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2023 GMC Canyon: A 310-HP Colorado Twin That Finally Looks Worth It

The Canyon should've always been a better version of its Chevy sibling. Now, that might actually be the case.

The 2023 GMC Canyon finally owns the premium midsize pickup role as intended. It takes the best parts of the next-gen Chevy Colorado and makes them standard, including the 310-horsepower variant of the 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder. What’s more, it’s also offered in a new AT4X trim, complete with the Colorado ZR2’s Multimatic DSSV dampers.

Before, the Canyon didn’t offer much that the Colorado couldn’t. If anything, it played second fiddle rather than taking charge and driving the platform upmarket. That’s not the case for 2023.

The Canyon starts at around $40,000 for its entry-level Elevation trim. This is undoubtedly more expensive than the base Colorado, but it’s comparatively well-appointed in terms of accessories and core hardware. Every Canyon packs 310 hp and 430 pound-feet of torque, a state of tune that the Colorado reserves strictly for the ZR2. What’s more, each variant rides on 32-inch all-terrain tires save for the AT4X, which rolls with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler mud terrains.

GMC has offered the Canyon in an upscale Denali trim for years, though it never seemed much more luxurious until now. There are some clear upgrades to the exterior, like the refined chrome grille and the 20-inch wheels that look equal parts flashy and tough. Since all the non-AT4X Canyons still feature a wider track and what GMC is calling a two-inch factory lift, standard ground clearance stands at 9.6 inches.

The top-shelf Denali pickup also features laser-etched wood on the dash with quilted stitching directly underneath, not to mention a seven-speaker Bose sound system that receives power from an external amp. The steering wheel is heated while the seats are heated and cooled, and every touchpoint just looks nicer. There’s still no Super Cruise, though, which would really take it over the top.

This flagship feel carries over to the AT4 and AT4X, just with a sportier theme. Think of the former as GMC’s take on the Colorado Z71, while the latter is undoubtedly a ZR2 in what I’d argue is sharper clothing. I especially like the rock sliders on the pictured AT4X Edition 1 model, which are complemented by the front safari bar and Comeup winch. If you’ll look beneath the grille, you’ll also spot a 30-inch LED light bar that isn’t on the regular AT4X.

Each trim’s interior is different from the rest, and the AT4X is no less impressive than the Denali’s. It features the same 11.3-inch infotainment screen, a digital 11-inch driver information display, and even a 6.3-inch heads-up display that’s new for 2023. Everything you see is either black, white, or red; you can even tick the box for red seatbelts if you so choose.

This all means the AT4X is even comfier to sit inside as you wheel through the sand, gravel, mud, and snow. It’s likely pretty great at that, too, knowing it has 10.7 inches of ground clearance thanks to larger Goodyear rubber and taller suspension with triple spool valve Multimatic dampers that are position-sensitive. Locking front and rear differentials help you crawl up and over boulders, and a pair of self-washing underbody cameras act as stand-in spotters. There’s also a new Baja drive mode that’s exclusive to the AT4X, which helps prove that it’s built to go fast in the desert, too.

In all, it’s nice knowing you can take your pick of the Canyon lineup knowing it’s actually different from the Chevy your neighbor just bought. You’ll likely be paying more than they did, of course, as the aforementioned $40,000 or base price is just the start. That AT4X Edition 1 I was talking about? It’s $63,350 not including destination. You’ve got until these things start production in January 2023 to start saving up.

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