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Anthony Sophinos
Automotive Editor - October 2, 2019

2020 GMC Canyon OVERVIEW

What's New

In most trims, the 2020 GMC Canyon offers shoppers something a little more upmarket than the usual suspects in the mid-size truck class. It's a unique marketing proposition that GMC has pulled off surprisingly well over the years; if nothing else, you won't catch anyone scoffing at the brand's ritzy Denali models.

For 2020, GMC has chosen not to mess with success, and the Canyon soldiers on unchanged. Don't call it complacency, though. The mid-sizer is expected to be refreshed for 2021 and will boast updated styling along with a new off-road sub-trim to be called AT4.

Choosing Your GMC Canyon

The GMC Canyon is available in six trims: SL, Canyon, SLE, SLT, All Terrain, and Denali. Pricing starts at $23,790 including destination for the SL and climbs to $41,595 for the Denali.

Crew Cab models are offered with both the 5-foot-2-inch Short Box and the 6-foot-2-inch Long Box. Extended Cabs come exclusively with the Long Box. The Crew Cab is offered for all trims but the SL; the Extended Cab isn't offered in SLT or Denali spec, but is available throughout the rest of the range.

Engine Choices

The entry-level powertrain is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that's standard on the SL, Canyon, and SLE. Most examples come with the 3.6-liter V6, which is standard on the SLT, All Terrain, and Denali and available on the Canyon and SLE. A 2.8-liter turbodiesel is optional on the SLE, SLT, All Terrain, and Denali.

Engine TypeHorsepowerTorqueMax TowingFuel Economy (Combined)
2.5L 4-Cylinder200 hp191 lb-ft3,500 pounds22 mpg
3.6L V6308 hp275 lb-ft7,000 pounds20 mpg
2.8L Turbodiesel 4-Cylinder181 hp369 lb-ft7,700 pounds23 mpg

The two four-cylinder engines use a six-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 is hooked up to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Of the three engines, the diesel will prove to be the most elusive on the streets. The simple reason is money – and how much of it is needed to buy one. While the exact upcharge varies by trim, expect to shell out between $3,000 and $6,000 for it.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

All Canyons but the SL sit at least four people, though the riders shoehorned into the back of an Extended Cab will be pining for more comfortable accommodations. Its rear seats are puritanically upright and there's little leg room to speak of.

The five-passenger Crew Cab remedies this with a standard rear bench that offers all the space and comfort of an ordinary mid-size SUV. For those planning on carrying passengers with any frequency, the Crew Cab is the better choice by a wide margin.

The longer 6-foot-2-inch bed boasts 49.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity, while the 5-foot-2-inch bed holds 41.3 cubic feet. Maximum payload ranges between 1,349 pounds and 1,528 pounds; the high end of that spectrum is realized with the 5-foot-2-inch bed.

Safety Features

Few trucks on the market offer any comprehensive list of active safety features, and the Canyon is no exception. The only notable piece of safety equipment standard across the whole range is GM's Teen Driver feature. This bit of tech keeps young drivers in check with computer-generated driving reports as well as parent-determined speed limits and volume limits.

Forward-collision warning and lane departure warning become available beginning with the SLE. Only the Denali includes these two features as standard.

The NHTSA was impressed enough with the Canyon's crashworthiness to issue it a four-star overall safety rating.


A 7-inch color touchscreen fills the center stack of SL- and Canyon-trimmed trucks, while an 8-inch screen handles infotainment duty elsewhere in the lineup. Both screens feature Bluetooth, voice recognition, and Apple CarPlay; the bigger screen also includes SiriusXM and HD radio.

Android users take note: the base software found within the 8-inch screen doesn't offer Android Auto. However, upgrading to the $495 navigation-equipped system does include Android Auto compatibility.

SL - From $23,295

The most basic Canyon SL probably best lives up to the brand's "Professional Grade" slogan, as there are few outside the professional world who will want one. All SLs are built to the same specs; you won't find one as anything but a rear-wheel drive, 2.5-liter-powered Extended Cab. With its rear-seat delete, the SL only seats two.

Basic amenities include a four-way power driver seat, vinyl upholstery, a tilt steering column, and a 3.5-liter driver information center. An alarm is standard, as are power locks and windows. Manual climate control with air conditioning keeps the sparse cabin comfortable.

Canyon - From $26,795

The Canyon trim – whether this makes a Canyon-trimmed Canyon a Canyon Canyon has yet to be confirmed by GMC – is another fleet-oriented truck, albeit with more flexibility in build configurations. Buyers have the choice of both cabs and can also choose to upgrade to four-wheel drive.

There's only two additional no-cost features when compared to the SL: a rear seat and carpeted floors. Despite the dearth in standard equipment, the options list is extensive, and there are five option packages to choose from.

Of those five, it's the Convenience Package that bestows the Canyon with the most noteworthy extra creature comforts. For $630, it includes cruise control, a rear-window defogger, keyless entry, and tailgate assist with a remote-locking tailgate.

SLE - From $30,195

The SLE includes a 4.2-inch driver information cluster, wi-fi hotspot capability, a six-way power driver seat, and the 8-inch touchscreen. There's also cloth seats, two USB ports, and an auto-dimming mirror. All the contents of the Canyon's Convenience Package have been made standard as well.

A $575 SLE Convenience Package adds single-zone automatic climate control, remote start, and a sliding rear window.

SLT - From $36,995

The SLT, which is only offered with the Crew Cab and comes standard with the V6, is the most well-appointed model not wearing a Denali badge. Outside, there's 18-inch wheels, chrome bumpers and trim, and chrome heated power outside mirrors. Interiors get leather upholstery, automatic climate control, heated seats, and a heated steering wheel. Wireless charging and rear parking assist are also standard.

Dress-up and protective options such as mud flaps, floor mats, bed liners, and skid plates are available here just as they are through the rest of the range, but no exclusive SLT packages are available.

All Terrain - From $37,695

Until the AT4 comes around next year, the off-roading trim remains the All Terrain. Fittingly, four-wheel drive is mandatory. Equipment levels are largely similar to the SLT, though there's no wireless charging or heated steering wheel. Unique standard features include hill descent control, an off-road suspension, and 17-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires.

The All Terrain X ($2,070) is the only option package unique to the All Terrain. It includes fatter, 31-inch all-terrain Goodyear tires, 3-inch black step bars, and a bedliner.

Denali - From $41,595

The fanciest Canyon is the Denali. It trumps the SLT by virtue of its 20-inch wheels, LED bed lighting, and a navigation-equipped 8-inch touchscreen. Bose audio, additional USB ports, and ventilated front seats are also standard. The trademark Denali grille is present and accounted for.

Compare Canyon Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

The bling of the 2020 GMC Canyon Denali can't outshine the SLT's inherent appeal. A fair bit cheaper and still quite well equipped, the lesser model is the better value.

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