Off Road

GMC Canyon Focuses on Luxury, Off-Road Performance for 2023

  • GMC updates the Canyon for 2023 with increased off-road performance and upgraded interior quality and safety technology across four trim levels: Elevation, AT4, Denali, and AT4X.
  • Off-road features include a standard lift of two or three inches depending on trim, terrain, and off-road drive modes, 32 or 33-inch off-road specific tires, and a ground clearance range of 9.6 to 10.7 inches.
  • Full pricing details aren’t available yet, but GMC has confirmed a base price of around $40,000 for the 2WD Elevation and a high price of $63,350 for the limited Edition 1 AT4X model. Production will begin in 2023.

Following the launch of the revised Chevrolet Colorado, GMC has followed suit with details on its midsize Canyon pickup truck. A shared architecture makes up the basics of each truck—a body-on-frame chassis driven by a new 2.7-liter turbocharged inline-four and fed through a standard Hydra-Matic 8-speed automatic transmission—but the GMC editions of this truck have some unique differences. From interior quality to off-road prowess and power, the new GMC Canyon is marketed as the comfortable adventurer.

Elevation, AT4, Denali, and AT4X make up the four trim levels available, ranging from around $40,000 for 2WD Elevation trim models to the full-size-rivaling $63,350 for the top-of-the-line AT4X Edition 1 model. GMC has yet to release detailed pricing for each trim. That said, the Elevation trim is specified as the base model while the off-road-aimed AT4X and luxury-focused Denali will make up the upper end of the range.

All GMC Canyon models will come equipped with the High Output tune of the 2.7-liter turbo four, making 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. Across the four trim levels, GMC will only sell the short bed/crew cab configuration. Additionally, with the exception of the AT4X, all Canyon models will receive a two-inch lift above the previous generation’s suspension setup. This is part of the off-road package that is standard on Elevation, AT4, and Denali trim Canyons, adding an ultra-wide track and the lift to create a ground clearance of 9.6 inches on the Elevation and AT4 and 10.5 inches on the Denali due to its 20-inch wheels.

This generation of the Canyon is off-road focused. With successful sales of the previous AT4 trim, GMC wanted to target this market with the new Canyon. All trucks come standard with 4WD except for the Elevation. Drive modes are standard across all trims, with the terrain and off-road modes included. The 2WD Elevation is the only model with an open differential, with the remainders having either limited slip or power locking differentials. The front axle has been moved forward two inches to improve stance, and 32-inch off-road tires are standard on three of four trims. Even the approach angle has been adjusted, with an angle of 33.3 to 36.9 degrees depending on the trim.

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The rugged AT4X model builds on all of this off-road engineering and goes even further. Standard features include an additional inch of lift with a ground clearance of 10.7 inches, 17-inch bead-lock capable wheels with 33-inch mud tires, and a set of Multimatic DSSV shocks. Electronically locking differentials are found both front and rear. Beyond the mechanicals, the AT4X is equipped with a Baja drive mode, a ComeUp winch, and underbody protection, as well as front and rear underbody cameras with a wash function.

Off-road capability was one of two goals set forth by GMC during the Canyon revision, the second being luxury. Each Canyon trim has a different interior, though some similarities in technology remain. Like the Colorado, every Canyon will feature an 11.3-inch infotainment screen. An 11-inch-diagonal fully digital instrument cluster is found on the Denali and AT4X trims while an 8-inch-diagonal is used in the Elevation and AT4 models. Other premium features include a 6.3-inch head-up display, a heated steering wheel, and a 7-speaker Bose Premium audio system. Safety items like front pedestrian braking with cyclist detection and lane-keep assist are standard while adaptive cruise control and 10-camera HD Surround Vision are available with the technology package.

Altogether, the interior looks full of leather with slightly nicer touch points and a different ventilation system than its sibling Colorado. Otherwise, the driving ergonomics and climate plus infotainment controls appear largely the same. Though the Colorado and Canyon trucks share a blueprint, the models are naturally aimed at different buyers. With a standard suspension rise, high-power tune, and genuine off-road engineering, the GMC Canyon is a step up from the Colorado, across all trim levels. This is exactly what General Motors sought out when creating the new sibling pair.

By having more affordable and luxury options, GMC is attempting to amp up the competition with Ford’s Ranger, Nissan’s Frontier, and especially the segment-leading Toyota Tacoma, sales of which topped 108,000 units in the first six months. For context, GMC sold 13,661 current-generation Canyons in the same period, according to Wards Intelligence data.

Equipping all GMC Canyons with the off-road package pushes prospective buyers toward the slightly more expensive but more luxuriously equipped options. These prospective Canyon buyers will have to wait until early next year to snag one unless they want the pre-order available AT4X Edition 1 offering. Even so, those trucks won’t roll off the production line until spring of 2023.

Associate Editor

A New York transplant hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Emmet White has a passion for anything that goes: cars, bicycles, planes, and motorcycles. After learning to ride at 17, Emmet worked in the motorcycle industry before joining Autoweek in 2022. The woes of alternate side parking have kept his fleet moderate, with a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and a 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750 street parked in his South Brooklyn community.

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