Vehicle Overview
Known for its “professional grade” trucks, GMC is introducing a new pickup for the 2004 model year. Brand-new and designed from the ground up, the Canyon will be similar to Chevrolet’s new Colorado pickup. Both are larger than the previous compact models they replace — the GMC Sonoma and Chevrolet S-10, respectively.

GMC aims to provide greater power, space and functionality in the Canyon than with that offered in the Sonoma. Two new inline engines are based on the Vortec 4.2-liter six-cylinder that was introduced in GMC’s Envoy sport utility vehicle. “Inline technology produces an engine with exceptional power, smoothness and world-class fuel efficiency,” said Product Manager Jerome Thiebaud.

The Canyon is offered with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and in regular-cab, extended-cab and crew-cab forms. The Canyon lineup includes two-wheel-drive high rider and crew-cab models. Two suspension packages are available: standard heavy-duty and high rider off-road. Production on the Canyon began in the fourth quarter of 2003.


Exterior
A distinctive front end that features a prominently displayed red GMC logo on the grille gives the Canyon a strong family resemblance to other GMC products. The grille has a chrome surround and dark smoke-gray crossbars.

The Canyon is built on a new ladder-type frame and comes equipped with rack-and-pinion steering. Rear-wheel-drive models have an independent front suspension and a live rear axle, while four-wheel-drive and high rider off-road models use a torsion bar suspension.

Even though a 6-foot cargo box is standard, crew-cab models get a 5-foot box. A locking tailgate with a provision for two-tier loading is installed. Aluminum wheels hold 15-inch tires, and fog lamps are optional.


Interior
Regular-cab pickups contain a standard, 60/40-split bench seat upholstered in cloth or vinyl, but reclining bucket seats are available. Four-door extended-cab trucks have two forward-facing rear seats with under-seat storage and a flat load floor. Crew-cab models contain front bucket seats upholstered in cloth or leather, along with a 60/40-split, flat-folding backseat that holds three adults.

A driver information center includes system readouts. Options include heated leather front bucket seats, an in-dash six-CD changer, an electrochromatic inside mirror with a compass and an outside temperature gauge. GM’s OnStar communication system and XM Satellite Radio are available.


Under the Hood
The standard Canyon engine is a 2.8-liter Vortec inline-four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 185 pounds-feet of torque. Buyers can choose an optional 3.5-liter inline-five-cylinder (the first use of that configuration in a consumer-marketed pickup) that generates 220 hp and 225 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines operate with electronic throttle control, variable valve timing and coil-on-plug ignition.

A new five-speed-manual gearbox is standard, and a four-speed Hydra-Matic 4L60-E automatic transmission is optional. Canyons equipped with four-wheel drive get a new transfer case and offer electronic shift-on-the-fly capability by using a dashboard-mounted switch. Full-function traction control and a locking differential are available. Canyons come with a choice of two rear-axle ratios.


Safety
Four-wheel antilock brakes and dual-stage front airbags are standard, and side curtain-type airbags are offered as an option.