2017 GMC Canyon

2017 GMC Canyon Crew Cab Review

author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2017 GMC Canyon is a strong offering in the midsize truck segment thanks to a smooth ride, strong available engines and many available upscale features. It's not the best choice for heading off-road or for ultimate comfort, but it's easy to drive and has plenty of towing capability.

The pickup truck has become a much more user-friendly vehicle over the years. And right at the front of that movement is the 2017 GMC Canyon. A twin to the Chevrolet Colorado, the GMC Canyon is a midsize truck with all the truck capabilities you'll need, but it also comes with top-level features and a comfortable interior.

Depending on configuration, the Canyon can tow up to 7,700 pounds, so it's got the truck part covered. But it's also smooth and silent on the highway, and the interior is solidly built. Like a lot of modern trucks, the Canyon is versatile and a great tool for many different jobs, but it's got the special twist of being a bit more luxurious than the norm. So if you want a truck with lots of likable features to make the daily commute easier, and enough power to haul a big load on the weekend, we definitely recommend checking out the refined 2017 GMC Canyon.



What's new for 2017

For 2017, the GMC Canyon receives a revised V6 engine that's paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is a bit more powerful, though fuel economy ratings do not change significantly. There's also a new range-topping Denali trim level this year.

We recommend

Other than deciding on which engine and cab configuration to go with, picking a Canyon will depend largely on the number of creature comforts you need. We're fond of the midrange SLE trim level. The SLE comes with a nice collection of features, but it's also available with functional upgrades such as the All-Terrain package that adds an off-road-oriented suspension, a rear locking differential, hill descent control and heated seats. Though the SLT and Denali are appealing, most of their equipment can be had as optional extras on the SLE, so you can really pick and choose which items you need.



Trim levels & features

The 2017 GMC Canyon is a midsize pickup offered in two- and four-seat extended-cab and five-seat crew-cab body styles. There are two bed lengths and five trim levels to choose from: SL, base Canyon, SLE, SLT and the top-of-the-line Denali. The SL and base Canyon will likely be good choices if you're just looking for a basic truck — no big touchscreens or fancy ventilated seats here. Upgrade to the SLE, SLT or the top-of-the-range Denali and you'll unlock optional extras such as automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and wireless charging for cellphones.

Although the GMC Canyon is essentially a more upscale version of its Chevy Colorado sibling, there is an entry-level trim called the SL. The SL is offered only with the extended cab and loses the rear seat, and it comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine (200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed manual transmission, 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, a four-way power driver seat with manual recline, a tilt-only steering wheel, power windows, a rearview camera, and a six-speaker audio system with a 4.2-inch color display.

The next step up is the base Canyon model, which is available in both extended-cab and crew-cab body styles and adds a six-speed automatic transmission (crew-cab models) and fold-up rear jump seats (extended-cab models only). Also, the 3.6-liter V6 engine (308 hp and 275 lb-ft) comes standard on base crew-cab, extended-bed models, and it's available as an option on other configurations.

Significantly, the base Canyon presents option packages that aren't available on the SL. Notable features to look out for include remote keyless entry, cruise control and an audio system upgrade package that includes a version of Chevrolet's app-based MyLink system with Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch display screen, voice controls, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, OnStar telematics and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot-spot connectivity.

Instead of picking option packages for the base Canyon, you could upgrade to the SLE, which gets you most of the above as standard, plus 17-inch wheels, power side mirrors, upgraded interior trim materials, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and an upgraded version of the IntelliLink interface with an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, voice and steering wheel controls, and four USB ports (two for the music interface and two for charging).

Much like the base Canyon, the SLE gets most of its options in packages. The All-Terrain package (essentially GMC's equivalent of the off-road-focused Colorado Z71) bundles 17-inch dark-tinted alloy wheels and all-terrain tires, an off-road-oriented suspension, a rear locking differential, hill descent control, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat and distinctive cloth upholstery. Also available is the SLE Convenience package that includes automatic climate control, remote start and a sliding rear window.

Even with all those available options, a few things are still left on the table, and right near the top, there's the SLT trim. It gets all the SLE's standard equipment plus the contents of the SLE Convenience package. It also comes with the 3.6-liter V6 engine, 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery and the All-Terrain package's front seating upgrades (power adjustments and heating).

Both the SLE and SLT can be equipped with the optional Driver Alert package that features forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Other optional extras include the 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine (181 hp and 369 lb-ft) paired to a six-speed automatic, an upgraded seven-speaker Bose audio system and a navigation system (an enhancement of the standard 8-inch IntelliLink interface).

If you want all the creature comforts GMC can throw at you, and one of the most luxurious experiences you'll find in a midsize pickup, there's the Canyon Denali. The Denali gets the SLT's equipment plus the contents of the Driver Alert package, the upgraded Bose audio system, chrome 20-inch wheels, cargo lamps, a spray-in bedliner, heated and ventilated front seats, wireless charging for compatible cellphones and a heated steering wheel.



Driving

With appealing powertrains and lots of utility-friendly options, the 2017 GMC Canyon pickup delivers all the capability and strength you'd expect, plus significant refinement and comfort for a pickup. It also offers a surprising number of new features.

Acceleration

Fitted with the available V6 engine, the Canyon has plenty of oomph. The potent yet efficient turbodiesel four-cylinder is a compelling alternative, especially if you plan to do a lot of towing.

Braking

The 2017 Canyon has a firm, responsive brake pedal that inspires confidence in normal use, but we had some pedal fade during performance testing. The last Canyon we tested (with the old V6 engine) came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, an average distance for the segment.

Steering

The steering's power assist has appropriate weighting, helping it track straight as an arrow down the highway. The truck threads its way through switchbacks with precision, but the slow ratio does keep the driver's hands busy at the wheel.

Handling

You're not going to find a regular-issue pickup that feels sporty while driving around turns, but the Canyon actually tackles curves surprisingly well. Body roll is present, but it's never excessive. Confident handling is one of the Canyon's strong suits.

Drivability

Even though the Canyon is significantly smaller than the full-size GMC Sierra, it can still feel large in tight city confines, especially with the crew cab and the long bed. But unless you're trying to squeeze into a tight parking space, it remains manageable.

Off-road

The low-hanging front air dam will limit off-road use, but the All-Terrain package adds all-terrain tires, an off-road-oriented suspension, a rear locking differential and hill descent control.

Comfort

There's no mistaking the GMC Canyon as anything but a pickup from the outside, but in terms of comfort, it delivers the kind of pleasant accommodations that are normally reserved for SUVs. All-day road trips are effortless.

Seat comfort

The front seats are well-padded and supportive. They offer all-day livability, but larger-framed occupants could find them a bit confining. The crew cab's rear seats are well suited to adult passengers and offer adequate support.

Ride comfort

Driving a pickup without any cargo in the bed usually results in a busy ride over rough pavement, and the GMC Canyon is no different. But it never feels out of sorts. And with a few hundred pounds in the bed, it settles down nicely.

Noise & vibration

Wind and road noise is pleasantly silenced at highway speeds. There may be a bit of noise from the optional diesel engine, but the cockpit remains pretty quiet at highway speed. Despite its utilitarian intent, the Canyon is an easy place to spend a day.

Interior

Though there are some plastics that aren't exactly class-leading, the Canyon has a likable and well-organized cabin overall. The optional infotainment system is highly functional, and the Denali's interior features some appealing creature comforts, including ventilated seats.

Ease of use

The IntelliLink infotainment interface has quick responses and big, legible controls, and physical buttons are logically placed and easy to read.

Getting in/getting out

The GMC Canyon sits high enough off the ground that it takes almost as much effort to get in and out as with a full-size truck. The optional assist steps are a useful addition for smaller passengers.

Roominess

The crew-cab Canyon is the preferred choice if you cart around passengers. Space is plentiful up front, even for the tallest of drivers. The rear seats have an abundance of headroom, but taller folks may run out of legroom.

Visibility

The Canyon provides a commanding view of the road ahead. Rear-quarter visibility is OK but not great. The large side mirrors can hide vehicles or pedestrians, but they pay off in good rear visibility, especially when towing a trailer. A rearview camera is standard across the lineup.

Quality

The Canyon is built for tough conditions but doesn't skimp on interior quality. The controls have a solid and satisfying heft, and during our tests, we didn't hear any creaks.

Utility

The Canyon manages a good balance of abundant small item storage and respectable rear-seat cargo space. Buyers looking to maximize hauling capability, though, should go for the long-bed configuration.

Small-item storage

Small item storage in the Canyon is excellent. Cupholders, cubbies and pockets are everywhere. Under the rear seats are large storage areas that can be used to stow tools out of sight. The door pockets and the center console are a bit shallow.

Cargo space

Large bins and cupholders easily hold all your personal items. Rear seats fold for secure cargo hauling, and there's additional space underneath. The standard built-in step bumper and optional EZ-Lift tailgate make access to the bed that much easier.

Child safety seat accommodation

If you need the space for a child seat, you'll want to go with the crew-cab Canyon. Larger child seats will require moving the front seat forward, though, so there may not be room for a front passenger.

Towing

The max tow rating with the diesel is 7,700 pounds, which is at the top of the class. The V6 tops out at 7,000 pounds, and the base four-cylinder tops out at 3,500 pounds. The tow-haul mode is effective in tailoring transmission responses to your towing needs.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.