The invitation to come out and sample product at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, MI is rarely dull, and after spending this morning driving preproduction versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon all we can say is... under strict embargo. Sorry, America, we were as excited as many of you are to learn more about GM's new midsize truck range and take note of how they go down the road, but it's going to be September before we're allowed to share that with all of you. Here's to sweet suspense.

While we might not be able to talk about refinement or handling yet, we did find some of the product positioning and marketing statements from GMC and Chevy officials on hand at the program to be pretty interesting.

Of course, we all know that the literal competitive set for Canyon and Colorado is comprised of two comparatively ancient Japanese midsize trucks: the Toyota Tacoma (which currently owns this segment) and the Nissan Frontier. The Frontier's bones are as old as the 2005 model year, with 2009 marking the last time the truck was updated. The Taco was also launched in 2005, though it did see a freshening for 2012. The point remains that, in every facet from powertrain to dash plastics, the GM midsize truck twins are going to look positively space age by comparison when they hit the market for MY 2015.

Interestingly though, The General isn't simply shooting for its aged, small-truck competitors when it comes to the planned conquest of customers. The automaker believes that both Chevy and GMC products will offer an interesting alternative to small-crossover shoppers as well. In fact, the engineering and marketing teams were possessed of this notion enough to bring along a Ford Escape as one of the competitive drives for our test day in Milford.

GM believes that both Chevy and GMC products will offer an interesting proposition to small-CUV shoppers.

Certainly, images of the Canyon and Colorado interiors that we've seen indicate that these two trucks will have cabins worthy of suburban tastemakers; full of the available comfort and convenience amenities that CUV shoppers are so keen on. Just as in their fullsize brothers, we expect these smaller trucks to be comfy places in which to pass your daily commute. We'd argue that the exterior styling of the trucks is a fit with the CUV ethos, as well.

Looking deeper, we can also see that the new trucks will probably offer reasonable tradeoffs in terms of utility, performance, mileage, space and price. Just comparing base models, the Chevy Canyon's 2.5-liter four-cylinder, rated at 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque, is slightly stronger than the average output of four-bangers from Ford, Honda and Toyota small crossovers. Now, the Canyon is likely to be somewhat thirstier than the 26 combined miles per gallon that those three offer, but it'll also offer a decided boost in tow/haul utility is the most obvious pickup strong suit.

And, of course, while we don't yet have pricing, sticking around the low $20k starting MSRPs of the best-selling small crossovers seems quite doable. Bare bones Tacoma and Frontier trucks start at $18,125 and $20,510, respectively, leaving a good gap to appropriately price the content-plus new trucks, and still stay in-budget for a typical CUV shopper.

Those tradeoffs won't work for a lot of CUV buyers, but the argument on paper is quite a bit more compelling than we would have initially thought. GM apparently believes it, as it's jumping with two feet into a segment that most automakers have abandoned or at least let wither on the vine. What say you? Would a more livable, frugal pickup make sense to you as a cross-shop with a smaller crossover? Let us know in Comments.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 98 Comments
      Corny
      • 4 Months Ago
      I hope they make a "work truck" version, stripped of all the fancy stuff but functional. Rubber floor mats, manual transmission, no chrome, manual windows and locks, but with a strong engine (diesel maybe), tow package, and built strong enough to take a small snow plow.
        BKdroid
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Corny
        There have been reports of the 'work truck' trim. Basically exactly what you describe. The base extended cab, minus rear seats for cab storage
        Timothy Tibbetts
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Corny
        Chevy Colorado.
      Robert M. Tarabella
      • 4 Months Ago
      I can't wait for a serious return to a more responsible sized (and priced) truck. The last full size truck that I really liked was my '98 Ram. Everything since then has had the steroid treatment for no apparent reason (IMO). I'm six feet tall, and find it difficult these days to load and unload from the side rails of a modern Ford/Chevy/Ram. They're just too damn tall. I traded my 07 Avalanche for an 04 Dakota, and put a happy 140k miles on it since then. I'm just not buying the argument that booming full size truck sales prove that nobody wants smaller trucks. They used that same argument on us regarding fuel economy, too. They claimed that MPG just wasn't important to truck buyers. Well guess what -- if they would have offered a truck that got 25 MPG I would have bought one. But they didn't.
        Dump
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Robert M. Tarabella
        Totally agree. I hate that the F-150/Ram1500/ChevySilverado have all become these super-sized, super-expensive, super-gawdy trucks - they're really good for the commercial market, but kinda too big for the average residential consumer. In the endless bid to be the mainstream king, they are too expensive for the mainstream to even afford any of them new. I appreciate the new mid-size pickups and like what I see inside & out. No chrome bling necessary, just offer good seats, nav/audio system, good/competitive engines & trans. & descent AWD setup.
          jtav2002
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Dump
          If you shop at Ram mid $30's can get you a nice 4wd quad cab truck with a Hemi. And the STX trim over at Ford can be had for same or less. Not ALL trucks are ridiculously priced. I wouldn't expect you to be able to get that truck for that much less. Vehicle prices in general have obviously gone up. Everyone acts like the only trucks these companies offer are top of the line $50k models.
        Dart
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Robert M. Tarabella
        Completely agree! When my barely broken in 2001 Ram took a broadside hit, I replaced it with a 2002 Ram. It was a very good truck, but it was an overly large beast. Eventually I stepped down to a 2007 Quad Cab Dakota, 4.7L V8 and couldn't be happier. Luckily I have the Chrysler Lifetime Powertrain warranty on it, which was only offered in MY'07 & '08, which means I am NEVER going to get rid of this vehicle (although I did eventually buy a nice V6 car for commuting, and to keep the miles off the truck, which currently has 113K on it).
        SpikedLemon
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Robert M. Tarabella
        I concur. I'd have kept my truck had it been a little smaller and a little easier on fuel. I have, now, a small hatchback with decent towing capacity to replace it. If GM wants to consider it as a CUV competitor it needs to meet or exceet CUV fuel consumption otherwise they're just talking out of their rears. And let's be clear: a smaller vehicle is much easier to park, manoever etc... ... and a lower bed height makes it much easier to load.
      Wade Ewing
      • 4 Months Ago
      I drive a Subaru Forester and I am very interested in these trucks. I like diesels and am waiting to see how that option plays out.
      rayjht
      • 4 Months Ago
      I want to see these with the diesel variant.....especially the GMC version that is the one that intrigues me.
        Greg Aryous
        • 4 Months Ago
        @rayjht
        A small diesel in these trucks will push the price into low $30s which will NOT be competitive with the new F150 n very powerful n efficient 2.7 EcoBoost that just beat the 5.3 V8 Chevy in a 7000 lbs tow test... Also best the Ram EcoDiesel..! Plus Ford has priced it at just $495 over the base v6.... That is going to make it very tough to beat...!!!
          Carpinions
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Greg Aryous
          Wow, shill city man, and wrong again. First, Ford even admitted the GM 5.3 beat them in 1 of 3 runs, particularly when conditions got cooler, which means their engine runs quite hot. Second, the 5.3 has torque higher up the rev range so it will pull better up mountain grades when the 2.7EB is tapering off. These GM midsizers will start much further south of even a stripper 2015 F-150, and on top of that, the V6 and diesel versions will have tow and payload capacities close to the base F-150, which has a less powerful engine and is several hundred pounds heavier than these new midsizers. People forget that GM has been making money selling midsizers for years while Ford killed the Ranger. All those F-150s Ford sells over GM don't mean as much when you factor in how many midsize AND full-size units GM sells. Do you really think everyone who, when given the choice between the two, is ALWAYS going to opt for the F-150 if the Colorado/Canyon are smaller, have lots of room, and lots of capability? These midsizers are more capable than even mid-level half-ton trucks from 10 years ago, while being 1000 lbs lighter. And do you really think everyone is going to opt for a stripper F-150 and not throw a few options on it, pushing it into the mid-$30k range? They your money, as is obvious just cruising by anyone's online truck configurator. Racking up a $40k half-ton truck is not hard to do. And as if Ford hasn't been seen considering bringing the global Ranger here. If they do release that truck here, you can thank GM for it.
          Carpinions
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Greg Aryous
          @jtav2002 I think you are spot on. OK, so the 2015 F-150 2.7EB is fastest most of the time while towing 7000 lbs. Big deal. As you said, tow speed is for show, but show doesn't equal work. Clearly the truck towed 7000 lbs, but so did the other 2, so the question is not about capability, because both the Ram and Chevy are rated to tow much more than Ford has said the 2.7EB will, to say nothing of payload. You are also correct in that the Ram Ecodiesel will almost certainly get better towing mileage, though the question remains if the added cost of the engine and fuel will pay for itself over time. I think Ram Ecodiesel customers will have to be towing often for the numbers to even out. Ford's strategy is in the claim that the turbos are there to add power when needed, but the truck can be a pussycat the rest of the time. The problem with that though is that turbos have to be on all or most of the time to reduce lag (particularly when towing), and dipping into turbo power is very easy to do with inconsistent human throttle inputs, so I think this is why real-world EcoBoost MPG has been less than Ford's claims. I drive a turbo car and have been for the last 8 years; the tipping point for the turbo stepping in is an easy line to cross, which partly validate's GM's strategy of tweaking transmission behavior and improving engine tech to make MPG gains in their trucks.
          jtav2002
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Greg Aryous
          Some people dont NEED or WANT full size trucks. People also forget that. Additionally, A diesel in these trucks is going to be getting substantially better fuel economy, especially seeing the Ram Ecodiesel is good for real world 28mpg highway. The 2.7L is certainly putting up good numbers, but you're kidding yourself if you think it's going to be anywhere near the fuel economy that this should be good for a long with the Ecodiesel. I'd also want to see economy numbers while towing between the Ecodiesel and 2.7L EB. Too much emphasis is being put on the fact the EB was FASTER in the towing test. I don't necessarily think one metric is the end all be all. The Ecodiesel will probably be more efficient, and diesels are generally slower than their gas counterparts to begin with. Really depends on what you're looking for.
      v6sonoma
      • 4 Months Ago
      I see these great looking trucks as most likely having the same issues as the last ones. They will price them to close to the full size trucks and when they start laying down discounts on the full size trucks you would be stupid to buy the smaller ones unless the larger size was an issue for you.
        jtav2002
        • 4 Months Ago
        @v6sonoma
        The real difference this time will be fuel economy, however. Before there wasn't any gain between a V8 full size and a slightly cheaper V6 midsize. Now with the diesel option, it's something to consider. I see no reason the diesel powerplant shouldn't be good for for 30mpg highway.
      Timothy Tibbetts
      • 4 Months Ago
      They are right. I have owned all crossovers and SUV's in the past years from Jeep Grand Cherokee to a Tahoe and currently a Ford Edge. I had a couple f150's but as I get older, it's bigger and eats more fuel than I would like. I need a smaller truck with all the comforts but still need 4 wheel drive to tow and launch and a truck box to haul stuff. I am looking at this in the fall, so we shall see.
      scott3
      • 4 Months Ago
      Having been in one of these trucks it is very do able. The crew cab rear seat is as good as any CUV and the cargo area will carry things you could never carry in the CUV. We have a Terrain today and I love it but it is my wife's car. If given the choice for myself it would be the Canyon all the way. I would love a full size truck but has no real use for the large size. The 6.5 foot bed here would do all I need and I would love the MPG over the full size. May think this segment dies because of the public but the MFG pretty much killed it. The small trucks never got the investment as they needed as the MFG make more money on the larger trucks and had little interest here. Just look how long the Ranger went with no major changes to it. If ford had invested they could have saved it. GM failed with the last mid size due to the fact they were crappy trucks that cost nearly as much as a full size with a rebate. GM needs to price these carefully and not discount the full size to the same price. GM wants these to sell because of the MPG and that is why these will be the most refined and best built mid size trucks we have ever seen. Having been in one I can say they did not skimp like they did on the last one that had an interior that reaked of a 1983 Camaro.
      mapoftazifosho
      • 4 Months Ago
      I loved the idea of this, but the damn things are 90% the size of their full-size trucks and their weight comes in close to Ford's 2015 full-size truck. I want a TRUE midsize pickup. I think this is gonna flop, but only because they're too big! They're NOT a midsize P/U.
      evanee80
      • 4 Months Ago
      For my purposes, a small pickup with a camper shell is indeed a viable alternative to a CUV. But my comparison model is the Mazda CX-5 (that's at the top of my list, anyhow) The CX-5 will tow 3500 lb, get 30 mpg combined (stick, naturally), and costs $22k. Show me a comparably-equipped Colorado for less than that, Chevy, and I might be willing to look.
        j0nny5
        • 4 Months Ago
        @evanee80
        CX-5 owner here. (2014 Sport, 6sp). I am pretty happy with my choice, but these two intrigue me as well. I'm still sore that I couldn't get the 2.5L mill with the manual.
          Jared
          • 4 Months Ago
          @j0nny5
          I have the 2014 Touring, and while happy with it, I too am sore that I couldn't get the 2.5L.
        CountryCruiser
        • 4 Months Ago
        @evanee80
        Better visit the Mazda website again...CX-5 can only tow 2,000 lbs. Anything over 1,000 lbs and trailer brakes are REQUIRED! Still a very tough to beat small SUV!
          evanee80
          • 4 Months Ago
          @CountryCruiser
          My fault. Yes, 1k without brakes, 2k with. Fortunately my trailer only weighs 500lb loaded.
        Bamboo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @evanee80
        I just helped my mom buy a cx-5 and really liked it. If there was a Mazdaspeed version I would have one in my driveway right now. Instead I am planning on a Canyon crew shortbed so I will fit in the garage.
      David Pettit
      • 4 Months Ago
      After seeing these trucks in person at the Denver Auto Show I realized how big these are. Too close in size to the full size models. A pointless model range. Hardly a replacement for the S10/Sonoma is size or purpose.
        Gordon Chen
        • 4 Months Ago
        @David Pettit
        True. The shortest Silverado (one row seating) is 205 inches. The shortest Colorado (which only comes in two row seating options) is 212 inches.
      MTU 5.0
      • 4 Months Ago
      There was a new Colorado crew cab with the "long" bed in a local parking lot a few months ago, and it was not a small truck. Smaller than a full size, yes, but larger than any Ranger ever offered. More 9.5/10ths the size of a 1/2 ton. I still think the overall appeal of these will be limited. Sure there is a market, it just isn't that large.
      billfrombuckhead
      • 4 Months Ago
      A Dodge Grand Caravan will kick the 2WD Colorados butt in most applications excepts hauling garbage or dirt bikes. Which one hauls 4x8 sheets of plywood better? Easy Caravan win Which has more security for cargo? Easy Caravan win. Which one gets better gas mileage? Easy Caravan win. Which goes 0 to 60 faster? Easy Caravan win. Which one has a better ride? Easy Caravan win. Which one carries passengers more comfortably? Easy Caravan win. Which one one has lower insurance rates? Easy Caravan win. See a pattern?
        Carpinions
        • 4 Months Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        A point-by-point review: 4x8 plywood - many full-size trucks have short beds, so technically a Caravan will also outdo a Ram in that department. Next! Security for cargo - bed topper anyone? Next! MPG - I have a Pentastar V6 Grand Caravan and this point is entirely debateable depending on what kind of driving is being done. (though I will say the Chrysler 3.6 runs MPG circles around the Ford 3.5 in our other car) Next! 0-60 - Who gives a $***? Next! Ride - Subjective. I thought a base Toyota Sienna with the 2.7 4-cylinder rode a bit better than the GC we ended up buying. The Ram and GM trucks have also been lauded for having a car-like driving feel, so a pickup's ride is much better now than it ever has been. Next! Passenger comfort - Again, this can apply to literally any other vehicle than a pickup, including pickups Chrysler makes. Also, criticizing a truck (this false criticism would apply to literally any pickup truck from any make) for not seating 7 is like criticizing the sky for not being the ground. Next! Insurance - Other vehicles are as cheap minivans, and a few even seat as many, yet you do not list them. How about we identify some ways in which these trucks (or any truck, given the random points you chose) are better: Towing - Caravan tops out where these trucks start. Cargo - Caravan is enclosed, limiting what can be carried. Off-road - Should I even bother? Power - Caravan is bested by 2 of the three engines in these trucks. All-weather driving - Caravan doesn't even have AWD, let alone 4WD. Lame attempt at dissing GM.
        thumerzs
        • 4 Months Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        Which one rusts apart in five years? Easy - just look at almost any recent Chrysler, er, Fiat product. While I agree the Grand Caravan is a very versatile vehicle, until they fix the rust issues (and have they got the trannies down yet?) I wouldn't consider anything from Dodge.
        Radwon
        • 4 Months Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        That's exactly why I bought my old Caravan. Take the bench seats out and you can haul more than you think. Tint the windows and it's so unassuming that you don't have to worry about someone breaking in and stealing your sh;t. You can get'em cheap and they are easy to maintain. Thumbs up!
    • Load More Comments