2008 GMC Canyon Extended Cab Review | Edmunds.com

2008 GMC Canyon Extended Cab

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
GMC Canyon Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.9 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 185 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 GMC Canyon

  • The 2008 GMC Canyon is an attractively styled, light-duty pickup that appears competitive on paper. But out in the real world where performance, passenger comfort and overall build quality really count, it doesn't quite measure up to its rivals from Dodge, Nissan and Toyota.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Affordable, composed handling on- and off-road, good crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Engines lack power compared to rivals, mediocre towing capacity, subpar fit and finish, awkwardly shaped seats.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 GMC Canyon is largely unchanged from last year.

Full 2008 GMC Canyon Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 GMC Canyon is largely unchanged from last year.

Introduction

At first glance, the 2008 GMC Canyon would seem to offer much of what a compact truck shopper is looking for. It has distinctively rugged styling, efficient and capable power, available extended-cab and crew cab body configurations, and a choice of two- or four-wheel-drive configurations plus a popular off-road package.

Unfortunately, the attraction ends when you open the door and start the engine. Despite improvements over the years, seating comfort and cabin materials still leave much to be desired. Same with the driving experience -- even with its optional five-cylinder engine, the Canyon's performance simply can't match that of the bigger V6s or V8s available in most of the Chevy's rivals. If you're more concerned about ride and handling dynamics than brute power, the good news is that the 2008 GMC Canyon offers a choice of well-calibrated suspension setups that provide composed moves whether on-pavement or off.

The Canyon's biggest drawback, however, is that it gives the impression of being cheap -- which is all the more apparent in a segment filled with more polished rivals that have moved beyond mere value and simple functionality. The Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are simply better trucks in almost every regard. If you're a budget-minded shopper with light-duty usage in mind, you might investigate further. But if you've set your sights on a refined and thoroughly capable small pickup, we suggest looking elsewhere or waiting for a much-needed makeover.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 GMC Canyon is a compact truck available with two- or four-wheel drive in three body style configurations: regular cab, extended cab (with short reverse-opening doors) or crew cab with four regular forward-swinging doors. Crew cabs come with a 5-foot cargo box while other Canyons feature a 6-footer.

There are three primary trim levels to choose from on regular- and extended-cab models -- the base SL, SLE and top-of-the-line SLT. (There is a "Work Truck" for commercial customers.) The crew cab is offered in SLE and SLT trims only. The SL comes equipped with 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, cruise control, air-conditioning, 60/40-split cloth front seat, a tilting leather-wrapped steering wheel and an AM/FM stereo. The SLE adds OnStar, an upgraded front bench, a CD/MP3 player and options not available on the SL. SLE extended and crew cab models include full power accessories and keyless entry, while SLE Crew Cabs come with standard front bucket seats. The SLT adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery and heated power front bucket seats.

Several packages are available to tailor the Canyon to specific duties. The Z71 "High Stance Off-Road" suspension package offers a taller ride height, along with a locking rear differential, oversize tires and skid plates on 4WD models. The ZQ8 "Sport" suspension, available on 2WD models only, is geared toward street performance, with a lowered suspension, quicker steering and 18-inch wheels fitted with performance tires. Other options include XM Satellite Radio and a "Sun and Sound" package that bundles a six-CD changer with a power sunroof.

Powertrains and Performance

After a power boost last year, both Canyon engines carry over in 2008: The standard 2.9-liter four-cylinder makes 185 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque, and an optional 3.7-liter inline five-cylinder produces 242 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on most four-cylinder Canyons, while a four-speed automatic is standard on five-cylinder trucks and optional with the smaller engine.

Although their outputs are more than adequate, the Canyon's engines can't match the power and performance of the V6s and V8s offered by the competition. The news is better on the fuel economy front, ranging from 18 mpg/city and 24 mpg/highway on four-cylinder regular cabs down to 15 mpg/city and 20 mpg/highway on 4WD crew cabs. Four-wheel-drive models feature a two-speed transfer case with push-button controls and an optional locking rear differential. Maximum towing capacity is limited to 4,000 pounds, which is below average for this type of truck.

Safety

The 2008 GMC Canyon features standard antilock brakes and OnStar emergency communications, with optional head curtain side-impact airbags and traction control (on 2WD vehicles with automatic transmissions). In government front-impact crash tests, the GMC Canyon crew cab earned a perfect five stars for the protection of the driver and front passenger. Other Canyons earned four stars in those tests. Side-impact testing resulted in four stars out of five for front occupant protection, and five stars for rear passengers in crew cab models. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash testing, the Canyon garnered a highest possible "Good" rating.

Interior Design and Special Features

While its competitors have gotten more luxurious and refined in recent years, the Canyon remains saddled with subpar materials, an abundance of hard plastic and mediocre seat comfort. The layout of controls and gauges gets high marks, however, for their simple and straightforward design. There's lots of room up front, though rear legroom is tight in both extended cab and crew cab models. Rear entry/exit can also be awkward due to small rear door openings. A dual-position tailgate can be secured partially open to better support the carrying of 4x8 sheets that ride on top of the wheelwells.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 GMC Canyon's inline four- and five-cylinder engines are reasonably smooth, though acceleration and hauling performance is lackluster compared to the larger V6s of its competitors. The four-speed automatic transmission doesn't offer as many gears as its rivals, but its shifts are smooth and well-timed. The Canyon's standard suspension is softly tuned for a comfortable ride, and when fitted with the available Z71 off-road suspension package, the Canyon performs well off-highway. GMC's small truck is relatively quiet around town, though wind noise around the doors picks up at highway speeds.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Brake problems

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Canyon SLE 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M)

The day I picked it up the head lights would not shut off and brake pedal went almost to the floor. the Dealer fixed the head lights and was told the brakes were ok they are all like that. Back to the dealer for wipers that turned on by their self and low tire light coming on for on reason. Took vehicle to a none dealer service station were they trued the rear drums and solved the brake problem.




Like it so far...

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Canyon SLE 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M)

I have only had my Canyon for about a month now and have put on about 800 miles. I like the interior, the exterior styling, power and handling of this truck. I bought a GMC (only my second new US vehicle) after pricing a comparable Toyota Tacoma. I had a '97 Tacoma which was a good truck, but for an '08 with the options I wanted, it would have cost around $5K more than the GMC. So far the only thing I am disapointed in is the MPG. I should get 16/23 with the 4 cyl automatic, but so far have just barely done better than 16 on the first few tanks (mostly hwy). Hopefully this is due to driving a few times in 4WD, and I imagine the mileage is worse in cold weather due to thicker fluids.




Best truck for my money

by on
Vehicle: 2008 GMC Canyon SLE 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M)

I previously had 2005 GMC Reg cab with 4cyl and Auto trans. Drove around 67000 mi. Purchased current 2008 GMC SLE ext cab 3.7 5 cylinder with auto trans and locking rear. Fantastic truck with Great towing ability! I think for the money spent and the 5yr /100000 mi warranty that comes with this truck. This is probably the best buy out there



Talk About The 2008 Canyon

2008 GMC Canyon Discussions See all Started By

biffdotorg
biffdotorg
12-23-2014
That comment threw me off. After owning a 2004 and 2008 Colorado with bucket seats and driving the 2015 Canyon with bucket seats, I have not experienced it being off centered....


jeffbii
jeffbii
07-02-2013
First test was out west and through Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park area...



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  • 18
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  • 24
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