Whether you need a vehicle for light hauling or just want a burlier alternative to sedan or crossover without going to a full-size pickup, the 2017 GMC Canyon is a solid compact pickup truck. It's bigger than you might expect and has style to spare both inside and out, especially with the Denali model. However, this comes at a price. The Canyon Denali is expensive, and the cost of a non-Denali Canyon can really add up when options are added.

Pricing and Equipment

Prices for the 2017 Canyon start at $21,880 (including a $995 destination charge), although that's somewhat deceiving – that figure is for the SL trim, a special-order pickup usually reserved for work fleets. Don't count on seeing one on dealer lots. Instead, the Canyon (with no letters) is considered to be the base model for consumers, and it has a starting price of $24,950. It does include carpeted floors and cloth upholstery, and comes in a four-wheel drive version. Other standard features include keyless entry, a rear vision camera, USB port and projector headlamps with LED signature lighting.

Moving up to a Canyon SLE bumps the starting price to $28,945, but brings on a lot of additional features. These include:

  • An eight-inch diagonal Color Touch radio with Intellilink
  • 17-inch wheels
  • A leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel
  • EZ Lift and lower locking tailgate

The Canyon SLT, which used to be the top trim level before the introduction of the Denali, starts at $33,330 and adds a few more features to the SLE package. These upgrades include heated, leather-appointed front seats, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels and automatic climate control.

Topping off the 2017 Canyon model line is the all-new Denali, with a starting price of $40,050. It builds on the SLT trim and adds five-inch chrome assist steps, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, heated and air-conditioned front seats, and a Driver Alert Package that includes forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

The base 2.5-liter inline-4 engine produces 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. This engine can be mated to either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The new V6 engine makes 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque and is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The impressive turbodiesel inline-4 creates 181 horsepower and produces 369 pound-feet of torque. This engine, which is capable of hauling up to 7,700 pounds, is also mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

On top of the three engines, the Canyon is available in two- or four-wheel drive, with or without an extended bed, and in four-door Crew Cab or Extend Cab (rear quarter doors) body styles. Since it's a bit complicated, we'll break down the Canyon's different configurations based on trim:

  • SL: Extended cab, two-wheel-drive, 2.5-liter four-cylinder.
  • Canyon: Extended cab, Crew Cab, long or short bed, two- or four-wheel drive, 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.6-liter V6.
  • SLE: Extended cab, Crew Cab, long or short bed, two- or four-wheel drive, 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.6-liter V6, and 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel.
  • SLT: Extended cab (V6 only), Crew Cab, long or short bed, two- or four-wheel drive, 3.6-liter V6 and 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel.
  • Denali: Crew Cab, long or short bed, two- or four-wheel drive, 3.6-liter V6 and 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel.

Performance Pros

GMC Canyon
  • We like the smooth handling and all-around comfortable ride offered by all Canyon models. This is a decent-sized truck that drives like a much smaller vehicle.
  • All engine options are strong and capable.
  • The Canyon has excellent towing capacity, especially with the turbodiesel engine.

Performance Cons

  • Those who want the benefits of the extra-strong turbodiesel engine may go into sticker-shock. It's a powerhouse, for sure, but it's also expensive.
  • The 2.8-liter turbodiesel is noisy at freeway speeds.
  • Unless a Canyon buyer is willing to pony up the extra cash for the turbodiesel, the gas-powered engine options are both pretty lackluster when it comes to fuel efficiency.

Interior Pros

  • The infotainment system is easy to use.
  • The front seats are fairly spacious in all models.
  • The cabin has a comfortable feel in non-Denali versions of the Canyon. In the Denali, the cabin offers luxury-level amenities.

Interior Cons

GMC Canyon
  • Second-row seating is cramped, especially in the extended cab versions.
  • Even though cargo space in the Canyon is adequate, other similarly-sized pickups offer more room on the inside for stuff.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

With an easy-going ride and a very pleasant interior, the 2017 Canyon is fun to drive. It's easy to see how this pickup would be a good option for drivers who need both towing capacity and a practical, everyday commuter vehicle.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Looking at the "base" price, the Canyon looks like a pretty good bargain. But that $21,880 is for a stripped down work-ready version of the truck that only seats two people. For most buyers, getting the version of the truck that they want will mean shelling out a lot more money.

The Bottom Line

The 2017 GMC Canyon is a good pickup truck with great engine options. But anyone who is seriously considering a Canyon purchase pay careful attention to the bottom line, because GMC's baby truck gets too pricey too quickly.