For the 2023 model year, GMC redesigned its Canyon midsize pickup truck. This third generation Canyon adds an off-road suspension and turbocharged engine as standard equipment and upgrades technology to match. These changes coincide with interior and exterior design revamps as well.
The 2023 GMC Canyon is available in crew cab only with just one cargo bed length. In line with GMC’s position in the General Motors brand group, the Canyon is more upscale and sophisticated than its Chevrolet near-twin, the Colorado. Which also saw changes this year.
More importantly, for us, the GMC Canyon remains what it’s always been: a well-done, premium-level truck with a strong list of capabilities. In its AT4 package, it takes the standard off-road upgrades added for 2023 and takes them up a notch. Going beyond the AT4 to the new AT4X goes even further.
Trims and Options
The 2023 Canyon is offered in crew cab with a short bed as the only configuration, body-wise. There are four trim levels, though, each with varying amounts of added equipment and technology.
The base level Canyon Elevation starts off with 18-inch wheels, LED headlamps, an 8-inch digital gauge cluster, an 11.3-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a few other goodies. Also standard are forward collision warning with automatic braking and lane departure mitigation techs. Several optional packages add more to the Elevation.
Most of the most desirable items in the optional package for the Elevation are found in the Canyon AT4 trim point. Things like remote start, sliding rear window glass, 120-volt power outlets (one in back seat, one in truck bed), and an EZ lift tailgate are added. As are heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Added equipment for the AT4 also includes four-wheel drive as standard (including a two-speed transfer case), hill descent control, and more USB ports. The optional add-on packages bring more safety technologies, leather upholstery, and more to the table. Most of those options are found standard on the AT4X.
The Canyon AT4X trim adds a bunch of extra off-road gear, like more skid plates, larger (17″) wheels with more aggressive tires, rock rails, a 1-inch suspension lift, locking differentials front and rear, and more. We really like this package on paper, but it’s a $10,000 price jump from the AT4 and that might be hard to swallow for many buyers in this segment. It’s more expensive than the luxury Denali trim.
The Canyon Denali, as is tradition, focuses on luxury. This one adds a lot of nice chrome accents, 20-inch wheels, and Denali-specific interior trim upgrades. It also has all of the available packages from earlier trims as standard equipment, including the full suite of safety items, all the head unit tech, and a premium audio setup. The only option is to add the Trailering package for towing (also available on all other trims).
Powertrain, Drivetrain, and Towing/Hauling
All 2023 GMC Canyon models are powered by a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. This produces 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. The base model Elevation is the only rear-wheel drive Canyon model, but it can be upgraded to 4WD to match the other trims.
Towing for the 2023 Canyon is rated at up to 7,700 pounds and payload is rated at up to 1,670 pounds. That’s enough to pull most standard boats, camper trailers, and toy hauler trailers. Those are maximum numbers and actual ratings will vary by truck configuration. Our 2023 GMC Canyon AT4, for example, was rated at 7,000 pounds towing and about 1,500 pounds cargo.
What We Think
Like the two generations of Canyons before it, the 2023 Canyon is a solid midsize truck with a good list of capabilities. We’re not big fans of the engine, however, which makes a lot of clacky noises, and the transmission pauses before shifting quite often. Especially in downshifts to add more power while on the go.
These downsides are also found in the Chevrolet Colorado that the Canyon shares a lot with. The greatest difference there being that the Canyon does a better job of dampening the engine’s sounds inside the cabin.
On the road, the 2023 Canyon is a good drive with a comfortable feel and good maneuverability. It’s smooth on the highway, though somewhat jumpy at lower speeds as the turbo kicks in and out. Off the pavement, the 2023 GMC Canyon AT4 is a good mix of capability and go-there, do-that without adding a huge chunk to the price tag. The Canyon, being a premium-level midsize pickup, has a starting price of about $38,000. The AT4 jumps to almost $45,500, but adds a lot of the equipment one would want from the base level Elevation, including 4WD. From there, the Denali and AT4X trims are well over $50,000.
We like the premium appeal of the GMC Canyon and its worthwhile list of capabilities. For that, we give it high marks. Fuel economy and the noisy engine are it’s only real downsides.
This review originally published on DriveModeShow.com.