2020 GMC Canyon Review
  • Car Review

2020 GMC Canyon Review

By Autolist Staff | April 9, 2020

Pros

  • A comfortable ride over most terrain
  • Maneuverable size and smooth handling
  • Large towing capacity with the four-cylinder engine and V6 engine

Cons

  • Not as much in-cab storage as the competition
  • Front seats may feel small to larger individuals
  • Limited availability of driver safety features

With today’s midsize trucks being almost the same size as full-size trucks from just a decade ago, the 2020 GMC Canyon will likely be all the pickup truck you need and want. The Canyon is essentially the cousin to the Chevrolet Colorado. In many ways, these trucks are similar.

The Canyon is a somewhat gussied-up Colorado, offering more amenities and features; however, it’s the Colorado that has the ZR2 trims that offer class-leading off-road capabilities.

In addition to the Colorado, the Canyon also competes against the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, and Honda Ridgeline. Ideal drivers of this truck include professionals and small families looking for a combination work and pleasure vehicle.

The majority of the changes made for the 2020 model year are trim specific. For example, the HD back-up camera now comes standard on all trims except the base level, and the six-way power driver’s seat is offered with the SLE, Denali, and All Terrain trims. Another new option is rear park assist and the expanded availability of a heated steering wheel and wireless charging features.

The new GMC infotainment system offering a more intuitive interface has been provided standard across all trim levels for this model year.

Exterior

TLDR: With a sportier exterior, newly styled front-end and several bed sizes to choose from.

2019-gmc-canyon-exterior

Approximately 19 feet long, this truck is available in several sizes. You can choose from crew-cab (four full-size doors) or extended-cab bodies, featuring either a 5-foot-2 bed or a 6-foot-2 bed; the longer bed is the only choice for the extended cab version.

With a similar body style to the full-size Sierra, the 2020 Canyon measures in just slightly smaller and with a similar exterior design. It features a squared-off exterior and a car-like interior.

2019-gmc-canyon-rear

The boxy shape of the truck is emphasized further by the rectangular headlights, tall grille, and wheel arches. This is a strong contrast to the curvier Colorado. Also, thanks to the high rising belt line, the Canyon has a slightly sportier look than other trucks in its class.

Interior Quality and Comfort

TLDR: An upscale interior, savvy design and generous head and leg room.

2019-gmc-canyon-dashboard

The interior of the 2020 GMC Canyon is logically arranged, providing the driver with intuitive control interfaces. With enough seating space for two to five people, the truck offers a smooth and comfortable ride for the driver and passengers. Also, the Denali trim has more creature comforts than the majority of other midsized pickups available on the market today.

The physical knobs and buttons in the cabin are located within easy reach of the driver, and the MyLink infotainment interface’s screen provides a generous seven inches to provide easy readability.

2019-gmc-canyon-seats

The seat in the Canyon is located high enough off of the ground, requiring minimal effort needed to get in and out. Included step bars provide a boost for shorter drivers, and the narrow doors somewhat hamper backseat access.

The steering wheels telescopes and a suitable grip diameter is available. The Canyon provides enough leg space to ensure even tall drivers are comfortable according to Edmunds.

2019-gmc-canyon-seats2

There’s plenty of leg room in the front seat, and equally generous headroom in the rear. While legroom is somewhat lacking in the back, it’s to be expected from any midsize pickup. While the cabin isn’t as wide as the Ridgeline, it does offer plenty of space for adult passengers.

Thanks to the large windshield and tall windows, the Canyon offers a commanding view of the road ahead. The side mirrors are of average size, and rear-quarter visibility is acceptable.

Utility & Practicality

TLDR: Generous towing capacity and plenty of storage in the cabin.

The tow ratings lead the class, and the tailgate lip and bed sides are high. When hauling things, rather than people, the backseat folding design provides additional space for cargo.

2019-gmc-canyon-trunk

The max towing capacity is 7,000 pounds, which is 500 more than the competition. The payload capacity is 1,393, which is better than the Tacoma but comes in just behind the Ridgeline. There are several tie-down locations in the bed, offering improved functionality.

The Canyon offers plenty of storage space in the cabin. It features a deep console bin along with a reasonably sized glovebox and an average number of cupholders.

2019-gmc-canyon-profile

The storage in the front door is limited to a small cupholder and shallow pockets, but there are storage compartments beneath the rear seats to make up for lack of door storage.

Technology & Infotainment

TLDR: The included infotainment system provides superior connectivity with upgrades available.

Standard technology features for 2020 include the Teen Driver feature, allowing parents to set audio volume and speed limits for secondary drivers, along with the GMC infotainment system. The updated system features a seven-inch touch screen, two USB ports, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

2019-gmc-canyon-infotainment

Upgrades for the infotainment system include a seven-speaker Bose audio system, Wi-Fi hot spot, additional USB ports, satellite radio, navigation, an eight-inch touch screen, and wireless phone charging capabilities.

The Canyon provides drivers and passengers with several connectivity options, while the infotainment system makes it simple to control the features offered. The interface on the touchscreen is intuitive, and the screen itself if highly responsive. In addition to the touchscreen, the Canyon also features buttons for several features.

Safety & Driving Assistance

TLDR: Received four out of five stars from the NHTSA and a “Good” rating from the IIHS.

The highway safety features included with the 2020 GMC Canyon include a rearview camera, which is standard across all trim levels, along with driver assistance features, including lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and rear parking sensors.

All models also feature dual front airbags, as well as side-curtain airbags for both front seat and back seat passengers.

Driving Experience

TLDR: Several powertrain options providing plenty of horsepower and torque across the board.

There are several powertrain choices available with the 2020 GMC Canyon. The entry-level engine is a 2.5-liter inline four cylinder offering 200 horsepower along with 191 lb-ft of torque. The Canyon comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. You can choose the optional six-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive, and it’s standard for four-wheel drive.

The upgraded engine available is a 3.6-liter V-6 offering 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet. It’s also a popular option due to the power boost and improved fuel economy it offers. The V-6 is also offered with an optional eight-speed transmission.

For improved efficiency and torque, the 2.8-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4 is a better option according to a recent Motor Trend review, offering 186 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. When paired with the six-speed automatic, the performance and capability are boosted to tow up to 7,700 pounds effectively.

The All-Terrain X package is best for anyone wanting to travel off the beaten path, thanks to the Goodyear all-terrain rubber, along with other off-road features. This package equips the Canyon with four-wheel drive providing a stronger transfer case and an automatic mode, which isn’t available with many competitors.

The brakes are simple to modulate and provide confidence for drivers in routine driving conditions. Even in aggressive panic stops, the truck remains composed. The steering is fine and provides easy control on curvy roads. The reported carlike handling is unique for a 4,600-pound pickup.

Fuel Efficiency

TLDR: MPGs rival other trucks in the class.

Due to the diesel powertrain option, the Canyon is a bit more conservative on fuel than some of the other midsized trucks in the class and it’s even competitive with several midsize sedans. The 2.5-liter inline-4 is the base engine option and provides drivers with 20 miles per gallon in the city, and 26 on the highway. If the four-wheel drive is equipped, the numbers drop slightly to 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

The V-6 uses more gas with 18 mpg city and 25 on the highway with rear-wheel-drive. The four-wheel drive models come in at 17/24.

The last in the lineup, the 2.8-liter turbodiesel achieves 22/30 with rear wheel drive coming in at 20/28.

Trim Levels & Pricing

TLDR: The Canyon offers drivers everything from bare bones to a generously outfitted truck with all the bells and whistles.

The 2020 GMC Canyon base trim is the SL starting at $21,100 with a destination charge of $1,095. This is considered a “bare-bones” work truck including six airbags, part-power driver’s seat with manual recline, backup camera, LED daytime running lights, no rear seats, USB port, vinyl floor coverings, air conditioning, and the GMC infotainment system featuring the seven-inch touchscreen, six-speaker sound system, and Bluetooth connectivity. The truck lacks other features, such as remote start/keyless entry and cruise control.

For a few more features, the Canyon may be a better option, starting at $25,895 with a $1,095 destination fee. This trim adds carpeted floor coverings and rear seats to the mix. It also opens the door to several options, including cruise control, remote keyless entry, and several items on the SLE trim. This is the base model for the crew cab option.

The Canyon SLE is next, starting at $29,895 with a destination fee of $1,095. This trim offers power mirrors, 17-inch wheels, and an upgraded infotainment system featuring an eight-inch touchscreen, two additional USB ports in the back, auto-dimming mirror, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, telescopic steering wheel, and OnStar featuring 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot capabilities. It also provides automatic climate control, a sliding rear window, and remote ignition, which are available with the SLE Convenience package.

The All-Terrain trim has a starting price of $36,895 with a destination fee of $1,095. This is the off-road version of the SLE featuring 4WD, 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, special suspension, exterior trim, dark windows, a transfer-case shield, hill-descent control, a rear locking differential, and a few additional interior features.

With the Canyon SLT, the starting price is $36,695, and it has a $1,095 destination fee. The SLT includes the aforementioned SLE Convenience package features, along with a V6 engine, heated and leather front seats, along with a Driver Alert Package, featuring lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning.

The top trim level for 2020 is the GMC Canyon Denali. It starts at $39,790 with a destination fee of $1,095. This trim features most of the options listed above, along with 20-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, ventilated and heated seats, wireless smartphone charging, along with special styling.

Additional options for the 2020 GMC Canyon include a Bose sound system, navigation system, chrome wheels, innovative in-bed cargo-divider system, running boards, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert, and a diesel engine.

Value

The 2020 GMC Canyon offers a comfortable ride for the majority of drivers but doesn’t offer quite as much room in the front as the Ridgeline and Tacoma. While this is true, the optional powertrains make it a versatile truck that can handle any towing needs a driver may have, and that comes out top-of-the-class in the midsize truck market according to several reviewers including US News and World Report.

The trim that offers the most value for the money is the SLE, which is available with all of the powertrain choices and it comes standard with quite a bit of equipment. Many of the optional packages are also available with this trim level. For buyers interested in the more luxurious features, then the SLT trim or Canyon Denali is best, as shown from the included options listed above.

More Photos

See more 2020 GMC Canyon Photos.