2015 Canyon New Car Test Drive
All-new, the 2015 GMC Canyon is a scaled down Sierra offering two engines, two cabs and two bed lengths. The percentage lower or smaller than the Sierra depends on what you're measuring and there is overlap between Canyon and Sierra Regular Cab and Double Cab in terms of cost, power, dimensions, and capacity.
Once just a Chevrolet Colorado with ruby red badges, the 2015 GMC Canyon is no longer a duplicate Colorado. Beyond doors and roof it has its own sheetmetal, lamps, wheels and grille. Four-wheel drive versions of the Canyon use Autotrac that allows on-pavement all-wheel drive for inclement weather, which Colorado does not have. Canyon costs more than Colorado because it has standard equipment Colorado doesn't have, and GMC's Pro Grade includes routine maintenance.
The 2015 GMC Canyon does everything you expect in a mid-size pickup. It can carry up to 1620 pounds of people or cargo (more than some full-size pickups), tow up to 7,000 pounds and, like competitors, can slide 4×8 building materials into the bed though they'll hang out the back and won't lay flat on the floor. Every Canyon except 2WD automatics can be flat-towed as a motorhome dinghy, but no model is rated for snow-plow use.
Basic power is a 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder, the other choice a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Unlike competitors and GM full-size pickups that favor torque over horsepower, these engines need lots of revs for full power, but lineage to GM cars like Cadillac means they are fairly refined.
Interiors are quite refined for mid-size trucks and very quiet. Modern voice-control infotainment systems, OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and active safety systems lead the technology list, and almost anything you can get in a family sedan save power reclining seats is available.
The Extended Cab has two-plus-two seating with kid-size rear seats and a 6-foot, 2-inch pickup box. Its clamshell doors make the Extended Cab the easiest for loading awkward items or to have Rover hop in the rear seat.
The Crew Cab has a bench rear seat for three with legroom and headroom similar to mid-cab models of full-size pickups. Crew Cabs uses four conventional doors. Crew Cab comes with 5-foot, 2-inch and 6-foot, 2-inch box lengths.
GMC Canyon SL models are very basic with few options, destined for fleet managers and high-school budgets bent on customizing. Realistically anticipate most trimmed in the high-$20,000 to high-$30,000 range, and capable of exceeding $40,000 without checking too many boxes.
With most GMC Canyon models not far apart from a Sierra V6 Regular Cab or Double Cab in terms of load or towing capacity, maneuverability, fuel economy and how much garage space they need, your decision will come down to seating configurations and whether you prefer to spend your money on bigger-is-better or goodies and gadgets. After all, most full-size half-ton owners don't use anywhere near their trucks' maximum load or towing capacity, so if your needs fit into a Canyon, is bigger really better?.
The 2015 GMC Canyon comes as an Extended Cab with 6-foot, 2-inch box or a Crew Cab with 5-foot, 2-inch or 6-foot, 2-inch box. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on all Extended Cabs and 2WD Crew Cab short box, a 3.6-liter V6 optional on all but Canyon SL and the V6 is standard on Crew Cab 4WD and all Crew Cab long box. All but 2WD Extended Cab have a 6-speed automatic, the former being equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Canyon SL ($20,955) is 2WD, four-cylinder, manual transmission only with no rear seats. It includes vinyl upholstery and floor, air conditioning, backup camera, power driver seat cushion, tilt steering wheel, power windows, chrome rear corner-step bumper, locking tailgate, compact spare tire, 16-inch steel wheels, floor console and 4.2-inch display 6-speaker AM/FM stereo with aux and USB ports. The sole notable option is an engine block heater.
Base Canyon ($22,650) trim offers 2WD or 4WD ($27,935) with a 6-speed manual on 2WD, automatic optional ($650). Canyon improves on SL with cloth upholstery, carpeting, floor mats, rear seats with storage underneath (folding on Crew cab). Canyon offers many options: V6 engine ($1,220); OnStar basic or 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot; Convenience Package ($590) with cruise control, remote keyless entry, unauthorized entry theft-deterrent, EZ-lift and lower tailgate, rear window defroster; IntelliLink with 4.2-inch color screen, Bluetooth, Pandora and voice control; full-size spare; locking differential ($325); spray-in bedliner; 17-inch aluminum wheels, and trailer package (V6 only).
Canyon SLE ($26,595) adds to Canyon with 8-inch screen, IntelliLink with SiriusXM, overhead console, leather-wrapped steering wheel with multifunction controls, reading lights, OnStar, body-color power mirrors, auto-dimming inside mirror, the Convenience Package, sliding sun visors, wide-angle driver side mirror and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Options include Bose audio system ($500) with seven speakers; navigation system with color monitor, IntelliLink smartphone integration, USB, voice-activated, Bluetooth, auxiliary audio port ($495); power lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, fog lamps, full-size spare, spray-in bedliner, locking differential, and trailer package (V6 only). Also available are forward collision and lane departure warning and an All-Terrain Package (locking differential, hill descent control, all-terrain tires, heated black/red cloth front seats with 4-way power cushions and lumbar, body-color rear bumper, and transfer-case skidplate), but you can't get the safety warnings and All-Terrain together. Canyon SLE Extended Cab is available with 4WD ($31,145). Canyon SLE Crew Cab comes with 2WD short-wheelbase ($28,535), 2WD LWB ($30,055), 4WD SWB ($34,010), 4WD LWB ($34,310).
Canyon SLT ($29,730) is the top trim with leather, climate control, heated front seats and mirrors, remote start, four-way power passenger seat, fog lamps, locking differential, EZ-lift and lower tailgate, full-size spare and 18-inch wheels. Options include forward collision/lane departure warnings, navigation, Bose sound, trailer package, engine block heater and spray-in bedliner. Canyon SLT Extended Cab is also available with 4WD ($33,855). Canyon SLT Crew Cab comes in 2WD SWB ($31,650), 2WD LWB ($33,420), 4WD SWB ($36,950), 4WD LWB ($37,250).
A variety of bed racks and cargo retention systems are available through GM Accessories under the GearOn name, many of which can be included in financing and warranty.
Safety features on all Cayon models include dual frontal airbags, dual front side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags front and rear, engine immobilizer, daytime running lights, tire pressure monitors, electronic stability control and a rear view camera. Upgrades include OnStar and forward collision/lane departure warnings.