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2015 GMC Canyon: Boldly in the image of the Sierra

GMC Canyon is mid-size (smallest) of the GMC pickup truck trio
GMC Canyon is mid-size (smallest) of the GMC pickup truck trio

General Motors revealed the second of their new generation medium-duty pickup trucks, the 2015 GMC Canyon, at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Sierra HD, Sierra full-size and new Canyon (L-R)

It’s Chevrolet brand counterpart, the 2015 Colorado, was revealed to the world at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November.

In contrast to the Colorado, which Chevrolet distinctly styled and designed to distance itself from its Silverado sibling, the new Canyon has been styled and designed to be very similar to its sibling, the GMC Sierra full-size pickup.

In fact, lining up the new 2015 Canyon side-by-side with the all-new 2014 Sierra and the new 2015 Sierra HD pickups, you will see that the familial resemblance is boldly stated across the line of pickups from GMC.

Starting with the bold front-end styling with standard projector beam headlamps and GMC’s signature C-shaped LED daytime running lamps on all models, this is a GMC truck pure and capable all around.

The new Canyon will be every bit as refined as the Sierra - drawing design cues like the triple-sealed doors inlaid in the body sides for improved aerodynamic performance and a quieter cabin.

To keep the weight down and improve handling performance and fuel efficiency, the 2015 Canyon features an all-new aluminum hood. It also features active aero grille shutters, which close at certain highway speeds to also enhance efficiency through improved aerodynamics.

Other features include the CornerStep rear bumper design, available EZ Lift-and-Lower locking tailgate that uses an internal torsion bar to make raising the tailgate easier with one hand, and a damper for more-controlled lowering. Standard two-tier loading allows a platform to effectively split the bed into upper and lower sections, making it easier to haul, store and conceal items such as tools.

For 2015, the GMC Canyon will be offered in base, SLE and SLT models, in 2WD and 4WD models, and with an aggressively styled All-Terrain package offered on SLE models. No mention was made of a possible Denali version, but it may be in a longer term strategy based on the market acceptance of the Canyon.

There are three body configurations offered: an extended cab model with a six-foot bed, a crew cab with a five-foot bed and a crew cab with a six-foot bed. No regular cab version is planned.

On the inside, the similarity to the new 2014 Sierra continues with the bold, upright instrument panel with large instruments and a central driver information center and a center console-mounted shifter.

The GMC tradition of using premium materials with strong attention to the details will continue in the Canyon, says GMC, and include things like a sculpted headliner that enhances headroom, halo lighting on key controls for easier viewing and an open area at the front of the center console for easier phone charging.

The detail continues with sculpted door panels that make it easier to enter and exit the vehicle, an upper-instrument panel storage bin, a center console large enough to store a tablet and rear under-seat storage.

Canyon’s seats use dual-firmness foam for greater comfort on long drives and high-wear covered with stain-resistant cloth seating trim (leather is optional). A power-adjustable driver’s seat is standard, and heated leather seats are standard on SLT.

Safety, convenience and connectivity will be important attributes of the 2015 Canyon and will include available OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and driver alert features such as forward collision alert, lane departure warning and a standard rear-vision camera.

The Canyon includes a standard 4.2-inch-diagonal color driver information screen in the instrument cluster.The center stack control module will have many available features including an IntelliLink eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen and multiple USB ports, Siri Eyes Free Mode for iPhone users and Navigation.

Canyon models with the eight-inch IntelliLink screen will also feature a new in-car app marketplace: GMC AppShop. It allows customers to download apps directly to their IntelliLink system and organize, update or delete them throughout the life of the vehicle. Available apps will connect drivers to music, news, weather, travel information, vehicle data and more.

GMC is equipping the new Canyon with two power plants that GMC expects will make Canyon the most powerful and efficient truck in the segment.

A 2.5L I-4 engine will be standard with a 3.6L V-6 available at launch with the 2.8L Duramax Turbodiesel engine to be added for the 2016 model year.

The 2.5L four is estimated at 193 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, with approximately 90 percent of the peak torque available from 2,000 rpm to 6,200 rpm.

The 3.6L engine is estimated at 302 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Though SAE certification of the power ratings is pending, GMC is expecting tow/haul ratings of 6700/1400 pounds, respectively.

All models are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that GM says is tuned to complement the truck-tuned engines with features that make hauling and trailering easier and more comfortable, including auto grade braking and a tow/haul mode.

A six-speed manual transmission is also available with the 2.5L engine in base extended cab/2WD models.

No fuel efficiency estimates were given and are most likely to be announced closer to launch.

The 2015 GMC Canyon is not just a family, recreation and work truck – it will also be a strong off-road truck with an available automatic locking rear differential that will give drivers a traction advantage when needed. It is available on SLE and SLT, and standard with the All-Terrain package.

A new AutoTrac automatic four-wheel drive will be a segment-first feature according to GMC. It employs an electronically controlled transfer case that allows the driver to shift from 2WD to 4WD. The driver can select four modes, 2WD, Auto, 4WD HI, or 4WD Lo. By selecting ‘Auto’ mode, the transfer case will operate in 2WD and will automatically apply traction to the front wheels (4WD) when the vehicle senses wheel slippage.

The GMC Canyon goes on sale late in 2014 (along with the Silverado) and will be taking on the formidable Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier that, together, owned the U.S. medium duty truck segement in 2013 due to the earlier demise of the Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger and the wind down of the prior generation Colorado and Canyon.

Tacoma and Frontier have been the market leaders in the segment in prior years but, with the demise of the Ford Ranger in 2012, the Colorado and Canyon had increased their market share to 17%.

The new 2015 GMC Canyon (along with the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado) looks well designed and equipped to aggressively challenge to regain and then improve their market share especially looking forward to 2016 when the Duramax Turbodiesel becomes available.

Source: GMC

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