If you pay $395 for the optional side curtain airbags, the 2009 GMC Canyon qualifies as one of the safest small trucks on the market, especially now that StabiliTrak electronic stability control is included across the line as a standard feature.
All body styles of the 2009 GMC Canyon earn four stars for driver-side impact protection and another perfect five-star rating for passenger-side impact protection in crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The crash-test results for the 2009 GMC Canyon are quite respectable. NHTSA also reports that four-door models achieve a perfect five-star rating in front impact tests, while two-door models get four out of five stars in the same category.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) supports NHTSA’s findings, at least in terms of front impacts, where the GMC Canyon earns the Institute's highest possible rating, "good," in frontal offset impact tests. The ratings between the two agencies differ, however, when it comes to side impact protection. Whereas the GMC Canyons tested by NHTSA have the optional side-impact airbags installed and thus earn high ratings, the IIHS versions do not and therefore are slapped with a "poor" rating in side impact tests. As ConsumerGuide points out, the side curtain bags are a $395 option, but they're well worth it for the additional protection they offer.
Car and Driver also likes that "one year's OnStar coverage"—which might help you more quickly locate assistance if you have an accident or a breakdown—is included on all 2009 GMC Canyons.