A red 2019 GMC Canyon is parked in front of red rocks.

Matching Up the 2019 GMC Canyon Against the 2019 Nissan Frontier

The pickup truck exists within a league of their own as a master of utility, while at the same time offering a level of power that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Drawing the attention of road-trippers, cargo-haulers, and horsepower junkies, it’s clear that the pickup truck isn’t going anywhere. Two vehicles that embody what it means to be a great pickup truck are the 2019 GMC Canyon vs 2019 Nissan Frontier.

You may be asking yourself which vehicle is superior? While from two very different manufacturers, they both bring plenty of appeal to the table. They’re both impressive pickups, equipped with powerful engines, designed with a clear intention of utility, and built to last. In a matchup of the 2019 GMC Canyon vs the 2019 Nissan Frontier, the results may appear vague at first glance. However, if you look closely, and stand these two trucks against one another, you’ll see that there is certainly a clear winner.

In This Corner: The 2019 GMC Canyon

The 2019 GMC Canyon is an impressive mid-sized pickup truck that brings a modern flair to the charming and rugged exterior that previous iterations were known for. The 2019 GMC Canyon can be found in six different trim options, the SL, Base, SLE, SLT, All Terrain, and Denali, which gives potential drivers plenty of variety to take full advantage of. The 2019 GMC Canyon comes equipped as standard with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine which pumps out 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft worth of torque. Don’t worry though, the power of the 2019 GMC Canyon doesn’t stop there, the smaller 4-cylinder engine can be upgraded to a 3.6-liter V6 engine which can provide drivers with a heart-pounding 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft worth of torque.

All of this horsepower and torque can be put to great use, as the 2019 GMC Canyon has a towing capacity of 7,700 lbs. The robust power of the 2019 GMC Canyon doesn’t come at a sacrifice to fuel efficiency either, as this mid-sized pickup truck can earn an expected 20 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. The cost of a new 2019 GMC Canyon is just as varied as the provided trim options, with base prices starting at $21,500.

Taking a Peek Inside

While what’s beneath the hood is important, it helps to take note of the sizing options the 2019 GMC Canyon provides. The standard cab option offers 61.2” to take full advantage of, and for haulers who want a little more wiggle room can even opt for the extended cab option which offers 74.4” of space. The 2019 GMC Canyon offers just as much space inside as it does outside, with ample room for the driver, and passengers in both the front and rear seats. Base models of the 2019 GMC Canyon come with plush cloth seating, however, if you have a taste for the finer things, the SLT and Denali trim options come with luxurious leather upholstery.

The 2019 GMC Canyon wouldn’t be a modern pickup truck if it didn’t come with a suite of innovative safety and infotainment technology. All of the latest GMC Canyon models come with forward-collision warnings which utilize sensors and cameras to give drivers preemptive alerts of obstacles and other vehicles that are too close for comfort. Lane-departure warnings take this same technology and apply it to the road. With lane departure warnings, drivers can receive alerts when they are drifting out of a lane, giving them greater awareness of the road. Beyond just safety, GMC manufacturers put an added focus to infotainment. Some models of the 2019 GMC Canyon come with a sizeable 7.0-inch infotainment screen. This piece of hardware gives convenient access to audio and navigational features and is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Audio compatible software making for easy connection to some of your favorite smartphone apps.

Modern, powerful, and intelligently designed, the 2019 GMC Canyon is quite a contender, however, let’s see how this midsize pickup stacks up against the competition.

The black interior of a 2019 GMC Canyon is shown, which wins when comparing the 2019 GMC Canyon vs 2019 Nissan Frontier.

In this Corner: The 2019 Nissan Frontier

The 2019 Nissan Frontier is a modern pickup truck that is quite unique when lined up against other contenders in the field. It is unapologetically retro in its exterior design, offering a vintage atmosphere in a lineup of pick up trucks that are sometimes adopting eccentric design choices. While the exterior is important, what counts is what lies beneath the hood. The 2019 Nissan Frontier’s base model is tooled with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which provides drivers with 152 horsepower and 171 lb-ft worth of torque. Fortunately, the power of the Nissan Frontier doesn’t stop there, as the 4-cylinder engine can be upgraded to a 4.0-liter V6 engine which gives drivers a fairly impressive 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft worth of torque to play with. For cargo haulers, the 2019 Nissan Frontier has a maximum towing capacity of 6,450 lbs.

This significant power comes with solid fuel economy, as the 2019 Nissan Frontier can earn 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Drivers of the 2019 Nissan Frontier will be pleasantly surprised to find a substantial amount of customizability, as this mid-sized pickup comes with five different trim options: the S, SV-14, SV, Desert Runner, PRO-4X, and SL. In terms of pricing, the 2019 Nissan Frontier exists in a similar range of the 2019 GMC Canyon, starting at 18,990.

Taking a Closer Look

While impressive on the outside, the 2019 Nissan Frontier tends to fall short in terms of interior comfort. Rear passengers will find less than stellar leg room, and drivers will be disappointed in the level of comfort after long rides. On the other hand, the Frontier comes with a reasonably sized truck bed offering 59.5 inches of space on the shorter end and a 73.3-inch bed in more premium trims. Regarding modern safety features, the 2019 Nissan Frontier is as retro as the exterior, including only the bare minimum features like a rearview camera and traction control. That said this might be a minor issue for drivers who don’t appreciate the micro-managing of today’s safety technology.

The infotainment of the Nissan Frontier redeems the pickup’s retro technology and comes as standard with a 7.0-inch touch-screen which is equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Drivers who are looking for a little more screen real estate and greater comfort behind the wheel can opt for the SLE model which comes with an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, alloy wheels, heated seats, and a leather steering wheel.

Impressive in its own right, the 2019 Nissan Frontier is a pickup truck for drivers who long for a simpler time and appreciate the classic styling of the pickup trucks of old. 

Summarizing the Stats

Between characteristics like horsepower, towing capacity, and fuel economy, there is a lot to compare between the 2019 GMC Canyon and the 2019 Nissan Frontier. So to make things a little simpler, we’ll break down some of the basic stats from each vehicle:

2019 GMC Canyon

  • MSRP: $21,500
  • Horsepower: 200-308 hp
  • Torque: 191-369 lb-ft
  • Towing capacity: Up to 7,700
  • Fuel economy: 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway
  • Standard infotainment screen: 7 inches

2019 Nissan Frontier

  • MSRP: $18,990
  • Horsepower: 152-261 hp
  • Torque: 171-281 lb-ft
  • Towing capacity: Up to 6,450
  • Fuel economy: 19 mpg city/23 mpg highway
  • Standard infotainment screen: 7 inches

The Winning Pickup: The 2019 GMC Canyon

While the 2019 Nissan Frontier is a worthy contender, it pales in comparison to the value and power of the 2019 GMC Canyon. On the outside, these two pickups may appear quite similar, offering similar ranges of horsepower, and towing capacity, but beyond that, the 2019 Nissan Frontier falls short. The 2019 GMC Canyon offers a much higher torque ceiling, reaching a maximum of 369 lb-ft worth of torque. Fuel economy is another losing factor for the 2019 Nissan Frontier, as the 2019 GMC Canyon offers seven more highway miles per gallon than the competition. While both pickups offer sizeable truck beds, the interior space falls short in the Frontier and is simply incomparable to the passenger and driver comfort offered in the 2019 GMC Canyon. After closer analysis, the 2019 Nissan Frontier simply doesn’t compare to the level of modernity included in the 2019 GMC Canyon. While being retro isn’t exactly a bad thing, not including some of the latest safety technology can be for some drivers. The 2019 GMC Canyon comes in at a great starting price at $21,500, while you might find the 2019 Nissan Frontier a steal at $18,990, the GMC Canyon gives you more for your dollar. All that being said, it is difficult to refute that the 2019 GMC Canyon is a clear winner. However, if you want to test these two pick up trucks for yourself, visit your local dealership and set up a test drive to experience the differences first hand. Be sure to compare the various feature options, and list the pros and cons to each vehicle so you can pick your own winner of this incredible matchup.