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MSRP: $22,200 - 44,200

2019 GMC Canyon Review

The 2019 GMC Canyon lands near the bottom of our compact pickup truck rankings. It's capable and rides comfortably, making it a solid all-around choice for a light-duty truck.

Pros & Cons

  • High towing capacity
  • Good gas mileage
  • Upscale cabin
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Front seats lack long-term support

Is the GMC Canyon a Good Truck?

Despite its ranking, the GMC Canyon is a good truck. It's one of the best small pickups for towing and hauling, but it's also easy and enjoyable to drive. It gets good gas mileage and offers plenty of infotainment and convenience features, as well as some driver assistance tech. Additionally, its interior is more upscale than some class rivals. Some competitors have more comfortable seats, but that's the only notable knock against the Canyon.

Should I Buy the GMC Canyon?

The Canyon is a competitive entrant in this class for all the reasons listed above, and it costs about the same as several of its classmates. That means that this GMC is a solid buying choice. Still, you may want to see how it stacks up against rivals like the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma.

Compare the Canyon, Colorado, and Tacoma »

Should I Buy a New or Used GMC Canyon?

The 2019 Canyon belongs to a generation that began with the 2015 model year. Changes for this year mostly involve the features list. The aptly named GMC Infotainment system replaces the IntelliLink infotainment system in all trim levels, and rear parking sensors are now available. 2018's big change was making the touch-screen infotainment system a standard feature, while 2017 made Teen Driver standard and was the first model to offer an eight-speed automatic transmission. The turbodiesel engine became available for 2016.

You can potentially save a bundle by shopping for a used Canyon, though you may miss out on newer models' updates. To research the other models in this generation, read our reviews of the 2017 and 2018 GMC Canyon. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Canyon »

We Did the Research for You: 37 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Canyon generation, which runs from 2015 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the GMC Canyon Cost?

The Canyon's starting price of $21,400 is in the same ballpark as that of most other compact pickups. The range-topping Denali trim starts a bit above $40,000. That might sound high, but it's more or less in line with many competitors' top trim prices.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local GMC dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our GMC deals page.

GMC Canyon Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: GMC Canyon or Chevrolet Colorado?

For all intents and purposes, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are basically the same truck. Both are GM vehicles, they share a platform, and they're nearly identical in terms of powertrains, tech features, and towing and hauling capacities. The only real differences between these two are price and interior quality. The Canyon is more upscale than the Colorado through most of its trim levels. However, it also costs a bit more. Unless you prefer the looks or slightly improved interior quality of the GMC, save yourself some money and go for the Chevy.

Which Is Better: GMC Canyon or Toyota Tacoma?

The Toyota Tacoma is the best off-roader in the class. It has an abundance of available off-road equipment, all concentrated in two special models that are tailored to rough-and-tumble performance. It has higher safety and predicted reliability ratings as well. However, the Tacoma isn't as good for towing or hauling as its GMC rival, and the Canyon offers technology that the Toyota doesn't, like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Unless you expect to do a lot of off-roading, the Canyon is the better pick.

Compare the Canyon, Colorado, and Tacoma »

Canyon Performance

Canyon Engine: We're Out of V8. Try a V6

For daily driving, the Canyon's 200-horsepower four-cylinder base engine does just fine. However, it's noticeably less energetic – not to mention worse for towing – than the available 308-horsepower V6 and the 181-horsepower turbodiesel (which puts out nearly 370 pound-feet of torque). For many buyers, the V6 is the best option.

Canyon Gas Mileage: Near the Top of the Class

This GMC pickup gets better fuel economy than some rivals, earning 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with its base engine. For even better mileage, upgrade to the turbodiesel engine, which gets 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

Canyon Ride and Handling: Inspiring Confidence

You might be surprised at how well this GMC handles. Though the Canyon doesn’t feel particularly small, it can hold its own on winding roads thanks to its sharp steering and sturdy brakes. The Canyon also rides smoothly over most road surfaces and soaks up most pavement imperfections with ease.

Canyon Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Canyon can tow up to 7,700 pounds – one of the highest capacities in the class – and haul up to 1,605 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Canyon Interior

How Many People Does the Canyon Seat?

The Canyon seats anywhere from two to five people, depending on which cab and trim you select. The front seats are generally comfortable, though they may feel a little stiff by the end of a long drive. The rear seats in Extended Cab models are small and likely won't be suitable if you regularly carry rear-seat passengers. Crew Cabs have ample room for adults.

Canyon and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in Canyon models that have rear seats. The Canyon's LATCH system earns an ease-of-use rating of Marginal (the second-lowest rating) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The lower anchors are located too deep in the seats and other hardware could be mistaken for the tether anchors, which IIHS also noted are located in a hard-to-find place. 

Canyon Interior Quality

This GMC has a nicer interior than most rivals. The cabin looks good, and there are plenty of high-quality materials throughout.

Canyon Cargo Space

The Canyon offers a good amount of storage space in the cabin. There are two available bed lengths: 6-foot-2-inch and 5-foot-2-inch. The latter is only available with the Crew Cab model, and the former is offered with either cab.

Canyon Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Canyon include Teen Driver (which lets you set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers) and the GMC Infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, two USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth.

Available features include wireless phone charging, an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, additional USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

The Canyon offers plenty of connectivity options, and the infotainment system makes it easy to control many of the Canyon’s features. The interface is intuitive, and the touch screen is responsive. There are also physical buttons for some features so you don’t always have to use the touch screen.

Read more about interior »

Canyon Reliability

Is the GMC Canyon Reliable?

J.D. Power gave the 2019 Canyon a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average for the industry. 

GMC Canyon Warranty

GMC covers the Canyon with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Canyon Safety

Canyon Crash Test Results

The 2019 Canyon earned an overall crash test rating of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the highest rating of Good in five crash tests. The front crash prevention technology received a Basic rating, and the headlights were rated as Poor; both are the lowest rankings IIHS gives in those tests. 

Canyon Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the Canyon. Available driver assistance features include rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

Read more about safety »

Which GMC Canyon Model Is Right for Me?

Configuring a truck is a bit different than it is with other vehicles. Before you choose one of the Canyon's six trims, you have to decide which bed, cab, and engine you want, as not every option is offered in every trim. 

The Extended Cab body type is available with every trim except the top Denali, and the Crew Cab is available with all but the Canyon SL. The 5-foot-2-inch short bed is only offered with Crew Cab models, and the 6-foot-2-inch long bed is available with either cab. Finally, there are three engines to choose from: a four-cylinder, a V6, and a turbodiesel. Depending on your engine choice, transmission options include a six-speed manual and a six- or eight-speed automatic.

Not all engines are offered with all trims or cabs. For example, the four-cylinder isn’t offered in Crew Cab models, and the diesel isn’t offered in Extended Cab models. The SLT, All Terrain, and Denali trims don’t offer the four-cylinder engine, while the SL only offers the four-cylinder. Upgrading to the V6 will cost you between $1,100 and $1,750, while the diesel costs an additional $4,000 or more. Adding four-wheel drive can tack $3,500 or more onto your price.

Of all the trims, the SLE and SLT represent the best value for most buyers. They offer most of the features you can get in a Canyon, but they cost significantly less than the Denali trim. The SLT offers a few more driver assistance features than the SLE, as well as navigation and leather seats. If you need those features, get the SLT. Otherwise, the SLE is a solid choice.

GMC Canyon SL

The Canyon SL sports a base price of $21,400. The SL only comes in Extended Cab guise, and it doesn't have a rear seat, making it most suitable as a work truck. This trim has a four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive. Standard features include Teen Driver, a rearview camera, and the GMC Infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, two USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth. There are no notable available features in the Canyon SL.

GMC Canyon

The next trim up, which is the lowest trim most consumers would want, is known only as the Canyon. It has a starting price of $24,900. This trim is available with both cabs and both bed lengths. In addition to the base trim's features, this one includes two rear seats. As options, it offers the V6 engine, an automatic transmission, the EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate, a locking rear differential, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

GMC Canyon SLE

The Canyon SLE carries a starting price of $28,900. The SLE is available with both cab configurations. Standard features include a locking rear differential, the EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, additional USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Available features include a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, automatic climate control, forward collision alert, and lane departure warning.

GMC Canyon SLT

The Canyon SLT starts at $35,700. The SLT is only available as a Crew Cab, and it comes standard with a V6 engine, leather upholstery, and heated front seats. Available features in the SLT include forward collision alert, lane departure warning, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, and navigation.

GMC Canyon All Terrain

The Canyon All Terrain has a starting price of $36,400. The All Terrain is offered with both cabs. It comes standard with four-wheel drive and several off-road-oriented features such as hill descent control, a transfer case shield, and an off-road suspension. Available features in the All Terrain include a heated steering wheel, navigation, and a seven-speaker Bose audio system.

GMC Canyon Denali

The Canyon Denali starts at $40,300. It's only offered as a Crew Cab, and it comes with navigation, a Bose audio system, and wireless phone charging, as well as some unique styling elements.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local GMC dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our GMC deals page.

See 2019 GMC Canyon specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 GMC Canyon delivers on a lot of key fronts, making it a good choice no matter what your needs are. It has a fairly spacious cabin and good fuel economy ratings, offers plenty of technology, and paces the field for towing and hauling. The compact pickup truck class has several good options, however, and you may want to check some of them out before making a decision. Regardless, the Canyon is a solid choice.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "So should you get a Canyon? For the most part, you can save some money by getting the Colorado. Or you might want to check out the refined Honda Ridgeline or new Ford Ranger. Overall, though, the Canyon will surely satisfy, especially if you are looking for an upscale midsize truck." -- Edmunds
  • "GMC's 2017 Canyon pickup truck might be midsize on paper, but its looks, abilities and attitude seem pretty full size to us. A revised 3.6-liter V6 engine improves power and economy, while more trim and option packages give buyers even greater flexibility." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The result is the GMC Canyon, which offers a dramatically improved interior, two excellent new engines and improved capabilities compared to the outgoing model." -- Autotrader (2016)

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