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2018 GMC Canyon Review

The 2018 GMC Canyon is one of the best in our compact pickup truck rankings, thanks in part to its attractive interior and lineup of powerful engines. 

Pros & Cons

  • Fuel-efficient engine choices
  • Excellent towing and hauling ratings
  • Handsome, well-built interior
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Some rivals have more comfortable front seats

New for 2018

  • Larger touch-screen display; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became standard




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 8.6
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 8.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 GMC Canyon Overview

Is the 2018 GMC Canyon a Good Used Truck?

Yes, the GMC Canyon is a good used truck. It's one of the most robust work trucks in the class, yet it also gets great fuel economy. Additionally, the Canyon and its GM kin, the 2018 Chevrolet Colorado, are the only vehicles in our compact truck rankings available with a diesel engine. 

The 2018 Canyon has quite a few strengths:

  • Class-leading tow rating 
  • Great payload capacity
  • Good fuel economy
  • Attractive cabin
  • Appealing, easy-to-use infotainment system is standard

It has only one relative drawback:

  • The front seats aren't as comfortable as some rivals'
Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the GMC Canyon in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with 40 professional GMC Canyon reviews.

The Best Cars team, a division of U.S. News & World Report, has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from automakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2018 GMC Canyon?

Based on listings for the 2018 GMC Canyon on our site, the average list price is $30,500, which is slightly above average for the class. Prices range from $21,900 to $38,800 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 GMC Canyon Cost to Own?

The 2018 Canyon’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $25,900, or $5,180 per year. That’s about average for a compact pickup truck.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Canyon?

The 2019 Canyon has an all-new infotainment system and some newly available features, including an HD rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Retail prices for a new Canyon start at $21,500. Though that is close to the lower end of pricing on a used 2018 Canyon (based on our used car site), in general you are likely to pay less for a used pickup truck. 

Read about the new GMC Canyon »

Following the debut of the second Canyon generation for 2015, notable changes for this pickup included the addition of a turbo diesel engine for 2016. The Denali trim joined the lineup for 2017, along with the optional All Terrain X off-road package and the standard Teen Driver safety feature. An upgraded Intellilink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen was optional for 2017 and became standard the following year. This enhanced infotainment system earned praise for being easy to use, especially as it comes with favorites such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For this reason, you may want to focus your search on a 2017 Canyon that features this upgrade or a 2018 or newer model, where it comes standard.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Canyon »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 GMC Canyon?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Canyon a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Canyon reliability »

2018 GMC Canyon Recalls

At the time of writing, one recall has been issued for the 2018 GMC Canyon:

  • Fuel pump flange weld may fracture

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on GMC Canyon safety recalls »

Which Used GMC Canyon Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 GMC Canyon comes in six trims: SL, Canyon, SLE, All Terrain, SLT, and Denali. Extended Cab models, which have a 6-foot-2-inch bed, come in all trim levels except for the SLT and Denali. You can get a Crew Cab model in any trim besides the SL. This cab is matched with either a 5-foot-2-inch or a 6-foot-2-inch bed. A 200-horsepower four-cylinder engine comes standard. A 308-horspower V6 is available in every trim except the base, and a 181-horsepower diesel engine is available in all upper trims, though not with every cab style. Two-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is available in most trims (and standard in the Canyon All Terrain).

For the best value, we recommend the Canyon SLE. It has standard features that add a touch of convenience to your daily travels, include a tailgate that can be closed with just two fingers and four USB ports to simultaneously charge multiple phones. This trim has lots of available options, so you might be able to find one with upgrades such as heated front seats, automatic climate control, remote vehicle start, or proximity keyless entry.

  • GMC Canyon SL: The base Canyon SL only comes with the Extended Cab. Its standard features include a six-speaker audio system, a USB port, a rearview camera, the Teen Driver management system, and the IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth. This edition has few available options and no rear seat.
  • GMC Canyon: The biggest advantage the Canyon trim level has over the base model is that it's available with both cabs. Its list of standard features is virtually identical to the base SL's, but far more options are available in this trim. Examples include the EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate, a locking rear differential, and 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hot spot.
  • GMC Canyon SLE: The SLE is available with both cabs. Notable additions include four USB ports, a locking rear differential (when equipped with four-wheel drive), the EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate, 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hot spot, and an 8-inch infotainment touch screen. Available features include automatic climate control, forward collision alert, and lane departure warning.
  • GMC Canyon SLT: The SLT is available only 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 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 navigation and a seven-speaker Bose audio system.
  • GMC Canyon Denali: The top-of-the-line Denali comes only as a Crew Cab. Perforated leather seats in the front, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an 8-inch touch-screen display, a navigation system, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, wireless charging for enabled smartphones, forward collision alert, and lane departure warning come standard.

See 2018 GMC Canyon trims and specs »

What Does GMC's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

GMC offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned models, GMC extends its original new-car limited powertrain warranty to six years or 100,000 miles from the original sale date. CPO models also get a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty after the three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Qualifying vehicles also get free maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles. GMC CPO vehicles must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read GMC’s warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, GMC has a decent CPO program compared with other affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Canyon?

Both cab styles of the Canyon have a four-star overall safety rating out of five from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety evaluations, the Crew Cab earned better safety ratings than the Extended Cab. It received the highest rating of Good in five tests and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the passenger-side small front overlap test. The IIHS didn't conduct this test with the Extended Cab, but it did carry out all others. This cab style earned the highest rating of Good in three tests, and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the side and the driver-side small overlap front evaluations. All trim levels received the lowest rating of poor for the headlights. Trucks equipped with the optional forward collision alert are provided a Basic level of front crash prevention.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • Teen Driver (a system for young drivers that lets you set limits on speed and audio volume)

Available advanced safety features:

  • forward collision warning
  • lane departure warning

See Canyon safety scores »

2018 GMC Canyon Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 GMC Canyon or 2018 Chevrolet Colorado?

The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado and 2018 GMC Canyon are kissing cousins. Both from General Motors, they share the same engine options, similar specs, and nearly identical standard features. GMC vehicles often are a little nicer inside than their Chevy counterparts, but there are no complaints when it comes to the Colorado's cabin. Each truck has its own advantage (the GMC is expected to be a shade more reliable, and the Chevrolet has slightly lower average prices), but overall differences are minimal, so going with the best deal you can find is a good starting point.

Which Is Better: 2018 GMC Canyon or 2018 Toyota Tacoma?

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma and 2018 GMC Canyon are both great pickup trucks. In this head to head, the Toyota wins out when it comes to off-road performance and predicted reliability. The GMC has a higher tow rating, a nicer interior, and a gentler ride. Both have a couple of engine options, but only the Canyon is available with a turbo diesel. Since the Tacoma and Canyon both score well in our compact truck rankings, we recommend picking the one that best suits your needs for work and play.

Compare the Canyon, Colorado, and Tacoma »

2018 Canyon Performance

How Does the 2018 GMC Canyon Drive?

The Canyon's base four-cylinder engine has a decent amount of power for light-duty tasks and everyday driving. Most professional reviewers prefer the optional V6, though. It is much more powerful than the base power plant, and it likely won't cost as much as a diesel-powered truck. With it, you also get the highest payload capacity in the lineup, and its towing capacity is only 700 pounds shy of the diesel's towing capacity. For that class-leading 7,700-pound tow rating, you'll need the Duramax turbo diesel, which is hearty and smooth.  

On the highway, the GMC Canyon handles well for a pickup truck and generally has a smooth ride. The steering is responsive, and body motions are kept in check.

  • Base engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline with 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque
  • Available engines:
    • 3.6-liter V6 gasoline with 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque
    • 2.8-liter four-cylinder Duramax turbodiesel with 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available four-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; available six- and eight-speed automatic (depending on the engine)
Does the 2018 GMC Canyon Get Good Gas Mileage?

Of the GMC Canyon's three available engines, the most efficient is the turbo diesel, which has an above-average fuel economy rating for a compact truck. It saves the average driver about $100 a year in comparison to the Canyon's base four-cylinder engine, and about $250 a year compared to the available V6. Four-wheel drive barely impacts fuel economy with the gasoline and diesel four-cylinder engines but increases fuel costs by about $150 a year with the V6 engine.

  • 2.5-liter gasoline engine: 20/26 mpg city/highway
  • 3.6-liter gasoline engine: 18/25 mpg
  • 2.8-liter diesel engine: 22/30 mpg
2018 GMC Canyon Towing Capacity

The Canyon can tow up to 7,700 pounds when properly equipped. Only the Chevrolet Colorado matches this best-in-class rating.

Read more about Canyon performance »

2018 Canyon Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Canyon Seat?

In its base trim, the 2018 Canyon has only two front seats. Extended Cab models with a rear seat hold four, and Crew Cab trucks can carry five people. The front seats are decent, though the cushions aren't supportive enough to stay comfortable during a long day of traveling, and some may wish for larger accommodations. The rear seats of the Crew Cab are comfortable and roomy enough for adults. Rear seats in the Extended Cab are quite small and only suited for short trips; this is typical for this class.

The interior is attractive, with high-quality materials and modern styling more often seen inside an SUV than in a pickup truck.

Standard seating features:

  • vinyl upholstery
  • four-way power-adjustable driver's seat

Available seating features:

  • four-way power-adjustable passenger seat
  • cloth seats
  • several leather upholstery options
  • heated and ventilated front seats
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2018 GMC Canyon?  

When equipped with a rear seat, the 2018 Canyon has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. For LATCH ease of use, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives Crew Cab models the second-lowest rating of Marginal. The tether anchors are difficult to locate and can be mixed up with other hardware, and the lower anchors are mounted too deep in the seat cushions. The IIHS does not rate Extended Cab models.

2018 GMC Canyon Features

Every Canyon trim level comes with a touch-screen infotainment display that looks good and doesn't take a master's degree to operate. Smartphone users in particular will appreciate its set of USB ports and quick integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

  • Standard infotainment features: the IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, and one USB port
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, three additional USB ports, voice command activation, satellite radio, a 4G Wi-Fi hot spot, navigation, a seven-speaker Bose premium sound system, and wireless phone charging
  • Other available features: automatic climate control

See 2018 GMC Canyon specs »

Read more about Canyon interior »

2018 GMC Canyon Dimensions

GMC Canyon Cargo Space

The Canyon Extended Cab comes with a 6-foot-2-inch bed. Crew Cab models come either with the 6-foot-2-inch bed or with a 5-foot-2-inch bed. Ample tie down hooks and ports to add more hooks are in the bed. For added ease of climbing into the bed, a step built into the rear bumper is standard, and the available EZ-Lift and Lower Tailgate opens and closes effortlessly. This compact truck also has a decent amount of interior storage space.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 GMC Canyon Length and Weight
  • Length: 17 feet, 8.4 inches to 18 feet, 8 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,922 to 4,508 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 5,700 to 6,200 pounds

Where Was the 2018 GMC Canyon Built?

GMC built the Canyon in Missouri.

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