When it Comes to Mid-Sized Luxury Trucks, the 2017 GMC Canyon Denali is the New Standard

But is it worth $45k?

The 2017 GMC Canyon Denali certainly looks the part. Especially in its Denali trim with the signature chrome grille, the Canyon looks nearly as attractive as its larger brother, the Sierra which makes sense because it borrows most of its design language. 20-inch wheels fill up the wells nicely and the considerable chrome accents are a constant reminder this isn’t a base model. It’s worth noting the dubs are also the largest factory wheels on a mid-sized pickup. The headlight housings are also quite attractive with their LED strips and chrome, although GMC missed the mark by settling for halogen headlights versus HID or LED.

Under daily driving situations, the powertrain isn’t anything to write home about. The 3.6-liter V6 does its job just fine but the overall experience is pretty vanilla. At times, the engine sounds as if it’s struggling a bit when you stomp on the gas, too. Highway driving is pretty calm and the Canyon has no problem passing at high speeds. Thankfully, the Canyon can get around 20 MPG around the city which is great compared to larger trucks and even others in its category. 

Thankfully, if you need a bit more oomph, GMC offers the Canyon Denali with a baby Duramax.

I didn’t get a chance to take the GMC off-road but I did have the opportunity to test out its towing capability. The 2017 Canyon Denali can trailer up to almost 8,000 lbs and the one I towed was right at 2000 lbs (which just about anything could tow) but it was still a worthy test. The Canyon Denali passed with flying colors as I couldn’t even tell the trailer was back there and it pulled it along like a champ. What’s nice about the Canyon’s size it that it’s (obviously) smaller than a full-sized truck. This makes it much easier to park and maneuver in daily driving situations. Seeing that it tackles most truck tasks with ease, having a rig with smaller dimensions is a major plus, especially in metropolitan areas. 

Following the down-sized formula, everything feels like a shrunken version of the Sierra but the interior dimensions make it feel more like a car than truck.  I couldn’t but help to wonder if I were in a Malibu from time to time. The interior was certainly nice, but I wouldn’t exactly label it as premium which the Denali nameplate suggests. The leather seats were comfortable and attractive with the contrasting stitching and DENALI embroidery. Understanding this is a mid-sized truck, it still feels like there should be more storage. I’ve been in other mid-sized trucks like the Tacoma that do a lot better with space management. It’s also missing a few things that premium vehicles tend to have, including a sunroof. Overall, though, the interior of the 2017 GMC Canyon Denali is comfortable, cool and refined. 

The 2017 GMC Canyon is a great truck that does everything you would possibly want it to do. However, with the DENALI nameplate and accompanying price attached, you're left hoping for a little bit more. 

SPEC

PRICE (AS TESTED): $44,155.00
POWERTRAIN: 3.6-liter V6; 308 hp, 275 lb-ft
MPG (COMBINED): 19 MPG