All-new 2023 GMC Canyon grows and gets better
As today’s pickup trucks continue to get bigger, burlier, and taller, some truck buyers are looking for something not so monstrous. Once considered small pickups, “little” trucks have now grown into mid-size trucks – making them the right size for many. One example is the 2023 GMC Canyon.
The GMC Canyon and its twin, the Chevrolet Colorado are all-new for 2023. It sports a squared-off grille and bulging fenders that emit a mean, tough, “high and wide” look, but not at the cost of being the size of a Peterbilt. Being that the crew-cab / short-bed configuration is the most popular way people like their trucks, that is the only way GMC offers the Canyon.
For those that want to take their Canyon off-road, they need to look no further than to the new AT4X model. It shares its hardware with its corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, but wrapped in more upscale styling. Highlights of the Canyon AT4X include 33-inch mud-terrain tires, an exclusive Baja driving mode, electronic locking front and rear differentials and improved ground clearance and approach angles compared to other Canyons.
But if you’re into near-luxury, there is nothing like the Denali trim level, which is how my Canyon arrived.
Other trim levels include the base Elevation, which includes 18-inch off-road wheels and tires, and off-road tuned suspension, keyless entry with push-button start, an 8-inch digital instrument cluster along with a 11.3-inch touchscreen infotainment center. The AT4 comes standard with four-wheel drive and a two-speed transfer case as well as hill-descent control. Building on the AT4 is the AT4X as mentioned above. The AT4X also gets additional skid plates, rock rails and a heads-up display.
As the Denali, the Canyon gets more exterior bling in the way of extra exterior chrome and unique 20-inch wheels. Inside, the interior is dressed up in exclusive Jet Black featuring genuine open-pore wood accents complete with laser-etched Denali map coordinates. The perforated leather-appointed seating surfaces include a diamond-quilted pattern with gray accents and stitching while the lower dash pad, door panels, and console receive a soft-touch wrap. Front seats are both heated and ventilated.
Regardless of trim level, every Canyon is powered by a turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four that makes 310 horsepower along with 430 lb-ft of torque and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, the optional diesel powertrain from the previous generation is no longer offered.
Step inside the new Canyon and it doesn’t take long to notice the changes GMC has injected into the redesigned cabin. Technology is everywhere with the addition of various cameras including a 360-degree camera, and a heads-up display. A new digital gauge cluster sits behind a new steering wheel, and on the center console is the drive-mode selection knob, with the shifter now being closer to the passenger side of the cab. The big 11.3-inch touchscreen that comes with every Canyon is Wi-Fi hotspot capable and wireless Android Auto and Apply CarPlay compatible.
With 310 horses, the Canyon comes out the power winner when put up against its closest rivals, the Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma. On the road, that power translates into hitting 60 mph in about 6.8 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.1 seconds. But the real important number here is the torque and with 430 lb-ft of torque of it, the Canyon has a towing capacity of 7700 pounds.
The GMC Canyon has always been a durable, good truck. But with the new redesign, it’s even better, thanks to a nicer more spacious interior and more powerful engine. And the size is right, especially for those that need a pickup truck but feel today’s full-size models are simply too big. The Canyon Denali, however, raises the bar for those wanting a cut above the rest – and don’t mind paying for it. With that in mind, $53,990 – the test vehicles MSRP – is still a lot for a mid-size pickup. But the Denali’s interior does help in justifying its price premium – making this Canyon feel as if its worth every penny.
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2023 GMC Canyon 4WD Denali Crew
Base Price: $51,000.00
Price as Tested: $53,990.00
Layout: front-engine / four-wheel drive
Engine: 2.7 liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Horsepower: 310 hp
Torque: 430 lb/ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 17 city / 21 highway mpg
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