2019 GMC Canyon 4WD Crew Denali new car reviews

Twin-cam V6, eight-speed transmission and power sent to all four wheels. Some new exotic? No, just a GMC Canyon.

The Canyon and its Colorado sibling can be fully optioned, just like a “real” truck. In fact, our 4WD Crew Cab Denali SWB seemed to have nearly all of the boxes ticked: four-wheel-drive, trailer package, spray-on bed liner, aluminum wheels, leather steering wheel, heated and vented front seats and so on. It even came with some all-weather floor mats, a $190 option.

This particular truck, at the end of the day, stickered at $48,520. Yes, you can build a nicely equipped, full-size truck for that money.

But, the big question: Do you need a truck that big?

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Maybe this is all the truck that most of us need. It’s great at doing truck stuff.

Before you cry foul because it doesn’t have an 8-foot bed, hear me out: With the tailgate down, the available 6-foot-2 bed fits 8-foot-long items.

Question 1: Does a midsized truck make sense?

If you’re a contractor who’s hauling sheets of plywood on a daily basis, yeah, I can see wanting the bigger truck. But if you’re like most people, most of the time it’s just bags of mulch–or, more realistically, yourself and maybe another person. Then the smaller truck makes a lot of sense for the simple fact that it’s not the size of a school bus. (Also, the Canyon/Colorado is nearly as big as a full-size, 15-year-old Chevy pickup.)

The Canyon didn’t feel grossly oversized in downtown Orlando, where it wound up more than once during its time with us. The truck fit in normal-sized parking spots. The ride can be called firm but not punishing by any stretch.

This one was loaded, meaning it had all of today’s expected comfort and convenience items. We never found ourselves wishing for another USB port or more radio stations.

If anything, the door openings feel a little small–and that could be due to the jacked-up ride height. Going in, you have to make a choice: Step up onto the assist steps and then go in foot-first or just angle in head-first? I preferred the first option; my wife seems better off with the second one.

Question 2: Which smaller truck?

Assuming that you answered yes to Question 1 and don’t feel like cruising around in an El Camino, do you go with a GM product or something foreign–like the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma or Honda Ridgeline?

The Canyon, even though it’s relatively new, offers that traditional truck feel. It feels like the same GM products we have been driving for decades. It’s the comfort food of the truck world.

It’s nice to have some choices, though. The Nissan really is long in the tooth, but it’s the budget buy.

The Tacoma presents a rather high bar but starts out a grand higher than the GMC.

Then there’s the Ridgeline: Love to hear your comments on that one because, for some of us here, it’s the perfect truck.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
View comments on the GRM forums
DeadSkunk PowerDork
12/13/18 5:21 p.m.

What about the rear seat? How much room is there with a 6 foot driver at the wheel?

Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
12/13/18 5:58 p.m.

I’m a bit taller and considered the Colorado but to get comfortable I had the seat tilted way back and the B pillar was kinda forward giving me the feeling I was sitting halfway in the back seat.   

My Silverado doesn’t feel like that.  

AnthonyGS Reader
12/13/18 8:04 p.m.

Did you get the long bed?  Let us know how you like it as time goes, because I'm really considering a crew cab long bed Canyon or Tacoma in 4WD for towing, hauling and camping (daily driving too). 



dean1484 MegaDork
12/13/18 8:44 p.m.

My biggest issue with trucks these days is there height.  Lifting stuff into or getting it out of the bed is a serious PITA.  The canyon seems to be just as tall as a 1500. I am probably wrong on this but i sware that ford started this trend with the f150 and GM had to join the altitude challenge.  I was looking at a 2015 at the dealer and my first question to the dealer was can you lower it. 

Woody MegaDork
12/13/18 8:48 p.m.

I looked at these online for a moment before buying another Tacoma. By the time I spec'd a four door V6 4x4, I was already up to 41 grand and I wasn't done yet. I don't trust GM trucks that much. It will rust away up here before I can pay it off.

NickD UberDork
12/14/18 7:01 a.m.

These are nice driving trucks. They have a very solid feel, like they are hewn from a block of granite, that the full-size trucks don't have. There is also what I dubbed the "hotboi package" that we got to install that included a louder exhaust and a pod air filter from the factory, kinda cracked me up. Hopefully the '19 fixes the torque converter issues that the earlier 8-speed trucks had. This year, we were putting torque converters in just about every Colorado/Canyon with an 8-speed that we sold. And, boy, is that a chore on these.

MINIzguy HalfDork
12/14/18 7:42 a.m.

I have a '18 Colorado diesel with the long bed. Just ticked over 5k miles this morning and it hasn't been 2 months. Transmission issues? Yes, the torque converter sometimes shudders around 1500rpm. Otherwise, no issues have popped up yet.

Mine is a "mid-high" optioned truck. Has Bose, nav and a fancy paint color, but still has a manual adjusting passenger seat and cloth.

Go_Gators Reader
12/14/18 1:44 p.m.

i think its highly probable that a baby-duramax canyon/colorado will be my next truck. seems like a good compromise for daily-ing and towing. 

oldrotarydriver Reader
12/16/18 8:30 a.m.

There's a new-to-me 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-T in my driveway, courtesy of the GRM long-term reviews and my own test drive of it vs. the Colorado/Canyon and Toyota Tacoma.  It replaced my 2007 Trailblazer, after a series of issues that drove me over the edge of reason (A/C failure, transmission lurch, inexplicable electrical faults, and overall quality control).

The Ridgeline has been, well, whatever I need it to be so far.  Pick up 15 bags of mulch?  Sure!  250 mile four seat limo run?  Why not?  Save 6mpg over the TB's best days?  No sweat.

Fun fact: the ECON button changes the character of the driveline from "Sporty" (off) to "Grampa" (on).  I drove with it On for a couple weeks in town to see what the mileage difference would be, then switched it Off on Friday, as I was leaving the office.  As the Yoopers would say, "Holy wah!".  That 'little' V6 AWD truck took off from the light like I was trying to drag the Bimmer next to me.  Yes, there was a grin plastered on my surprised, yet ugly mug.  laugh

Would I buy another if this one gets wrecked / stolen / smashed by aliens?  Yes!


Our Preferred Partners