2020 Canyon New Car Test Drive
Despite being an upmarket version of the Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup, the GMC Canyon is still an affordable, no-nonsense option for truck buyers who don't need massive towing capacity or payload capability. The Canyon instead trades on practicality, with better gas mileage and maneuverability than any full-size truck.
Few changes come to the Canyon this year. An optional power-locking tailgate, a new tire-fill alert, and an updated infotainment system for higher trims is about all that's new for 2020.
The base engine remains a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that makes 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. It pairs to a 6-speed automatic. Like all available engines, rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is available. Fuel economy is 20 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined mpg with rear-wheel drive, while opting for four-wheel drive drops those numbers slightly to 19/24/21 mpg.
The optional and far more popular choice is the 3.6-liter V-6. This engine generates a stout 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, which is routed through an 8-speed automatic. The added power enables a maximum towing capacity of 7,000 pounds, though gas mileage dips a bit to 18/25/20 mpg and 17/24/19 mpg with two- and four-wheel drive, respectively.
A 2.8-liter turbodiesel is also on the options sheet. It churns out 186 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque; all that twisting force allows for a 7,700-pound towing capacity. This engine also delivers the highest gas mileage of the bunch, with the EPA rating it good for 20/30/23 mpg and 19/28/22 mpg for two- and four-wheel-drive models.
Active-safety features remain largely unavailable on the Canyon. A Driver Alert Package includes forward-collision and lane-departure warnings, but no automatic braking is available on any trim.
The NHTSA gives the Canyon four stars overall, with a three-star rollover rating. The IIHS gave the Canyon 'Acceptable'? ratings in front and side tests along with a 'Poor'? headlight score.
All prices reflect the most affordable combination of bed length and cab style and includes all applicable destination charges.
The base Canyon is known as the SL and starts at $23,295. That money buys a 2.5-liter inline-4, power windows and locks, vinyl seats with power adjustability on the driver's side, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and 16-inch wheels. This trim only comes in extended-cab form and rear-wheel drive is the only setup.
In a rather confusing move, the next step up is simply known as the Canyon. It starts at $26,795 and only adds cloth seats to the standard equipment list. More importantly, this model can be equipped with the optional V-6 engine and four-wheel drive. Unlike the SL, this trim is also offered as a Crew Cab.
Most buyers will start shopping with the $30,195 SLE, which adds an 8.0-inch infotainment system, alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and some other creature comforts. It's the priciest model to come with the 2.5-liter inline-4 as standard.
The $36,995 SLT trim comes with leather upholstery, V-6 power, 18-inch wheels, a power passenger's seat, and remote start.
The All-Terrain begins at $37,695. This trims is only available in Crew Cab configuration and gets standard V-6 power and four-wheel drive. It also gets an off-road suspension kit, skid plates, recovery hooks, and some styling tweaks such as a blacked-out grille. Creature comforts are comparable to the SLE trim.
The top-spec Denali model is also exclusively a Crew Cab and carries a $41,595 asking price. It boasts heated and cooled front seats, Bose audio, navigation, forward-collision warnings, a heated steering wheel, and big chrome 20-inch wheels. Like most trims, four-wheel drive is optional.