With a maximum payload of 1,422 pounds (645 kg) and an available 5.3L V-8 that enables a towing capacity of 6,000 pounds (2,721 kg), the midsize GMC Canyon delivers big-time capability. The 5.3L V-8 is available on extended cab and crew cab models, delivering 300 horsepower (224 kW) and 320 lb.-ft. of torque (434 Nm).
The 2011 Canyon lineup includes regular cab, extended cab and crew cab body styles; two pickup bed lengths; three available suspensions and three engines. Vehicles are offered in Work Truck, SLE and SLT trims. The popular Z71 Off Road package offers distinctive visual cues to augment its suspension differentiation; it is available on 2WD and 4WD models. The ZQ8 sport suspension, paired with the 5.3L V-8 and 18-inch wheels, is also available.
Canyon models can seat up to six (crew cab model), while offering much higher levels of ride comfort, handling, quietness and interior space than many other midsize trucks. Standard features include head curtain side air bags, StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, rack-and-pinion steering, intermittent wipers, XM Satellite Radio, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control and folding outside mirrors. Available equipment includes remote keyless entry; fog lamps; self-dimming inside rearview mirror; running boards; power, heated leather seating; and high-back bucket seats.
Crew cab models offer a 60/40-split/folding rear seat capable of accommodating three adults. Extended cab versions have four doors, and its two folding rear seats face forward. Regular and extended cab models have a 6-foot 1-inch (1.85 m) pickup bed with taller sides than many competitors, providing best-in-class volume for deeper storage and higher overall payload. Crew cab bed lengths are 5-foot 1-inch (1.55 m).
Both beds offer two-tier cargo loading, and tailgates that are both lockable and easily removable. The tailgate opens to almost 90 degrees, but can be set at a 55-degree opening - putting the tailgate edge at the same height as the top of the rear wheel wells within the cargo box, creating a sturdy, flat platform to conveniently transport longer items or 4-foot by 8-foot (1.2-meter by 2.4-meter) panels.
Changes for 2011 include OnStar 9.0, with a six-month Directions and Connections plan; Bluetooth phone connectivity; a revised front headrest design and a new exterior color choice: Aqua Blue Metallic. A chrome package is also available and includes a chrome fuel door and exhaust tip.
With its efficient packaging, Canyon looks and feels more like a spacious full-size pickup than a typical midsize truck. A stiff frame enables more precise suspension tuning to deliver a smooth, isolated ride without sacrificing responsive handling.
Canyon also delivers class-leading refinement with features such as hydraulically assisted rack-and-pinion steering; large front disc brakes with twin-piston calipers; independent suspension with coil-over front shocks on 2WD models (except Z71 and V-8); front torsion bars on all 4WD models, as well as 2WD Z71 models and 2WD with the V-8 and Z85 suspension; and specifically tuned powertrain and body mounts that help reduce interior noise and vibration.
A trio of suspension choices is available: the rugged Z85 suspension standard on 2WD or 4WD models, the Z71 off-road suspension, also available in 2WD and 4WD and the ZQ8 sport suspension. The ZQ8 option is paired with the new 5.3L V-8 and is available on extended and crew cab models.
Engine and drivetrain details
The base engine in all but Z71-equipped crew cabs is a powerful, 2.9L DOHC four-cylinder with variable valve timing (VVT) that delivers 185 horsepower (138 kW) and 190 lb.-ft. of torque (258 Nm).* Available in all models - and standard in the crew cab with 4WD - is a 3.7L DOHC five-cylinder with VVT that is rated at 242 horsepower (180 kW) and 242 lb.-ft. of torque (328 Nm).*
Both the 2.9L and 3.7L engines are based on GM's modular inline engine design, which features dual overhead camshafts, variable valve timing, electronic throttle control and other features that contribute to high levels of operating efficiency and fuel economy. Balance shafts help ensure smooth operation of the engines, providing a higher level of refinement.
The 5.3L V-8 is also available. It is based on GM's legendary small-block V-8 architecture, delivering exceptional power and torque that is rare in the Canyon's class. Horsepower is rated at 300 (224 kW)* and torque is 320 lb.-ft. (434 Nm)*.
Transferring the Canyon engines' torque to the axles is an Aisin five-speed manual transmission or a Hydra-Matic 4L60 electronically controlled four-speed automatic. The manual transmission is standard with the four-cylinder engine - except for crew cab models, where it is not available. The automatic is standard with the available five-cylinder engine and V-8; and available with the four-cylinder (standard with crew cab models).
In off-road or inclement weather driving situations, Canyon's four-wheel-drive system provides added confidence and safety for the driver. The dash-mounted electronic "shift-on-the-fly" system allows the driver to move from rear- to four-wheel drive at any speed when road conditions demand a change.
A locking rear differential is available on 2WD and 4WD models. Additionally, three rear-end gear ratios are available for V-8 models: 3.42:1, 3.73:1 and 4.10:1; four- and five-cylinder models have a standard 3.73 rear axle.
The ZQ8 sport suspension package is offered exclusively with Canyon's 5.3L V-8. It offers a street-chic stance, along with a sports car-like driving experience, with specific steering and track-tuned suspension enhancements that stiffen the suspension about 30 percent. The steering system with the ZQ8 package receives a high-performance cooler and underhood temperatures and airflow are controlled with a unique sealing system.
Additionally, the ride height is lower than the standard Z85 suspension by approximately one inch (25 mm) and the package includes unique 18 x 8-inch aluminum wheels (painted Midnight Silver) wrapped by low-profile sport tires. The result is crisp handling and maneuverability, along with a great stance.
Canyon includes standard head curtain side air bags. They act like a protective curtain when deployed, unfolding from the roof rail between the A-pillar and side window header. When the bag deploys in a moderate to severe side impact, it is angled somewhat toward the window to help provide protection for front- and rear-seat outboard passengers.
Other safety features include: energy-absorbing steel structure, standard four-wheel anti-lock brakes, rack-and-pinion steering and LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system anchors for child safety seats.
The Canyon is covered by a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and three years/36,000 miles for non-powertrain components - the best coverage in America.