Dedicated to fulfilling the consumers' light towing and hauling needs, the GMC Canyon has been a top choice for compact pickups in GMC's lineup. It appealed to users with its square jaw and broad-shouldered stance, giving the ride a sophisticated look. Matched with this awesome appearance was Canyon's V8 engine offer, which was rare in this segment.
2004 - 2005: Making its way through the crowd
GMC's positive reputation for its "professional grade" trucks was reinforced with its launch of the GMC Canyon for the 2004 model year. This new pickup truck came with a body larger than that of the GMC Sonoma, the previous compact model which it replaced. With the aim to offer more power, the Canyon had two inline engines based on the Vortec 4.2-liter, six-cylinder engine. These were the 2.8-liter inline-4, which produced 175 hp, and the 3.5-liter inline-5, which offered users with 220 hp.
The first Canyon came with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive options and offered users with cab choices including regular cab, extended cab, or crew cab forms. Two models comprised the first Canyon lineup, the two-wheel drive high rider and crew cab models. Available in two suspension packages, the first gen offered users with either a standard heavy-duty suspension or a high rider off-road one.
2006 - 2008: Improving for better performance
With the addition of a sport-tuned suspension in the options list, the 2006 Canyon came with a number of updates. It featured a standard tire pressure monitoring system, a new MP3 capability for the audio system, an optional sunroof, and box-side steps on regular and extended cab models. Also, General Motors' Passenger-sensing System airbag technology was made standard in this model year.
In 2007, the Canyon received engine upgrades with two new power options, offering users with either 185 hp or 242 hp. A revised four-speed automatic transmission resulted in better shift quality compared to the previous models. Along with the new model came a two-inch-lowered ride height. While 15-inch aluminum wheels were made standard, Canyon models equipped with the optional ZQ8 sport package featured new 18-inch aluminum wheels.
2009 - 2010: Producing stronger power with upgraded engines
The 2009 Canyon was launched with a 300-hp V8 engine as a new power option, making it stand out from all other compact trucks except the Ford Ranger, which also used V8 engines. The new Canyon came with a stability control feature and a satellite radio for the first time.
Aside from the new 300-hp V8 engine, two other power options were updated. The first one was the 2.9-liter, inline four-cylinder engine, which now produced 185 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. The second one was the 3.7-liter, inline five-cylinder engine, which now produced 242 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission was made standard in four-cylinder models, while the four-speed automatic was added as an option. On the other hand, a four-speed automatic was the standard transmission on five-cylinder and V8 Canyons.
2011 - 2012: Synchronizing with modern times
Offered in three models, the 2011 Canyon came packed with features and updates. The three models available were the Work Truck (WT), SLE, and SLT. However, only typical features were found on the WT model such as air-conditioning, cruise control, and AM/FM radio. The SLE had an improved stereo and a longer list of options. On the other hand, the SLT differs from the two with its leather upholstery and power seats.
The 2011 model year featured an improved voice recognition for the OnStar version 9.0, a new Bluetooth handset-free phone connectivity, and side curtain airbags, which came standard on all models. By 2012, the Canyon received a Bodyguard Package, complete with molded splash guards and bed rail protection. The vehicle safety of this model year was enhanced through the standard, automatic rear-locking differential on 4WD and crew cabs.