2015 GMC Canyon: True truck ability

Farm Forum

Midsize pickups haven’t generated much interest in recent years for the U.S. truck buyer, but General Motors plans to change that with the 2015 GMC Canyon. Styling is a key to GM’s expected success for this the all-new truck, which is scheduled to arrive in dealer showrooms this fall.

“It takes styling cues from Sierra — and for good reason,” said GM North American President Mark Ruess. “GMC customers list exterior styling as their No.1 reason for buying a GMC.”

Riding on a scaled version of the full-size-pickup frame, the Canyon has a powerful stance and body muscularity rivaling its larger Sierra and Sierra HD siblings.

Like the full-sizers, the front end is bold with a large, thick grille frame surrounding three hefty horizontal bars, and red “GMC” prominently stamped in the center. Incorporated in the grille are active aero shutters that close at certain highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. The sculpted bumper, which integrates round fog lamps, completes the heavy-duty effect.

Flanking the grille are large projector-beam headlamps and GMC’s signature C-shaped LED daytime running lamps. Protruding fenders, front and rear, also add to the muscularity.

An All-Terrain package is available on base SLE models that includes a body-color grille surround with horizontal chrome bars, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels wrapped with all-terrain tires and specific suspension tuning. Canyon also is offered in a top-line SLT model and in 2WD and 4WD configurations.

Canyon buyers can chose from a trio of body styles: an extended-cab model with a 6-foot cargo box and crew cab models with a choice of 5- or 6-foot beds. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

As with the full-size Sierras, loading the bed is made convenient with an EZ Lift & Lower tailgate providing more-controlled one-hand operation, a Corner-Step rear bumper for easier access to the bed, plus cargo tie-downs at 13 reconfigurable and four stationary locations.

The beds have two-tier loading capability, along with rail and tailgate protectors. Among the list of options are a factory-installed spray-in bed liner, custom tonneau cover, cargo management system, removable cargo rings and a tool box.

GM touts the Canyon has the segment’s top payload capacity of at least 1,450 pounds and best-in-class maximum trailering rating of at least 6,700 pounds.

Teaming with a fully boxed high-strength frame, Canyon’s workhorse grunt comes from a choice of three powerplants — two gas engines at launch and a diesel set for the 2016 model year. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, delivering an estimated 193 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. A 3.6-liter V-6 is available, which produces an estimated 302 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Fuel economy figures will be announced at a later date.

For the 2016 model year, the Canyon will be offered with a 2.8-liter Duramax Turbodiesel, which will be the only diesel in the midsize-pickup segment. These engines are paired with a standard six-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode. A six-speed manual is optional with the 2.5-liter engine in base extended-cab 2WD models. Power is sent to aluminum wheels, offered in a range of 16-, 17- and 18-inch styles.

Triple-sealed doors inlaid in the body sides, like the Sierra’s, contribute to a quieter cabin and enhanced aerodynamics.

Passengers sit on dual-firmness foam seats, engineered for optimum comfort on long drives. Standard SLE upholstery is high-wear, stain-resistant cloth, and SLT models come with leather seats featuring a power-adjustable driver’s seat and heated front seats. Canyons equipped with the All-Terrain package feature embossed seatbacks and distinctive contrast stitching.

In the spirit of Sierra, the instrument panel is upright, with a bold instrument cluster and dominant center information panel. Small items can be stowed in an upper-instrument-panel bin, center console and rear under-seat cubby. A 4.2-inch color driver information screen is standard and an 8-inch color touchscreen is optional.

Ruess said the new midsize pickup is a well-rounded package of style, performance and technology that customers have been waiting for. “It offers the refinement and convenience of a premium crossover with the capability of a truck,” he said. “Plus it’s easy to maneuver and highly efficient.”