GM’s Professional Grade counterpart to the midsize Chevrolet Colorado is the Canyon. The 2010 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 jump 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- and 4-wheel drive (4WD) are offered. Safety gear includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, dual-stage front airbags, StabiliTrak stability and traction control and, new for 2010, standard head-curtain airbags. Also new for 2010 is variable valve timing for the optional 5.3-liter V8. The lowered ZQ8 sport suspension and the off-road-oriented Z71 return as options. With the V8, tow capacity jumps to 6,000 lbs.
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; small rear jump seats on extended cab
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2010 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.
The base 2.9-liter 4-cylinder develops 185 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel. Two-wheel-drive (2WD) versions are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with the standard 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic. Four-wheel-drive versions get a 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy rating.
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 with regular unleaded fuel.
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. The V8 can run on E85 or regular unleaded fuel.
Standard Features & Options
The 2010 GMC Canyon comes in WT, SLE and SLT trims.
The WT (Work Truck) is bare-bones with a 2-speaker AM/FM radio, a cloth front bench seat and 16-inch steel wheels. Other standard equipment includes air conditioning, intermittent wipers, a center armrest, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, automatic headlamps, cruise control, anti-lock brakes, StabiliTrak stability control, carpeting and folding outside mirrors.
Moving up to SLE typically adds fog lamps, 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 and SiriusXM satellite radio. SLE can also be optioned with remote keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-heated front bucket 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 typically 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 midsize footprint 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 V8 models or clean 4WD 5-cylinder crew cabs with the SLT trim or the Z71 package.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2010 Canyon:
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.
A missing secondary hood latch could allow the hood to open at speed, obstructing forward vision and 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 did not rate the 2010 Canyon. However, the agency 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 (IIHS) rated the 2010 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 2010 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 no more than 5 years old. 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
2010 Ford Ranger — Smaller and less roomy than the Canyon, the Ford Ranger offers an impressive 22 mpg city/27 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 lbs.
2010 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 available. Max tow capacity is 6,500 lbs.
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 provide far more people-toting or lockable space and will retain the best resale value. The fun-to-drive 5-speed manual transmission available with the 4-cylinder is shared with the sporty Pontiac Solstice, but most pickup buyers prefer an automatic, so resale might be more difficult. Look for a CPO or lower-mileage example that’s seen obvious care and maintenance. Avoid modified trucks 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.