Led by the first-ever off-road AT4X model, GMC took the wraps off the all-new third generation Canyon mid-size pick-up earlier this week.
The 2023 Canyon, which will be sold in four trims – Elevation, AT4, AT4X and Denali – boasts a wide array of new technologies and standard equipment, along with a new powertrain and fresh design.
The two U.S.-market pre-production models shown in Detroit, included the AT4X, a model loaded for bear with off-road kit including 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires, Multimatic DSSV dampers, front and rear electronic locking differentials, and underbody skid plates, among other features.
On the inside, the AT4X comes with a trim-exclusive Obsidian Rush with Ceramic White accents colour scheme, 11.3-inch multimedia touchscreen display, 11-inch digital instrument cluster, 6.3-inch head-up display (not available on Elevation), and Bose audio system with seven speakers.
The multimedia screen, which features Google Built-in, will include an Off-Road Performance display, which has pages for g-force, Altimeter, and pitch / roll data. Of note, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard on Elevation and AT4, while wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all grades.
And, in very limited supply according to GMC, the AT4X will be available with an optional Edition 1 package. This package is unique to the AT4X and includes the following:
- Front and rear-facing underbody cameras with wash function
- Off-Road front bumper with Safari bar
- Front 30-inch off-road grille light bar
- Winch by COMEUP
- 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels
- Re-configurable bed rail system
- Performance front skid plate
- Unique Edition 1 tailgate badge
As for powertrains, GMC is ditching the three-engine portfolio (2.5-litre four, 3.6-litre V6, 2.8-litre turbo diesel) offered in the current Canyon in favour of a 2.7-litre turbocharged four-cylinder (310 hp / 430 lb-ft) shared with the full-size Chevrolet Silverado, which will be standard on all trims. The engine will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the only gearbox available.
In a shift towards an off-road market positioning, the entire Canyon range will come with a standard off-road suspension, “ultra-wide” track, and a factory lift. The lift is two inches (50.8 mm) for Elevation, AT4 and Denali trims, and three inches (76.2 mm) for the AT4X. Ground clearance is rated at a standard 9.6 inches (243.8 mm) and climbs to 10.7 inches (271.8 mm) with the AT4X.
The 2023 Canyon will also come with a reconfigured array of drive modes, which include Baja (exclusive to AT4X), Terrain, Off-Road, Normal and Tow/Haul. Full specs were not available at time of writing, but will surely be released by GMC as production, slated to begin in early 2023, gets closer.
As for safety tech, the 2023 Canyon comes loaded with it, including the Canyon Pro safety package which is standard on all grades and includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking with Bicyclist Detection, IntelliBeam auto high beams, Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert. Additional safety features will be offered in two optional packages.
While there’s only so much that can be gleaned from a static reveal, the 2023 Canyon appears to these eyes to be a mix of high-tech and rugged utility, with some innovative features and an Easter egg or two thrown in for good measure.
The AT4X and Denali models I spent time sitting in and photographing are awash in impressive tech inside and out, from LED lighting and slick HD screens to side markers in the fenders, but also present is a water-tight storage compartment (standard on all grades except Elevation) built into the tailgate complete with drain plugs. The tailgate also has a built-in ruler and is topped with an interesting graphic meant to symbolize the trek from Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah.
Exterior Design Manager Rob Hunwick, who went to great lengths explaining the thinking behind features such as the Canyon’s X-shaped grille pattern and sculpted sheet metal, said the design team hopes the tailgate graphic might inspire Canyon owners to go off-road and seek adventures of their own.
If they choose to do so, the Canyon will surely be a willing partner.
The 2023 GMC Canyon will go on sale next spring. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.