Just when we thought we would not get one for drive test, a brand new 2015 GMC Canyon mid-size pickup truck arrived in our driveway a couple of weeks back. Some would say better late than never, but in the case of this all-new truck – the wait was worth it and the Canyon was everything we expected.
The all-new GMC Canyon comes in two cab styles (Extended and Crew); has two bed lengths (5’2” and 6’2’’); three trim levels (Canyon Base, SLE and SLT); offers two capable power plants (2.5L four-cylinder and 3.7L V6), has two-wheel (2WD) or four-wheel (4WD) drive, a 6-speed automatic transmission and, when equipped with the Z82 Trailering Package, tows up to 7,000 pounds (J2807).
The 2015 GMC Canyon is loaded with optional and standard features that one gets usually on a full-size pickup plus a wide array of optional work and play accessories for almost any need plus fits in most garages – all for well under $40,000 delivered.
For those not needing or wanting a full-size pickup, based on our weeklong test drive, the wait for Canyon has been well worth it.
2015 Canyon for ride and drive test
The truck delivered to us for ride and drive was a 2015 GMC Canyon SLE 4WD Crew Cab with the long box – in Quicksilver Metallic with the Jet Black/Cobalt Red cloth interior. This truck was almost exactly what we would have specified had we been ordering one for ourselves. It included the 3.5L V6 power plant kicking out 305 horsepower with 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The V6 was integrated with the 6-speed automatic transmission with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 17/24 mpg city/highway and an expected average of 20 mpg. The AutoTrac 4WD was equipped with the G80 fully automatic locking rear differential and an electric two-speed transfer case with four driver selectable modes to choose from.
Starting with a MSRP of $34,310, it was equipped outside with the new CornerStep Rear Bumper and EZ Lift and Lower Tailgate, Dual Power Outside Mirrors, Projector Headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights, Front Fog Lamps, Front Recovery Hooks and a Rear Vision Camera.
Inside, our Canyon SLE included Front Bucket Seating with Console and Driver 4-way Power Adjust, Tilt/Telescoping Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel with audio controls, 8-inch Color Touch Display radio with GMC Intellilink, Sirius Satellite Radio and OnStar, four USB power ports, Cruise Control, Rear Window Defogger, Dual Reading Lights, Remote Keyless Entry, Soft Touch Instrument Panel and Air Conditioning.
A new and significant connectivity feature now included on the Canyon is the new OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi HotSpot which increases the infotainment utility of the new truck.
The All-Terrain Package ($1,190) beefed up our Canyon with the Z71 Off-road Suspension and Hill Descent Control, 17-inch Dark Argent Metallic Alloy wheels with all terrain tires, transfer case skid plate, heated seats and power lumbar adjust for driver and passenger, with the seats covered topped off with a bold Jet Black/Cobalt Red Cloth fabric.
An SLE Convenience Package ($500) added Remote Vehicle Start and Automatic Air Conditioning. A Premium Bose Audio System ($995) upgraded the system to include Navigation. Our test Canyon was completed with the Trailering Equipment Package ($250) and the Off-Road Assist Steps ($745).
The delivered price for our 2015 GMC Canyon SLE 4WD Crew Cab was $38,915.
We have to admit that when approaching the new GMC Canyon, we were struck by the design cues it takes from the full-size GMC Sierra. Though it is not a Sierra, it definitely takes performance cues from Sierra too. Canyon is a solid and capable GMC pickup truck – just on a bit smaller scale than Sierra, meeting the needs of many not wanting to drive the larger and more expensive full-size pickup truck.
The V6 powertrain provides plenty of power for all road conditions including towing up to 7,000 pounds. It drives smoothly yet firmly on a chassis with tuned suspension that features independent coil-over-shock twin-tube shocks up front and a solid axle rear that has semi-elliptic two-stage multi-leaf springs with twin-tube shocks. The Canyon uses electrically-assisted power steering with variable assist for firm steering and handling.
The cabin is well designed, comfortable and generously sized for both driver and passenger. And, in keeping with the full-size Sierra, it is remarkably quiet with new insulation, sound baffling and door seals.
We would be remiss if we did not mention the GearOn Accessory program that is available on Canyon and provides a very wide range of utility accessories for almost every conceivable work or play need of a Canyon owner and family.
To that end, we had hoped our test Canyon would have come with the Kayak rack and a couple of Kayaks. We would have done some local river exploring on the ride and drive as part of our truck test. Maybe next time.
What would we change?
You are probably asking what we would have ordered differently on this truck. For starters, we are not a Silver body color fan. It does not display the strong lines of the Canyon boldly like the Copper Red Metallic or Premium Emerald Green Metallic ($495).
The dealer installed side assist steps are not necessary for most drivers even though they give the Canyon a more rugged look.
We also would have selected the shorter 5’2” cargo box as we would be using our truck less for work and more for play, not needing the extra foot of length and we would have added the Spray-on Bedliner ($495) or the available bedliner insert.
Lastly, we would have included the GearOn Accessory system for the Canyon that begins with a basic divider and tie-down package ($495).
Even with these changes, the 2015 GMC Canyon SLE 4WD Crew Cab we tested would still be under $40,000, fit in our garage and give us all of the tow, haul and convenience amenities for work or play that we would want.