2009 GMC Canyon

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2009 GMC Canyon Review

The Canyon could be a contender with the new V-8 engine, but the interior quality and poor build of certain materials seriously hinder this otherwise fine vehicle.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2009 GMC Canyon has one problem; in the flooded truck market, Japanese truck makers such as Toyota rule the landscape. Although the GMC Canyon has made several improvements to styling and powertrain, it still lags behind the competition with somewhat tired cabin materials and design.

The 2009 GMC Canyon comes in two or four-wheel drive powertrains and is available in three different body styles: regular cabin, extended cab and a crew cab variety. The crew cab version of the vehicle has a five-foot bed, and the other two versions have a six-foot bed.

There are also three trim lines to choose from: the barebones Work Truck trim, SLE, and SLT models.

The Range

Body Styles: regular cabin, extended cab and a crew cab
Engines: 2.9-liter four-cylinder; 3.7-liter five-cylinder; V-8 engine
Transmissions: (list all options, separated by commas)
Models: Work Truck trim, SLE, and SLT models.

What's New

The 2009 GMC Canyon is a big improvement over previous years:

  • The brand new V-8 engine solves the nagging problem of underperformance that has plagued the Canyon since its introduction.
  • Other new features include the Stabilitrak, a bed liner, standard XM Satellite Radio, and an upgrade braking system.
  • Sport suspension was also introduced after being pulled from the Canyon a while back.
  • The exterior has also received a tiny facelift.

Exterior

The Canyon is your standard pick up truck. It has the styling of a work vehicle because, in the end, that is what the Canyon is. The truck is a midsize pickup with a width of 67.6-inches and a height of 65.5.The bumpers have a chrome finish, which is about as much flash as you’ll get on this vehicle.

The Work Truck trim line has 16-inch steel wheels, but 17- and 18-inch wheels are available as an additional option. The regular cab SLE version adds aluminum wheels and fog lights for better visibility. The extended cab SLT has upscale chrome wheels. The crew SLT model gets a better suspension.

There are several bundled packages as well. The Z71 package is an off-road package that includes lagers wheels as well as better tires, skid plates to prevent damage to the underside of the vehicle, and a rear locking differential when the vehicle has four-wheel drive. A ZQ8 package, called the sport suspension package, has a lowered suspension, quick steering, 18-inch wheels and performance tires. The sport suspension is only available on the two-wheel drive extended and crew cab versions that also have the brand new V-8 engine introduced in 2009.

Interior

The interior is one area where the Canyon really lags behind the competition. Many of the materials are poorly built, subpar, and look like they’re from a different generation of motor vehicle. There is a lot of plastic throughout. The controls are laid out in convenient places and are easy to use.

The extra seats in the extended cab vehicle are pinched to the point of being very uncomfortable. Getting in and out of the back seats is also a pain. However, the cargo area is spacious and versatile.

The Work Truck trim line has a bed liner to prevent scratches, a 60/40-split front seat, air conditioning, cruise control, and standard satellite radio. The regular cab SLE version adds chrome interior accents and a CD player. The extended cab version receives a lot of extra power accessories as well as a keyless entry system. A Value crew cab model is also available that gets all of the accessories as the extended cab version but does away with the chromed accents. The extended cab SLT has leather trimmed interior and seats, and the seats are heated to boot.

Extra options for the vehicle include remote keyless entry, fog lamps for those vehicles without them, auto-dimming rearview mirror, running boards, power sunroof, heated and adjustable seats, leather trim as an add-on, and an upgraded CD player.

Performance & Handling

The Canyon offers a 2.9-liter four-cylinder that produces 185 horsepower with 190 pound-feet of torque. A 3.7-liter five-cylinder is also available that produces 242 horsepower with 242 pound-feet of torque. A new V-8 engine is available as well that produces 300 horsepower with 320 pound-feet of torque.

On the road, the Canyon is a smooth and quiet ride in the city. Wind noise from the doors can be a problem when riding along the highway at speed, so be aware. The four and five-cylinder engines are a bit weak. The V-8 engine gives the necessary power you’d expect from a truck. It is the only one that comes close to the competition.

Safety

The GMC Canyon received top marks from government crash tests for front impact, and four out of five stars for side impact.

Safety

The GMC Canyon received top marks from government crash tests for front impact, and four out of five stars for side impact.

EPA Fuel Economy

18/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • The GMC Canyon is cheap and cheerful.
  • Even with the value, the Canyon has great handling, a wide variety of options, and a good selection of engine types.

You Won't Like

  • Two of the engines–the four and five-cylinder–seriously underperform.
  • The interior of the vehicle feels cheap, tired and cramped.

Sum Up

The Canyon could be a contender with the new V-8 engine, but the interior quality and poor build of certain materials seriously hinder this otherwise fine vehicle.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Dodge Dakota
  • Toyota Tacoma

See the New 2012 Canyon.

Front & Driver Side View

2009 GMC Canyon Consumer Rating

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