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2019 GMC Canyon

2019 GMC Canyon

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$7,315 — $49,627 NEW and USED
63
Photos
Extended Cab Pickup
2-5 Seats
19-22 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 7 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Powerful V-6 engine option
  • Quiet cabin at highway speeds
  • Good acceleration and braking figures
  • Touchscreen system easy to use
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Precise steering feel

The Bad

  • Brake pedal feel
  • Poor ride quality
  • Dated interior feel
  • Transmission seems to hold engine back
  • Uncomfortable front and rear seats
  • No push-button start for the Denali
2019 GMC Canyon exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2019 GMC Canyon
  • Mid-size pickup truck
  • Two cab sizes (extended and crew)
  • Short or long cargo box
  • Three engines, including a diesel
  • 2WD or 4WD
  • Denali trim available

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2019 GMC Canyon Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

The GMC Canyon won our Mid-Size Truck Challenge in 2016. Three years later, does it still compete in a class with many new and redesigned pickups? Watch the video to hear our thoughts.

By Brian Wong

Our view: The Canyon’s robust powertrain isn’t enough to overcome a frustrating driving experience and outdated cabin.

Versus the competition: With new competitors revealing the Canyon’s age, it needs a redesign and improved technology to catch up.

Evaluating vehicles for Cars.com involves a long list of factors, some of them objective and others subjective. This is especially true of pickup trucks, where a lot of those objective considerations carry more weight — things like towing capacity, payload and bed size.

The 2019 GMC Canyon does all right when you consider those the objective factors: Its V-6 produces good power, and in our instrumented testing during the 2019 Mid-Size Pickup Challenge, it was the second fastest of four trucks and had the shortest braking distances. All good things.

But what the Canyon is missing is feel both in terms of drivability and the surfaces on the truck you actually touch. It falls short in the subjective categories, so much so that its objective successes feel less consequential. Those shortcomings dropped it all the way to a last-place finish against the other three competitors — the 2019 Honda Ridgeline, 2019 Ford Ranger and 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

Holding Back

The Canyon offers a few different engines: a pair of four-cylinders, including one diesel, and the 3.6-liter V-6 of our test vehicle. It’s a good engine that makes 308 horsepower and 275 pounds-feet of torque and moves the Canyon easily, never feeling especially taxed even with 1,000...

Our view: The Canyon’s robust powertrain isn’t enough to overcome a frustrating driving experience and outdated cabin.

Versus the competition: With new competitors revealing the Canyon’s age, it needs a redesign and improved technology to catch up.

Evaluating vehicles for Cars.com involves a long list of factors, some of them objective and others subjective. This is especially true of pickup trucks, where a lot of those objective considerations carry more weight — things like towing capacity, payload and bed size.

The 2019 GMC Canyon does all right when you consider those the objective factors: Its V-6 produces good power, and in our instrumented testing during the 2019 Mid-Size Pickup Challenge, it was the second fastest of four trucks and had the shortest braking distances. All good things.

But what the Canyon is missing is feel both in terms of drivability and the surfaces on the truck you actually touch. It falls short in the subjective categories, so much so that its objective successes feel less consequential. Those shortcomings dropped it all the way to a last-place finish against the other three competitors — the 2019 Honda Ridgeline, 2019 Ford Ranger and 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

Holding Back

The Canyon offers a few different engines: a pair of four-cylinders, including one diesel, and the 3.6-liter V-6 of our test vehicle. It’s a good engine that makes 308 horsepower and 275 pounds-feet of torque and moves the Canyon easily, never feeling especially taxed even with 1,000 pounds in the bed.

Despite how good the engine feels, there are a couple of off-putting things about how the Canyon goes and slows. The engine is great, but the eight-speed automatic transmission does some weird stuff on launch, which is problematic because that’s when you’ll notice it the most. When starting off, the transmission has a hard time getting out of 1st, and it feels like the power is getting cut off and holding you up for a split second each time you start out.

What bothered me even more than that, however, was the braking. Despite having the shortest stopping distances, the brake pedal is way too stiff up top, and even if you feel like you’re pressing down fairly hard, there isn’t a corresponding amount of braking being applied. You end up pressing even harder, then suddenly the brakes grab and everything (and everyone) in the cabin does one of those forward lurching moves. Even after driving the truck for the better part of a week, I couldn’t get it down — with passengers on board, it would have resulted in constant apologies.

The Canyon also posted really good raw acceleration, nearly as quick as the Ranger. But feel matters a lot, and the Canyon’s problems with both of its pedals are what really stuck with me after spending a good amount of time behind the wheel.

This Is a Denali?

This problem with “feel” extends to the cabin. We had a Canyon Denali, and the Denali name comes with expectations attached. For other GMC models, the Denali trim level is the pinnacle of luxury. But it feels as though this Denali, with its really awful fake wood trim pieces, isn’t doing the name justice at all. The feature set on this truck is weird; you get certain luxuries like ventilated front seats and leather upholstery standard, but then you don’t get powered recline or push-button start — in this $46,000 truck, you have to insert and turn the key.

The front seats are also poor, thin on padding and lacking in support. On any longer trip driving the Canyon, I’d end up trying to find a more comfortable seating position without great success. It doesn’t get much better for the backseat, which is a bit too small for adults to fit comfortably, and those seats also lack cushioning. However, the Canyon did end up with a decent result in our Car Seat Check, fitting each of our three child-safety seats easily.

As for the rest of the cabin, the design feels a little dated, but materials are all right (with the exception of the fake wood trim). The Canyon Denali does have a standard 8-inch touchscreen plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. One thing to watch out for with the screen is that the lower part of the bezel sticks out, making it difficult to press the very bottom of the screen, which is where the multimedia system’s shortcuts are.

Another thing to watch out for: There isn’t much cabin storage to speak of. The center bin is smaller than you’d expect, and while the doors look like they have a lot of nice little cubbies to store things, they end up being too small to be useful. The rear seat cushions do fold up to reveal a hidden storage compartment, but it’s weirdly shaped and larger objects won’t really fit.

Lacking Safety Features and Value

Our test vehicle also lacked safety features. It came with forward collision and lane departure warnings as equipped, but no automatic emergency braking or lane keep assist. (Some of the features included on competing models aren’t even offered on the Canyon as options.) Rear parking sensors rounded out the Canyon’s safety options, and in our objective scoring, it got a score of 5 out of 30, which isn’t really acceptable. The next-highest competitor tallied 15 points, and the top-rated truck earned 21 points.

This ties into value, as well. Our truck’s sticker price was $45,775 (including destination charges), which made it the second most expensive in our test, but it didn’t feel like it. The Canyon is an older truck compared to the rest. Most of the others are either new or have seen redesigns since the Canyon was last updated.

Ultimately, the Canyon Denali doesn’t seem to be a worthy bearer of the Denali name, and the problems it has with acceleration and braking make if feel even less refined. What was most telling to me was that when I had the option to choose one of our test trucks to drive to dinner or different testing sites, I never reached for the GMC’s keys.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.3
44 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.2)
Reliability
(4.2)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Perfect size truck for my needs

by Lisa from Vassalboro on March 15, 2020

This vehicle suits my needs. I am going from a 3/4 ton diesel truck to a canyon. I can maneuver it around ton easily and still haul my kayak and transport what I need to and from my camp. Read full review

(5.0)

Just got the truck yesterday

by Bob from Fieldale, va on March 14, 2020

Just got truck yesterday. Please with truck after driving 2 hours home. Just need to figure out the features on the truck. If there is a problem I will contact the salesman Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2019 GMC Canyon currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by GMC

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)

  • Powertrain

    6 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    172-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2019 Canyon Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Canyon received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Latch or Latch system

Infant seat

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

Rear-facing convertible

Booster

(second row)

* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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*MSRP and Invoice prices displayed are for educational purposes only, do not reflect the actual selling price of a particular vehicle, and do not include applicable gas taxes or destination charges.