Not long after the reveal of the newly redesigned 2015 Chevrolet Colorado at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, people began to wonder when GM would debut its other small-truck offering, the 2015 GMC Canyon. All that wondering stopped the day before the 2014 North American International Auto Show when we got a closeup look at the newest little pickup. As expected, this new Canyon will give GMC buyers the same three-truck choice (midsize, full-size and heavy-duty) that Chevrolet buyers will have.
The new Canyons will be founded on the same two wheelbases (128 and 140 inches) and body configurations (extended and crew cabs) offered for the Colorado, as well as two bed lengths for the crew cab. The extended cab version will have conventional rear-hinged doors (unlike the full-size Sierra) and will only offer a 6-foot, 2-inch bed length at this time. Like the Colorado, the Canyon will not offer a regular-cab version because there will be a less expensive rear-seat-delete option (extended cab only) available that will effectively fill that slot.
Canyons will have three trim packages, starting with a well-equipped base model and moving up to the SLE and SLT. All three will be offered in two-wheel and four-wheel drive. GMC will exclusively offer an All Terrain Package that can be stacked on top of SLE models; it will effectively be the "sportier" option package for the pickup, similar to the Z71 trim level offered on the Colorado. The All Terrain Package includes unique 17-inch aluminum wheels and all-terrain tires, a body-colored grille, special badging inside and outside, uniquely tuned springs and shocks, and a special steering wheel.
All the mechanicals on the new Canyon will be similar, if not identical, to its platform twin the Colorado, with two engines available at the introduction and another coming online in 2016. The base engine will be a 2.5-liter inline-four gasser that's estimated to produce 193 horsepower; only this engine will offer a six-speed manual option.
The larger, optional gas engine will be the 3.6-liter V-6 (offered in a number of GM cars, crossovers and SUVs) and will likely offer more than 300 horsepower. Both gas engines feature direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, aluminum blocks, dual overhead cams, jet-spray piston cooling and a forged steel crankshaft.
The premium optional engine will be the brand-new (for U.S. markets) Duramax turbo-diesel 2.8-liter inline-four engine, available for the 2016 model year. No power output estimates are official yet, but some estimates have numbers in the neighborhood of 180 hp and upward of 350 pounds-feet of torque.
As the premium entry in the segment, the Canyon will be filled with special details and standard features. In fact, all Canyons will feature active grille shutters to help with aerodynamics, as well as efficient engine cooling; this was first seen on the Ram 1500 HFE. The corner bumper step (pioneered in both the GM full-size pickups) will be standard on Canyons, as will 16-inch aluminum rims, rear fender-well liners, a backup camera and projector headlamps.
Many of the same technology improvements that made it onto the full-size Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500s have made their way onto the new Canyon. The frame, although quite different in size and capability, uses many of the bigger pickups' design and strengthening techniques to make it strong but light. Although the specifics about the exact payload and towing capabilities have not been released, GM has said it will have class-leading numbers of 1,450 pounds of carrying capacity and 6,700 pounds of maximum towing. It's worth noting the front and rear suspension strategies for this new Canyon are identical in design to the global Colorado, but every part, we're told, has been retooled in order to better serve the U.S. consumer.
Other vastly upgraded features include a unique, more bubbled and organic-looking front grille; a more sculpted interior center console and door panel; a much more user-friendly pickup bed (which will include an optional EZ Lift-and-Lower locking tailgate); and this truck gets GMC's ProGrade protection plan that will include two years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first) of free scheduled oil changes, tire rotations and 27-point inspections. The truck will offer a limited warranty of three years or 36,000 miles, as well as a limited powertrain warranty for five years or 100,000 miles.
Finally, the new Canyon will offer more optional high-tech and safety features than any other pickup in the class, including lane departure warning, collision alert, StabiliTrak, rollover mitigation, trailer-sway control, a new 8-inch navigation screen, built-in 4G WiFi hotspot, available next-gen OnStar and much more. Of special note, the GMC Canyon will have a unique AutoTrac four-wheel-drive transfer case, similar in design and capability to the one in the full-size pickups that will give the driver a choice between two-wheel drive and full-time all-wheel-drive mode, as well as a 4-High Lock and 4-Low Lock functions.
Pricing for the Canyon has not been released but you can bet with all these options, pricing could get into the lower ranges of full-size pickup pricing, so GM will have be very careful. Production of the new midsize pickups at the newly refurbished Wentzville, Mo., plant should begin in the fall, with trucks making it to dealerships soon after. We should get a chance to get behind the wheel of the truck later this summer.
To read the full press release, click here.
To read the full specification chart, click here.
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To see our video reviews of the 2015 GMC Canyon, click here.