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2021 GMC Canyon vs. 2021 Ford Ranger: Which Is Better?


The 2021 GMC Canyon and the 2021 Ford Ranger are fresh versions of established models. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • GMC Canyon offers diesel and other powertrains.
  • Ford Ranger introduces high-performance Tremor model for 2021

2021 GMC Canyon

2021 GMC Canyon2021 GMC Canyon Crew Cab Base Price: $29,495 / Read our 2021 GMC Canyon Review 

What we like: Very garageable; available Duramax diesel can tow 7,700 pounds; Canyon Denali model refined; AT4 model ready for off-roading. 

What we would change: Offer MultiPro tailgate; make bed access easier; offer manual transmission; make trim level names more relevant. 

Overview: The 2021 GMC Canyon is a capable midsize pickup truck. It shines via a choice of powertrains including a 2.5-liter inline-4, a 3.6-liter V6, and the 2.8-liter Duramax Diesel which takes honors for best-in-class towing. It is easily configurable with two cabs and a pair of beds. Two- or four-wheel-drive models can take you almost anywhere. AT4 off-road trim includes 31-inch Goodyears and specially tuned suspension.

What’s new for 2021: Off-road AT4 model offers specialty accessories for trail busting. Improved Canyon Denali trim increases the luxury side of the equation.

Features and technology: The GMC Canyon is the perfect antidote to those tiring of the SUV routine. Between the communicative steering and the comfortable, you still feel as though you are behind the wheel of a family hauler instead of a work truck. Engine and drive choices cover all the bases, including 2WD and 4WD. Squared-off grille nearly resembles big-brother GMC Sierra. New trims range from awkwardly-named Elevation Standard and Elevation to more acceptable AT4 and Denali. While the Canyon is available with extended and crew cab models with short or long beds, the AT4 and Denali are both exclusively crew cab trucks. The base gas engine gets a 6-speed while the V6 gets an 8-speed automatic. The diesel mates to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

What does the future hold: Expect a mild refresh in 2022, with a model overhaul sometime around 2023.  See 2021 GMC Canyon models for sale near you

2021 Ford Ranger

2021 Ford Ranger2021 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Cab Base Price: $28,015 /  Read our 2021 Ford Ranger Review

What we like: Powerful but singular engine; strong fuel economy; 7,500-pound tow rating; best-in-class payload.

What we would change: Expand bed and cab options; offer other powertrain choices; smooth out the ride.

Overview: With a single engine choice, a pair of cab sizes, and two bed lengths some may claim the Ford Ranger has a limited reach. The hefty tow rating and best in class payload do the talking here and mix nicely with the high-tech infotainment and safety features.

What’s new for 2021: The Tremor Off-Road package is new for 2021.

Features and technology: The Ranger returns to the midsize fold as a very versatile truck that can help others forget the previous model. Power supplies from a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline 4-cylinder engine developing 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. That power is sent to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Passengers will appreciate the SuperCrew cab over the tighter SuperCab. The Blind Spot Monitoring system is tow-optimized to extend reward vision for whatever length is towed behind the truck. Combined with the Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker audio system, these are our two favorite options. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 safety suite is available on all models; Optional on the XL, standard on XLT and Lariat trim levels.

What does the future hold: The trail-busting Ford Tremor is new for 2021. Expect the current design to undergo minor trim changes during the next two or three years. See 2021 Ford Ranger Models for sale near you

Canyon vs. Ranger: Strengths comparison

GMC Canyon benefits: Diesel powertrain, with best in class towing.

Ford Ranger benefits: Best in class payload, fuel-efficient engine and strong towing.

2021 GMC Canyon vs. 2021 Ford Ranger: Which is better?

The Ford Ranger has best-in-class payload, but the GMC Canyon with its Duramax Diesel powertrain achieves best-in-class towing. For that reason, the GMC Canyon is better. Find a GMC Canyon for sale or Find a Ford Ranger for sale 

2021 GMC Canyon 2021 Ford Ranger
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter I4 2.3-liter Turbo I4
Horsepower 200 @ 6,300 rpm 270 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque 191 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm 310 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission 6-spd automatic 10-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 22 mpg (19 city/25 highway) 23 mpg (21 city/26 highway)
Also Available 3.6-liter V6, 2.8-liter Duramax Turbodiesel, 4WD, off-road packages  AWD; Cabs and Beds; Tremor off-road package
Specs
Warranty 3years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 4 stars 4 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 128.3 inches 126.8 inches
Overall Length 212.7 inches 210.8 inches
Width 74.3 inches 77.8 inches
Height 70.7 inches 71.1 inches
Turning Diameter 41.3 feet 42.0 feet
Headroom, Front 41.4 inches 41.0 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.3 inches 38.3 inches
Legroom, Front 45.0 inches 43.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.8 inches 34.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 57.5 inches 56.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.2 inches 56.3 inches
EPA Passenger Volume N/A cubic feet 97.6 cubic feet
Max Payload 1,775 pounds 2,128 pounds

Mark Elias
Mark Elias is a writer and photographer specializing in automotive topics ranging from new and used cars to classics and motorsports. His first car was a Matchbox Jaguar D-Type. From there, things have only become larger. During his professional career, he has been a staff photographer for the Associated Press, a contract photographer for Bloomberg News, and a contributor to automotive outlets... Read More about Mark Elias

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