2022 GMC Canyon

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
November 7, 2021

Buying tip

For four-wheel drive, the AT4 trim makes the most sense for a marginal upcharge over the Elevated trim.

features & specs

2WD Crew Cab 128" Denali
2WD Crew Cab 128" Elevation
2WD Crew Cab 128" Elevation Standard
MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
MPG
19 city / 25 hwy
MPG
19 city / 25 hwy
MSRP
$41,200
MSRP
$32,200
MSRP
$28,700

The 2022 GMC Canyon wins on its look and capability but loses to the features of other mid-size trucks.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 GMC Canyon? What does it compare to?

The 2022 GMC Canyon mid-size pickup truck shares its bones with the Chevy Colorado, but the two are more indistinguishable than in years past. They compete with the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier. 

Is the 2022 GMC Canyon a good truck?

Review continues below

With good powertrain options and more configurations than most trucks this size, the 2022 GMC Canyon looks every part the modern pickup truck. But its eighth year shows its age in an unflattering light due to its lack of safety and convenience tech standard on many rivals. It also fares poorly in withstanding crashes. It gets a below-average TCC Rating of 4.8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 GMC Canyon?

Nothing, except for a Denali Black Edition with 20-inch gloss black wheels, black side steps, black exhaust tips, and all-weather floor liners. 

The lineup rises in features and price from Elevation Standard, Elevation, AT4, then Denali. 

The Canyon’s basic cloth seats, plastic interior, and cramped extended cab diminish its reputation as a more luxurious take on the Chevy Colorado. The AT4 off-road adjacent trim distinguishes the Canyon and the GMC brand, and Denali exalts it with wood, aluminum, and standard premium features such as heated and cooled seats. 

The base 2.5-liter inline-4 makes 200 hp, while the 186-hp 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4 generates 369 lb-ft of torque. That gives the Canyon an impressive towing capacity of  7,700 lb and an EPA-rated 30 mpg highway, but the diesel upcharge is less impressive, and ranges from $4,000 to $6,500. The 3.6-liter V-6 with an 8-speed automatic transmission best balances capability and price. 

The rear seats of the extended cab suit dogs or storage better than passengers, but the roomy crew cab can be paired with either a 74-inch long bed or 62-inch short box that, along with the Colorado, make for the longest mid-size pickup beds in the segment, by a hair. The extended cab only comes with the long bed. 

With a reputation as the premium battalion of GM’s army, the GMC Canyon appears in retreat when it comes to features. A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard, but even leather seats cost extra on the top Denali. Unlike rivals, GMC doesn’t even offer automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, and it costs just as much if not more than competitors. 

How much does the 2022 GMC Canyon cost?

The Canyon Elevation Standard with rear-wheel drive, an extended cab, and a long bed costs $27,995, including $1,195 destination. That’s about $1,000 more than the Chevy Colorado WT. The top Denali trim fitted with a crew cab, a long bed, four-wheel drive, and powered by a diesel engine costs $50,145. We’d take the AT4 for about $40,000. 

Where is the 2022 GMC Canyon made?

In Wentzville, Missouri.

7

2022 GMC Canyon

Styling

If only we all could age as well as the 2022 GMC Canyon.

Is the 2022 GMC Canyon a good-looking truck?

The GMC Canyon is like a favorite pair of work boots that look better with age. It’s a 7, for its timeless exterior. 

The face flexes either a cheese-grater or griddle grille that appears as wide as it is tall, and is crowned by a popped hood. Unlike recent GM trucks, it doesn’t embody toxic masculinity. On the side, square wheel arches bulge from the long body slabs until the corner bed step—all these classic GMC truck shapes look right on the Canyon. The AT4 trim stands out even more with red tow hooks, a larger grille, and 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in knobby 31-inch off-road tires. 

The interior interprets classic truck design in a more traditionally dull sense. Dials, knobs, and buttons feel right even in the digital age, but the small interface on the 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen renders the steering wheel controls as the best way to dial into info.

Review continues below

6

2022 GMC Canyon

Performance

Skip the base inline-4 on the 2022 GMC Canyon.

Three engines, two drivetrains, and two transmissions give Canyon shoppers plenty of options, though one of them is a bad one. The 200-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 with a 6-speed automatic transmission steers towards fleets or the most basic of work trucks. Get the Chevy. A solid V-6 with four-wheel drive represents the most common choice and earns a 6 out of 10 here. 

Is the GMC Canyon 4WD?

The rear-wheel-drive truck can be had on all but the AT4 trim, which comes standard with four-wheel drive. For a bit under $4,000, 4WD can be added on the three other trims. 

How fast is the GMC Canyon?

The GMC Canyon can be as efficient as it can be powerful. The base inline-4 and its 191 lb-ft would be adequate for a compact crossover, but not for a pickup truck. It tows a crossover-like 3,500 lb.

The 3.6-liter V-6 makes 308 hp and 275 lb-ft and uses a quick 8-speed automatic transmission to tow up to 7,000 lb (crew cab, short bed, RWD configuration). The confident, capable powertrain sacrifices neither power nor payload; it can carry up to 1,584 lb in the bed and cab. 

GM’s 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4 optimizes towing and highway efficiency, but the diesel surcharge of about $4,000 means that it will take a lot of highway miles or a long time of ownership to recoup the cost. It only makes 186 hp, and there’s a long spread of gear ratios on its 6-speed automatic, so it can drag during passing moves. Its 369 lb-ft of torque enables it to tow up to 7,700 lb.

The Canyon bounces around unladen like any truck with a leaf-spring suspension, but it’s quiet, especially in Denali trim. The smaller proportions than a full-size truck make it more composed and easier to maneuver for the daily grind or as the weekend warrior.

Review continues below

5

2022 GMC Canyon

Comfort & Quality

The 2022 GMC Canyon elevates from basic to black tie in a couple steps.

Two cabs, two long beds, and four trims let the 2022 Canyon range from basic to baller. Our rating splits the difference for a 5. 

The base Elevation Standard trim comes with an extended cab and 6-foot-2 long bed, while the available crew cab can be paired with the long box or a 5-foot-2 short bed. Either bed size stretches longer than rivals in the mid-size pickup segment, but only by an inch or two. 

The interior wears black and silver accent pieces in a no-nonsense dash, with large dials and buttons for infotainment and audio. One of the advantages of its age is there’s still a mechanical gear lever in the console instead of some pushbutton job. Cloth seats come standard, while leather remains an option. Denali slaps on some wood trim and chrome door handles. The extended cab’s rear seats flip up for more storage, and it might resemble a closet if you stuff two people back there. The stiff, vertical seats offer up only 28.6 inches of leg room. 

The crew cab seats three in back with a crossover-like 35.8 inches of leg room.

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2

2022 GMC Canyon

Safety

The 2022 GMC Canyon rates low on our safety scale.

How safe is the GMC Canyon?

The NHTSA gave the Canyon four stars in crash test results, with a three-star rating for its rollover risk. The IIHS rated front-end crash protection at “Marginal,” cited its optional forward-collision warnings as “Basic,” and rated its headlights as “Poor.” The NHTSA and IIHS ratings cost it a point each, and the lack of automatic emergency braking whether standard or optional costs it another point. No other vehicle we’ve tested for 2022 has such a low safety rating of 2 on our scale, except for the related Chevy Colorado. Shame.  

Optional safety features include forward-collision and lane-departure warnings, and parking sensors.

Review continues below

6

2022 GMC Canyon

Features

The 2022 GMC Canyon stands pat before next year’s expected redesign.

Sold in Elevation Standard, Elevation, AT4, and Denali trims, the 2022 Canyon makes the most sense on the higher trims. Our preference, however, might reflect our prejudice against GMC’s goofy Elevation names. 

The base Elevation comes with the extended cab and long bed and is powered by GMC’s underpowered 2.5-liter inline-4 with rear-wheel drive. It features cloth seats, a 4-way power driver’s seat, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The easy-to-use infotainment system boosts it a point above average to a 6. 

The Canyon comes with an average 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty with one scheduled maintenance visit. 

Which Canyon should I buy?

We’d skip the $27,995 base trim and the other Elevation to lean into the AT4 trim since it comes with popular upgrades such as the V-6 and four-wheel drive. Fortunately, GMC offers the long or short bed with the crew cab, and we’d take a big cab, short bed on the AT4 Leather for $41,395. In addition to the namesake leather seats, it adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen, power passenger seat, heated steering wheel, and wireless smartphone charging for about $1,800 more than the AT4 Cloth. It’s expensive for the segment but AT4 comes well equipped out of the factory with 31-inch DuraTrac off-road tires on 17-inch black aluminum wheels, red tow hooks, a larger grille, hill descent control, and more available options. 

How much is a fully loaded 2022 GMC Canyon?

The Denali trim crew cab with the long bed and the diesel engine costs $49,925. Any color other than white adds at least $495 and the Denali Black Edition adds 20-inch black wheels for $2,395 for a total of $52,965. It comes with a Bose audio system, a larger touchscreen, and heated and cooled front seats.

Review continues below

3

2022 GMC Canyon

Fuel Economy

The 2022 Canyon turbodiesel gets 30 mpg highway.

Is the 2022 GMC Canyon good on gas?

It can be. But the most popular engine choice, the 3.6-liter V-6 with the 8-speed automatic, is also the least efficient. With four-wheel drive, it has an EPA-rated 17 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined. That’s a 3 here. The Honda Ridgeline’s V-6 gets 21 mpg combined. 

The Canyon’s two other engines would rate a 4 on our scale. The 2.5-liter base engine gets 19/25/22 mpg with rear-wheel drive, while the turbodiesel inline-4 reigns with a 20/30/23 mpg combined rating. Four-wheel drive costs the turbodiesel 2 mpg highway.

Review continues below

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$26,800
MSRP based on 2WD Ext Cab 128" Elevation Standard
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4.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 5
Safety 2
Features 6
Fuel Economy 3
Compare the 2022 GMC Canyon against the competition
  • 2022 Chevrolet Colorado

    5.0
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  • 2022 Honda Ridgeline

    6.8
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  • 2022 Nissan Frontier

    5.6
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  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator

    4.8
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  • 2021 Toyota Tacoma

    5.0
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2022 GMC Canyon Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Canyon arriving now; 2021s sold out
  • Lease: From $279/mo
  • Rebates: Up to $750 off
  • Finance: From 2.49% APR
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