Late in 2014, we had a 2015 GMC Canyon SLE 4WD Crew Cab with the V6 engine and the long cargo bed in our garage for a full week of driving and evaluation. We reported that the 2015 Canyon was everything we had expected. With the 2016 models close at hand and a next generation Toyota Tacoma set to debut in August – we decided to request another week with a top-of-the-line Canyon SLT.
2015 Canyon SLT 4WD Crew Cab
GMC sent us a 2015 GMC Canyon SLT 4WD Crew Cab with the short box – in the optional luscious Emerald Green Metallic with a premium Cocoa / Dune interior. It included the 3.5L V6 power plant delivering 305 horsepower with a strong 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The V6 was integrated with the 6-speed automatic transmission and has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 17/24 mpg city/highway and 20 mg combined. The AutoTrac 4WD was equipped with the G80 fully automatic locking rear differential and an electric two-speed transfer case with four driver selectable modes to choose from. It also included the Trailering package.
Our SLT had a MSRP of $36,950 and came equipped on the exterior with the new CornerStep Rear Bumper and EZ Lift and Lower Tailgate, Dual Power Chrome Outside Mirrors, Projector Headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights, Front Fog Lamps, Front Recovery Hooks, Chrome rear bumper, Rear Vision Camera, 18-inch Polished Cast Aluminum Wheels and the Trailering Package.
Inside, our Canyon SLE included leather trimmed Front Bucket Heated Seating with Console, Driver and passenger 4-way Power Adjust Seat and Power Lumbar adjustment, Tilt/Telescoping Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel with audio controls and Soft-touch Instrument Panel with Aluminum Trim. It also features the 8-inch Color Touch Display radio with GMC IntelliLink, Sirius Satellite Radio and OnStar, four USB power ports, Cruise Control, Rear Window Defogger, Dual Reading Lights, Remote Keyless Entry, and Air Conditioning. Adding to the connectivity was the new OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi HotSpot which increases the infotainment utility of the new truck.
Options and packages included were the Soft Tonneau Cover ($725), upgrade to the Premium Bose Audio ($500), adding IntelliLink Navigation to the audio system ($495), Spray-on Bedliner ($475) Polished Exhaust Tips ($135) plus the Sliding Rear Window ($75) and Forward Collision Alert with Lane Departure Warning ($395). As we noted already, the optional Emerald Green Metallic exterior ($495) plus Chrome Tubular Side Assist Steps ($725) completed the Canyon SLT.
We would comment here that, though the side assist steps look good on this truck, it would not be our choice as, due to the shorter cabin height of the mid-size, the step is not necessary –and gets in the way – of easy entry or exit unless you are well under six-feet tall.
The delivered price for our 2015 GMC Canyon SLT 4WD Crew Cab short box was $41,785. Dropping the side step would have brought it in right at $41,000.
The 2015 GMC Canyon SLT 4WD Crew Cab is about as good as it gets in the midsize segment. With its competitive pricing and lengthy list of standard features plus selected options, it delivers performance, convenience and value for those wanting a crew cab pickup truck (loaded up) that prices considerably below the full-size alternatives – and fits in the garage.
We think both the Canyon and its sibling, the Chevrolet Colorado have established their position in the mid-size segment and are going to become a challenger to the mid-size sales leader Toyota Tacoma going into 2016.
What about 2016?
GMC has announced the details of the 2016 Canyon lineup of mid-size pickups. There are just a couple of cosmetic changes plus the addition of the GMC next generation IntelliLink system that allows smartphone users to connect through the 8-inch touchscreen display with a variety of applications including navigation, hands-free messaging entertainment and news. The new Apple CarPlay will be available initially with an Android Auto compatibility later in the year.
But the big news for 2016 Canyon is the availability of the new 2.8L Duramax Turbo-diesel powertrain on the SLE and SLT models in both 2WD and 4WD configurations. The seriously larger 369 lb.-ft. of torque from this power plant option adds 10 percent to trailering capacity – raising it to 7,700 pounds.
Pricing for the 2016 models will not be announced until sometime in August, but we are told that the Duramax diesel will have a premium of $3,730 over the gasoline V6.
The bar has been raised for mid-size segment pickup trucks by GM with Canyon and Colorado. The addition of the Durmax diesel for the SLE and SLT trim levels raises the bar further and will take this (already) segment leading truck to a whole new level of performance and value that Toyota, with its Tacoma, needs to have taken into account as they roll out their latest generation mid-size pickup next month.
We will let you know.