All-new as a replacement for the Sonoma in 2004, the GMC Canyon has only cosmetic changes for 2005. Among the additions are a leather package available on Extended Cab models; an available sunroof; MP3 capability on CD systems; box side steps available on Regular and Extended Cab models; traction control includes a locking differential on 2WD models; OnStar Gen 6 hardware with upgraded hands-free capability; and a new Superior Blue Metallic exterior colour.

The Canyon is the same truck as the Chevrolet Colorado, but the new platform the two share is exclusive, and not used on any other light truck or SUV. The Canyon comes in regular cab, extended cab and crew cab, including two-wheel-drive crew cab and High-Stance off-road models. The full range includes the option of two- or four-wheel-drive.

Engines are a 2.8-litre inline four-cylinder, or a smooth-running 3.5-litre inline five-cylinder. Transmission choices are a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.

Depending on the configuration, features on the base SL trucks can include vinyl floor covering, cloth seats, variable intermittent wipers, AM/FM stereo, 15-inch steel wheels and chrome bumpers; all come with four-wheel disc brakes with four-wheel ABS. There’s also a YCO base trim package, with available vinyl seats, that’s offered only for fleet sales in the U.S. We are definitely practical people here in Canada.

SLE models can add deep-tinted rear windows, aluminum wheels, air conditioning, colour-keyed carpet, tilt wheel, cruise control, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, and CD/MP3 system. Numerous add-ons are available, including a bed extender, side steps, a sport tent and air mattress for camping, tonneau cover, rear sliding window and leather interior.

The Canyon is an immense improvement over the model it replaces, and its choice of body styles makes it useful for a number of uses, especially since it’s available with an easy-clean vinyl floor for muddy jobs. In the overall race for bigger and bulkier, the Canyon is more mini- than midsize truck; it’s smaller than the Toyota Tacoma, and its extended-length models are considerably smaller than the massive Dodge Dakota. But not everyone needs or wants a big “mini” truck. And of all of its compact and midsize rivals, the Canyon, along with its Colorado sibling, is the only one offered in all three body styles.

The Canyon is built in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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