The 2008 GMC Canyon classifies as a midsize truck for the person who requires a rough and rugged truck and does not need a full-size truck or the added cost that goes with it. In addition, it provides versatility, putting the Canyon to work during the day and then taking the whole family out in comfort in the evening.
The Canyon has numerous options to configure it to suit a range of requirements. These options include three cab sizes, two bed sizes, and two engine sizes. It also has two transmission choices and offers two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Body Styles: regular cab pickup, extended cab pickup
Engines: 2.9-liter four-cylinder, 3.7-liter five-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: GMC Canyon SL, GMC Canyon SLE, GMC Canyon SLT
The 2008 GMC Canyon looks unchanged with the exception of standard fog lights and a few new paint colors.
The front end of the 2008 GMC Canyon appears mean and aggressive in typical GMC fashion with angular wheel arches. A small upward slope at the outer edge of the hood further enhances the aggressive appearance. The GMC logo seems to float on the black center grille. It separates the array of lights made up of the daytime running lights, high and low beams, and the turn indicators. The profile has bold, angular, flared fenders that rise toward the back, giving the Canyon an edgy and sharp appearance.
The Canyon looks balanced regardless of the cab size. The crew and extended cab have a 126-inch wheelbase and regular cabs have a 111-inch wheelbase. The regular cab has an overall 192-inch length and the other models have a 207-inch length. The regular and extended cabs have a six-foot, one-inch bed and the crew cabs have a five-foot, one-inch bed.
The tailgate has the option of opening to a full 89 degrees or dropping down to 55 degrees to give support. Regular and extended cabs have steps in the rear fender to offer easy access when reaching for and loading things in the front of the bed. Extended cabs have rear-hinged back doors with the handles on the door jam and crew cabs have regular front-hinged rear doors with easy-to-grip handles.
Once inside the Canyon, the rear seat feels surprisingly wide with plenty of room for three adults. The driver and front passenger have an excellent view due to the seats sitting at chair height. However, the seats lack lateral support and are flat, giving an awkward and uncomfortable feel. The extended cab offers enough room to face the seats forward and the rear seats are raised to give extra legroom; however, they cannot be described as comfortable. The back seat in the extended cab does not suit people, not even children, and would be better used for cargo.
The base uses subpar materials in the interior with rubber floor mats and hard plastic in areas like the dash. It best suits the person who does not want to worry about messing it up, for instance someone who has a rough and dirty job. The SLE has a bit more comfort and luxuries with carpeting and finer seat material. Air outlet control knobs, instrument cluster rings, chrome accents on the door handles, and front doors sills complete the features.
The instruments look laid out in a logical manner and prove easy to read with large white numbers and orange needles on a black background. The lighting functions sit to the left where the steering wheel does not block the view, and all the switches sit in easily reached locations. The doors are triple sealed to reduce noise.
Performance & Handling
The 2008 GMC Canyon has a solid and quiet ride and no rattling from the bed. A truck like the Canyon naturally does not corner like a car; however it feels stable and predictable. It also rides well on uneven surfaces and the four-wheel drive does its job offroad.
Safety features on the Canyon include four-wheel anti-lock brakes with front and rear ventilation, electronic brakeforce distribution. Daytime running lights, dusk-sensing headlights, an engine immobilizer, and tire pressure monitoring complete the list.
In government front-impact tests the 2008 GMC Canyon crew cab receives five out of five stars for the protection of the driver and front passenger. The other cabs earn four out of five stars. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash testing, the Canyon receives a “Good"" rating.
EPA Fuel Economy
GMC Canyon four-wheel drive:18/24 mpg city/highway
GMC Canyon two-wheel drive:18/22 mpg city/highway
GMC Canyon four-wheel drive SL:18/24 mpg city/highway
GMC Canyon two-wheel drive SL: 18/22 mpg city/highway
GMC Canyon four-wheel drive SLE: 18/24 mpg city/highway
GMC Canyon two-wheel drive SLE: 18/22 mpg city/highway
- Good handling on- and off-road
- Good crash test scores
You Won't Like
- Subpar materials
- Engine lacks power compared to other trucks
- Mediocre towing capacity
- Awkwardly shaped and uncomfortable seats
Attractively styled, yet does not measure up in some areas to other trucks.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Dodge Dakota
- Nissan Frontier
- Toyota Tacoma
- Ford Ranger