Pros: Stellar exterior styling for all trims; punchy powertrain; outstanding AT4X off-road trims; great tech and interior amenities
Cons: Only one cab/bed combination; gets expensive quick; firm ride for most trims
The 2024 GMC Canyon is an excellent midsize pickup. So is the Chevrolet Colorado, its bowtie-branded twin, though with the new generation, the Canyon does a better job than ever of differentiating itself. It starts with the styling where GMC offers a pick-your-own-adventure amongst the various trims. You can go classy and upscale with a Denali or rugged and mean with the AT4.
Off-road junkies can find all they might want in the Canyon lineup now, too, as the AT4X is basically the Colorado ZR2’s doppelganger, enjoying its magical Multimatic dampers for outstanding performance no matter the surface. And if you want even more extreme, there’s the AT4X AEV Edition. The turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain is more than potent with its 430 pound-feet of torque, and unlike the Colorado that offers various output levels, the Canyon only comes in the highest power spec no matter the trim level.
The one downside to the Canyon is its high price, but at least it backs that price up with tech and capability. In fact, the Canyon and Colorado are so good that they’ve instantly become some of our favorite pickups, regardless of size or segment. Needless to say, then, GMC’s version stacks up very well within its actual segment, leading us to prefer it over stalwarts like the Ford Ranger and Nissan Frontier. It might not have an efficiency answer to the Toyota Tacoma’s new hybrid variant, but the Canyon is about as good as it gets for the midsize truck segment in 2024.
The GMC Canyon was all-new for 2023, so there aren’t many changes for the truck in 2024. GMC did add a new model for the new year with the AT4X AEV Edition that improves off-road performance beyond the already impressive AT4X. You can find our first drive review of the AEV Edition here. Beyond the introduction of the AEV model, GMC makes the 11-inch digital instrument cluster standard across all trims – it was previously only installed on the Denali and AT4X. Other trims had an 8-inch version.
What are the Canyon’s interior and in-car technology like?
The cabin isn’t all screens, though, as GMC sticks with hard buttons/knobs for vital items like climate controls, drive modes and volume control (OK, so the headlights are oddly burrowed away in the touchscreen, which isn’t great). A hefty, traditional PRNDL shifter is slotted in the center console; and there is plenty of space in both the cupholders and door pockets for your beverage necessities.
GMC differentiates the Canyon from the Colorado with different air vent designs and unique dash trimmings. The AT4X (above, upper right) and Denali (above, lower left) set themselves apart the most. The Denali features beautiful laser-etched wood alongside fancy leather and artful stitching (we do a full Canyon Denali interior review here), while the AT4X gains sporty red accents throughout and high-quality leather.
How big is the Canyon?
The Canyon falls in the midsize class of pickups, and it’s on the larger side of the segment in overall footprint. It only comes in one body style: a crew cab with what would usually be considered a short bed, measuring 5 feet, 1 inch.
Inside, the front row of the Canyon feels mighty spacious and affords a commanding view of the road ahead as you sit high off the ground. The rear seat, as they tend to be in the midsize pickup segment, is a little cramped but still totally workable and comfortable for an average adult at 34.7 inches of rear legroom. Child seats are possible, especially when forward facing, but the rear latch anchor is difficult to use, and we highly recommend seeking professional help to securely fasten a seat in place.
The bed itself might look like a regular pickup’s bed at first glance, but its tailgate is hiding a neat trick with new in-tailgate storage that GMC refers to as the “MultiStow Tailgate.” A shallow storage bin of sorts on the inside of the tailgate can be flipped up and small items stowed in there. We could see it being helpful for things you always want on hand but don’t want flying around the bed, and possibly even convenient for tailgate parties as an additional place to put things.
While the Colorado offers different engine outputs, the Canyon only comes one way. Its 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, making it quite the torque monster. The only transmission is an eight-speed automatic, and while rear-wheel drive comes standard on the Elevation trim, four-wheel drive is standard on every other trim – it is optional on the Elevation. Fuel economy stands at 19 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mg combined with rear-wheel drive. Those figures drop to 18/22/19 mpg in non-AT4X four-wheel-drive variants. The numbers drop significantly lower for the AT4X, as it’s rated at 16/16/16 mpg. That would be the price of big, heavy and extra-grippy all-terrain tires.
What’s the Canyon like to drive?
How the Canyon rides and handles is largely dependent on if you go for the AT4X or any of the other trims. What is consistent across the trim lines, though, is the powertrain experience. All models enjoy the growly and rather punchy turbocharged four-cylinder, and this makes the Canyon surprisingly quick in a straight line. The massive torque at low rpm makes this engine feel far more potent than V6s in this segment do in low-speed driving, though it’ll take a certain type to enjoy the engine’s agricultural sound. Towing maxes out at 7,700 pounds for every trim but the AT4X, which sees a dip to a 6,000-pound max tow rating.
As for the ride, all Canyons outside of the AT4X feature the same suspension with passive dampers and a high ride height nicely suited for off-roading. The ride itself is a bit bouncy over poor pavement, though it doesn’t surpass any limits for being too uncomfortable in daily driving duties. So long as you’re accepting of a rough-and-tumble ride to go along with the rough-and-tumble looks, you’re going to be OK with the Canyon’s road composure.
Step up to the AT4X (the equivalent to a Colorado ZR2), and you’re looking at a totally different ballgame with that model’s high-tech Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers, extra inch of suspension lift and more serious wheel/tire combo for off-roading. Those dampers soak up large bumps both on- and off-road like they’re hardly even there, providing a cushy ride no matter the surface. They’re the ideal partner for high-speed off-roading in the desert, but don’t count the AT4X out in rock climbing scenarios. That especially goes for the AEV Edition (the equivalent to the Colorado ZR2 Bison) that gains even more off-road goodies like bigger 35-inch tires, higher ground clearance and a full array of underbody shielding. The truck is a bit slower with all the extra weight in off-roading gear and bigger tires, but there’s no better Canyon to go off-roading from the factory than this fully-loaded AEV get-up.
What other Chevrolet Canyon reviews can I read?
2024 GMC Canyon AT4X AEV Edition First Drive Review: The business-class Bison
Our first drive review of the Canyon AT4X AEV Edition where we take it off-road and sort out how the AEV upgrades help up its capabilities.
What is the 2024 Canyon’s price?
The GMC Canyon starts at $37,595, including the $1,595 destination charge. This gets you the Elevation trim that comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Should you want four-wheel drive, that adds $3,300 for a $40,895 base price. The Elevation trim comes nicely equipped with standard 17-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, a remote-locking tailgate, proximity entry and push-button start, manual front seats, the two large instrument and infotainment screens described above, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Google Built-in apps, three USB ports, and a six-speaker audio system. Annoyingly, the steering wheel is tilt-only; the other trims also get telescoping adjustment.
The AT4 adds key extras like trim-specific rugged styling, the MultiStow Tailgate, LED fog lamps, 18-inch wheels, power driver seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, 120V outlets in the bed and cabin, a manual sliding rear window, remote start and an extra rear USB port amongst many other small upgrades.