GORMAN, California — A truck bed full of sun-beat farm hands stare and point from the back of a tired Chevy C10, admiring the glamorous-looking 2016 GMC Canyon SLT. It’s quite a thing to look at — polished 18-inch wheels, big chrome mirrors, even bigger chrome bumpers, a chrome grille that would make rapper Paul Wall blush, and optional $395 Copper Red metallic paint that catches and bends sunlight in extraordinarily flattering ways. As I pass the C10 and turn into Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area, a couple of the guys laugh at the rough-but-reliable Honda XR650L strapped down in the bed; it does look rather lowbrow sitting in this swanky rig’s bed.
This 2016 GMC Canyon SLT has the new-for-2016, 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine, which costs an extra $3,730, gets 29 mpg on the highway — 5 mpg better than the base 2.5-liter inline-four and the big 3.6-liter V-6 — and bumps the Canyon’s max trailering rating to 7,700 pounds. The engine is smooth, muted, and powerful enough to easily move around the 4,698-lb truck and the 346-lb motorcycle behind it. I park the truck under the shade of a tree, unload the bike, and spend the next four hours riding along tight dirt trails on the XR650L. Back at the GMC Canyon, I strip off my sweaty gear, blast the GMC’s air conditioning and the $500 Bose audio system, and lay across the cocoa leather rear bench.
It’s nice, this truck, but I have no idea what it costs. I reach up and into the glove box, pull out the Canyon’s Monroney sticker, and see its $44,725 as-tested price. Phew — that’s a lot of cash that buys you a lot of cool features, but $45,000 for a mid-size diesel truck? Even if you’re willing to throw down, why not save yourself five grand and buy a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado LT with the same engine and similar features? Or save $3,010 and get a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 with all the features this Canyon has plus off-road suspension and a transfer case shield? The 2016 GMC Canyon SLT is a nice truck, but it’s not special. The GMC brand doesn’t come with cachet, just more chrome, and that chrome isn’t worth the stares you’ll get.
2016 GMC Canyon 4WD SLT Crew Short Box
|Engine:||2.8L turbo-diesel DOHC 16-valve I-4/181 hp @ 3,400 rpm, 369 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm|
|Layout:||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, 4WD truck|
|EPA Mileage:||20/29 mpg|
|L x W x H:||212.4 x 74.3 x 70.6 in|