GMC introduced the Canyon pickup truck for the 2004 model year. Designed from the ground up, the Canyon is similar to Chevrolet’s Colorado pickup. Both were larger than the previous compact models they replaced — the GMC Sonoma and Chevrolet S-10.
GMC’s intent with the Canyon was to provide greater power, space and functionality than the Sonoma offered. Two inline engines are based on the Vortec 4.2-liter six-cylinder that was introduced in the company’s Envoy sport utility vehicle. “Inline technology produces an engine with exceptional power, smoothness and world-class fuel efficiency,” said product manager Jerome Thiebaud.
For 2006, a new optional sport suspension features 17-inch wheels. The CD player also gains MP3 capability, and box side steps are available on regular- and extended-cab models. A sunroof is optional, and a leather package is offered on extended-cab trucks. General Motors’ Passenger Sensing System airbag technology is now standard.
Available with rear- or four-wheel drive, Canyons come in regular-cab, extended-cab and Crew Cab body styles. Two additional suspension packages are available: heavy-duty and off-road.
A distinctive front end that features a prominent 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. Overhangs are short, and GMC promotes the body’s “chiseled” appearance.
Built on a ladder-type frame, the Canyon uses rack-and-pinion steering. Rear-drive models have an independent front suspension and a live rear axle, while four-wheel-drive and High-Stance Off-Road models use a torsion bar front suspension. All Canyons have front stabilizer bars. An optional ZQ8 sport suspension features a rear stabilizer bar, sport-tuned shocks and quick-ratio power steering. Canyons with the ZQ8 package also have 17-inch aluminum wheels and a 2-inch-lower ride height. A 6-foot cargo box is standard, but Crew Cab models get a 5-foot box. Fifteen-inch aluminum wheels are standard, and fog lamps are optional.
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. Crew Cab models contain front bucket seats upholstered in cloth or leather and a 60/40-split flat-folding backseat that holds three adults.
Options include heated leather front bucket seats, an in-dash six-CD changer, and an electrochromatic inside mirror with a compass and an outside temperature gauge. GM’s OnStar communication system and XM Satellite Radio are available.
The Canyon can be equipped with a 2.8-liter Vortec four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 185 pounds-feet of torque or a 3.5-liter inline-five-cylinder that generates 220 hp and 225 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed-manual gearbox or a four-speed-automatic transmission is available. Both engines operate with electronic throttle control, variable valve timing and coil-on-plug ignition.
Canyons equipped with four-wheel drive offer electronic shift-on-the-fly capability via a dashboard-mounted switch. On two-wheel-drive models, a standard traction control system includes a locking differential; this feature is optional on four-wheel-drive versions. Canyons come with a choice of three rear axle ratios.
Four-wheel antilock brakes and dual-stage front airbags with a passenger-side occupancy sensor are standard. Side curtain-type airbags are optional. All seating positions have three-point safety belts.