General Motors calls the 2015 GMC Canyon the first premium midsize truck. It features unique "Professional Grade" styling, mildly upgraded interior materials and exclusive features such as Autotrac automatic 4-wheel drive, but otherwise shares under-the-skin content with the nearly identical 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. The 2015 Canyon is an all-new second-generation design. It’s still a midsize, but closer in size to full-size pickups from 25-30 years ago. Depending on the configuration, it’s up to 20 inches longer, 6 inches wider and 5 inches taller than the 2004-2012 first-gen model. (There were no 2013 or 2014 Canyons.) The 2015 version is available only as a 4-passenger Extended Cab with a 2-passenger rear bench seat or a 5-passenger Crew Cab with a flip-down 3-across rear bench. Front buckets are standard. The Extended Cab comes with a 6.2-foot bed, while the Crew Cab has a 5.2- or 6.2-ft bed. Both rear-wheel drive and shift-on-the-fly 4WD are offered.
An all-new powertrain lineup includes a 200-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder teamed with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The 4-cylinder can tow up to 3,500 lbs. The top engine choice is a 305-hp 3.6-liter V6, matched to a 6-speed automatic with a 7,000-lb tow rating. Updated technology includes available GMC IntelliLink infotainment with text message alerts and Siri Eyes Free, OnStar 4G LTE with in-truck Wi-Fi and forward-collision and lane-departure safety systems.
What We Like
More maneuverable size; updated infotainment; 4G LTE onboard Wi-Fi; V6 performance; improved cabin materials, attractive design; flip-up Crew Cab rear seat
What We Don’t
Sluggish performance of 4-cylinder; clunkiness of 6-speed manual transmission; insufficient adjustments for driver’s seat
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The base 2.5-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 4-cylinder engine develops 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. Two-wheel drive versions are rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with the 6-speed manual transmission and 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy with the 6-speed automatic. 4WD versions are EPA rated at 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.
Standard on 4WD Crew Cabs and optional on other Canyons, the 3.6-liter DOHC V6 makes 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard. The 2WD V6 models are EPA rated at 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy, and 4WD V6s get a 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy rating.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 GMC Canyon comes in base, SLE and SLT trims.
The Base Canyon comes with air conditioning, full carpeting, cloth front bucket seats, a urethane steering wheel, 16-in steel wheels, a 6-speaker AM/FM radio with a 4.2-in display and USB port, a backup camera, a power fore/aft driver’s seat, a tilt steering column, automatic head lamps, a chrome corner step rear bumper, a locking tailgate, power front windows and door locks, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control and manual-folding outside mirrors.
The SLE adds GMC IntelliLink infotainment with an 8-in touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, OnStar 4G LTE with in-truck Wi-Fi, SiriusXM radio, 17-in alloy wheels, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering column, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an overhead console, remote keyless entry, power mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. SLE options include navigation, leather seats, automatic climate control, a 7-speaker Bose audio system, fog lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-heated front seats, remote start, an automatic locking differential, a sliding rear window, an E-Z Lift and lower tailgate and 18-in alloy wheels.
The SLT brings automatic climate control, leather seats, an auto-dim rearview mirror, remote start, power heated front seats with lumbar adjustment, a sliding rear window and an E-Z Lift and lower tailgate
The All Terrain includes the auto-locking rear differential, off-road suspension tuning, 17-in all-terrain tires, hill-descent control and cosmetic upgrades.
A safety package offers optional lane-departure and forward-collision alert systems. An optional spray-in bedliner is available.
The Canyon’s slightly smaller size makes it a good choice for light hauling in urban areas, where garageability is factor. There are no bargains in late-model, low-mileage pickups, but you’ll pay a bit less for a 4-cylinder 2WD Extended Cab than a well-kitted 4WD V6 Crew Cab.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2015 Canyon:
A misaligned driver’s front airbag inflator may fail to deploy the airbag in a crash or send debris into interior occupants during a deployment, creating an injury risk.
An incorrectly wired driver airbag may fail to deploy in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.
A faulty electric power steering connector may cause a steep increase in steering effort, creating an increased crash risk.
Brake fluid may seep from porous front brake calipers, increasing stopping distances and creating a crash risk.
Front seat frames may not be anchored properly to the floor, creating an increased injury risk in 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 2015 Canyon Extended Cab a 4-star rating overall, with four for frontal impacts, five for side impacts and three for rollover performance. It did not rate the Crew Cab.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2015 Canyon Crew Cab as Good for moderate-overlap front impacts. It did not rate the Crew Cab for other crash performance and did not test the 2015 Canyon Extended Cab.
GMC covers the 2015 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 can’t have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or newer. Every CPO GMC 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
2015 Nissan Frontier — The trusty Frontier continues in Extended (King) Cab and 4-door Crew Cab form, with a choice of a short or long bed, 2- or 4-wheel drive and a 152-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 261-hp V6. A spray-in factory bedliner and adjustable tie-down cleats are available. Max tow rating remains 6,500 lbs.
2015 Toyota Tacoma — The top-selling midsize Tacoma offers a 159-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or a 236-hp 4.0-liter V6 powering Access (extended) or Double (crew) Cabs. The Regular Cab is dropped. TRD Pro adds off-road chassis upgrades and special trim.
While it’s bigger than the 2004-2012 model, the all-new 2015 Canyon midsize pickup nevertheless offers a more fuel-efficient, garage-friendly and maneuverable alternative to full-size trucks. We recommend a V6-powered Canyon because it achieves nearly the same fuel economy as a 4-cylinder while offering greatly improved performance, particularly in hilly terrain. Look for a certified pre-owned truck or lower mileage example. Avoid modified trucks and get a vehicle history report. Make sure all safety recalls have been performed by a GM dealer.