With the demise of the Dodge Dakota and the Ford Ranger, the GMC Canyon and its corporate twin, the Chevrolet Colorado, are the only remaining mid-size American pickups on the U.S. market. The GM duo’s only remaining competition comes from Japan in the form of the Nissan Frontier, the Suzuki Equator, and the Toyota Tacoma. For 2012, the Canyon is mostly unchanged. It can be had with rear- or four-wheel drive (with an automatic locking rear differential); with a regular, extended, or crew cab; with four, five, or eight cylinders; and with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The optional five-cylinder engine puts out about 60 more hp than the base four-cylinder engine without sacrificing gas mileage — in four-wheel-drive automatic guise, both engines are rated at 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. However, if you need your Canyon to do some real work, opt for the Vortec V-8, which ups the towing capacity to 6000 pounds when paired with the aging four-speed automatic. Inside, the Canyon’s cabin is spartan but efficient, although you can get leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel as options with the top trim level. One touch of modernity is the addition of standard Bluetooth phone connectivity.

Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: Work Truck, SLE1, SLT
Body Style: Pickup, 2- to 6-passenger
Engines: 2.9L I-4, 185 hp, 190 lb-ft
3.7L I-5, 242 hp, 242 lb-ft
5.3L V-8, 300 hp, 320 lb-ft
Transmissions: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Capacities: Towing 1900-6000 lb; payload 1168-1433 lb

The Canyon crew cab and 4WD models now have a standard automatic locking rear differential. A rear sliding window is now standard on the 4WD extended-cab model. All Canyons now have standard Bluetooth phone connectivity and an available bodyguard package, which includes bed-rail protectors and molded splash guards.

Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard on all models, as are a tire-pressure monitoring system and traction and stability control.

All: 14-18 mpg city/19-25 mpg highway

  • Versatile
  • Practical
  • Maneuverable
  • Middling fuel economy
  • Outdated transmission
  • Bland interior

One of the last of a dying breed.

  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Nissan Frontier
  • Suzuki Equator
  • Toyota Tacoma

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