After six months and 10,000 miles, we are saying goodbye to our 2015 GMC Canyon long-term tester.
This little truck has seen its fair share of hard work in our hands. I’ve had a 6,300-lb Airstream on the hitch, pushing the midsize truck close it its towing limit. Every snowmobile ride I went on this winter was facilitated by the Canyon, which was tasked with pulling a 4,000-lb trailer plus three adults and heaps of gear through the bitter cold. My vegetable garden also came together thanks to the small GMC, which brought home 1,300 lbs of soil. Not to mention all of the commuting I’ve done in and out of the city.
Job after job, the Canyon has nearly always left me impressed. The 3.6-liter V6 under the hood is plenty powerful for this truck. I occasionally wanted a little more low-end grunt, but once this V6 is wound up to near redline at 6,800 rpm, it churns out all the power you’ll ever need, especially for the majority of buyers who will never hook up more than a jet ski or small boat to the back end. Our transmission wasn’t seamless, with occasional rough, clunky shifts and some strange lag early on in its life, though the lag has disappeared and the shifts do seem to be getting smoother the more I drive.
Up front, the layout, design and ergonomics of all of the controls is absolutely spot on. The radio controls on the back of the steering wheel coupled with two D-pads on the front offer control of every system you need while driving. Surfing through your presets, navigating through different forms of media and finding all of the truck’s stats is dead simple, with the intellilink system offering quick operation and a clean, organized layout on the small LCD screen in the gauge cluster.
At the end of our 10,000-mile run, average fuel economy sits at 18.6 mpg. Keep in mind, that is a running tally that includes all that trailering, stop and go commuting and a hellishly cold winter. Running empty on the highway, it’s not hard to hit around 24 or 25 mpg, while 17 to 18 mpg around town is pretty normal.
The addition of a 2.8-liter diesel engine is set to give the Canyon and Colorado yet another leg up on the competition, even with an all-new 2016 Tacoma launching this year. Toyota’s midsize truck still leads the segment in sales and there’s little doubt that the new model will continue to be a strong seller, but GM is staying one step ahead of the competition thanks to offering the oil burner.
Overall, the GMC Canyon is an admirable little truck. It offers the right proportions for most folks to drive easily, while providing real truck capability when you need it. The battle in the midsize pickup truck segment is beginning all over again and GM has set the bar pretty high.
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