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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Good," frontal offset test; poor, side impact test (without optional side airbags)
Five stars, frontal impact (four-door) and passenger side impact; four stars, frontal impact (two-door) and driver side impact
Optional side-curtain airbags are a first for this segment
Kelley Blue Book
The 2008 GMC Canyon may not have a whole lot going for it, but at least you can feel safe behind the wheel of this Canyon GMC. Between the commendable standard safety features and generally strong crash-test ratings, there's little to fault on the GMC Canyon, provided you spring for the optional side airbags.
The crash-test results for the 2008 GMC Canyon were quite respectable. NHTSA tested all versions of the Canyon GMC, reporting that four-door models achieved a perfect five-star rating in front impact tests, while two-door models got four out of five stars in the same category. All body styles of the 2008 GMC Canyon also earned four stars for driver-side impact protection and another perfect five-star rating for passenger-side impact protection. The IIHS supports those findings, at least in terms of front impacts, where the GMC Canyon earned the Institute's highest possible rating, "good," in frontal offset impact tests. The ratings between the two agencies differed, however, when it came to side impact protection. Whereas the GMC Canyons tested by NHTSA had the optional side-impact airbags installed, and thus earned high ratings, the IIHS versions did not and therefore were slapped with a "poor" rating in side impact tests.
Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the standard safety features list on the 2008 GMC Canyon includes most of the usual features required on today's vehicles but not much more. Car and Driver also likes that "one year's OnStar coverage" is included on all 2008 GMC Canyons.
As mentioned earlier, "curtain side airbags" are a $395 option, according to ConsumerGuide, and they're well worth it for the additional protection they offer.
The 2008 GMC Canyon is quite respectable in protection and safety features, despite other inadequacies.