GMC introduced their 2016 GMC Canyon mid-size pickup truck this week with the highlight being the highly anticipated addition of the 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel power train – making Canyon and its sibling Chevrolet Colorado, the only pickups in the segment available with a diesel option.
For the record, the 2016 GMC Canyon is pretty much the same as the 2015 version with the addition of a couple of cosmetic touches plus added technologies and connectivity features such as GMC IntelliLink with new phone integration technology – and Apple CarPlay capability – OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert.
But the big deal is the addition of the more powerful 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel four-cylinder power train which GMC says is expected to deliver better fuel economy than their segment leading gasoline powertrains. With diesel fuel prices now generally equivalent to gasoline, a Duramax equipped Canyon will save owners money every time they go to the pump.
Though the 2.8L Duramax diesel engine has fewer horses (181) than the gasoline 2.5L four-cylinder (200) and the 3.6L V6 (305) engine options, it delivers the most torque at 369 lb-ft .- which translates to a hefty trailering capacity of up to 7,700 pounds or 10 percent more than the 3.6L powertrain equipped Canyon. To handle that additional capacity, all diesel-equipped models come with the Trailering package, that includes a hitch receiver and seven-pin connector, as well as the segment-exclusive automatic locking rear differential, a 3.42 rear axle ratio and four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife brake rotors.
The 2.8L Duramax engine in the Canyon is not new, but is a completely re-engineered version of an engine in production since 2011 and used in small pickup trucks sold in Asia and South America.
The Duramax diesel equipped Canyon will use a Standard Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic transmission matched with a Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorber in the torque converter, which reduces powertrain noise and vibration. Other features include a smart diesel exhaust brake system that enhances vehicle control and reduces brake wear on steep grades, an all-new integrated trailer brake controller standard on diesel models and a new, electronically controlled two-speed transfer case enhances the performance of the drive train on 4WD models.
The new driver-selectable Duramax smart exhaust brake feature gives the 2016 Canyon a stronger presence when hauling loads or towing trailers. When the exhaust brake is engaged in cruise mode, exhaust cruise grade braking helps the cruise control system maintain the desired downhill vehicle speed, keeping the driver from having to apply the brakes and exit cruise control to maintain speed. In non-cruise mode, the transmission and the exhaust brake deliver the correct amount of braking to assist in vehicle control, regardless of vehicle load. It is a smart system that varies the amount of braking needed for the vehicle, load and grade.
Duramax Availability and Cost
The new Duramax turbo-diesel will be available on SLE and SLT Crew Cab models, with 2WD or 4WD drive trains. Pricing for the 2016 GMC Canyon line will not be announced until late August, but GMC did share that the new diesel will carry a premium of $3,730 more than a comparably equipped Canyon V-6 model.
We are currently driving a new 2016 Canyon SLT 4WD powered by the V6 engine with a base price of $36,950. Several options are included like Chrome Side-Assist Steps, Tonneau Cover, Premium Bose Audio, Intellilink with Navigation and 8-inch Display Screen, Spray-on Bedliner, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. With delivery, it prices just over $40,000. Based on the announced diesel upcharge, a similar 2016 Canyon SLT with Duramax diesel would price about $44,000.
If you were looking at moving up to a full-size Sierra with its most powerful gas engine, pricing would fall right around $58,000 – and it would not fit in your garage.
The 2015 GMC Canyon (and Colorado) introduction last year marked the return of GM to the mid-size pickup truck segment that has been long dominated by the Toyota Tacoma which has not been seriously updated for several years. The all-new Canyon and Colorado trucks raised the bar in styling, horsepower, fuel efficiency and utility in the segment and have attracted a considerable following of owners who have wanted a capable pickup truck that did cost an arm and a leg – and would fit in their garages.
For 2016, with the Duramax Turbo-diesel, the Canyon (and Colorado) increases its segment leadership in power, tow capacity, fuel economy and value and we expect them to begin seriously chipping away at the Tacoma segment leadership.
We look forward to a first drive of the new Canyon (and Colorado) soon and will give you a firsthand report following.