2021 GMC Canyon

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2021 GMC Canyon Review: America's Second Grandest Canyon

The 2021 GMC Canyon is up against some very stiff competition in the US midsize truck segment, which includes such paragons as the Ford Ranger, the Jeep Gladiator, and the Honda Ridgeline. Each brings something different to the table, and the Canyon struggles to stand out since it is simply a more premium rendition of the existent Chevrolet Colorado. This does have some advantages, though, such as a plusher ride, a cozier interior, and more standard features than other baseline rivals. The standard 4-cylinder engine is a bit lackluster, but you can upgrade to a turbo diesel or V6, as well as equip a four-wheel drivetrain to help customize outputs and capabilities to meet your needs. With the right setup, the GMC Canyon pickup boasts a very respectable towing capacity of 7,700 lbs.

Read in this review:

8.5
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2021 GMC Canyon Changes: πŸš™What’s the difference vs 2020 Canyon?

For the new model year, the 2021 GMC Canyon receives a fair number of updates. The All Terrain trim has been replaced with the AT4, and the Denali slots in above that. Standard specs on the AT4 include 31-inch DuraTrac tires, an off-road suspension, a rear automatic locking differential, and a transfer skid plate. Meanwhile, the Denali has bolder styling with a unique grille, open-pore ash wood interior trim, and the new Cocoa/Dark Atmosphere color scheme. The rest of the trims have been rejigged, seeing the SL, Base, SLE, and SLT making way for the new Standard Elevation and Elevation, which slot in below the AT4, which gets cloth and leather sub-trims.

Pros and Cons

  • Good ride quality and handling
  • Powerful V6 and turbo diesel options
  • AT4 is a genuine off-roader
  • Impressive towing capacity
  • Easy-to-use infotainment suite
  • Base engine feels underpowered
  • Interior is lackluster for a 'premium' brand
  • Not many driver-assist features
  • Expensive compared to rivals

Best Deals on Canyon

2021 GMC Canyon Trims and Prices

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Elevation Standard
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
3.6L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$26,800
Elevation
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
3.6L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$30,300
AT4-Cloth
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$38,400
AT4-Leather
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$40,200
Denali
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$41,200

Canyon Exterior

2021 GMC Canyon Front View GMC
2021 GMC Canyon Forward View GMC
2021 GMC Canyon Rear View Driving GMC
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Dimensions

  • Length 212.4 in
  • Wheelbase 128.3 in
  • Height 70.4 in
  • Max Width 74.3 in

Exterior Colors

Canyon Performance

2021 GMC Canyon Side Perspective Driving GMC
2021 GMC Canyon Driving Back View GMC
2021 GMC Canyon Exhaust GMC

Engine and Transmission

The lower trims in the Canyon pickup range come equipped with a 2.5-liter four-pot as standard. Paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, this powertrain sends 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque to the front-wheel drivetrain. While this is sufficient to move the large vehicle, it is a far cry from feeling lively. There's no option for an all-wheel drivetrain with the base engine. On the plus side, it is the most fuel efficient.

Next up is the 3.6-liter V6, which comes standard on the AT4 and Denali, or any trim utilizing 4WD. This power plant comes paired with a more advanced 8-speed automatic gearbox to develop and regulate up to 308 hp and 275 lb-ft. This setup is a far better match for the hefty pickup, allowing it to move with a certain degree of gusto. However, it isn't the heavy lifter in the range.

If you are willing to sacrifice some horsepower, you can get a lot more straight-up torque and max out the 2021 Canyon's towing capacity. The 2.8-liter turbo diesel is to thank for this. Paired with the 8-speed auto, it delivers 181 hp and a brawny 369 lb-ft to your choice of front- or four-wheel drivetrain. To reach the 7,700-pound tow rating, you'll need to stick with 2WD, th.

  • Engines
    2.5L Inline-4 Gas, 2.8L Turbo Inline-4 Diesel, 3.6L V6, 3.6L V6 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Canyon Gas Mileage

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    21.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 19/25 mpg
* 2021 GMC Canyon 2WD Extended Cab 128" Elevation Standard

Canyon Interior

2021 GMC Canyon Dashboard GMC
2021 GMC Canyon Driver Area GMC
2021 GMC Canyon Seat Details GMC
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    4-seater
  • Front Leg Room 45.0 in
  • Front Head Room 41.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 28.6 in
  • Rear Head Room 36.7 in

Canyon Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 GMC Canyon Rear View Driving 1 GMC
2021 GMC Canyon Rear Angle View GMC
2021 GMC Canyon Tailgate GMC

Canyon Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Warranty Note:
    Preliminary 2021 Warranty \ 
  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 GMC Canyon a good Truck?

Though not a pack leader, the Canyon is a very solid offering. It's enjoyable to drive and supplies a fair degree of comfort, the interior feels decent for the price, and it has a rather high towing capacity. Of course, all of this is contingent on you skipping over the strained four-cylinder engine and opting for the V6 or turbo diesel, instead. The latter is relatively rare for the midsize pickup segment, which helps the otherwise unremarkable GMC stand out.

It is a bit of an old dog, though, having last received a complete overhaul a decade ago when it entered its second generation. The NHTSA review of the 2021 GMC Canyon shows that it isn't as sturdy as more competitors in the segment, with only a four-star overall safety rating. It's reliability is also in question, as ten years down the line, it is still being subjected to recalls. Nevertheless, the Canyon is still a capable pickup at a reasonable price, and diehard fans are more than willing to overlook its foibles. More discerning buyers, though, will be turning to the Ford Ranger as a more up-to-date alternative.

πŸš—What GMC Canyon Model Should I Buy?

You're not strapped for choice when it comes to how you configure your Canyon. There are multiple cabins, cargo beds, and engines to choose from. We'd suggest skipping the base four-cylinder if you care even a tiny bit about performance. The V6 is ideal for city and highway cruising, while the turbo is the way to go if you plan to use your GMC pickup as a workhorse. In the latter case, a 2-door cab should be adequate. If you want it to double up as a family car, then the 4-door is a smarter choice. We'd also suggest throwing in the Driver Alert Package for those much-needed safety systems. You can expect the price of the 2021 GMC Canyon truck to be somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 with these minimalist builds, though it rockets up to $50k if you want the best of everything.

GMC Canyon Popular Comparisons

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2021 GMC Canyon Video Reviews

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