2015 GMC Canyon
By Tony Swan
On Sale: Late 2014
Expected Pricing: Tony Swan
Absent from the North American midsize pickup market since 2012, Chevrolet and GMC have made their much-anticipated return official, Chevy at last November's LA Auto Show, GMC with the unveiling of the 2015 Canyon at January's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Billed as the third element in a three-truck strategy (Heavy Duty, standard half-ton, and midsize) the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon are portrayed as scaled down versions of their half-ton counterparts, though one glance makes it clear that midsize certainly doesn't mean small.
Like the GMC Sierra, the 2015 GMC Canyon will ride on a fully boxed frame, but the chassis will be unique to the mid-size truck. Although dimensional specifics haven't been announced, the 2015 GMC Canyon will be 5 inches narrower, 3 inches lower, and some 900 pounds lighter than the Sierra, with a frame that's about 40 percent lighter than that of the full-size truck.
When the 2015 Canyon goes on sale this fall, buyers will have two engine options: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, rated for 193 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.6-liter V6, 302 horsepower and 270 pound-feet.
Both engines already exist in the General Motors North American powertrain inventory. A 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder will join the lineup for 2016, a first in the midsize pickup category.
The 2.5-liter engine will be available with a 6-speed manual transmission (limited to the base rear-drive extended cab only) or a 6-speed automatic, the V6 will be automatic only. The AutoTrac four-wheel drive option, featuring rear-drive, automatic, 4WD High, and 4WD Low operating modes via an electronically controlled transfer case, is a slightly more sophisticated system than the Colorado's, and essentially the main mechanical difference between the two midsize pickups.
Other mechanical elements include the option of a mechanical limited slip rear differential, and a new electric power steering system.
Payloads will go as high as 1450 pounds, towing capabilities up to 6700 pounds, and GM boasts both will be best in class and will offer top fuel economy ratings.
Canyon will be offered in extended and crew cab body styles; no standard cab. Extended cab models will come with a 6-foot cargo bed, crew cabs with a 5-foot bed, the longest bed in this class for a four-door pickup according to GM.
Suspension elements consist of coil-over front springs and two-stage semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear, with four-wheel disc brakes.
Like the Sierra, the 2015 GMC Canyon will offer an EZ-Lift tailgate and a standard Step Assist pad at each end of the rear bumper, making it easier to access the cargo bed. The bed rails and cargo floor include 13 tie-down points, and a standard two-tiered storage system will expand cargo bed versatility. There will also be a variety of cargo management accessories.
Although the Chevy and GMC are mechanically identical, the Canyon's styling is bolder, with a big GMC grille dominating the front end. There will be three trim levels: base, mid-grade SLE, and the top-of-the-line SLT, the latter available with an All Terrain package.
Inside, the Canyon's instruments and center stack echo the dashboard of the new Sierra, sharing many of the same features, including infotainment and connectivity systems. Although the interiors of Canyon and Colorado are similar, the Canyon's materials are slightly upscale.
Standard safety features include front and side curtain airbags; rear view camera; Stabilitrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation; trailer sway control; and hill descent control. Options include forward collision alert and lane departure warning, both firsts in the mid-size pickup segment according to GM.
With the on-sale date almost a year away, GM refrained from furnishing any pricing specifics, other than to say that its new trucks would have the best value proposition in their class.
However, it's likely that the Canyon will be priced against premium versions of the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, the two trucks that currently dominate the diminished midsize pickup class. Toyota Tacoma, which dominates the class, ranges from about $18,000 up to about $30,000.