2015 GMC Canyon. Click image to enlarge
Review by Jacob Black, photos by Jacob Black and courtesy of GMC
What if you like utes, but don’t like behemoths? What if you want a tray, and ground clearance, and towing capacity, but think that a GMC Sierra, or a Chevrolet Silverado, or even a Ford F-150 or RAM 1500 is just too big?
Well, I suppose you could buy a Tacoma, but what if, like most truck fans in North America, you’d prefer to purchase a domestic? After a few years on the sidelines along with fellow domestics RAM and Ford, General Motors will re-enter the mid-size utility market with the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado in 2015.
The first thing that hit me when the Canyon was unveiled ahead of the 2014 NAIAS in Detroit was the grill. It screams, “I’m a GMC, fool!” The enormous grill and bulky front fenders accentuate the size of the thing – unless it was parked alongside one of its larger brothers it might actually be mistaken for one.
The styling is quintessentially GMC, with large amounts of chrome and thick, sculpted wheel arches. It is a very blocky design too, which also helps make this truck seem larger than it necessarily is.
The Canyon will be available with three engines, a 2.8L TDI I4 (yep, that’s a diesel), a 3.6L V6 petrol engine and a 2.5L VVTI I4 petrol engine. The 2.5L four will produce 193 hp @ 6,300 rpm and 184 lb-ft at 4,400, while the up-spec V6 is worth 302 hp @ 6,950 rpm and 270 lb-ft @ 4,000. The TDI won’t be available right away, expect that to come online in mid-2015 – it will take B20 biodiesel. All three engines sit on vibration-absorbing hydraulic mounts.
There is a six-speed auto or a five-speed manual available, though if you opt for the smaller gas engine you can only get the manual with the extended cab, two-wheel drive chassis.
Four-wheel drive editions come with two-speed transfer case and will run in two-wheel drive, automatic mode, four-high and four-low.
The extended cab has coffin doors, for a wider opening and I was able to sit in the backseat behind myself. The seat is low to the floor though which makes for a less-comfortable ride. My knees, even as short as my legs are, were squarely pressed into the shoulders of the driver seat. Also, the coffin door was awkward to close from the seat, which inhibits its practicality.
The crew-cab edition has much better rear-seat room, I was able to sit behind a far taller person comfortably, and close the doors easily.
Curiously there was no household power outlet in the either of the display models we were shown in our preview – but given their prevalence in other GM products, I would expect one will be available at least as an option from mid-trim up. Time will tell.
Infotainment will be taken care of with an eight-inch touchscreen running a version of GM’s MyLink, plus a 4.2-inch TFT screen in the instrument cluster. There are two bins for gauges in the cluster, with speedo and tach either side of the TFT in the main bin, then voltage and engine temps in the top bin. There is also GM’s newly release 4G LTE connectivity complete with an ever-growing GMC AppShop and a wi-fi hotspot.
2015 GMC Canyon. Click image to enlarge
Parents will appreciate Teen Driver. The Intellilink feature allows parents to set vehicle speed warnings, mute the radio when seatbelts are left off and even report back on their child’s driving habits, including 100% throttle events, ABS events, max speed and others. The data is secured with a PIN.
As Lesley Wimbush addressed in her preview of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, the Canyon will be fitted with six airbags plus optional collision alert and lane departure warnings. Top trim models will feature StabiliTrak, trailer-sway control, hill descent and rollover sensing.
There are two tray lengths, five-feet and six, each with plenty of tie-downs. There will also be drop-in liners, an available spray-in liner and some innovative multi-section dividers which increase the versatility of the tray bed. There is also a multi-level load tray that allows the concealment of toys, electronics and the like.
Front suspension is taken care of via independent coil-over shocks, while the rear suspension is solid axle with semi-elliptic two-stage multi-leaf springs and twin-tube shocks.
Curb weights run from 1,789 kg for the Extended Cab (with a 6’2″ box) to 1,831 for the Crew Cab with a 5’2″ box and 1,935 kg for the Crew Cab with a 6’2″ box.
The Canyon claims a class-leading payload, with 3,039 kg (6,700 lb) tow rating.