models

According to HotCars, the 2023 model is quite a bit different than the previous year’s model—and that’s a good thing. The 2023 version has just one powertrain variation, though it’s more powerful than before.

The Canyon is powered by a 310-hp 2.7-liter turbocharged inline-four engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard RWD (AWD is also available). But though this is the only option, the Canyon still offers superior performance and handling to its rivals in the segment.

Now, GMC also cuts down on another set of options: cab and bed configurations. You can only get the 2023 Canyon with a Crew Cab and a short bed. And at about $38,000, the base model trim costs even more than last year’s version. But the exterior and interior styling are much improved, and the latter is filled with the standard advanced safety systems one would expect at this price point.

One of the biggest improvements is the AT4X trim—a premium off-road variant that provides a tremendous driving experience. From the higher ground clearance to the 33-inch mud terrain tires, the AT4X is built for tough terrain. Add $5,000 to the base price, but the specialty shocks, skid plates, locking differentials, and drive modes are well worth it.

What about the Denali?

Those disappointed by the 2022 Canyon’s Denali trim will be pleased to learn that GMC has improved the 2023 version significantly. Rather than its predecessor’s bland interior, the new version is styled with leather and wood and comes with an 11.3-inch touchscreen, 11-inch digital cluster, and a seven-speaker premium audio system.

One of the coolest new features is a driver’s Safety Alert Seat, which pairs its collision warning systems to its driver’s seat. Rather than just hearing an alert or seeing a notification on the digital cluster, drivers will feel their seats vibrate if there’s the risk of an imminent collision. It’s nice to see this inclusion, especially since prior models had given short shrift to advanced safety systems.

If you’re looking for a similar but cheaper midsize Denali experience, the range-topping Chevy Colorado ZR2, which is identical, might be a good pick. There was a limited, specially styled variant of the AT4X – the Edition 1—which includes special badging, bumper and grille styling, and underbody cameras, among other features.


2023 Chevy Colorado vs. 2023 GMC Canyon: Which Is Right for You?