A couple years hiatus for GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado, back strong with the most popular truck size in California. We think of Texas as the largest truck market, but midsize trucks rule in California along with the #1 car state. I’ve owned many compact (mini) trucks back when they were more like a motorized wheelbarrow, which I liked. Now they have grown to mid-size. These new Colorado and Canyons are bigger, though not much over rivals Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Ford Ranger use to own this market but dropped out in 2012. Tacoma is the reigning champion in mid-size, but neither of the Japanese trucks have changed much in a decade. Which leaves the door open for the all new Colorado and Canyon. I spent a couple days in California driving and towing with them. GM has done their homework making the cabs quite. Only when driving in high winds did I notice any road noise. Still a body on frame like their big brothers Silverado and Sierra, these truck do feel solid with their boxed frame and triple sealed doors. I was surprised by by all the room in the front seats.
My legs weren’t touching the door and center console like they do in most crossovers. Even the back seat on the crew cab has room for 2 adults, seatbelts for 3 and the back of the seat was tilted back at the right angle to be comfortable. The two cab models are crew cab and extended with reverse opening doors. Beds come in two sizes, 5’2″ and 6’2″ which is a very usable size. 4×8 sheets of plywood will work with the tailgate down and slots built into the fender wells to get 4 ft. wide. Ecotec 2.5L 4-cylinder is still available with a 6 speed Eaton manual or 6-speed automatic. The 3.6L V-6 only comes with a 6 speed automatic.
Active Aero Shutter close off the front at 55 mph to direct air around the truck for better fuel mileage. The 3.6L V-6 direct injected is rated 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway in a 4×2. Electric rack and pinion power steering saves gas and makes for tight precise steering. Aluminum is the new buzzword with trucks this year, Colorado and Canyon have an aluminum hood, prop shafts and sections of the front suspension. The Duramax diesel from Thailand coming next year could be a fuel mileage champ.
3.6L V-6 is peppy with the 4500 lb boat I towed at sea level. It has a 7000 lb trailer capacity with Z82 trailering pkg. All others configurations are 3500 lbs. trailer rating. Both aluminum engines and DOHC, the 2.5L has 200 horsepower and 191 torque. The 3.6L V-6 has 305 horsepower and 269 torque. 4.10 Dana axle ratio with I-4 engines and 3.42 axle with V-6. Same engines are in other GM vehicles such as Cadillac and Traverse.
A lifestyle truck for saving gas commuting and hauling toys like motorcycles with enough tow capacity for a 2 horse trailer or watercraft. I have a full size truck but I only tow a max capacity trailer 40% of the time. A truck the size of Canyon could be my main truck, hauling 4 people and saving gas. I could even take it to the mall with the mini parking spaces and the Colorado would fit my garage.
I was surprised how off-road capable the GM mid-size trucks are with automatic locking rear differential and Auto Trac automatic all-wheel drive and 2-speed 4×4. Hill Decent works forward and backward where you can set the speed with the cruise control buttons. All Terrain is the off-road package with Canyon and Z71 pkg. is Chevy’s off-road. Lane Departure will tell you how much day dreaming you do while driving and Forward Collision Alert will wake you up. Hill Start keeps the trucks from rolling back on a hill with a trailer. Like big brother full size GM’s, these have grade braking controlling trailers on the down hill. With tow haul mode on the V-6.
Hydraulic engine mounts take out vibration while new body mounts have shear and compression to control rebound producing a smooth ride. 72% of the cab and frame are made of high strength steel. Like big brother, the rear bumpers have a corner step and EZ Lift and lower tailgate. New bed lights to see the 13 locations in bed for tie downs. Optional 8 in. touch screen, and power folding rear seat are noteworthy features. Glad to see the 21 gallon fuel tank standard across all models. The Canyon looks like a smaller Sierra with strong brand resemblance, which I like, some folks will like the Colorado looking different than Silverado. Canyon SLT like big brother Denali, has aluminum trim in the dash and steering wheel instead of plastic.
Connectivity is a sign of the modern truck with 4 USB ports, 4 G LTE WiFi can create a hotspot to connect 7 devices with a 50 ft range. Part of the market will be crossover SUV owners. Mid-size truck owners have be neglected with outdated Tacoma, Frontier and Ford dropping out. Lots of folks don’t need a full size truck, but like driving trucks, sitting on a chair not lying down in a car, better visibility, utility, always need to haul something whether supplies or toys, motorcycles, ATV’s or a do it yourselfer. Made in Missouri USA.