Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 GMC Canyon test drive review. The truckin' sweet spot

These days, when a manufacturer claims their truck is full-sized, they mean it. I’ve reviewed some pickups lately that completely dwarf the old HMC ’63 Chevy. And while these new trucks are capable of carrying payload and pulling trailers that would have been impossible just a few years ago, there are some people that just don’t want to drive something that big. That’s where the all-new 2015 GMC Canyon comes in. This truck is still able to handle most of the things people buy trucks for in the first place, but it comes in a smaller, more manageable package.

I had the opportunity to drive this crew cab long bed SLE 4X4 All-Terrain Canyon for about a week during a trip to Kansas City. And during that time, I really developed an appreciation for why someone might want a truck like this over its larger siblings. From the way it looks to the way it works, this thing is packed with value. Built in Wentzville, Mo., and sold by General Motors, the 2015 Canyon is a very American entry in the midsized truck market that has been long dominated by the Toyota Tacoma.

One question I heard several times was, “how big does it feel compared to a full-sized truck?” Well, since this was a crew cab model with a 6-foot, 2-inch box, it felt pretty similar lengthwise. At almost 225-inches from stem-to-stern, you certainly wouldn’t call it compact. Of course, there are shorter box and cab configurations available, so it can be spec’d to taste. Where you definitely notice the difference is the width. A full-sized truck is a good six-inches wider than this, and cutting that down definitely makes this truck more maneuverable and manageable.

Our Quicksilver Metallic test vehicle had the optional 3.6-liter V6 under the hood. This is a great engine that is showing up in lots of GM vehicles these days, and puts out 305-hp and 269-lb/ft. of torque in the Canyon. Equipped with the towing package, this truck was capable of towing up-to 7,000-lbs. That’s pretty stout for a midsized truck. It’s especially amazing when you consider the 17-mpg/city, 24-mpg/highway fuel economy rating. It isn’t long ago that a truck that could do what this one can do would get about 10-mpg. Technology, my boy, that’s where it’s at these days.

I especially liked the $1,190 All-Terrain Package. OK, I never left the road with it, but it did come in handy when I was running over curbs trying to park, plus it looked cool. Almost everyone commented on the 17X8-inch painted aluminum wheels, and the emblems and seat-embroidery were awesome. Beneath the skin was the Z71 suspension package, hill descent, a transfer case shield, and other goodies. This package is available on the SLE trim level, and if you want to add a little machismo to your Canyon, I highly recommend it.

This truck isn’t full-on Neanderthal, however. It does have a softer side. It actually drives and feels relatively car-like. This one had the full-array of infotainment accoutrements, including a color touch screen with navigation, Intellilink, backup camera, Sirius/XM radio with Bose speakers, heated seats, remote start, and several more fun little gadgets. In spite of its extraordinary capabilities, you don’t have to be Grizzly Adams to enjoy this rig. It would make a fine daily driver that can do some serious work if pressed into service.

The price on our test truck was $38,915. A similarly-equipped GMC Sierra would be priced deep into $40,000 territory. Sure, the Sierra is bigger and can handle a bit more payload, but do you really need that? Many people don’t, which is why this Canyon hits the sweet spot. For less money, the Canyon may just offer more of what you need and less of what you don’t. If you’re in the market for a truck like this, I hope you get a chance to try out the Canyon like I did. It may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Check out the slideshow below for more pictures of our 2015 GMC Canyon test truck, or click on this link for a nicer version.


  1. Great review. I'm actually very interested in buying one of these. I love the smaller size of this truck.

  2. The wheels are cool looking. Thanks for the review, good stuff!

  3. Love this truck. I'll have a red one please.

  4. Craig, this is an excellent down home type of review. I really enjoy your journalistic writing style. It almost seems as though I was saying these comments myself, because of your personable style. I have a 09 Silverado and it seems reasonable to replace it with a Colorado or Canyon in my future possible purchase of a new pickup. Hope you had a great holiday season................Roger Grotewold Grotewold Motor Company Chevrolet/Oldsmobile Dealer in Larchwood, Iowa

  5. Nice write-up. This is the equal of the Chevy Colorado, correct? They are advertising that heavily now, with some AC/DC Back in Black music to pump you up.