Review: 2019 GMC Cayon Canyon - It’s The Special Mid-Size Pickup

Today we ask GMC why they'd name a trim the same name as the vehicle itself, and why you'd want that in a mid-size pickup.

Review: 2019 GMC Cayon Canyon - It’s The Special Mid-Size Pickup

We have a special question for GMC: we know that the Canyon is just a clone of the Chevrolet Colorado, albeit with different available options at different trims. And we know that Chevrolet brands the Colorado with an assortment of trims that don’t feature the name of a state in them, and this makes it slightly easier to follow all the available trim, option, and package combinations (although still far more difficult than most cars, mind you).

So why did GMC name a trim of the Canyon also Canyon?

Could they not have thought of a different name? Perhaps something that means “canyon” but is not, in fact, the word “canyon?” Like Chasm? Or Crevice? Or Gorge, or Valley, or Ravine? By naming a trim of the Canyon also Canyon, you wind up with a truck whose true full name is: 2019 GMC Canyon Canyon.

This makes the Canyon Canyon a very special mid-size pickup. So special, they had to name it twice.

But never mind the strange naming convention. The Canyon is a decent little truck for decent people who need a decent ride that doesn’t descend into the realm of SUVs or crossovers but neither does it clamber to the scale of a full-size pickup.

via GMC

The Canyon Canyon (remember, that’s the name of the trim) is a step up from the base-level Canyon SL, which is almost the same as the Canyon Canyon, except the SL is only available in a 2-door, regular bed configuration and it doesn’t have any availability for pretty much anything. By paying roughly $1,500 more than the SL, the Canyon Canyon opens up available options for new engines, new cabin and bed sizes, and luxury options that you still have to pay extra for, but now at least you have the option of paying for them.

You gotta pay to play, as they say.


The cheapest Canyon Canyon you can buy comes with an extended cab, regular bed, 2WD, and a 2.5-L inline 4-cylinder engine rated at 200 hp, 191 lb-ft and mated to a 6-speed automatic. Max payload is just 1,428 lbs, while max towing is a mere 3,500 lbs.

Most find that engine to be pretty anemic, so upgrading to the 3.5-L V6 is the clear way to go. Your combined fuel mileage really isn’t any worse than the 2.5-L thanks to an 8-speed automatic transmission, but suddenly you’ve got 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, which allows the Canyon to leap to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. Not bad for a pickup.

via GMC

Opting for the 2.8-L Duramax turbodiesel would require elevating away from the doubly-named Canyon, which will also cost you close to $40,000 or more. Since the Canyon Canyon is about getting into a reasonably appointed truck for a reasonable price, we’ll ignore all the more reasonably named trims.

Keeping costs down means the exterior lacks a few features found on other pickups. The headlights are halogens with LED highlights instead of actual LED bulbs. Bed lighting is done from a single lamp mounted to the cabin instead of with more LED strung around the box. And the wheels are 16” aluminum models instead of forged alloy.

The same can be said for the interior, which is decidedly plastic-y. A single USB port will allow you to charge just one phone at a time, and manual air conditioning will take your hands off the wheel when it gets too hot or too cold.


But it’s not all bad. The Canyon Canyon comes with GMC’s new 7-inch color touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. For 2019, the Canyon Canyon gets a new high-def rearview camera that replaces the previous analog one. And if you want to pay more than a penny’s ransom, you can get luxury upgrades like climate control, 4G LTE Wifi hotspot, remote start, cruise control, and safety features like forward collision and lane departure warning.

The 2019 model also gets a selection of impressive new metallic colors: Dark Sky Metallic, Smokey Quartz Metallic, Blue Emerald Metallic, and Sedona Metallic.

via GMC

Getting behind the wheel of a 3.6-L, extended cab, regular bed Canyon Canyon will set you back $25,780. You could go cheaper and get the 2.5-L inline 4-cylinder in the same configuration, but we don’t really recommend it unless you want a pickup truck for city driving (and we have no idea why you’d want that).

The obvious other option is the Canyon’s sister vehicle, the Colorado. In its base configuration, the Colorado is slightly cheaper than the cheapest GMC, but comes with a 6-speed manual instead of the Canyon’s 6-speed automatic. As soon as you opt for the 3.6-L engine in the Colorado, you’re getting a WT trim which costs $800 more than the Canyon Canyon in the same style.

You could get a Toyota Tacoma which comes with an arsenal of safety and driver assistance features, but even in its cheapest fo,rmat it will put you back nearly $26,000 and only come with 159 hp from a 2.7-L engine. That hardly seems the point of a cheap pickup.

So far the Canyon Canyon is getting good grades in the cheap mid-size pickup category. That might change when the Ford Ranger hits dealers, but for now, if you want a special kind of pickup, you can’t go wrong with a Canyon Canyon. Canyon. Canyon.


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