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- Highs Torque-rich diesel and strong V-6, sharper styling than the Chevy Colorado, satisfying driving traits—for a truck.
- Lows Underpowered and uncouth base engine, Denali interior isn't luxurious, minimal driver-assistance options.
- Verdict The Canyon isn't the most refined or capable mid-size pickup, but it's handsome and a highly capable example of the breed.
The 2022 GMC Canyon is well suited for folks who want some of the capabilities of a full-size pickup truck but in a mid-size package. That mission starts with its sturdy body-on-frame construction, extends to its potent V-6 and torquey diesel-engine options, and culminates in a maximum tow rating of 7700 pounds. Those hoping to hit the trails will appreciate the rugged AT4 model, which includes 31-inch tires and a unique off-road suspension. Available with an extended or crew cab and two bed lengths, the Canyon is just as versatile as its corporate counterpart, the Chevrolet Colorado. However, we think the GMC version looks classier and more mature. Just prepare to overpay for the Denali's unremarkable interior and notable lack of high-tech assists. Still, the 2022 Canyon will satisfy anyone who wants a smaller, more affordable alternative to the half-ton GMC Sierra.
What's New for 2022?
GMC makes minimal changes to the 2022 Canyon lineup. There's a new Denali Black Edition that—as its name suggests—sports dark exterior details that include low-gloss-black 20-inch rims, black assist steps, and gloss-black exhaust tips. Its interior also comes with all-weather floor liners. Less important, last year's High Elevation package has been renamed the Elevation Premium package.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
While the Canyon AT4 is an appealing off-roader that's cheaper than the Colorado ZR2, it's still not quite as capable or as desirable. Instead, we'd recommend the Elevation model paired with the optional V-6 powertrain and all-wheel drive. We'd also want the crew-cab body style because the extended cab's tiny back seat basically makes it a two-seater. It comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot. It also has automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a dampened tailgate, and remote start. We'd add the Elevation Premium package that includes a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and leather upholstery. The Driver Alert package also adds useful assistance features, such as lane-departure warning and rear parking sensors.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Of the Canyon's trio of engines, we'd steer you away from base 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Higher models feature a standard 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Not only does the V-6 have cylinder deactivation in an attempt to preserve fuel, it's also one of the quickest mid-size pickups we've tested. The diesel four-cylinder sacrifices speed in favor of fuel efficiency and towing proficiency. Indeed, the Canyon's diesel engine is surprisingly polished, however, it'll cost buyers a chunk of change. The Canyon's ride quality doesn't transcend its class, but it manages to successfully strike a balance between soft and firm damping. On bumpy and unpaved roads, it's very capable and will soak up most imperfections while muting harshness. The AT4 model should elevate the pickup's off-road capability even more with its upgraded suspension. At highway speeds, the Canyon is stable and relaxed. Around town, its smaller dimensions and agility require less driver attention in traffic and in tight confines. A firm brake pedal provided responsive feedback in the Canyon we tested.
Towing and Payload Capacity
The base Canyon with the four-cylinder can tow 3500 pounds and has a payload capacity of 1599 pounds. With the diesel, it can tow up to 7700 pounds and has a payload capacity of 1605 pounds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Canyon with the gas-powered four-cylinder is rated up to 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The V-6 powertrain is expected to earn up to 18 mpg city and 25 highway, and the diesel version has estimates of up to 20 mpg city and 30 highway. On our 75-mph fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, all-wheel-drive examples of the diesel earned 28 mpg and the V-6 earned 22 mpg. For more information about the Canyon's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Canyon's interior design is high on function and low on flash. It features an upright instrument panel layout and controls that are easy to reach and read. Unfortunately, the center console is burdened by a jumbo shifter. Plastic toggle switches for accessory equipment on the center stack are handy and accessible, but they look cheap in pricier trim levels as with the Denali we tested. Therein lies our biggest complaint about the Canyon's interior: even in Denali trim, it never feels like a premium environment. Its front seat is wonderfully spacious. However, the back seat has limited legroom. The elevated rear-seating position improves comfort, but three adults will be squished on long trips. The Canyon may not have as much room for carrying suitcases inside the cab, but it has the most cargo-bed volume and significantly more space for smaller items than its rivals. Its deep center-console bin, multiple door pockets, and other miscellaneous storage spots throughout the cabin provide refuge for an assortment of loose items. For items that take up a lot of space, there's a giant plastic bin under the rear seat (only on the crew cab).
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Canyon's touchscreen infotainment system is attractive and intuitive, with standard features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen is easy to use, with rubberized knobs for volume and tuning and redundant hard buttons for quick operation. The SLE model and up have an 8.0-inch touchscreen with a 4G LTE mobile hotspot. The Denali has an exclusive wireless charging pad, and the Bose premium audio system is also standard.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The Canyon offers little in the way of driver-assistance technology, leaving it far behind the Honda Ridgeline, the Toyota Tacoma, and now even the Nissan Frontier. If you're a customer who wants every piece of safety tech there is, you'll have to look elsewhere. For more information about the Canyon's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Available forward-collision warning
- Available lane-departure warning
- Available rear parking sensors
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
General Motors provides competitive coverage in the mid-size-pickup segment with the Canyon and the Colorado. The two have the best corrosion protection and the most impressive roadside-assistance coverage. While complimentary scheduled maintenance is included, Toyota provides better coverage.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance covers one visit for the first year
2021 GMC Canyon AT4
front-engine, rear-/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
PRICE AS TESTED
$43,430 (base price: $41,395)
DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
218 in3, 3564 cm3
308 hp @ 6800 rpm
275 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Suspension (F/R): control arms/live axle
Brakes (F/R): 12.2-in vented disc /12.8-in vented disc
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac, 265/65R-17 112S M+S
Wheelbase: 128.3 in
Length: 212.4 in
Width: 74.3 in
Height: 70.6 in
Passenger volume: 107 ft3
Curb weight: 4543 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 6.7 sec
1/4 mile: 15.2 sec @ 91 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.9 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.6 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.8 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 98 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 190 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.74 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 17 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 21 mpg
Highway range: 440 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 19/17/24 mpg