(Review) To truck or not to truck, that is the truck: GMC’S 2015 4×4 Canyon CrewCab

Words + Kodaks: Angus MacKenzie

As perogies, champignons and kolbasa are to Edmonton; so it is that trucks, Black Angus and petroleum contractors are to the Calgary landscape. Why a person can’t swing a former provincial MP about by the blue shirt without hitting an F-150 in the face. So in keeping with the city’s truck-leaning mandate, I chose to become one of the truckophiles and experience GMC’s 2015 4×4 Canyon CrewCab about the prairie grasslands and Timothy Horton’s earlier this month.

Our designated Canyon tester, priced out at CAD$42,045.00, came outfitted with GM’s optional Z71 Off-Road Suspension Package and; P255/65R 17” aluminum wheels (very nice), All Terrain Package, Tow/Haul Mode, Chrome ‘Assistyourassintothetruck’ Sidesteps, a texturey spray-on black bedliner and GearOn Bar package, Hill Descent Ctrl which worked well on the 8 ft testing slope, power everything and GM’s newish audio/wifi/navigational/satellite system. The interface actually seemed easier this time, which I either attribute to a redesigned system or to my ‘very slow learning new technology’ disease.

GMC’s 5-person Canyon resides in a most competitive segment where it’s required to go head to head with Ford’s best selling F-150 and Dodge RAM’s truckster offering. In the city there are definitely strong brand loyalties at play, especially between Ford and GM. This loyalty is typically demonstrated in graphical representation on the back window of the truck, with one Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes) peeing on either the Ford or Chevy logo. Dependent of course on where the truckster’s loyalties reside.

GMC's Canyon McTruckster in its natural Alberta environment

GMC’s Canyon McTruckster in its natural Alberta environment (photo. Angus MacKenzie)

Calvin’s urinary habits aside, I personally have no brand loyalties to any of the truck mfcs. I will say that, overall I did enjoy the Canyon, in spite of what I felt to be too small of a powerplant. I found it comfortable inside with good ergonomical considerations. I felt the overall build and driveline mixings worked quite well. Steering feel and feedback was excellent in the parking lots, about the general city area and a short stint on the highway.

On the critical side, the suspension was a bit bouncy stiff for my liking. However, when ride expectations were adjusted to truck mode then I learned to accept the stiffer ride in exchange for tow capacity and load bearing abilities.

The gearbox showed itself to be good at its job, but there was at times gear-selection confusion under certain acceleration conditions. The hesitational issue seemed to happen in the 1200-1600 rpm range when throttle inputs, gear selection and roadspeed couldn’t quite agree on 2nd gear or upshifting to 3rd. The vacillation situation wouldn’t be a deal killer was I looking to buy but I’d like to see GM address the concern.

This is where the real truck happens (photo. Angus MacKenzie)

Canyon’s lined bed, where the real truck happens (photo. Angus MacKenzie)

Stylistically, the Canyon is a good looking truck. There I said it. The red certainly didn’t hurt the argument. GM’s signature bevel/emboss stamping details are there on the hood and fender. This stamping trick, found on most all of GM’s truck/SUV line, helps to break up the horizontal massing visual while also drawing attention to the truck’s ample haunches.

Otherwise, the Canyon, well it looks like a truck. Mission accomplished. I can maybe also add I found the 2015 to be a more attractive, more stylized truck than its predecessor. Oh, and the headlights and grillwork proved rather photogenic. (see gallery)

But instead of me rambling on in run-on sentences and verbological assessments, I thought I’d revise down the remainder of the review to a short, point form type format. When you’re done, there are images and coffee in the gallery.

  • Canyon runs a a 3.6 liter VVT V6, good for 305 hp @ 6800 rpm and 269 ft.lb of torque @4000 rpm
  • mandated as inner city/urban truck with the brochure placing the Canyon in front of contemporary, estate like homes
  • targeted demographic, urban guy wants the 4 seats but needs the truck to move pool toys, bikes, camping stuff about
  • ride is firm, perhaps too firm for inner city types
  • tractional abilities good in 4×4 high and low…no stick in the mud
  • hill descent does the job rather nicely in the slippery wet grass
  • ride is comfortable on smoother roads with positive wheel feel
  • Believe it’s the same VVT V6 running in the Impala and Caddy
  • Engine power at 305 hp is light in my opinion, especially given weight of the Canyon and towing/hauling mandate
  • Like to see a diesel option or more torquey V6
  • 6-speed autobox from other applications is used in the Canyon
  • maybe best for towing boats or trailers but would wonder how would handle pulling slabs of granite
  • inner city driving means readjusting driving style and parking choices because of size
  • rear leg and head room in the back satisfactory for most adults and/or larger children
  • maneuverability exceptional considering the length of the red beasty
  • seats comfy and easy to make so
  • dashboard and  gauge control styling is clean and utilitarian in treatment
  • Echo & The Bunnymen’s Dancing Horses proved acoustically at home in the Canyon’s cab
  • styling is more contemporary than previous model…now features bevel/emboss fender treatments and power bump on the hood…looks to have been influenced by Toyota’s Tundra on rear pillars
  • grille work features three horizontal chrome bars set against a tallish, imposing vertical face
  • ride height more than adequate for chasing down photographical opportunities in tall, unkempt grasses of abandoned farm fields while pre-pubescent antlered deer graze by with apathy
  • locking differential helps to keep rear wheels effective even when 4×4 not engaged
  • tow mode capable of pulling up to 7000 lb
  • used the bed and removable cross members to tied down a pressure washer…so those work
  • rear bed has a myriad of attachment capabilities for bikes, kayaks, etc tying down loads, etc
  • mileage after the week averaged out at 15.1 liter/100 km…marketing materials put ideally at 13.1 /100 km

Given I’m not a truck guy I had to reconfigure my vehicular expectations and driving styles for the week. But the Canyon didn’t disappoint in the mucky bits, on pavement or at the Tim’s drivethru. Plant a torquier powerplant under the stamped bonnet and Bob’s your uncle.

Source: GM Canada

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