The 2021 GMC Canyon is a solid offering among compact pickups with its peppy handling, excelling towing and hauling capabilities, and user-friendly tech. However, its interior isn’t as upscale, there aren’t as many bed choices and there are fewer driver assistance technologies than what you’ll find on some rivals.
Base Price: $40,000
As Tested: $42,585
Mileage: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway/19 mpg combined
For 2021, a new AT4 trim is added with several off-road features. In all, four trims are available: Elevation Standard, Elevation, AT4 and Denali, as well as different cab and bed configurations. Choose between a 5’2”- and a 6’2” bed, and Extended Cab (with room for four passengers) and Crew Cab (with room for five passengers).
Starting prices range from $26,400 to $44,700. Rear-wheel-drive is standard and four-wheel-drive is available.
Three powertrains are available: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 200 horsepower and191 pound-feet of torque; a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 308 horses and 275 pound-feet, and a 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that generates 181 hp and 369 pound-feet. The V6 is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the four-bangers get a six-speed automatic.
My tester has the V6 and it provides quick acceleration, plenty of power for merging and passing and decent fuel economy. Steering and brakes are responsive. The ride is mostly composed and is smoother if there’s something in the bed. Overall, the Canyon is sure easy to drive and maneuver, whether you’re in city traffic or cruising down the highway. It handles more like an SUV than a truck.
Fuel economy is about average for a compact pickup. EPA ratings for my AWD tester with the V6 are 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with a combined rating of 19. I got 19 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
Towing and hauling capabilities are excellent for the class. Maximum towing capacity is 7,700 pounds with the diesel engine and 7,000 pounds with the V6. The Canyon can haul up to 1,605 pounds.
The new AT4 trim adds features for off-roading including a specially-tuned suspension, locking rear differential, two-speed transfer case, a transfer case shield, and hill descent control.
The interior is pleasant and functional but not as upscale as some competitors. There are some plastics and other materials that look a bit cheap. Front seats are roomy and comfortable. Two adults are comfortable in the rear seats with the Crew Cab. The Extended Cab is cramped and only really suited for kids.
Standard features include rearview camera, cloth upholstery, power-adjustable driver’s seat, seven-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and GMC’s Teen Driver technology which lets you program the key fob to set limits on things like vehicle speed or audio volume, and prevent certain safety systems from being turned off.
Available features include keyless entry, remote start, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, seven-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, additional USB ports, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and wireless device charging.
The infotainment system looks good and is user-friendly with logical menus. The touchscreen is sensibly laid out and responds quickly to voice and touch commands. Physical knobs and buttons are handy for routine functions.
There are no standard driver assistance technologies. Available driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and rear parking sensors.
Excellent towing and hauling capabilities
Choice of three powertrains
Easy-to-use infotainment system
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Interior not as upscale as some rivals
Few available driver assistance technologies
My tester starts at $40,000. The GMC Infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, navigation and Bose Premium Audio System is $995. The Driver Alert Package is $395 and adds lane departure warning and forward collision alert. Destination charge is $1,195 bringing the grand total to $42,585.
The Canyon is worth a look if you’re shopping for a compact pickup. It’s pleasant to drive, excels at towing and hauling and provides many features that buyers want. For those who want an upscale interior, more bed choices and more advanced driver assistance technologies, you may want to look elsewhere.