Breathing new Professional Grade life into the midsize truck segment
GMC simply couldn’t wait for the official 2014 Detroit show press days to roll out its all-new 2015 GMC Canyon, so instead the Professional Grade brand rented out the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit to showcase its revived mid-size truck on the eve of the North American International Auto Show. While very similar to its recently revealed Chevy Colorado sibling, GMC execs took great pains at the event to emphasize what makes the 2015 Canyon a GMC.
Newly minted GM CEO Mary Barra was on hand for the event, underscoring how important the launch of the new Canyon and GM's overall truck strategy is in general to the company. Barra pledged to listen to the customer and give them everything they want from a new GM truck, and believes the relaunch of the company's midsize trucks to be an "opportunity knocking."
The 2015 Canyon’s big departures from the Chevy on the outside are its square-jawed grille and chunkier lower front fascia similar in scope to the new GMC Sierra as well as the truck’s exaggerated, boxy fender flare design -- changes that bring it in line with its GMC brethren.
GM global product chief Mark Reuss also took the stand during the reveal. Reuss said exterior style is the No. 1 reason why buyers choose GMC trucks, so naturally its looks mimic the Sierra. He also promised that the Canyon will be the quietest midsize truck in the segment and that it will be "highly efficient" without elaborating. It will also have the largest box in the segment and a host of advanced tech options including WIFI hot spot capability.
We’ve already outlined the other GMC only changes in our reveal story (http://www.fourwheeler.com/news/1401-2015-gmc-canyon-reveal/), including triple-sealed doors to help keep out road noise, and GMC’s CornerStep and EZ lift-and-lower locking tailgate features. The 2015 Canyon also comes with a 4.2-inch color driver information center in the instrument panel, the cabin itself is designed to be a bit more premium in look and feel than its Chevy sibling, and the options list is long if you want your Canyon with bells and whistles on. I had a chance to jump inside the Canyon's cabin, and at first glance it seemed well-appointed, with leather stitching accents, and enough room in the back of the crew cab to easily fit a 6-foot human.
Motivating the 2015 GMC Canyon is GM’s 2.5-liter four cylinder with roughly 193 horsepower, along with the automaker’s well-worn 3.6-liter V6 with an estimated 300 horses and 270 lb-ft in the Canyon, numbers that easily best the offerings under the hood of the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Both engines are backed by a six-speed automatic. A six-speed manual option is available, but only with the base model, 2.5-liter, two-wheel drive combination. The big news is the coming addition of GM’s 2.8-liter Duramax diesel inline four that presently powers GM trucks overseas. GMC officials have been tight-lipped about the diesel engine’s launch, only saying it will be available for the 2016 model year Canyon.
As for capability, the 2015 Canyon should be no slouch, with expected 1450-lb payload and 6700-pound towing capacity in its highest spec trim. GM’s long-running G80 automatic locking rear differential will come standard on the All Terrain package and will be optional SLE and SLT models. The Canyon also features the segment-first AutoTrac automatic four-wheel drive system, which automatically engages the electronically controlled transfer case from 2WD to 4WD when the truck senses wheel slippage.Expect to see the 2015 Canyon in GMC dealerships this fall.