The midsize truck market has done something very unusual in the automotive world – it’s had a death and a renaissance, all within a decade. With the death of the Chevrolet S-10, GMC Sonoma, and Ford Ranger in the 2000’s, it seemed like two models would be left to carry on the dimly burning torch of the midsize truck – the ancient Nissan Frontier, and the Toyota Tacoma. Jump to 2018, and the midsize segment has been reinvigorated with multiple new offerings, from Honda’s quirky unibody Ridgeline to the GM siblings, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. Now that Ford’s new Ranger is due to arrive in 2019, the field is set to be more packed than ever. This makes it a great time to take a look at one of the segment’s standout darlings, the 2019 GMC Canyon.
Let’s Talk Trims
Available in four trim levels (Base, SLE, SLT, and Denali), the 2019 GMC Canyon offers something for anyone who needs to tow and haul but still wants something drivable and parkable, unlike its full-size brethren. With a towing capacity of up to 7,700 lbs, it’s most of the capability with half of the mass to park.
What sets the GMC Canyon apart from its Chevy Colorado sibling is mainly its marketing – GMC markets themselves as “Professional Grade”, and the options and trims on the Canyon reflect that. The GMC is marketed more towards working professionals and executives who haul their toys around on the weekends, whereas the Chevy is geared more towards someone with more serious hauling needs, who would put a little more wear and tear on the shiny bits that adorn the GMC. Indeed, GMC’s website bills the Canyon as “Midsize. Fully Premium.” Going all in on this marketing strategy has worked out well for GMC, who has consistently increased their market share, despite having no original offerings not shared with Chevy.
Advantages of The Midsize Class
Now with our little marketing lesson out of the way, let’s talk the real reason people buy midsize trucks – performance and value. The 2019 Canyon has such a high tow rating due to its fully boxed ladder frame and range of engines – a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder gas engine starts the lineup as the base engine, with an available 3.6 liter V6 gas engine being an upgrade, and finally a Duramax 2.8 liter inline four-cylinder turbo diesel engine shared with the Colorado serving as the priciest upgrade. The diesel offers that magical 7,700 pound tow rating, with the 3.6 liter following close behind at 7,000 pounds, and even the 2.5 liter four-cylinder offering a hefty 3,500 pound rating. Enhancing this towing and hauling prowess is a multitude of available features, such as GM’s StabiliTrak with Traction Control, Trailer Sway and Hill Descent Control, a locking rear differential, an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, a Diesel Exhaust Brake, and GMC’s available All Terrain and All Terrain X packages.
While all that capability is great, you don’t drive from the bed – the interior has to be nice enough to make you want to use the truck for its intended purpose! GMC doesn’t disappoint here, with the Canyon having an upgraded cabin over the Colorado. Nicer interior materials and more soft-touch plastics decorate the cabin, while triple door seals, rear wheel house liners, and a specially positioned fuel pump keep outside noise at bay and lend a hushed atmosphere to the interior. Further enhancing Canyon’s interior are heated front seats with contrasting stitching, aluminum trim, and 4 USB outlets.
And Of Course…The Denali
Should all of this creature comfort not prove enough, the Canyon Denali has you covered. Special Denali badged front seats with heating and ventilation and a heated steering wheel kick off the package, while standard navigation and driver assistance features beef up the convenience and safety quotient. Style is a Denali hallmark, and the Canyon has it in spades, with the signature Denali mesh grille up front, unique 20 inch Denali wheels at the corners, and special taillights out back. Best of all, stepping up to the Denali doesn’t lock you out of preferential engine options – both the 3.6 liter V6 gas and 2.8 liter Duramax turbo diesel engines are available in Denali trim.
Speaking of USB outlets, what modern ride is complete without a fully integrated infotainment system? The 2019 GMC Canyon makes it easy with available 4G LTE Wi-Fi, built in navigation, a backup camera, a rear seat reminder system, and added capabilities using the myGMC mobile app. Canyon keeps you connected, whether you’re pounding the city streets, or on more of an off pavement kind of adventure. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, while still keeping you in command of music, navigation, messages, and more.
From The Outside
While the exterior of the Canyon is more similar to the Colorado than their interiors, there are some key differences. Notably, the GMC corporate logo on three ovoid chrome bars and LED front lighting are present, along with complimentary chrome door handles and mirror caps, as well as available high polish aluminum wheels. An integrated rear step bumper makes getting things out of the bed a breeze, and multiple available cargo accessories make arranging your valuables safely and efficiently even easier. A spray on bedliner is available from the factory to keep your Canyon’s bed looking new for years, and an EZ-lift and lower tailgate gives that extra special touch to accessing the bed.
Safety Features Galore
All of this capability and functionality is all well and good, but should things go wrong, Canyon is still there with a suite of available active, passive, and advanced safety features. Beyond standard equipment such as Anti-lock Braking System and StabiliTrak Traction Control, Canyon also offers Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. These two advanced driver assist systems work in tandem to keep you at a safe distance to the vehicle in front of you while reducing driver fatigue on long highway trips, while also helping you stay in your lane. Other unique safety features include OnStar Safety & Security, teen driver monitoring that allows you to set speed and location limits when a teen is driving the truck, and rear seats with cushion extensions allowing child restraint installation. GM’s exclusive Rear Seat Reminder system notifies you when you a rear door is opened and closed during or before a drive. When you get out at your destination, a series of chimes and a visual reminder let you know to check the backseat before departing.
Sold On The 2019 GMC Canyon?
When shopping for a GMC Canyon, you also have to decide whether the Chevy Colorado is on your shopping list as well. With a slightly higher starting price but more feature content, the GMC Canyon makes sense to thousands of buyers every year, with the added benefit of standing out just a little more in this increasingly crowded segment. After GMC’s departure from the midsize truck segment in 2004, they’ve really got a winner on their hands with their first foray back into the game with the 2019 GMC Canyon.