This week I am behind the wheel of the 2018 GMC Canyon 4-wheel drive Crew Cab Denali. You can get it in a V6 gasoline engine, but my test vehicle has the 4-cylinder Duramax diesel.
2.8L Duramax Diesel
The small Duramax has 181-horses, which sounds light for a pickup, but as we’ve discussed in the past, with diesels the torque is more important than the horsepower. This one has a very impressive 369 pound-feet of torque, which gives it a towing capacity of 7700 pounds. I would have never thought GM could get that kind of towing capacity out of a 4 cylinder, even a diesel one, but they did. This truck is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Let’s take a look at the truck itself. This is the top-of-the-line Denali. It has the usual GMC “Professional Grade” look about it, which is bold with an in-your-face grill, squared off fenders, and exaggerated fender flares built into the body. In fact, you have to look hard at this mid-sized truck to know you are not looking at its big brother the Sierra. It comes with 20-inch aluminum wheels, and overall, it’s a tough looking truck.
Inside, leather front seats are inviting and comfortable. I would like to see less hard plastic inside, but it is acceptable.
As you look at the gauge cluster, in the middle is a color, configurable driver information center that operates from the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Above the center console and shifter is Intellilink, an 8” color touchscreen that operates the radio, the Bluetooth, and offers a number of apps. You can call up Onstar, and hook your phone up to Apple Car Play or Android Auto. You can also turn the cab into a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The screen houses the terrific rear vision camera. There is also a built-in wireless phone charger and 4 USB ports.
This short bed GMC Canyon comes with a nice list of standard features like keyless entry, EZ lift tailgate, GM’s brilliant corner step rear bumper, sliding rear window, remote start, power windows and locks, and more.
The Canyon Denali also has Teen Driver and the back seat reminder, forward collision alert, and lane departure warning. It also comes with chrome side steps, power seats, steering wheel controls, and heated and air conditioned seats.
Review Truck Options
My review truck has $4100 worth of options, and that includes $3730 for the diesel engine, which also gives you the trailer towing package, and the metallic paint is an extra $395.
Ride and Drive
The Duramax diesel is very quiet from inside the cab. After a very brief bit of turbo lag, the engine accelerates with strong determination. It drives more like an SUV than a truck to me, which is a good thing. I also thought the rear folding seats offered good legroom, even for adults over 6-feet tall.
So, let’s talk fuel economy for a minute. The EPA says it will get 20 in town and 28 on the highway. It is doing the 20 in town consistently, but at 70 miles per hour with the cruise control set, I had long stretches of over 30 miles per gallon. It is also nice to look at the fuel gauge and see you have a range of almost 600 miles.
What You'll Pay
The window sticker on this truck is $48,200, that’s a lot for a mid-sized truck, but on the other hand, not a lot for a diesel truck that will tow 7700 pounds. With the rebates that GM has offered on the full-sized Sierra 1500, there won’t be a lot of difference in price, but again, this is a diesel. I will also say that for $48 Grand, I expected a moonroof, blind spot monitoring, and HD radio.
As a pickup, the Canyon is actually very nice and it’s easier to drive and park than a full-sized truck. If you want a very capable truck without going all the way to a full-sized one, Canyon should be on your shopping list.
2018 GMC Canyon Denali Duramax Diesel
- What I liked most: Fuel economy and ease of driving.
- What I would change: I’d include more standard features in the Denali.
- MSRP: Base price $43,070, as equipped $48,190.
- Fuel Economy: 20 City/28 Highway, 23 combined.
- Fuel Tank: 21 gallons with filler on the driver's side.
- Dimensions: 212.4” long/74.3” wide/70.6” high.
- Weight: 4706 Pounds.
- Trailer Towing: 7700 Pounds.
- Miles When Tested: 1800 miles.
- Official Color: Dark Slate Metallic exterior, Jet Black interior.
- Spare tire: 16” full-sized spare, but not matching.
- Final Assembly Point: Wentzville, MD.
- 2018 Canyon Denali in a few words: Very capable truck, great fuel economy.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile power train warranty with roadside assistance, free loaner vehicle and two maintenance visits.
- Manufacturers website: GMC