2021 GMC Canyon AT4 review: An old truck with a few new tricks

The Canyon has regarded nice since its inception.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Think of the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 as a Chevy Colorado ZR2 for individuals who have by no means consumed Monster vitality drinks. It’s a little calmer, a little much less rugged, and whereas it is getting fairly old, it nonetheless makes for a strong off-road-oriented midsize pickup.


  • Burly exterior
  • Sufficiently easy on-road
  • Always-good infotainment

Don’t Like

  • Aging plastic-fantastic inside
  • A bit of mild on creature comforts
  • Missing driver assists

Butch exterior, blah inside

I’ve all the time appreciated the GMC Canyon’s design over its sibling, the Chevy Colorado. The fancier of the 2 has withstood the check of time a little higher, because of a reliance on butch rectilinearity that does not look practically as aged because the Colorado’s big-headlight mug. My tester’s $3,195 Off-Road Performance Edition Package zhushes issues up a little additional with 17-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, skid plates, black badges and a spray-on bedliner. The beefy 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires look fairly boss, too. The close to whole lack of chrome would not harm, both.

While the outside has held up, I can not say the identical for the inside, which is simply as Playskool plastic implausible as practically each different Canyon and Colorado trim. My AT4 tester tries to perk issues up with some cool leather-based entrance seats, and I like how the headrest seems to be built-in into the seat, however the cloth-seat AT4 prices $1,800 much less, which is price noting for consumers making an attempt to stay to a finances. There is a few fake stitching across the sprint, however I can run a finger over practically any floor and it principally feels onerous and low-cost, which is a little bit of a bummer on a $40,000 truck. If you need one thing resembling plushness, you may must go for the $45,000-plus Denali getup.

There’s some practicality to be discovered within the Canyon, however not a ton. The glove compartment and middle console armrest cubby are each a lot sizable, however the door pockets are tiny, and the non-compulsory wi-fi charger cannot accommodate fashionable Max-size iPhones ($389 at Amazon), a strong giveaway that this inside is on the brink of gather Social Security checks. The cup holders will maintain a 24-ounce plastic bottle, however nothing bigger, so Nalgene followers should determine one thing out. The crew cab’s rear seats are a little mild on legroom, however maybe we have been spoiled by all of the full-size crew cab trucks and their limousine-caliber second rows.

Perky V6, comfortable suspension

The Canyon AT4 will be had with a 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4, however most will possible sport the three.6-liter fuel V6, which produces 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, routed to all 4 wheels via an eight-speed computerized transmission. This mixture works properly, offering loads of low-end grunt with an unladen mattress, whereas the transmission operates easily, hardly ever trying to find gears or taking longer than it must. It’ll rise up and go at any time when wanted.

Fuel financial system is fairly respectable, too, and the truck has no subject reaching its EPA-estimated figures of 17 mpg metropolis and 24 mpg freeway. Those are solidly aggressive numbers, too, beating four-wheel-drive Toyota Tacoma variants by 1 to three mpg on the freeway (thanks partially to cylinder deactivation), though the Taco proves superior within the metropolis by about the identical delta.

On-road efficiency is rattling effective for a body-on-frame pickup. The off-road suspension is a little on the comfortable facet, so whereas it does a good job absorbing no matter crappy Michigan roads have to supply, it could possibly really feel a little boaty-floaty on expressway curves, and the off-road tires can wander a bit over sure varieties of pavement. The steering is properly balanced, and the brakes have good grip and good modulation.

The AT4’s inside is ok, however I’m unsure if GM’s definition of effective cuts it in 2021.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

While I did not get a likelihood to place the AT4 via its full off-road paces, there’s loads of package in right here to make it occur. All AT4s come with an off-road-tuned suspension, hill descent management, a locking rear differential, a two-speed switch case, and my tester ramps that up additional with the $3,195 efficiency pack that provides a entrance air dam delete, a 1-inch carry up entrance and extra underbody safety. It’s not as purely centered because the Colorado ZR2 with its entrance locker and even beefier suspension, nevertheless it’s fairly darn shut, and a majority of consumers will discover the AT4 greater than succesful sufficient to fulfill their wants.

Don’t fear, the Canyon AT4 remains to be strong for normal truck stuff, too. You can order it in a crew cab configuration with a selection of 61.7-inch or 74-inch beds. It’ll tow as much as 7,000 kilos, and it will haul about 1,500 kilos’ price of stuff within the mattress.

Tech hits and misses

Every GMC Canyon comes with an 8-inch touchscreen working Chevrolet’s newest infotainment system, and that is nice. The setup is easy, it is simple to navigate and it consists of each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto should you do not need to plunk down an extra $995 for manufacturing unit navigation. OnStar’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is normal, too, which I’ve all the time appreciated. The $395 Bose sound system improve is not too shabby, both, and looks as if a whole lot for people who find themselves all the time of their vans.

And then there’s the driver-assist tech. Chevrolet, and GM on the whole, has all the time taken a extra conservative strategy to those programs, sometimes counting on cheaper camera-based ahead collision warning (radar ain’t low-cost) or locking practically all programs behind a paywall. That’s sadly nonetheless the case with the Canyon AT4, which presents non-adaptive cruise management and rear parking sensors as normal. The solely improve prices $395 and provides forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and… that is it.

GM’s infotainment retains getting higher, nevertheless it’s already doing a lot properly for itself.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Any really fashionable conveniences like adaptive cruise management and computerized emergency braking require a journey to the Toyota dealership, as a result of that stuff is normal on each single Tacoma that rolls off the road. Get with the instances and cease the relentless bean counting, GM. Seriously. Some truck consumers would in all probability ditch airbags if it meant saving $500 on the window sticker, however generally it’s important to forestall individuals from changing into their very own worst enemy.

Down to brass tacks

Considering the common new-car transaction worth has eclipsed $40,000, I suppose I can not name the Canyon AT4 costly, nevertheless it positive feels it. Starting at $39,595 (together with vacation spot) with material seats, my leather-bedecked tester rings in with choices at $45,780.

Why GM would not take Toyota extra critically as an existential risk is past me. If you mix (and, generally, double) the gross sales of the GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado, they nonetheless cannot match the promoting energy of Toyota’s venerable midsize pickup. 

For what it’s, although, the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 is strong. It’s a horny pickup truck that provides extra off-road prowess than your common midsizer, with out requiring a deep-end leap into one thing extra purpose-built just like the ZR2. Let’s simply hope a new technology is on the horizon.

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