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Not everyone needs or wants a big pickup. The 2020 GMC Canyon is here to prove it. As medium-sized truck, it still packs a lot of capability. Like any GMC product, it has a premium air that gets refined as you climb the trim ladder.
The 2020 Canyon comes in LE, SLE, SLT, Denali, and All Terrain trims. Configurations include the extended cab or crew cab the large box. It is rated for 49 cubic feet of cargo. The crew cab also comes with a short box that is rated for 41 cubic feet of cargo. Payloads are around 1,385 pounds, although some models manage to handle as much as 1,600 pounds.
There are eleven colors including some fun choices like marine blue, red quartz, cardinal red, and blue emerald. Basic interiors are offered in black or a cocoa and dune combination, but higher editions add accents in dark ash or cobalt red.
GMC infotainment includes everything that a person could want these days. It does it by simply offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on every model. There are still competitors that don't have both. Helping you enjoy your entertainment, GMC has thoroughly sound-proofed the cabin. You may forget you are riding in a truck.
To that, GMC adds WiFi availability on every model. If you use your truck for work, you'll appreciate the ability to log onto the internet far from the office. For traveling or camping, it's also ideal. During a regular commute, it keeps you from using up your data when you need a map app or just want to listen to streaming audio.
Perhaps the only thing lacking from this lineup is driver assistance automation. You can get a forward collision warning, but it doesn’t include an autobrake. Likewise, there’s a lane alert, but it doesn’t include a steering correction. Cruise control is on the menu, but you won't find a semi-automated adaptive cruise system.
Compare the 2020 GMC Canyon LE vs the SLE - What is the Difference?
Both truck trims offer the choice of a four-cylinder turbo or a V6 engine. The standard turbo four generates 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. That’s better than any non-GM competitor. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic. GMC DuraLife brakes offer longer road lives before any maintenance is needed. Fuel economy is 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway.
The second engine is a 3.6-liter unit that generates 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. This unit is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. City/Highway ratings are 17/24 miles per gallon. Available on both, you can get the Autotrac 2-speed transfer case, skid plates, and Eaton Locking Rear Differential.
Canyons have a locking tailgate and a convenient cornerstep on the chrome rear bumper. Mirrors, beltline moldings, and handles are black. A windshield shade band reduces glare. The halogen projector-beam headlamps are accented with a special LED signature. Cab-mounted cargo area lamps are a helpful aid for early mornings and late nights..
LE cabins have a four-way power chair for the driver and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. That combination of features is sure to make drivers of all heights and sizes happy.
The Canyon helps you keep in touch with a Bluetooth and a 7-inch diagonal GMC audio display. iPhone users have Apple CarPlay. Android phone owners have Android Auto. Either way you can stream your map apps to the screen.
To upgrade the LE Canyon, there’s a convenience package. It offers cruise control, a rear-window defogger, the EZ tailgate, and remote keyless entry.
SLE exteriors are equipped with spotter mirrors, fog lamps, heated side mirrors, and the EZ lift and lower tailgate. The cabins have two rear USB ports and offer a power passenger seat.
With the higher edition, shoppers get bigger displays. The 3.5-inch single-color driver screen is upgraded to a 4.2-inch model. The 7-inch touch screen is enlarged to a 8-inch diagonal high-resolution screen. This multi-touch display is equipped with HD radio. The standard rear vision camera is upgraded to a high definition system.
On this edition, there are many more amenities available such as automatic climate controls, Bose audio, forward collision alert, and more. The SLE convenience package adds automatic climate controls, a remote starter, and a sliding rear window.
When you choose two-wheel drive, the LE and SLE trims can be paired with either the extended cab with the long box or the crew cab with the short box. If choosing SLE with four-wheel drive, shoppers have a third choice: the crew cab with the long box. Regular Canyon LE 4WD shoppers must be satisfied with the extended cab.
Compare the 2020 GMC Canyon SLE vs SLE Elevation - What is the Difference?
The SLE Elevation is a dressier version of the SLE . This package adds 18-inch multi-spoke wheels. Painted with a satin graphite color, they are a good contrast with the color options. This includes black, dark blue, steel, red, and white varieties. The grille wears the body color with a black insert.
California Elevation editions have black 3-inch round assist steps and a black GMC emblem. Interior equipment includes all-weather floor liners while exterior equipment includes front and rear splash guards.
Compare the 2020 GMC SLE vs All Terrain. What is the Difference?
Like the SLE, All Terrains with cloth seats come in all three cab sizes. If upgraded to leather, GMC drops the extended cab from the All Terrain menu. Rear-wheel drive is not available on the All Terrain.
SLE models offer the V6, but it is standard on the All Terrain. This adds the eight-speed automatic transmission, too. You can choose the Duramax engine with its diesel exhaust brake. Both models offer the forward collision and lane departure watch systems.
All Terrain models have an automatic locking rear differential in addition to four-wheel drive. Hill descent control lets you travel downward more slowly and safely. An off-road suspension can take the dips and bumps on the trail. Gas shocks absorb jarring blows. Protected by a special shield, the Autotrac 2-speed transfer case helps with difficult terrain. There are more skid plates available.
These four-wheel drive models are ready for towing. They come equipped with the complete trailering package, hitch guidance, and the tow-haul mode. Wheels are a 17-inch dark argent metallic instead of the SLE bright silver alloys. Tires are upgraded to all-terrain types.
While the infotainment package is the same, the All Terrain has more features than the SLE. This includes a wireless charger, a remote starter, and automatic climate controls. You also get power-heat functions for the steering wheel and front seats. The front passenger enjoys a power chair. A soft-touch instrument panel can be complemented by a jet black and cobalt red upholstery combination in either cloth or leather on the All Terrain.
The All Terrain X package adds DuraTrac all-terrain tires by Goodyear. The interior gets all-weather floor liners. The bed gets spray-on protection. Black round assist steps provide faster entries and exits.
Compare the 2020 GMC Canyon SLE vs SLT - What is the Difference?
With two-wheel drive, the SLT model is limited to the crew cab with the short box. In four-wheel drive, SLE models are offered on all three configurations while the SLT drops the extended cab.
SLE models are equipped with the turbo four, and the V6 is an extra expense. SLT models come with the V6 and eight-speed transmission. Furthermore, the SLT has an automatic locking rear differential. This helps reduce slippage on and off the trail.
A new standard, hitch guidance lets you use the rearview camera to position the vehicle and hook up more cleanly. Both models offer an integrated brake controller. Only the SLT has standard tow/haul mode to reduce stress on the transmission when pulling a heavy load.
A dressier model, the SLT also has more amenities such as leather upholstery. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are standard. Style-minded shoppers may stop here and save money by choosing the SLT over the Denali.
Compare the 2020 GMC Canyon SLT vs Denali - What is the Difference?
Like the SLT, the only two-wheel Canyon Denali choice is the crew cab/short box edition. Denalis offer both crew cab styles as four-wheel drive models, but it doesn’t offer the extended cab like the SLT does.
With the exception of the All Terrain's cobalt red, everything offered on the other editions is standard on the Denali. It has a Bose audio system, a wireless charger, and the 8-inch GMC infotainment system with navigation. The leather upholstery is complemented by soft-touch materials on doors and the instrument panel. The heated seats are upgraded to include power-ventilation. Safety systems are upgraded with a lane departure warning and a forward collision alert.
Dressed in chrome, the grille marks this truck as a Canyon Denali. Painted accents dress the signature 20-inch diamond cut machined alloys. Chrome rectangular assist steps help you into the cabin. The standard hitch and harness make trailering easier.
The two GMC pickups have the same V6 engine. However, the Denali adds active fuel management. This reduces the gas needed when the truck simply needs to maintain velocity at highway speed or when traveling downhill. The Denali offers the special Duramax. This 2.8-liter turbo-diesel generates 369 pound-feet of torque. It certainly reduces fuel dependency with its class-best gas mileage. The Canyon Denali Duramax edition can earn up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway.
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Which Trim to Choose?
Your trim choice may be dictated by whether the bed or cab you need is available. For those who need to really move loads, they will want to choose the long bed editions. However, if you need the backseat, the Extended cab is not a good choice. It offers only 28.6 inches of legroom and seats only two in the back. The Crew Cab increases that to 35.8 inches. It seats three on the back row.
The base edition is such a good deal that many people may just stop there. However, there’s a lot to be said for the other choices. If off-roading is important, obviously the All Terrain edition is the first choice. However, almost every edition offers skid plates and four-wheel drive. This leaves the field wide open.
For style, you may have a hard time deciding between the SLT, certain All Terrain editions, and a Denali. The cobalt red and black leather upholstery is enough to persuade some to put the All Terrain first on the list. You may need to look at each one to see what strikes your fancy.
As with all trucks, what may concern you most is capability. The Duramax engine can tow the most. This would imply you need the Denali or All Terrain because these trims offer the diesel option. Top tow rating is 7,700 pounds. However, the V6 can tow up to 7,000 pounds. That opens you back up to the SLE with V6 option or higher editions.
If you are buying a truck for a young driver, the GMC Teen Driver feature is on every Canyon. This system lets you configure the system to limit how loud the audio can be and how fast the truck can go. The Buckle-to-Drive feature won’t let the teen shift out of park for 20 seconds if they haven’t put on their seat belt.
• Compare the 2019 GMC Canyon Trim Levels