Road Test: 2024 GMC Canyon Denali

2024 GMC Canyon Denali

The GMC Canyon may be the littlest pickup GMC offers in Canada, but it has the goods to pack quite a punch. In Denali spec, meanwhile, it gets a handful of luxurious tweaks that allow it to keep a foot in the workaday world of the pickup, but also to add a layer of daily driver. That is becoming more welcome in the world today as households continue to reduce their vehicle counts.


It starts with the styling, which on our Denali tester – so named for the national park/mountain in Alaska – is complimented by standard 20-inch wheels, standard chrome grille with matching mirror caps and side steps as well as all the cool stuff shared with other Canyons such as the dual tier headlights/DRLs, underbody skid plates and nice proportions overall. It also gets a nice 2” lift in Denali form and while you’ll want to go with the AT4 or AT4X models and their 3 inches of lift of you’re going to be doing more off-roading, what the Denali gets plus a two-speed dial-operated on-the-fly transfer case means that it can handle itself in more adverse conditions – such as a Canadian winter.

2024 GMC Canyon Denali

It’s got the goods inside the standard CrewCab cabin to make that more palatable as well; heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel (activated by the press of a wheel-mounted button, big enough to be accessed with winter gloves on – although it will turn itself on automatically if it senses it’s cold enough outside) and digital climate-control. Our tester also had an optional sunroof which, as a taller driver, I might go without as it does negatively affect headroom.

Interior and Tech

Once seated inside the two-tone diamond-stich leather seat (matched by dash and door inserts and there’s some open-pore wood, too – very nice), the view out over the squared-off front wings is a good one, and the high seating height helps in this regard as well. To make parking easier, there’s a parking cam with numerous camera angles as well as auto tilt-down mirrors, so you don’t scuff those shiny 20s on the curb. The back seat is a little on the cramps side, however, to be used at length preferably by children. Or, just go ahead and flip up the bottom seat cushion to reveal a jack as well as some supplementary storage.

2024 GMC Canyon Denali

In addition to the less-than-sizeable rear seat, other qualms include a manual-operated rear window (I expected a powered item, this being the luxury trim of the line-up), the need to use the touchscreen to turn the headlights on or off and no digital rear-view mirror option.

Speaking of the touch display: it measures 11.3” and is nice and responsive, with Google Built-In included. That means your native navigation is actually handled by Google Maps, you can log into your Google account and there’s also Google Assistant, who can kind you to your friend’s place or read your daily calendar. That display is matched by another for your gauge cluster, which can itself be modified with the press of a wheel-mounted button mounted right beside the steering wheel heater. In the Denali, a heads-up display completes a trifecta of displays inside the truck.

Stepping outside the truck, meanwhile, we come to the pickup bed.

2024 GMC Canyon Denali

It comes only as a five-footer, with tie downs both front and back as well as a power outlet. There’s also a spray on bedliner but no supplementary storage within the bed walls, and no lights there, either. It’s a bit spartan but gains back points thanks to something called the MultiStow tailgate. Basically, by flipping two latches on the tailgate (whose leading edge, by the way, gets a neat “Denali” easter egg), you can lift a rubber-sealed lid to expose a bin for wet items, dirty items or tools. It’s not quite as advances as the MultiPro tailgate on the Canyon’s Sierra bigger sibling – which opens every which way and gets built-in bed access aids and a quasi bed extender – but it’s still very cool to have. Speaking of bed-access: the Canyon also gets CornerStep bumpers, which gets their corners carved out to accommodate a steel-toed work boot and allow easier bed access.

Powertrain and Drive

Power comes courtesy of a single powertrain choice: 4WD, an eight-speed shiftable auto and a 2.7-litre turbo four-cylinder good for 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. That’s down a little on the hp front to the V6-powered Ford Ranger which gets slightly better fuel economy as well.

2024 GMC Canyon Deneali

So you do have to rev the Canyon a little more to get the most out of it, but once done I found the acceleration to be smooth, never really leaving me wanting when it came to passing at speed or entering the freeway. The powertrain also helps the Canyon Denali tow up to 7,700 pounds (about 3,500 kilos), which means tent trailers, jet skis and the like should be no problem. I do have a quibble with the engine’s report, however; it rough so as to almost sound diesel-like in its operation and that’s not exactly the kind of sound you want to emulate.

As far as handling goes: the electronic power assist steering has some proper weight to it, which is kind of what you want when it comes to a pickup, although some may actually find it a little too heavy, especially when moving at slower speeds. It’s right on for me, though, and there’s even some feel through it, providing a decent idea of what’s going on below the front axle. It’s not going to accelerate or handle the bends like a performance sedan, of course, but there’s a stability here that keeps the Canyon from skittering across the pavement when unladen and so forth.


There really is a whole lot to like here. The Canyon is just that much more livable than the Ranger, and has a look that’s just that much more high-class than what’s offered by Ford, no matter which trim we’re talking about. In Denali spec, meanwhile, that’s all taken up yet another notch and it does well to fit the luxury airs provided by stuff like the Yukon Denali or Terrain Denali. If you want something more off-roady, then the AT4 twins are the trucks for you but if you want something that can be used more on the everyday, then the Denali should be considered.

2024 GMC Canyon Denali
Price as tested: $63,679.00
Freight: $2,095.00
Configuration: Front engine/Four-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.7-litre 4-cylinder turbo/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 310 horsepower/ 430 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (81 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 11 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 13.2 L/100 km
Warranty: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma
Website: GMC Canada

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