Chevrolet hit a home run with the 2023 Colorado and now GMC is doing it with the bases fully loaded.
There’s no better way to describe the 2023 GMC Canyon as the truck challenges conventional mid-size pickup thinking by offering an impressive turbocharged engine, a rugged AT4X variant, and a luxurious Denali trim that puts some full-size trucks to shame. That’s a winning combination and it means going mid-size is no longer full of compromises.
A Modern And More Distinctive Design
Rugged pickups have been a hit with consumers and GMC is embracing that trend as the 2023 Canyon is far more butch than its predecessor. The model’s soft curves have been replaced by an edgier design and a nearly vertical front fascia, which incorporates a prominent grille as well as split LED lighting units.
The rugged styling is more than skin deep as the Canyon has an “ultra-wide track” and a standard off-road suspension. The latter features a 2 inch (51 mm) factory lift on Elevation, AT4, and Denali trims, while a 3 inch (76 mm) lift is found on the more extreme AT4X. Mainstream models ride on 32-inch tires, while the AT4X sports larger 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT rubber.
Elsewhere, the truck has pronounced fenders, a more traditional greenhouse, and a new tailgate with prominent GMC badging. Speaking of the latter, the tailgate has an integrated storage compartment which can be accessed by putting the gate down and pushing some releases. GMC didn’t say much about it, but the compartment should be watertight and measure 45 inches (1,143 mm) wide.
Like the Colorado, the Canyon will be offered exclusively in a crew cab configuration with a short bed. The latter measures 5’ 2” long and features an assortment of cargo tie-downs as well as two motorcycle/bicycle tire grooves. We can also expect an available 110-volt outlet and a tailgate that stops midway down to aid in transporting longer items such as sheets of plywood.
The Nicest Mid-Size Truck Interior By Far
While the exterior looks good, the interior is game changing as it boasts high quality materials, a modern design, and high-tech features such as a standard 8-inch digital instrument cluster. The latter is joined by an 11.3-inch infotainment system, which features wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility as well as available Google integration.
GMC noted “each Canyon trim is designed with its own unique identity” and this means “across the lineup, no one interior is the same.” We’ll get full details closer to launch, but buyers can expect gloss black accents, metallic flourishes, and padded touchpoints. The company also confirmed the truck will be offered with a newly available sunroof.
A Classy And Luxurious Denali
While GMC didn’t have much to say about the entry-level Elevation, the Denali sports an upscale exterior with a distinctive chrome grille and additional chrome accents. The truck also has chrome side steps and 20-inch wheels.
Denali models are all about the interior and the Canyon Denali doesn’t disappoint as it’s the most luxurious mid-size truck ever created. Besides sporting a larger 11-inch digital instrument cluster, the pickup has heated and ventilated leather front seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Drivers will also find laser etched open-pore wood trim, a stylized dashboard accent, and a seven-speaker Bose audio system. Other highlights include a 6.3-inch head-up display and adaptive cruise control.
Rugged And Capable AT4X Variants
Customers looking to combine luxury with off-road capability can opt for the new AT4X trim. Besides the aforementioned lift and 33-inch tires, the model has front and rear e-lockers, Multimatic DSSV shocks, and underbody protection. They’re joined by an exclusive Baja driving mode, which accompanies the Normal, Tow/Haul, Terrain, and Off-Road modes from mainstream variants.
Thanks to all these upgrades, the Canyon AT4X offers 10.7 inches (272 mm) of ground clearance as well as approach, departure, and breakover angles of 36.9, 25, and 24.5 degrees.
Despite being a capable off-roader, the truck doesn’t skimp on luxury as it comes equipped with exclusive Obsidian Rush and Ceramic White leather seats that feature AT4X embroidery. The front seats also have heating and ventilation as well as power adjustment.
Elsewhere, drivers will find an 11-inch digital instrument cluster, red accents, and a 6.3-inch head-up display. Other niceties include adaptive cruise control and a seven-speaker Bose audio system.
Buyers can also upgrade to the AT4X Edition 1, which will be offered in “extremely limited” numbers. The trail-ready model has a beefier front bumper with a safari bar, an integrated COMEUP winch, and a 30-inch light bar. Other highlights include a special front skid plate, underbody cameras, a reconfigurable bed rail system, and 17-inch beadlock capable wheels.
A Turbocharged 2.7-Liter Four-Cylinder With V8 Levels Of Torque
The Canyon’s premium positioning is reflected under the hood as the model is offered exclusively with a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 310 hp (231 kW / 314 PS) and 430 lb-ft (582 Nm) of torque. This stands in contrast to the Colorado, which offers base and mid-level 2.7-liter units with outputs of 237 hp (177 kW / 240 PS) and 259 lb-ft (351 Nm) of torque as well as 310 hp (231 kW / 314 PS) and 390 lb-ft (528 Nm) of torque.
Getting back to the Canyon’s engine, it only has 2 hp (1 kW / 2 PS) more than the old 3.6-liter V6. However, it’s a huge improvement as the torque rating climbs 155 lb-ft (210 Nm) and it even bests the old 2.8-liter turbodiesel by 61 lb-ft (83 Nm).
The engine is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which can be paired to rear- or four-wheel drive. The company declined to give fuel economy estimates, but the Canyon has a towing capacity of up to 7,700 lbs (3,493 kg) and a payload capacity that maxes out at 1,640 lbs (744 kg). A limited-slip differential also comes standard on the AT4 and Denali.
New Driver Assistance Tech
While the Canyon lacks Super Cruise, the truck comes with a host of standard driver assistance systems including Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking with Bicyclist Detection, and Forward Collision Alert. They’re joined by IntelliBeam auto high beam headlights and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning.
The optional Canyon Safety Plus Package adds Rear Cross Traffic Braking and Blind Zone Steering Assist, while the Technology Package comes with Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Pedestrian Alert, and a HD Surround Vision system. The latter offers up to 10 camera views including underbody cameras with a washing system that can clear away dirt and debris.
Arrives Early Next Year For Around $40,000
The 2023 GMC Canyon will go into production early next year and be followed by the AT4X variant in the spring of 2023. Speaking of the latter, GMC is currently accepting reservations for the AT4X Edition 1 and pricing starts at $63,350.
The entry-level Canyon Elevation will begin around $40,000 and that’s a significant increase considering the 2022 Canyon Elevation Crew Cab Short Box V6 started at $30,485. However, the 2023 Canyon appears to be a significant upgrade and it may be well worth the extra cost.