2018 GMC Canyon

2018 GMC Canyon Review

Powerful and easy to drive, the GMC Canyon is a smart pick for a midsize truck.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

While midsize trucks aren't as robust as their full-size brethren, they still offer an impressive amount of capability. They're also easier to park and typically get better fuel economy. For a solid example of the breed, check out the 2018 GMC Canyon.

With the Canyon, which is a marginally more upscale version of the Chevy Colorado pickup, you get those midsize truck traits plus a comfortable highway ride and a stout maximum tow rating of 7,700 pounds. The Colorado also offers a strong 308-horsepower V6 engine or a fuel-efficient four-cylinder diesel. Lots of optional features, such as forward collision warning and an 8-inch infotainment system, round out the Canyon's appeal.

The Canyon does have some drawbacks, such as limited off-road ability and front seats that can feel a little confining for some folks. Overall, though, we think GMC's Canyon is a smart pick for a midsize truck.

Notably, we picked the 2018 GMC Canyon Diesel as one of Edmunds' Best Trucks for this year.



what's new

For 2018, trailering assist guidelines have been added to the Canyon's rearview camera. They're optional on the base and SLE trim levels and come standard on SLT and Denali trims. Also, the standard 4.2-inch center screen has been replaced by last year's optional 7-inch screen that comes with Bluetooth connectivity and voice controls.

we recommend

We like the SLE trim level for the 2018 GMC Canyon. While the SLT and Denali get more luxury appointments, the SLE is a better value and is available with almost all the same equipment. The SLE gets upgraded interior trim materials from the lower-level SL, and an upgraded 8-inch-touchscreen version of the IntelliLink infotainment interface, smartphone connectivity and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Off-road, safety and convenience packages are also available should you want them.




trim levels & features

The 2018 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.

Although the GMC Canyon is 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. It lacks rear seats and it comes standard with a 2.5-liter 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, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, voice commands, a USB port and a six-speaker sound system.

The next step up is the base Canyon trim, which is available in both extended-cab and crew-cab body styles and adds a six-speed automatic transmission (optional or standard, depending on the configuration) and fold-up rear jump seats (extended-cab models only). A 3.6-liter V6 engine (308 hp and 275 lb-ft) paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission is also optional or standard here depending on the configuration.

Significantly, the base Canyon can be ordered with some options packages that aren't available on the SL. Notable features to look out for include remote keyless entry, an easy-lift tailgate, cruise control and a trailering package.

Instead of picking options packages for the base Canyon, you could just upgrade to the SLE. It 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, an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, OnStar connectivity (with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot) and three extra USB ports.

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. The optional SLE Convenience package 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 standard 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 turbocharged 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 is also among the extras.

If you want all the creature comforts GMC can throw at you, 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, navigation, 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.



trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab (3.6L V6 | 8-speed automatic | 4WD | 5-foot-1-inch bed).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

4.0 / 5.0

Acceleration4.5 / 5.0
Braking3.5 / 5.0
Steering3.5 / 5.0
Handling4.0 / 5.0
Drivability4.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5.0
Climate control4.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Driving position4.5 / 5.0
Roominess3.5 / 5.0
Visibility3.5 / 5.0
Quality4.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space2.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation4.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration5.0 / 5.0
Voice control3.5 / 5.0

Driving

edmunds rating
Our Denali tester had 3.6-liter V6, which provides solid thrust. Though bulky for a midsize truck, it steers and brakes more tidily than its competition. When it comes to overall performance for midsize pickups, only the mechanically identical Chevrolet Colorado can compete.

Acceleration

edmunds rating
The Canyon's revised 3.6-liter V6 pulls with authority from low revs, and compared to the outgoing engine it sounds and feels less coarse at high rpm. Our fully optioned Canyon Denali 4x4 test truck reached 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is quicker than the Nissan Frontier or Toyota Tacoma.

Braking

edmunds rating
The brakes are easy to modulate and inspire confidence in routine driving conditions. This firm pedal becomes vague in moderately hard stops, though the truck remained composed during aggressive panic stops. Our panic stop from 60 mph required 122 feet, a good result.

Steering

edmunds rating
The steering has appropriate weighting but lacks feel. Good buildup of effort makes it easy to maintain a steady course within your lane. On winding roads, the truck threads its way through switchbacks with commendable precision, but the slow ratio does keep the driver's hands busy.

Handling

edmunds rating
Confident, reasonably carlike handling is a strength. Body roll is present but not excessive. You're not going to find many 4,600-pound pickups that feel sporty while cornering, but the Canyon comports itself well in any everyday driving situation. That said, it does feel large in tight confines.

Drivability

edmunds rating
The shifts from the eight-speed automatic transmission are admirably smooth. The transmission wants to stay in higher gears in the name of fuel economy, but it's much more willing to downshift than the six-speed in the 2015 and 2016 Canyons, and it's far more agreeable than the Toyota Tacoma's.

Comfort

edmunds rating
While unmistakably a pickup from the outside, the Canyon's cabin comfort and features are far from basic. It's fundamentally refined, with very good noise isolation and effective climate control. The Canyon is easily up for long road trips — an unusual trait in a midsize pickup.

Seat comfort

edmunds rating
Upmarket Denali's seats accommodate a wider range of people than the Colorado's. Good comfort on long drives despite firm backrests and a slight lack of lateral support. The back seat has a flat, upright backrest with little thigh support but manages to fit adults with decent comfort on short trips.

Ride comfort

edmunds rating
It swallows pavement irregularities well enough. Driving a pickup over rough roads without any cargo in the bed usually results in a bouncy ride, and the GMC Canyon doesn't fully escape this reality. But it never feels out of sorts, and with a few hundred pounds in the bed, it settles down nicely.

Noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Wind and road noise is pleasantly silenced at highway speeds. Although the engine can sound unrefined during hard acceleration, the cockpit remains pretty quiet. Despite its utilitarian intent, the Canyon is an easy place to spend a day. This is a civilized place to be.

Climate control

edmunds rating
The two-knob interface is simple and easy to use. The automatic climate control capably maintains the target temperature and can cool the cabin down rapidly. Vents are good-sized and easy to aim.

Interior

edmunds rating
The Canyon's interior (and that of the nearly identical Chevy Colorado) is logically laid out. Simple knob interfaces are effective and easy to use without looking. The infotainment system is showing its age. This Denali has more creature comforts inside than any other midsize pickup.

Ease of use

edmunds rating
The cabin's physical buttons and knobs are logically placed and fall readily to hand. The IntelliLink infotainment interface's screen flow, however, can confound at times when using the radio or navigation controls for which there are no redundant hard keys.

Getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The Canyon's seat is high enough off the ground that it takes almost as much effort to get in and out as with a full-size truck. The step bars will help shorter drivers a bit but are in the way for taller drivers. Backseat access hampered by narrow doors and high step.

Driving position

edmunds rating
The steering wheel telescopes far more than a Tacoma's and has a suitable grip diameter. Very large range for driver seat height. Tall drivers may not even need to set the seat all the way down. Natural-feeling leg position unlike in the Tacoma.

Roominess

edmunds rating
Space is plentiful up front for even the tallest of drivers. The rear seats have an abundance of headroom, but taller folks may run out of legroom. This cabin isn't nearly as wide as that of the Ridgeline, which also boasts better rear legroom.

Visibility

edmunds rating
The Canyon affords a commanding view of the road ahead thanks to tall windows and large windshield. Side mirrors are of average size. Rear-quarter visibility is OK but not great. A rearview camera is standard but has a somewhat murky display.

Quality

edmunds rating
The Canyon is built for tough conditions but doesn't skimp on interior quality. Controls have a solid and satisfying heft, and there weren't any creaks to be heard. Except for the Ridgeline, the GMC and Chevy twins have the best build quality in the class.

Utility

edmunds rating
Tow ratings lead the class, but the bed is rather basic compared to competitors, and the tailgate lip and bed sides are high. Handy bumper steps help. When it's time to haul things inside instead of people, the backseat folding design is not nearly as well-executed as the competition.

Small-item storage

edmunds rating
Very deep console bin, reasonable glovebox, average cupholders. Front door storage is limited to very shallow pockets and a tiny cupholder. There are storage compartments under the rear-seat bottoms, but they're awfully small. The Ridgeline does a better job.

Cargo space

edmunds rating
In-cab cargo space isn't nearly as useful as in the Tacoma or Ridgeline because the rear seatbacks simply fold down atop the seat bottoms and create a high, uneven space. You can fold the seat bottoms up instead, but there's not much under there because of the bulky seat base design.

Child safety seat accommodation

edmunds rating
The outboard rear seats both offer LATCH points, although the tether anchors are difficult to access. Larger rear-facing seats will impinge on front-seat travel. The rear-seat height means getting seats and infants into the rear requires lifting, which may be troublesome to shorter buyers.

Towing

edmunds rating
The max tow rating is 7,000 pounds, which is 500 pounds more than competitors. Diesel variants are rated to tow 7,700 pounds. Tow-haul mode modifies only the transmission shift points. The Denali includes a hitch and seven-pin connector. An integrated trailer brake controller is optional.

Hauling

edmunds rating
Payload capacity of our 4,607-pound test truck works out to 1,393 pounds, which is good, but trails the Ridgeline's slightly. The bed sides and tailgate lip are high. Numerous tie-down locations help with functionality, but the Tacoma and Ridgeline have power outlets, composite beds and more tie-downs.

Technology

edmunds rating
Smartphone integration is well-executed and looks great on the large, high-resolution screen. Very rapid responses to touch inputs is a big advance over the outgoing system. The native navigation and audio controls are good most of the time.

Audio & navigation

edmunds rating
Intellilink screen responds quickly to touches. The screenflow is not always intuitive, such as swiping for radio and reverting to map centering. The map graphics are on the old-school side but are clear and don't wash out.

Smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Has two USB jacks up front, and supports Bluetooth phone and streaming audio. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported and are easy to use, and by plugging in and using those you can bypass the Bluetooth pairing process and take advantage of the large screen for your phone's map display.

Voice control

edmunds rating
Voice controls are hit or miss. The menu structure is good but the vocabulary recognition isn't as good as smartphone ones. Makes for frustrating entry of navigation. You'll feel better if you hold the voice button longer to access your paired phone's voice commands instead.

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.