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

Butch exterior, including interior

I’ve always appreciated GMC Canyon’s design over its sibling, the Chevy Colorado. The finer of the two has managed the test of time a little better, thanks to an addiction to butch straightness that does not look nearly as old as Colorado’s big headlight mug. My tester’s $ 3,195 Off-Road Performance Edition package weakens things a little further with 17-inch glossy black aluminum rims, slide plates, black marks and a spray-on bed linen. The beefy 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires also look good. The almost total lack of chromium does not hurt either.

Although the exterior has held up, I can not say the same about the interior, which is as amazing Playskool plastic as almost all other Canyon and Colorado trims. My AT4 tester tries to spruce things up with some cool leather front seats, and I like the way the headrest looks integrated into the seat, but the AT4 fabric seat costs $ 1,800 less, which is worth noting for buyers trying to stick to a budget . There are some fake seams around the dashboard, but I can run my finger over almost any surface and it mostly feels hard and cheap, which is a bit of a bummer on a $ 40,000 truck. If you want something like a plush, you have to You choose the $ 45,000 plus Denali getup.

There are some handy features to be found in the Canyon, but not a ton. The glovebox and the center console armrests are both very large, but the door pockets are small, and the wireless charger (optional) can not accommodate modern iPhones in Max size, a solid giveaway that this interior is getting ready to collect social security checks. The cup holders will hold a 24-ounce plastic bottle, but nothing bigger, so Nalgene fans need to come up with something. The rear seats of the crew cabin are a bit light on the legroom, but we may have been spoiled with all the full-size crew cars and their other rows in limousine caliber.

Perky V6, soft suspension

The Canyon AT4 is available with a 2.8-liter inline-4 turbodiesel, but most will likely have a 3.6-liter V6 gas, which produces 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, directed to all four wheels by an eight-speed automatic transmission. This combination works well and provides lots of low grunting with an unloaded bed, while the transmission works smoothly, rarely chasing gears or taking longer than it needs. It gets up and goes when needed.

The fuel economy is also quite decent, and the truck has no problem reaching its EPA-estimated figures of 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. There are also highly competitive figures, which beat four-wheel-drive Toyota Tacoma variants by 1 to 3 mpg on the highway (thanks in part to cylinder closure), although Taco turns out to be superior in the city with roughly the same delta.

Performance on the road is damn good for a pickup with a body on a frame. The terrain suspension is a bit on the soft side, so even though it does a good job of absorbing all the crap Michigan roads have to offer, it can feel a bit boaty floating on highway curves and the terrain tires can wander around. piece over certain types of sidewalks. The steering is nicely balanced, and the brakes have good grip and fine modulation.

2021 GMC Canyon AT4

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2021 GMC Canyon AT4

AT4’s interior is good, but I’m not sure about GM’s definition of fine inserts on 2021.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Although I did not get a chance to put the AT4 through its full terrain steps, there are plenty of kits here to make it happen. All AT4s come with an off-road-tuned suspension, downhill control, a locking rear differential, a two-speed gearbox, and my tester ramps it up further with the $ 3,195 performance package that adds a front air-dust removal, a 1-inch lift front and extra underbody protection. It’s not as purely focused as the Colorado ZR2 with its front cabinet and even heavier suspension, but it’s pretty close, and a majority of buyers will find the AT4 more than capable enough to meet their needs.

Do not worry, Canyon AT4 is still good for ordinary truck stuff too. You can order it in a cab configuration with a choice of 61.7-inch or 74-inch beds. It will pull up to £ 7,000, and it will pull stuff worth £ 1,500 in bed.

Technical hits and misses

Each GMC Canyon comes with an 8-inch touch screen that runs Chevrolet’s latest infotainment system, and it’s amazing. The installation is simple, it is easy to navigate and it contains both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto if you do not want to pick up another $ 995 for factory navigation. OnStars 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is also standard, which I have always appreciated. The $ 395 Bose sound system upgrade is not too bad either, and seems like a good deal for people who are always in their trucks.

And so is the driver assistance technique. Chevrolet, and GM in general, have always taken a more conservative approach to these systems, sometimes relying on cheaper camera-based collision warning ahead (radar is not cheap) or locking almost any system behind a paywall. Unfortunately, this is still the case with the Canyon AT4, which offers non-adaptive cruise control and rear parking sensors as standard. The single upgrade costs $ 395 and adds a collision warning ahead, a lane departure warning and … that’s it.

2021 GMC Canyon AT4

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2021 GMC Canyon AT4

GM’s infotainment is getting better, but it’s already doing very well for itself.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

All truly modern conveniences such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking require a trip to Toyota’s dealers, as it is standard on every single Tacoma that rolls off the line. Keep up with the times and stop with the relentless prayer count, GM. Seriously. Some truck buyers would probably drop airbags if it meant saving $ 500 on the window sticker, but sometimes you have to prevent people from becoming their own worst enemy.

Down to brass pins

Given that the average transaction price for new cars has darkened $ 40,000, I guess I can not call the Canyon AT4 expensive, but it really feels like it. Starting at $ 39,595 (including destination) with fabric seats, my leather-trimmed tester calls in with options at $ 45,780.

Why GM does not take Toyota more seriously as an existential threat is sensible to me. If you combine (and sometimes double) sales of GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado, they still can not match the sales power of Toyota’s venerable mid-size pickup.

For what it is, the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 is solid. It’s an attractive pickup that offers more off-road skill than your average mid-size, without requiring a deep jump into something more custom-built like the ZR2. Let’s just hope that a new generation is on the horizon.

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