With more power, more torque, a factory long-travel suspension system complete with high quality dampers, front and rear lockers, steel off-road protection parts, a winch, and even a seriously nice tech-laden wood-and-leather interior, the new 2023 GMC Canyon AT4X elevates itself far past any mid-size pickup truck competition. But priced at up to $65,000 it also asks you to pay for all of that capability and luxury. Will buyers spend that much money on a truck this small?
Based on the new 2023 Chevy Colorado, the upmarket GMC Canyon comes standard with many of that Colorado’s most desirable options, while also offering buyers handsome new looks and an upmarket interior, at a starting price of $40,000. Buyers can then add more luxury and more capability through several options packages. The trim level we’re most excited about is AT4X, which gives you absolutely every functional upgrade possible.
All Canyons will come standard with the high output version of the Colorado’s new 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That makes a class-leading 310 horsepower, and 430 pound-feet of torque, and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Canyon will come standard with the two-inch lifted suspension from the Colorado Trailboss. That suspension includes front control arms that are each 1.75 inches longer than the base Colorado, an upgrade that will add considerable front wheel travel, articulation, and stability.
The Canyon AT4X is based on the new Colorado ZR2, the most high-end and capable version of the new Chevy. That means it’s also fitted with those longer control arms, only supported by fancy Multimatic spool-valve dampers. Like the ZR2, the AT4X is also lifted another inch, for a total of three additional inches above the base Colorado. The top-end GMC is fitted with mechanical lockers on both the front and rear axles. Taking things a notch above the ZR2 are standard protection parts that endow the AT4X with heavy duty steel skid plates, rock sliders, and front and rear bumpers. That front bumper can also be fitted with a ComeUp winch.
The modifications are the type of thing buyers of mid-size trucks have, in the past, had to add themselves through a variety of aftermarket solutions. Not only does adding those parts piecemeal to other trucks create problems with integration—third-party parts, like winches, frequently interfere with factory safety sensors, causing all manner of electrical headaches—but it also typically invalidated the vehicle manufacturer’s warranty. By offering all of that stuff from the showroom floor, GMC is solving both issues, while allowing buyers access to upgrades within the same finance plan as the truck itself. The headline $65,000 price for a fully kitted-out GMC Canyon AT4X may seem high, but it actually offers people who are serious about off-road travel a really significant value proposition.
The AT4X’s long travel suspension is a perfect example of that. On other trucks, adding such a setup would typically involve replacing both the upper and lower control arms, along with new extended-travel springs and dampers, which would often need to be custom made. That parts list would grow more complicated with the need for stuff like new tie rod ends, CV axles, and even new fenders, all necessitated by the additional width and wheel travel. All of those parts would be made to a variety of aftermarket quality levels and would each come with their own additional maintenance requirements. The total cost of doing it right typically exceeds $10,000, and decreases the mileage interval between major suspension services. But on the AT4X, everything is done right on the factory floor. That means all the parts will actually be designed to work together, without any need for the owner to perform elaborate tuning. They’ll all feature the same level of weather resistance and long service intervals you can expect from a factory component, along with the factory warranty. It’s simply a better solution in every possible way.
It’d be negligent not to mention the Canyon’s interior, which includes large, high-definition screens for the instrumentation in front of the driver and the center console infotainment system, along with trim made from either carbon fiber or open-pore wood, and leather seats. It’s reminiscent of the most luxurious versions of full-size trucks and is considerably nicer than any other mid-size truck available anywhere.
The only potential downside comes with payload. While base two-wheel drive Canyons will be able to carry up to a respectable 1,640 pounds, that capacity falls to just 1,010 pounds for a fully-optioned AT4X. But that number may not be as low as it sounds. Where other mid-size trucks, like the popular Toyota Tacoma, also feature significant limitations to their payloads, that’s without any protection parts, winches, or fancy suspension systems, so owners must account for the weight of those components when calculating the total load their trucks are able to carry. On the AT4x, that limitation comes with those parts already onboard, so it represents the true capacity the truck will be able to safely transport in the real world.
The GMC Canyon AT4X is the only mid-size pickup truck that genuinely gives you everything you want or need to accomplish challenging off-road travel.