What the experts say about the 2018 GMC Canyon

In this ongoing series, Boston.com talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.

2018 GMC Canyon

Pickups and cities don’t often mix. But the GMC Canyon compact truck, whose second-generation redesign premiered to rave reviews in 2015, proves that an urban, upscale pickup needn’t be an oxymoron. Three years later, the Canyon’s still got it.

The 2018 GMC Canyon runs on a 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission with front-wheel drive. Buyers can upgrade to a 308-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 with an eight-speed transmission or a 181-horsepower, 2.8-liter turbodiesel with a six-speed automatic. It’s small but mighty – the turbodiesel gets the best towing rating, at 7,700 pounds — more than other compact pickups like the Toyota Tacoma or Nissan Frontier. The Canyon is versatile, available in two body styles: a crew cab with four full-size doors or an extended cab with two smaller back doors. All engines are available in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive configurations.

Though built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Colorado, the Canyon bestows a more luxurious touch than its Chevy counterpart — and charges accordingly. The Canyon is available in five trims — Canyon SL, Canyon, SLE, SLT, and Denali — with varying levels of cabin comforts. Step up to the Canyon trim, and you’ll get a 7-inch touch screen with GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system. The SLE adds more features than you’d find in a luxury sedan or large truck: a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, a quartet of USB ports, an 8-inch touch screen, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The SLT goes above and beyond with heated leather front seats, a power passenger seat, and chrome door handles. The top tier Denali trim comes with navigation, a Bose Premium seven-speaker audio system, and wireless charging for your devices.

The Canyon gets 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The turbodiesel version earns 22 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway.

Starting prices for the 2018 GMC Canyon range from $21,880 for the base model to $40,300 for the top-of-the-line Denali trim.  

What the experts are saying

Luxury touches

“The GMC Canyon is exactly what you’d expect — a smaller–than–full-size pickup with just enough cool touches to justify it over the more Toyota-Tacoma-ish Chevy Colorado. The LED lights up front are unique to the GMC model, and there are a few stitched interior bits and a full color information display in the Canyon. Also, the GMC Canyon comes off like a junior–sized GMC Sierra, where the mechanically similar Chevy Colorado feels more like a sport truck. It might not be an extreme off-roader, but it is the most deluxe looking midsize street truck around.” – Brian Moody, executive editor, Autotrader

Extensive features

“The GMC Canyon is best suited for buyers who want traditional full-size truck capabilities in a slightly smaller package. It’s good for towing and hauling, plus it offers a wider range of features than most midsize trucks. It’s not a great choice if you like to go off-road, but in most other situations the Canyon is a solid performer.” – Ed Hellwig, senior editor, Edmunds


Full-size DNA

“Our customers tell us that it has a silky-smooth ride and is as quiet as a mouse. Canyon offers features and performance that the competition doesn’t. For example, the Canyon offers more horsepower and more torque with three engines sizes. The Canyon models are built with the DNA of full–size trucks and deliver class-leading power, payload, and trailering ratings. Both are the most powerful trucks in their segment allowing owners to haul and tow with ease. Also the Canyon offers available features not found in the competition. Teen Driver is a setting that allows you to record your child’s driving to ensure they are being cautious and following traffic laws. Forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and rear seat reminder are a few of the important safety features in the Canyon. A corner step rear bumper makes it easy to climb into the bed. My GMC is a free app that you can use with the iPhone and Android phones and can that provide helpful information regarding service and maintenance and other features associated with the Canyon.” – Stewart Abramson, general manager, Lance Buick GMC in Mansfield