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

Nancy J. Delong

The Canyon has seemed wonderful considering the fact that its inception.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Imagine of the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 as a Chevy Colorado ZR2 for men and women who have never consumed Monster vitality beverages. It truly is a minimal calmer, a minimal significantly less rugged, and although it is obtaining quite previous, it nonetheless would make for a stable off-highway-oriented midsize pickup.


  • Burly exterior
  • Sufficiently clean on-highway
  • Often-excellent infotainment

Do not Like

  • Aging plastic-superb inside
  • A minimal mild on creature comforts
  • Lacking driver assists

Butch exterior, blah inside

I have constantly appreciated the GMC Canyon’s style and design over its sibling, the Chevy Colorado. The fancier of the two has withstood the examination of time a minimal better, many thanks to a reliance on butch rectilinearity that won’t search approximately as aged as the Colorado’s huge-headlight mug. My tester’s $3,195 Off-Street Efficiency Edition Package zhushes points up a minimal even more with seventeen-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, skid plates, black badges and a spray-on bedliner. The beefy 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires search quite manager, way too. The around total lack of chrome won’t harm, both.

Whilst the exterior has held up, I can not say the identical for the inside, which is just as Playskool plastic superb as approximately every single other Canyon and Colorado trim. My AT4 tester attempts to perk points up with some great leather entrance seats, and I like how the headrest looks built-in into the seat, but the fabric-seat AT4 charges $one,800 significantly less, which is worth noting for consumers seeking to adhere to a price range. There is some faux stitching about the sprint, but I can operate a finger over approximately any surface area and it mostly feels really hard and low cost, which is a little bit of a bummer on a $forty,000 truck. If you want one thing resembling plushness, you’ll have to opt for the $forty five,000-plus Denali getup.

There is certainly some practicality to be discovered in the Canyon, but not a ton. The glove compartment and center console armrest cubby are each a good deal sizable, but the doorway pockets are very small, and the optional wi-fi charger can not accommodate modern Max-size iPhones ($460 at eBay), a stable giveaway that this inside is obtaining ready to acquire Social Security checks. The cup holders will maintain a 24-ounce plastic bottle, but practically nothing bigger, so Nalgene fans will have to determine one thing out. The crew cab’s rear seats are a minimal mild on legroom, but most likely we have been spoiled by all the comprehensive-size crew cab vehicles and their limousine-caliber next rows.

Perky V6, tender suspension

The Canyon AT4 can be experienced with a 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4, but most will probably activity the 3.six-liter gasoline V6, which produces 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, routed to all 4 wheels via an eight-pace computerized transmission. This mix works nicely, providing a good deal of reduced-stop grunt with an unladen bed, although the transmission operates smoothly, rarely hunting for gears or taking for a longer time than it demands to. It’s going to get up and go every time desired.

Fuel economy is quite first rate, way too, and the truck has no difficulty achieving its EPA-approximated figures of seventeen mpg town and 24 mpg highway. Individuals are solidly aggressive numbers, way too, beating 4-wheel-generate Toyota Tacoma variants by one to 3 mpg on the highway (many thanks in element to cylinder deactivation), whilst the Taco proves exceptional in the town by about the identical delta.

On-highway effectiveness is damn fine for a system-on-body pickup. The off-highway suspension is a minimal on the tender facet, so although it does a excellent task absorbing no matter what crappy Michigan roadways have to give, it can experience a minimal boaty-floaty on expressway curves, and the off-highway tires can wander a little bit over particular forms of pavement. The steering is properly balanced, and the brakes have excellent grip and wonderful modulation.

The AT4’s inside is fine, but I am not certain if GM’s definition of fine cuts it in 2021.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Whilst I failed to get a prospect to put the AT4 via its comprehensive off-highway paces, there is certainly a good deal of kit in in this article to make it happen. All AT4s come with an off-highway-tuned suspension, hill descent regulate, a locking rear differential, a two-pace transfer situation, and my tester ramps that up even more with the $3,195 effectiveness pack that adds a entrance air dam delete, a one-inch elevate up entrance and additional underbody security. It truly is not as purely targeted as the Colorado ZR2 with its entrance locker and even beefier suspension, but it is quite darn shut, and a the vast majority of consumers will locate the AT4 additional than capable adequate to meet up with their demands.

Do not stress, the Canyon AT4 is nonetheless stable for typical truck things, way too. You can purchase it in a crew cab configuration with a option of 61.7-inch or seventy four-inch beds. It’s going to tow up to 7,000 kilos, and it’ll haul about one,500 pounds’ worth of things in the bed.

Tech hits and misses

Each individual GMC Canyon arrives with an 8-inch touchscreen operating Chevrolet’s hottest infotainment method, and that’s wonderful. The set up is clear-cut, it is effortless to navigate and it includes each Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle if you will not want to plunk down an additional $995 for factory navigation. OnStar’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is typical, way too, which I have constantly appreciated. The $395 Bose audio method up grade is not way too shabby, both, and appears to be like a excellent offer for men and women who are constantly in their vehicles.

And then there is certainly the driver-assist tech. Chevrolet, and GM in standard, has constantly taken a additional conservative technique to these systems, often relying on significantly less high-priced camera-primarily based forward collision warning (radar ain’t low cost) or locking approximately all systems powering a paywall. That’s sadly nonetheless the situation with the Canyon AT4, which features non-adaptive cruise regulate and rear parking sensors as typical. The only up grade charges $395 and adds forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and… that’s it.

GM’s infotainment keeps obtaining better, but it is presently doing a good deal nicely for alone.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Any genuinely modern conveniences like adaptive cruise regulate and computerized unexpected emergency braking involve a vacation to the Toyota dealership, due to the fact that things is typical on every single one Tacoma that rolls off the line. Get with the instances and halt the relentless bean counting, GM. Severely. Some truck consumers would most likely ditch airbags if it intended saving $500 on the window sticker, but at times you have to reduce men and women from turning out to be their have worst enemy.

Down to brass tacks

Thinking of the average new-vehicle transaction selling price has eclipsed $forty,000, I guess I can not phone the Canyon AT4 high-priced, but it certain feels it. Starting up at $39,595 (together with spot) with fabric seats, my leather-bedecked tester rings in with alternatives at $forty five,780.

Why GM won’t just take Toyota additional severely as an existential threat is outside of me. If you mix (and, at times, double) the sales of the GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado, they nonetheless can not match the providing power of Toyota’s venerable midsize pickup. 

For what it is, nevertheless, the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 is stable. It truly is an attractive pickup truck that features additional off-highway prowess than your average midsizer, devoid of demanding a deep-stop leap into one thing additional purpose-built like the ZR2. Let’s just hope a new technology is on the horizon.

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