Car Review

2009 GMC Canyon: Used Car Review

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author photo by Ron Sessions December 2014

GM's Professional Grade counterpart to the midsize Chevy Colorado is the Canyon. The 2009 GMC Canyon is available as a 2- or 3-passenger regular cab, a 4- or 5-passenger extended cab or a 5- or 6-passenger crew cab. The regular cab has two doors, and the crew cab has four. The extended cab offers two full-size front doors and a pair of rear-hinged half-length rear doors with two fold-down rear seats. The regular and extended cabs come with a 6.1-foot bed, while the crew cab uses a 5.1-ft bed. Both rear-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive (4WD) are offered. Safety gear includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, dual-stage front airbags, optional head-curtain airbags and, new for 2009, standard StabiliTrak. Also new for 2009 are larger brakes, standard 16-inch wheels and an optional 5.3-liter V8. The lowered ZQ8 sport suspension returns as an option, and the Work Truck adds standard cloth seats and carpeting. With the V8, tow capacity jumps to 6,000 pounds.

What We Like

Maneuverable size; V8 performance; roomy front seats; smooth-shifting transmissions; configurable tailgate

What We Don't

Cheap-looking dash and door trim; ride harshness; no navigation system

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2009 GMC Canyon is available with a 2.9-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 4-cylinder, a 3.7-liter DOHC 5-cylinder or a 5.3-liter OHV V8. All use regular unleaded fuel.

The base 2.9-liter 4-cylinder develops 185 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. Two-wheel-drive (2WD) versions are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with the standard 5-speed manual and 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy with the optional 4-speed automatic. Four-wheel-drive versions with the 5-speed manual transmission get a 17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy rating, and 4-wheel drives with the 4-speed automatic are rated at 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.

Standard on 4WD crew-cab models and 2WD Z71 crew cabs and optional for all other Canyons, the 3.7-liter inline 5-cylinder engine makes 242 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque. A 4-speed automatic transmission is standard with the 5-cylinder. Two-wheel-drive versions are EPA-rated at 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy, while 4WD versions get a 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy rating.

A 5.3-liter V8 is optional on extended and crew cabs. It produces 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque and gets an EPA rating of 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with 2WD and 14 mpg city/19 mpg hwy with 4WD.

Standard Features & Options

The 2009 GMC Canyon comes in WT, SLE and SLT trims.

The WT (Work Truck) is a bare-bones model with a 2-speaker AM/FM radio, a cloth front bench seat and 16-in steel wheels. Other standard equipment includes air conditioning, intermittent wipers, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, anti-lock brakes, StabiliTrak stability control, carpeting and folding outside mirrors.

Moving up to SLE typically adds fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 16-in alloy wheels, color-keyed trim, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, upgraded cloth seats, bright interior accents, cloth door trim inserts, OnStar communication, a center front-seat storage armrest and SiriusXM satellite radio. SLE can also be optioned with remote keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power heated front seats, leather seat trim, a 6-disc CD player, a power sunroof, a sliding rear window, and power windows, mirrors and door locks.

The top SLT trim includes power front bucket seats, a 6-speaker stereo, automatic transmission, and power windows, mirrors and door locks.

The off-road-oriented Z71 package, available on both 2WD and 4WD Canyons, includes 265/75-15 on-/off-road tires, increased ground clearance, wheel flares, brushed aluminum side steps and off-road suspension with monotube shocks.

The street-performance ZQ8 package adds lowered sport suspension and 235/50 rubber on 18-in alloy wheels.


The Canyon's more maneuverable size makes it a sensible alternative to full-size pickups. Regular-cab 2WD 4-cylinder SLE models can be inexpensive, but be prepared to pay double for clean 4WD 5-cylinder crew cabs with the SLT trim or the Z71 package.

To get a good idea of the prices of used 2009 Canyon pickups, check out the used-car values at You can also search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2009 Canyon:

Contamination in the brake-light switch may cause the brake lights to malfunction, increasing the risk of a rear-end crash.

Regular- and extended-cab models with a 60/40-split front bench seat lack access to a top anchor to tether a child-restraint device in the middle seat position.

Water seepage into the fuel module may cause the engine to malfunction, increasing the risk of a crash.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA gave the 2009 Canyon regular cab and extended cab four stars for frontal impacts, driver-side impacts and rollover performance. The crew-cab model got five stars for frontal and passenger-side impacts and four each for driver-side impacts and rollover performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2009 Canyon crew cab as Acceptable for moderate-overlap front impacts, Poor for side impacts and Marginal for head-restraint and seat crash performance. However, it gave the Canyon extended cab a Good rating for front impacts.

GMC covered the 2009 Canyon with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

GMC certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO Canyon undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains on the transferable, original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Also included is a 2-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan with roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2009 Ford Ranger -- Smaller and less roomy than the Canyon, the Ranger offers an impressive 21 mpg city/26 mpg hwy EPA rating with its base 143-hp 2.3-liter 4-cylinder. Two optional V6 engines, a 148-hp 3.0-liter and a 207-hp 4.0-liter V6, deliver added oomph. The Ranger is available in regular and extended (Super) cab only. Max tow capacity is 5,680 pounds.

2009 Toyota Tacoma -- The Tacoma is the best-selling small or midsize pickup and offers a 159-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or a 236-hp 4.0-liter V6. There are 18 different configurations to choose from, with regular, Access (extended) and Double (crew) cabs, a lowered X-Runner sport truck and TRD Off-Road and Rugged Trail versions available. Max tow capacity is 6,500 pounds.

AutoTrader's Advice

The midsize Canyon pickup is a sensible choice for personal use as well as for commercial duty that doesn't involve hauling big payloads or towing heavy trailers. Although regular-cab models offer the greatest parking and maneuverability advantages, extended-cab and crew-cab models offer far more people or gear-toting space under lock and key and will retain the best resale value. Look for a certified pre-owned or lower-mileage example that's seen obvious care and maintenance. Avoid modified trucks if possible, and ask for a Carfax or equivalent vehicle-history report. Make sure that all applicable safety recalls have been performed on the Canyon you're considering.

Find a GMC Canyon for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2009 GMC Canyon: Used Car Review - Autotrader