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First Look: 2021 GMC Canyon Denali

The wraps finally come off the “premium” brand’s midsize pickup.

KJ JonesAuthorCourtesy of GMPhotography

In the more than two decades that have passed since GMC first introduced its high-line Denali trim level (on the 1999 Yukon), one word is used to clarify the distinction between its trucks and SUVs and those of sister brand Chevrolet: "Premium."

Yes, GMC touts its rigs as being above and beyond Chevy's similar-but-very-different offerings, primarily in the styling and amenities departments. However, the company took those good looks and creature comforts a big step beyond its Colorado sibling, when Denali badges were added to the sheetmetal in 2020.

A refreshed midsize GMC Canyon Denali makes its debut for 2021. However, before we continue, it's important that we make clear the fact that the updated rig is not a completely redone version of the previous year's model. The revamp's most prominent component is a freshened chrome grille (it's larger and more sculpted), body-colored front and rear bumpers, new, vertically positioned LED foglamps, and Hunter Metallic as an added exterior color.

Inside, the Canyon Denali maintains the same layout of features as the 2020 model (center stack/shifter, gauges, infotainment system, etc. ), with a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather six-way (driver) and four-way (passenger) heated/ventilated seats (including logo-embroidered headrests), and soft-touch accessory controls in the steering wheel. Open-pore ash wood accents are new, as is a Cocoa/Dark Atmosphere interior color theme.

The 2021 GMC Canyon Denali can be powered by a choice of 3.6L V-6 gas engine (standard) or optional 2.8L Duramax turbodiesel I-4. We believe all of the 2020 Denali's payload, towing, and fuel-economy values should carry over to 2021's model. Look for pricing and the official launch of this new rig to come closer to the end of 2020.

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