A red 2019 GMC Canyon Denali is in front of a desert canyon.

The Battle of the Pickup: The 2019 GMC Canyon vs The 2019 Honda Ridgeline


When it comes to pickup trucks, utility is the name of the game. Sure, these vehicles can cart you from place to place like anything else. But few other vehicles provide the level of cargo space and power that a pickup truck can give. The pickup truck caters to a driver who wants their vehicle to be able to do it all, from towing to off-roading. As a result, the bar for what makes a quality pickup truck is quite high. GMC and Honda strive to reach and maybe even exceed this bar, providing a next-level pickup driving experience. The 2019 GMC Canyon vs 2019 Honda Ridgeline are two modern pickup trucks that bring plenty to the table. However, only one of these vehicles can be considered the superior pickup truck.

At First Glance

Typically, when it comes to pickup trucks styling and exterior design are quite standard across the board. From Ford to Chevy, pickup trucks tend to prioritize power and utility over exterior stylings, and as a result, they offer a similar exterior appearance. Although, when it comes to the GMC Canyon and the Honda Ridgeline, it is difficult to ignore the factor of exterior design.

For starters, the 2019 GMC Canyon, which starts at $21,500 sticks to a classic design style, large and in charge. From the large front grille to its robust sizing, this is a pickup truck that attempts to appeal to the typical pickup driver. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises in the style of the GMC Canyon, and that’s okay. Apart from vehicles like the Jeep Gladiator, we don’t expect anything new and mold-breaking from the design of pickup trucks.

On the other hand, the 2019 Honda Ridgeline, which starts at $29,990 and takes a dramatic leap in terms of styling, and it is difficult to say whether or not it manages to plant the landing. The Honda Ridgeline is all-round edges and seems to stand out from other vehicles of its class. At first glance, it looks awfully similar to the Honda Pilot, but with a truck bed slapped to the back. To some, it may be a great styling choice, but to us, the look is alienating.

But what about the truck bed? Well, the 2019 Honda Ridgeline only provides one option 63.6″, so unfortunately if you’re unsatisfied with that, you’ll have to look elsewhere. That said the 2019 GMC Canyon offers far more personalization with a truck bed length that gets as small as 61.2″ to as large as 74.4″. So when we’re discussing the utility factor, the 2019 GMC Canyon certainly outperforms its peculiar competition.

What’s Beneath the Hood

A closeup of the Duramax badge is shown on a red 2019 GMC Canyon.

While looks matter, what truly makes a pickup truck is the kind of machinery tucked beneath the hood. Both vehicles offer a fair amount of power. However, only one succeeds in satisfying a wide variety of pickup truck drivers.

Let’s start with the 2019 Honda Ridgeline. This quirky pickup truck offers a 280 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, and that’s it. Considering its size, we figured that Honda would’ve offered more variety in their lineup, but didn’t. This single-engine option becomes particularly jarring when you realize that the 2019 Honda Ridgeline can come in six different trim options and nine different configurations. While there are options for an AWD drivetrain, performance customization seems to fall flat on its face for the 2019 Honda Ridgeline, which we have to say is a little disappointing. That said, the Honda Ridgeline does offer a reasonable amount of towing capacity, topping out at 5,000 lbs. While it’s not a powerhouse by any means, the 2019 Honda Ridgeline may satisfy drivers who are looking for a pickup truck that offers moderate towing capability.

Turning to the 2019 GMC Canyon, we’re introduced to a 200 horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. While this may seem disappointing at first, the 4-cylinder version of the 2019 GMC Canyon provides some worthwhile fuel economy clocking in at an EPA-rated 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. And that’s not even the peak of power for the 2019 GMC Canyon. Drivers can opt for either a 2.8 liter 4-cylinder diesel or a 3.6-liter V6 engine as well, providing a refreshing level of customizability. At its best, the 2019 GMC Canyon offers up 308 horsepower and a breathtaking 7,700 lbs of towing capacity. While the 2019 GMC Canyon starts small, by shelling out a bit more cash, you are guaranteed a robust pickup truck with plenty of oomph beneath the hood.

The Bells and Whistles

Power, styling, and the length of the truck bed aren’t the only factors we look for in a great pickup truck. The bells and whistles matter as well, and both vehicles come with their share of fun and fancy add-ons. Starting with safety, the Honda Ridgeline beats out its competition. Offering Automatic Emergency Braking on top tier models, which you won’t be able to find anywhere in the GMC Canyon trim lineup. That said, the GMC Canyon does offer its share of safety features in its Driver Alert Package, which includes Forward-Collision and Lane Departure Warnings.

Beyond safety, both vehicles come with plenty of modern amenities, although it is the 2019 GMC Canyon that offers the trimmings worthy of a luxury SUV. Standard models offer up power driver’s seat, and a 7.0-inch infotainment screen which is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. Moving up the line, higher trim options expand on what’s offered. Features like a Bose audio system, cooled front seats, navigation, remote start, a leather steering wheel, and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen can be found.

How does the 2019 Honda Ridgeline compare? Well, base models will feel rather spartan. Even at higher trim levels, the Honda Ridgeline doesn’t offer an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible infotainment display, which for many manufacturers is considered a standard feature. That said, the Honda pickup does offer a power moon roof, truck bed audio, leather upholstery, heated seats, and a whisper-quiet cabin which deserves some recognition.

An Overview

A red 2019 GMC Canyon, which wins when comparing the 2019 GMC Canyon vs 2019 Honda Ridgeline, is in front of a glass building.

There is a lot to love from both pickup trucks and to make things a little easier for you we’ve summarized some points of interest:

2019 GMC Canyon:

-Cost: $21,500 MSRP

-Engine: 2.5 liter 4-cylinder as standard, with an option for diesel and V6

-Top horsepower/Towing: 308 horsepower/7,700 lbs

-Safety: Missing some features, but offers plenty of smart innovation

-Features: Worthy of a luxury SUV

2019 Honda Ridgeline:

-Cost: $29,990 MSRP

-Engine: 3.5-liter V6

-Top Horsepower/Towing: 280 horsepower/5,000 lbs

-Safety: A reasonable safety package

-Features: Fairly spartan

Our Verdict

There is a lot of good in both of these pickup trucks, from the offered engine power to the level of cutting-edge auto tech packed into both vehicles. That said, only one manages to meet the mark of a great pickup, and unfortunately, the 2019 Honda Ridgeline doesn’t make the cut. The unique styling can be rather alienating, and the lack of customization may put off drivers looking to drive off in a pickup specifically designed to their expectations. On the other hand, the 2019 GMC Canyon provides a spectacular pickup driving experience and offers more than enough chance at configuration. All that said, we urge you to see for yourself, and check out how both of these pickup trucks feel behind the wheel.