GMC Canyon

#3 in Compact Pickup Trucks Overall Score: 8.7 / 10
2016 GMC Canyon View More Photos »
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2016 GMC Canyon Overview

The 2016 GMC Canyon ranks 3 out of 5 Compact Pickup Trucks.

The 2016 GMC Canyon has one of the best scores in our compact pickup truck ratings. Our analysis of professional reviews and data shows that critics think the engines are powerful, and they appreciate the ...

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Pros & Cons

  • Good power and acceleration with both engines
  • High-quality interior materials
  • User-friendly tech features
  • Inadequate front-seat support for longer drives

Notable for 2016

  • New 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine available

GMC Canyon Rankings and Research

The 2016 GMC Canyon ranking is based on its score within the Compact Pickup Trucks category. Currently the GMC Canyon has a score of 8.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 23 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.


Overall: 8.7
Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 8.6
Interior: 8.5
Safety: 8.3
Reliability: 3_0


2016 GMC Canyon Pictures

2016 GMC Canyon Review

By Cody Trotter June 17, 2016

The 2016 GMC Canyon has one of the best scores in our compact pickup truck ratings. Our analysis of professional reviews and data shows that critics think the engines are powerful, and they appreciate the excellent fuel economy offered by the available turbodiesel engine. Inside, the cabin features quality materials, and the tech features are user-friendly. However, the front seats could be a bit more supportive during a long drive.

The Canyon has a starting price around $22,000, putting it in the middle of the class in terms of starting price. The Canyon's highest trim starts at around $32,500, which is less expensive than the highest trims of some class rivals.

GMC backs the Canyon with a three-year limited warranty. It has an average predicted reliability rating, though some competitors' ratings are higher.

Canyon Performance

Four-Cylinder, V6, and Diesel Engine Options

The Canyon’s base four-cylinder engine provides a good amount of power, and it will likely serve your purposes. The four-cylinder also gets good fuel economy for a compact pickup, earning an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway, which are better numbers than you’ll get from rivals like the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.

If you want some extra power, you may want to consider the available V6. It feels stronger and has better acceleration than the four-cylinder. The V6 also delivers a fuel economy rating that’s nearly as high as the four-cylinder’s, earning an estimated 18 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.

If you want the best the Canyon has to offer in efficiency or towing ability, then you’ll want the new-for-2016 four-cylinder turbodiesel. It gets an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway, which are some of the highest ratings in the class. If you do want the diesel, take note that it's only offered on crew cab models.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the base four-cylinder engine, and a six-speed automatic is available. The automatic is the only transmission offered with the V6 and the turbodiesel. The automatic transmission is responsive, and it willingly holds gears or downshifts to make towing or climbing hills easier.

Smooth Ride, Strong Brakes

The Canyon offers a smoother ride than some class rivals, although it can’t match the ride quality of the redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline. The Ridgeline’s superior ride quality is largely the result of it being built on a car-based platform, which lends itself to a smoother ride than a traditional pickup truck.

The Canyon is highly maneuverable thanks in part to its sharp steering, and there isn’t a lot of body roll when taking corners. It also has sturdy brakes that react quickly when you push the pedal down. Four-wheel drive is available on the Canyon, but even if you opt for one of the All-Terrain packages, which includes features like an off-road suspension and a locking rear differential, it still isn’t the off-road ace that the Toyota Tacoma is.

Towing Maestro

The 2016 Canyon has one of the highest towing capacities in the entire class. When equipped with the turbodiesel engine and available Trailering package, the Canyon has a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 pounds. It also has an excellent maximum payload of 1,620 pounds, though it needs to be equipped with the V6 engine to achieve that rating.

Read more about performance »

Canyon Interior

EZ Lift-and-Lower Tailgate

No matter which cab configuration you choose, the Canyon is available with a 6-foot-2-inch bed. Crew cab models are also offered with a shorter, 5-foot-2-inch bed. According to GM, the Canyon's bed is deeper than some rivals', and with the tailgate down, you can haul 8-foot pieces of lumber without them hanging beyond the edge of the lowered tailgate.

Speaking of putting the tailgate down, you'll appreciate the Canyon's available EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate, which is designed to be easily raised and lowered with just one hand.

The Canyon's bed has another trick as well. It has a two-tier loading system that allows the bed to be split into an upper and lower section, which you can use to separate different types of cargo.

Quality Cabin

Gone are the days when a pickup truck’s cabin focused only on function, and the Canyon is a perfect embodiment of that shift. The Canyon uses quality materials throughout the cabin, and it has one of the nicest cabins in the class.

You have two cabins to choose from with the Canyon: the four-seat extended cab, which is standard, or the five-seat crew cab. Both are quiet, and the front seats are supportive, though a few critics complain that they lack adequate support on longer drives.

The rear seats are pretty cramped in extended cab models, but crew cab models offer adequate room for adults to ride in the back seats. Crew cab models also have rear seats that flip up and fold down, allowing greater flexibility if you want to transport cargo that’s too delicate to be thrown in the bed.

User-Friendly Infotainment

The Canyon doesn’t have as many standard features as the Toyota Tacoma or Honda Ridgeline. However, the few it does have are useful. There’s a six-speaker audio system, a 4.2-inch audio system display screen, and a USB port, which gives you a convenient way to charge your phone while on the go and lets you hook up your own music device to the stereo.

The Canyon does have many available features. Some are convenience features, such as dual-zone automatic climate control and remote start. Others include entertainment upgrades, like the seven-speaker Bose audio system and satellite radio.

Another available feature is GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system. It includes Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay, and an 8-inch touch screen. The screen has large icons for selecting navigation (optional) and other functions, which make it an easy-to-use system. CarPlay lets you easily connect your iPhone to the infotainment system and access all of your favorite apps, and Siri Eyes Free lets you check emails, texts, and calendar appointments with voice commands so you can keep your eyes on the road.

OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot is also available, allowing you to stay connected no matter where you are.

Read more about interior »

Canyon Pricing, Options, and Trims

The 2016 GMC Canyon's base price – for an extended cab SL trim with rear-wheel drive – is $21,880. This is less than you'll pay for the Toyota Tacoma, though it's more than the Nissan Frontier will cost you.

Crew cab models start at $26,790 – for a rear-wheel-drive model with a short bed. If you want a crew cab with the long bed, you'll need to add the V6 engine, and that configuration starts at $28,310. Four-wheel drive models start at $29,520.

Not all trim levels are available with all configurations, but as stated above, the lowest Canyon trim, the SL, carries a starting price of $21,880. That trim is designed to be a sparsely equipped work truck; it has vinyl floor covering and no rear seat, and it’s only available with the four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive.

The next trim level, simply called Canyon, starts at $24,235. The SLE trim, which has the 8-inch IntelliLink infotainment system, starts at $28,320. The top-of-the-line SLT trim, which features leather upholstery, starts at $32,465.

In terms of engine upgrades, availability is limited based on how the truck is configured. But generally speaking, the V6 engine is a $1,235 option, and the diesel engine, which is only available on crew cab models, is a $4,965 option.

There are a number of option packages available on various trim levels, and they range from about $250 to around $1,000. Some of these only add styling changes, but others add features. For instance, the Driver Alert package ($395) includes forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

Two off-road-focused packages are available as well. The All Terrain package (available in both cab configurations) ranges in price from $1,190 to $1,750, depending on configuration, and includes features like an off-road suspension, a locking rear differential, heated rear seats, and power-adjustable front seats. There's also the All Terrain Adventure package, ranging in price from $3,585 to $4,145. It includes everything in the All Terrain package and a couple of other options packages, plus floor mats and a spray-on bed liner.

See 2016 GMC Canyon specs and trims »

Canyon Safety and Reliability Summary

The Canyon does not have as high of a safety rating as the Toyota Tacoma. However, it does earn a four-star overall rating (out of five) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

There aren't many driver assistance features offered on the Canyon. A rearview camera comes standard, and the only other features available are forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

The Canyon has a predicted reliability rating that's lower than some competitors', though it's still an average rating. GMC covers the 2016 Canyon with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about safety »

Other Trucks to Consider

If you want a compact pickup with maximum off-roading capability, check out the Toyota Tacoma. Its TRD Off-Road trim is one of the best off-road performers in the class thanks to its rugged suspension and Multi-Terrain Select system. The Tacoma gets decent power from its available V6 engine, and the sharp steering leaves you feeling in control at all times. The Tacoma's Entune infotainment system works well and is easy to use, and more adventurous types may enjoy the built-in windshield mount for a GoPro camera, which no other truck in the class offers.

The Honda Ridgeline returns to the market for the 2017 model year, and it stands apart from its fellow compact pickups in several ways. It has a carlike ride and the most versatile bed in the class, featuring a dual-action tailgate, a built-in trunk, and an optional built-in audio system for tailgating. The Ridgeline has an incredibly nice cabin, and both rows of seats have enough room for adults to ride comfortably. There are a ton of technology features, including the most driver assistance and active safety features of any truck in the class. However, the Ridgeline doesn't have the same towing and payload capacity as the Tacoma or other rivals, and it's got the highest starting price in the class by a considerable margin.

Compare the Canyon, Tacoma, and Ridgeline in more detail »

Details: 2016 GMC Canyon

The 2016 GMC Canyon comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A 3.6-liter V6 engine and a 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine are available, as is a six-speed automatic transmission. The Canyon seats four in extended cab models and five in crew cab models and comes in four trims: SL, base, SLE, and SLT. The Canyon was reintroduced to GMC’s lineup in 2015 and aside from the introduction of the turbodiesel engine, features no major changes for 2016. As a result, this overview includes applicable research and reviews from the 2015 and 2016 model years.

The 2016 Canyon’s standard features include a rearview camera, a six-speaker audio system, a USB port, and a 4.2-inch display screen. Available features include automatic climate control, remote start, Bluetooth, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, cruise control, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Siri Eyes Free, and Apple CarPlay. OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot is also available.

See 2016 GMC Canyon specs and trims »

  • "Fully redesigned last year, the 2016 GMC Canyon runs circles around the Nissan Frontier and outgoing Toyota Tacoma, its two main pickup rivals, in nearly every respect -- though it remains to be seen whether U.S. truck shoppers will embrace the smaller GM models or instead choose a full-size truck with more capabilities, such as the Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra." -- AutoTrader
  • "With a premium look and feel, and the ability to option in to a very large number of bells and whistles, GMC really is breaking new ground for a truck segment that has mostly existed for value shoppers, thus far." -- Autoblog (2015)
  • "The 2015 has been enlarged to the point where it now measures up well against its chief competition, the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Combined with a more refined interior and the latest technology, it's now the most advanced midsize pickup you can buy." -- Edmunds (2015)

Research Prices: 2016 GMC Canyon

Over 75,000 car shoppers have purchased a car through the U.S. News Best Price Program. Our pricing beat the national average 86% of the time with shoppers receiving average savings of $3,279 off MSRP across vehicles. See what others paid for the GMC Canyon and get upfront pricing to make sure you don't overpay. Learn More »

$20,955 - $38,110
$-967 - $912
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