Things are getting hot right now in the mid-size pickup segment. Last week, we covered the unveiling of the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado, which came with new styling, a new engine with several power levels and a revamped cabin.
Its GMC counterpart, the Canyon, followed this week with a similar treatment. And while it shares many features with the Colorado there are many technical attributes that set it apart from its cousin.
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The Car Guide got a first-hand look at the Denali and AT4X variants of the GMC Canyon at their unveiling in Detroit this week.
Only One Cab/Bed Configuration
Aesthetically, the Canyon is more aggressive with a redesigned front end that gives it more bite. It's taller and wider than ever, offering improved approach, departure and breakaway angles. Like the Chevrolet Colorado, the GMC Canyon has had its configuration choices reduced to a single combination: Crew Cab and a short bed.
This bed features a standard spray-in coating on the Denali and ATX4 variants, as well as a redesigned tailgate that includes a fully sealed compartment for storing tools and equipment, but also beverages because it has an integrated drain plug to evacuate liquids.
One Engine, One Power Level
GMC also simplified the engine choices. Just like the Chevrolet Colorado, the 3.6-litre V6 and diesel engine were retired and replaced by a turbocharged 2.7-litre four-cylinder. Unlike the Colorado, however, only the 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque high output iteration of this engine is offered across the lineup, instead of three power levels depending on the variant. Several driving modes are available, including Normal, Off-Road, Terrain and Towing. A Baja mode, which calibrates the Canyon for a high-speed off-roading, is added in the AT4X variant.
As for towing capacity, we're talking about 7,700 lb for all variants except the AT4X, which is rated at 6,000 lbs.
A Redesigned Interior
GMC has long been criticized for being a little bland when it comes to interior design. For the Canyon, that's now a thing of the past thanks to a revamped interior that includes more refined materials and textures, as well as a redesigned infotainment system accessible via a touchscreen as big as 11.3 inches in the AT4X and Denali variants. The Denali, which GMC calls the only luxury pickup in the segment, also comes with real wood inserts.
We noticed that GMC kept the toggle stitches in the lower part of the dashboard for that nice analogue touch. Kudos!
A New AT4X Variant
Just like the ZR2 badge does for Chevrolet, the AT4X cranks up the Canyon’s off-roading capabilities by quite a few notches. Originally introduced on the Sierra 1500 pickup, this variant brings to the table all of the sharpest off-road components the GMC catalogue offers. We're talking about the Multimatic DSSV suspension, locking front and rear differentials, 33-inch MT tires, skid plates to protect vital organs and, as mentioned above, the "Baja" driving mode that allows the Canyon to venture into the trails at high speeds.
We also got a closer look at the Edition 1 model, which adds to the AT4X a host of options like front and rear cameras positioned under the truck (with washer nozzles!) and a unique front end with a winch, additional skid plate and additional LED lighting. It comes with specific wheels and a configurable rail system in the bed.
This Edition 1 launch variant will have a limited production run, but we don't know how many will make their way up to Canada. Pricing for the various variants is also unknown at this time, but will be announced by the time production is scheduled for the spring of 2023.