The GMC Canyon and its almost identical Chevrolet sibling, the Colorado, went on sale five years ago as replacements for the Sonoma and S-10. The 2009 GMC Canyon is one of the few small pickups available that fills a niche for those who want a capable truck that’s more maneuverable and fuel-efficient than its full-size counterparts.
Almost identical to the Chevrolet Colorado—though a bit better-looking, in the opinion of TheCarConnection.com—the Canyon is available in regular and extended cab configurations with a six-foot bed, and as a crew cab with a five-foot bed. All models come in either two- or four-wheel drive with either the Z85 standard suspension or the Z71 off-road setup. The retuned-for-2009 ZQ8 sport suspension is only available on two-wheel-drive extended cab and crew cab models with the new 5.3-liter V-8 engine.
The new V-8 outputs 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, accelerates from zero to 60 mph in less than seven seconds, and can tow up to 6,000 pounds. It brings a very torquey, relaxed character to these trucks, and it’s powerful enough to take off at stoplights almost as quickly as a muscle car.
The V-8 joins the returning 2.9-liter inline four-cylinder and 3.7-liter inline five-cylinder engines that, due to a revised fuel control module, feature better fuel economy for 2009. The 185-horsepower four-cylinder gets ratings of up to 25 mpg highway now, while the 242-horsepower five-cylinder musters an EPA-rated 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway with the automatic transmission. Both smaller-size engines are rather noisy and unrefined, even compared to those in other inexpensive pickups like the Toyota Tacoma or Ford Ranger.