• GMC Adds AT4 to Canyon, Refines Denali

GMC Adds AT4 to Canyon, Refines Denali

Keep on Truckin’

Matthew Guy By: Matthew Guy January 13, 2020

The calendar has barely flipped into the ‘20s, yet automakers seem content to reveal their plans for the 2021 model year. The latest? GMC. They’ve spilled the beans on a new option package and some extra jewellery for their Canyon mid-sized pickup.

First up: the Canyon’s new AT4 trim. If those alphanumerics sound familiar, give yourself a gold star – or four off-road tires in this case. The AT4 first appeared on big-brother Sierra, endowing the truck with suspension and tech goodies which allowed it to play off-pavement with extra gusto. Seeing this success, GMC has decided to extend AT4 to the Canyon.

Checking this option box will bring an off-road tuned suspension, 31-inch flotation size Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires on 17-inch wheels, and an Eaton automatic locking rear diff. They’ve also gone ahead and installed a skid plate over the transfer case, guarding expensive bits from that rock you didn’t see.

Company suits expect the AT4 to bring new customers into the brand. “The new 2021 Canyon AT4 broadens the appeal to mid-size truck customers who live an active lifestyle,” said Duncan Aldred, VP of Global Buick and GMC. “This is a truck created with outdoor adventurers in mind.”

GMC Adds AT4 to Canyon, Refines Denali

For those who’d prefer a bit more black tie than cowboy boot, GMC has updated the top-rung Denali trim. The grille now features what the company calls a more ‘sculpted and layered’ pattern, while ladling on chrome assist steps and 20-inch Diamond Cut aluminium wheels.

Interior refinements on Denali include authentic open-pore ash wood trim, aluminum décor and unique stitching. A new “Cocoa/Dark Atmosphere” colour theme has been added for 2021, bolstering the number of available interior hues. Standard heated and ventilated front seats, with a heated steering wheel, are considered to be Very Good Things here in the frozen north.

The Canyon AT4 and Denali will be available with engines that are familiar to the GM faithful. A 3.6L V6 makes 308 horsepower while a torquey 2.8L diesel cranks out 369lb.-ft of torque. Your author has driven both and prefers the gasser.

Last year, GMC sold 4889 Canyon pickups in Canada, down from 6706 the year prior. This means about four out of every ten mid-sized GM pickups sold was a GMC, with the remainder obviously being made up by its Chevy Colorado twin. Contrast that to America, where Canyon volume is approximately half that ratio.