$15,711 - $30,136

2016 GMC Canyon Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 GMC Canyon was new.


Performance: 8.5

The 2016 GMC Canyon earns reviewer praise for its powerful engines, responsive handling and good towing ability. They add that the Canyon also provides a quiet and balanced ride.

  • "If you're a small-pickup fan, there's a lot to love about the latest GMC Canyon. For one thing, it offers a better ride than all of its small-pickup competitors -- and a better interior, too." -- AutoTrader
  • "Not only does the six make a healthy 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, but the throttle modulation and automatic transmission programming both work to let you take advantage of the power in short order." -- Autoblog (2015)
  • "The same quiet cabin and smooth ride we experienced in the Colorado are present in the Canyon. … Because of the GMC's well-sorted chassis, Canyon owners will have no complaints at the end of high-mileage journeys." -- Car and Driver (2015)
  • "We could easily spend all day behind the wheel of one of these. It's clearly better than the Canyon of old, and it feels more grown up than the competition." -- Edmunds (2015)

Acceleration and Power

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque is standard in the 2016 Canyon. A 3.6-liter V6 engine that puts out 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque is available, as is a new-for-2016 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is available. The base Canyon gets an EPA-estimated 19/26 mpg city/highway, which is as good as or better than class rivals. Turbodiesel models get an EPA-estimated 22/31 mpg city/highway, which is terrific for the class.

Test drivers find that both engines provide ample power and good acceleration, but most prefer the V6 for its added muscle, which they say makes it great for towing. Most critics think the automatic transmission is responsive and willingly shifts to supply power on hills.

  • "We're also highly impressed with both of the Canyon's engines -- and their capabilities. Although it isn't a workhorse, the base-level 4-cylinder is acceptable for a lot of situations -- and it gets great mileage, too. But the V6 is the engine to have, offering brawny acceleration and an excellent 7,000-lb towing capacity." -- AutoTrader
  • "There's plenty of grunt [with the V6] when we roll gently onto the gas, and it pulls strongly when we press harder. The six-speed automatic is smooth and sure as it goes up through the gears, and there isn't much wind or road noise as we settle in at 70 mph." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "Power and responsiveness was great from both available engines. The V-6 has enough power to tackle any task or load you might throw at it, and the four-cylinder was a real treat to drive, never once leaving us wishing for more in normal, unloaded, city, and highway driving." -- Truck Trend (2015)
  • "The automatic's shifter had an easy-to-use manual mode that not only held gears and matched revs on downshifts but would have been helpful had there been a trailer hooked up aft. The four-cylinder, meanwhile felt plenty powerful enough for most tasks, including the short haul we used it for." -- AutoWeek (2015)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard in the Canyon and four-wheel drive is available. Reviewers say the Canyon provides a smooth ride that outpaces other vehicles in the class. They point out that it has good maneuverability and precise steering, as well as reactive brakes.

  • "The upshot is that while no version of the Colorado/Canyon rides quite like an F-150, Ram, or Silverado/Sierra, they're notably better than the Tacoma and Frontier and easily rival the Toyota Tundra." -- Automobile Magazine (2015)
  • "On paper they aren't much different than a previous generation 1/2-ton, but driving them we noticed that they have the maneuverability of a much smaller pickup." -- Truck Trend (2015)
  • "The steering has enough heft and on-center definition to make straight-ahead cruising a relaxing pursuit, and it turns in accurately when corners enter the mix. The response is a little slower than we'd like, but not by much. There's less overall body roll than the last Tacoma we drove, and it leans in more gradually." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "The brakes were responsive, with somewhat less pedal travel in the 4-cylinder truck we tested. The ride was compliant but not mushy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

Towing and Hauling

The 2016 Canyon has a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 pounds when equipped with the turbodiesel four-cylinder engine and available trailering package. The Canyon offers its maximum payload of 1,620 pounds when equipped with the V6 engine.

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