If Chevrolet introduces a new truck or SUV, then the chances are the GMC variant is not far behind. The 2023 GMC Canyon, however, isn’t just a Chevy Colorado with a torn bow tie. Dressed in very unique sheet metal, carrying exclusive equipment, and finally getting its own hardcore off-road model, the third-generation Canyon makes a strong statement in an increasingly competitive segment.
The main element of that class now is off-road capability. In addition to the Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, the upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor makes clear the importance of automakers rock crawling and desert running. Enter the Canyon AT4X, which expands on the philosophy of the AT4 model with hardware similar to the Colorado ZR2. Like the truck, it sports 17-inch alloy wheels on 33-inch mud terrain tires, offers a raised ride height with Multimatic DSSV dampers, and carries electronic front and rear lockers with trim-only Baja drive modes.
Building on that package is the AT4X Edition 1, which will only be around for (you guessed it) the first year model. Packs a 9,500-pound ComeUp winch in an off-road bumper with high-powered 30-inch LED light bars, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, front and rear underbody cameras (part of the 10-camera system), and reconfigurable bed rails , this is the best off-road Canyon. But even without a limited edition model, the AT4X will look businesslike.
That also applies to the Denali and the regular AT4 variant. Designers stretched the egg crate grille horizontally rather than vertically, and the finish conspires neatly with sleek running lights and split headlights to deliver a premium, but unquestionably aggressive face. The inverted L-shaped running lights seem to mimic the way the body curves over the muscular fenders, featuring wheel arches with integrated orange spacing lights.
It’s not federally mandated or anything, but GMC says the gesture received rave reviews from consumers when it was introduced in the Sierra HD – adding it to the Canyon was a snap, as the tiny headlights neatly frame the standard four-door cabin. At the rear, the LED taillights match the hallmark of the front unit and flank a small tailgate which remains adorned with all the badges.
Along with shared design cues, all 2023 Canyons carry the same powertrain as the Chevy Colorado: a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. GMC doesn’t share as many details about its powertrain as its sister company Chevy, other than saying the AT4X will have a “high-output” engine with up to 430 pound-feet of torque, but it’s very likely that there will be eight engines. -automatic speed, and the last digit will imitate Colorado. That means 237 horsepower and 259 lb-ft in the base and mid-range trims, while the Denali, AT4, and AT4X will pack 310 hp with 390 lb-ft in the former two and 430 in the latter.
GMC has significantly improved the in-cab experience with the new Canyon. Both the AT4X and Denali feature segment-exclusive heads-up displays, along with an 11.0-inch digital instrument cluster and 11.3-inch touchscreen that looks like a single integrated housing. But this isn’t a repeat of the plate design on a Mercedes, BMW, or Kia – the cluster has a shroud and lives in its own bin, but appears to be connected to a floating touchscreen. The design takes some inspiration from the Corvette, though without pointing the touchscreen at the driver.
The dashboard design is horizontally focused, with squat layers and lots of material sandwiched into tight spaces. There’s leather, real wood in Denali, carbon fiber in the AT4X, and plastic that’s glossy or painted to look anodized. GMC deserves credit for its use of detail and color on the Denali and AT4X as well.
Black and brown is a classic combination for a premium model, but black/red/white on the off-road model is bright, bold and refreshing, with splashes of contrast stitching on the seat bolsters and door pockets. If only it weren’t for some crappy plastic – the top of the dashboard and the top of the doors are very tough and cheap, which doesn’t live up to the mission or the price of the Denali or the AT4X at all.
And friends, that price will likely be high. GMC is only sharing the price for the AT4X Edition 1 – reservations open today and require a $100 deposit – but at $63,350 (excluding destinations, which GMC hasn’t announced yet), this will probably be the most expensive truck in its class to start with. A Jeep Gladiator Rubicon costs just under $50,000 to start, while the Colorado ZR2 currently costs $46,000. For what it’s worth, GMC says the standard Canyon will start at around $40,000, but that’s still an $8,000 increase from the most affordable 2022 Crew Cab model on sale today.
Along with the detailed pricing, GMC doesn’t share any fuel savings for this new truck. We expect it to arrive later this year, before the initial 2023 sales date for the base, Denali, and AT4 trucks. Despite being a pre-ordered Edition 1, the AT4X will actually arrive last, with a sales date targeted at Spring 2023.