2021 GMC Canyon AT4 review: An old truck with a few new tricks

Victoria D. Doty

The Canyon has looked excellent considering that its inception.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Consider of the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 as a Chevy Colorado ZR2 for persons who have by no means consumed Monster electrical power drinks. It is a small calmer, a small a lot less rugged, and though it is really obtaining very outdated, it even now would make for a good off-road-oriented midsize pickup.


  • Burly exterior
  • Adequately smooth on-road
  • Constantly-superior infotainment

Never Like

  • Growing old plastic-great interior
  • A small light-weight on creature comforts
  • Lacking driver assists

Butch exterior, blah interior

I’ve usually appreciated the GMC Canyon’s layout in excess of its sibling, the Chevy Colorado. The fancier of the two has withstood the examination of time a small much better, many thanks to a reliance on butch rectilinearity that doesn’t look approximately as aged as the Colorado’s massive-headlight mug. My tester’s $three,195 Off-Street Efficiency Edition Package deal zhushes factors up a small further with 17-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, skid plates, black badges and a spray-on bedliner. The beefy 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires look very boss, way too. The close to total absence of chrome doesn’t damage, both.

While the exterior has held up, I are unable to say the identical for the interior, which is just as Playskool plastic great as approximately each individual other Canyon and Colorado trim. My AT4 tester attempts to perk factors up with some awesome leather-based entrance seats, and I like how the headrest looks built-in into the seat, but the fabric-seat AT4 costs $1,800 a lot less, which is really worth noting for prospective buyers trying to stick to a finances. There is some fake stitching about the sprint, but I can run a finger in excess of approximately any area and it typically feels difficult and affordable, which is a little bit of a bummer on a $forty,000 truck. If you want anything resembling plushness, you will have to choose for the $45,000-additionally Denali getup.

You can find some practicality to be uncovered in the Canyon, but not a ton. The glove compartment and heart console armrest cubby are the two a lot sizable, but the door pockets are small, and the optional wi-fi charger are unable to accommodate contemporary Max-measurement iPhones ($460 at eBay), a good giveaway that this interior is obtaining completely ready to accumulate Social Safety checks. The cup holders will hold a 24-ounce plastic bottle, but almost nothing much larger, so Nalgene supporters will have to determine anything out. The crew cab’s rear seats are a small light-weight on legroom, but most likely we have been spoiled by all the full-measurement crew taxi vehicles and their limousine-caliber second rows.

Perky V6, comfortable suspension

The Canyon AT4 can be had with a two.eight-liter turbodiesel inline-4, but most will likely sport the three.six-liter gasoline V6, which generates 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, routed to all 4 wheels by an 8-speed automated transmission. This combination performs very well, supplying a lot of very low-close grunt with an unladen mattress, though the transmission operates easily, seldom looking for gears or having for a longer period than it requirements to. It’s going to get up and go every time necessary.

Gasoline economy is very respectable, way too, and the truck has no situation reaching its EPA-approximated figures of 17 mpg city and 24 mpg freeway. These are solidly competitive quantities, way too, beating 4-wheel-travel Toyota Tacoma variants by 1 to three mpg on the freeway (many thanks in part to cylinder deactivation), though the Taco proves top-quality in the city by about the identical delta.

On-road efficiency is damn good for a system-on-body pickup. The off-road suspension is a small on the comfortable facet, so though it does a superior position absorbing what ever crappy Michigan roadways have to offer, it can experience a small boaty-floaty on expressway curves, and the off-road tires can wander a little bit in excess of selected varieties of pavement. The steering is properly well balanced, and the brakes have superior grip and great modulation.

The AT4’s interior is good, but I’m not confident if GM’s definition of good cuts it in 2021.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

While I didn’t get a possibility to put the AT4 by its full off-road paces, there’s a lot of kit in listed here to make it come about. All AT4s come with an off-road-tuned suspension, hill descent regulate, a locking rear differential, a two-speed transfer situation, and my tester ramps that up further with the $three,195 efficiency pack that adds a entrance air dam delete, a 1-inch lift up entrance and more underbody defense. It is not as purely targeted as the Colorado ZR2 with its entrance locker and even beefier suspension, but it is really very darn close, and a the vast majority of prospective buyers will come across the AT4 extra than capable adequate to satisfy their requirements.

Never get worried, the Canyon AT4 is even now good for typical truck stuff, way too. You can order it in a crew taxi configuration with a selection of 61.seven-inch or seventy four-inch beds. It’s going to tow up to seven,000 lbs, and it will haul about 1,five hundred pounds’ really worth of stuff in the mattress.

Tech hits and misses

Each and every GMC Canyon arrives with an eight-inch touchscreen managing Chevrolet’s most recent infotainment program, and which is excellent. The set up is uncomplicated, it is really simple to navigate and it includes the two Apple CarPlay and Android Car if you you should not want to plunk down an more $995 for manufacturing facility navigation. OnStar’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is typical, way too, which I’ve usually appreciated. The $395 Bose audio program up grade isn’t really way too shabby, both, and looks like a superior offer for persons who are usually in their vehicles.

And then there’s the driver-assist tech. Chevrolet, and GM in common, has usually taken a extra conservative strategy to these techniques, sometimes relying on a lot less expensive digital camera-centered ahead collision warning (radar ain’t affordable) or locking approximately all techniques driving a paywall. Which is sadly even now the situation with the Canyon AT4, which features non-adaptive cruise regulate and rear parking sensors as typical. The only up grade costs $395 and adds ahead-collision warning, lane-departure warning and… which is it.

GM’s infotainment retains obtaining much better, but it is really already executing a lot very well for alone.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Any definitely contemporary conveniences like adaptive cruise regulate and automated crisis braking need a vacation to the Toyota dealership, due to the fact that stuff is typical on each individual single Tacoma that rolls off the line. Get with the periods and halt the relentless bean counting, GM. Significantly. Some truck prospective buyers would probably ditch airbags if it intended conserving $five hundred on the window sticker, but at times you have to avert persons from getting to be their personal worst enemy.

Down to brass tacks

Thinking of the normal new-motor vehicle transaction value has eclipsed $forty,000, I guess I are unable to phone the Canyon AT4 expensive, but it confident feels it. Starting up at $39,595 (such as place) with fabric seats, my leather-based-bedecked tester rings in with alternatives at $45,780.

Why GM doesn’t consider Toyota extra seriously as an existential menace is over and above me. If you incorporate (and, at times, double) the profits of the GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado, they even now are unable to match the advertising electrical power of Toyota’s venerable midsize pickup. 

For what it is, however, the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 is good. It is an appealing pickup truck that features extra off-road prowess than your normal midsizer, without the need of requiring a deep-close leap into anything extra goal-crafted like the ZR2. Let us just hope a new technology is on the horizon.

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