Experienced by Shawn Ciers
The most essential element of a road trip is of course the vehicle of choice for the task at hand. Traveling state-to-state brings the satisfaction of experiencing the country’s varying landscapes, unique infrastructure or simply relaxing while clocking some quiet time during the change of sceneries. However, taking the journey in a pickup truck aggressively alters your perspective. Is it possible to blend comfort, utility, technology, safety and connectively in such a vehicle? We think so!
Nowadays, the word “pickup” holds a different meaning than the trucks from a decade ago. Back then one would instantly cringe at the thought of long distance travel versus the typical hauling or towing duties of a pickup. Well, times have changed and so has the ubiquitous pickup truck which currently has been transformed into a ride that provides accommodations within every aspect of daily commuter life. Incorporating some of those details into the literal fabric of this particular jewel was GMC’s mission. The 2016 Canyon 4WD SLT with a diesel 4-cylinder promotes the typical responsibilities of a truck as well as those you see in crossover utilities.
Before my wife and I headed to Detroit for the week with our young son we used the smaller Canyon to haul a pile of chopped trees to the local recycle facility. Power didn’t feel undermined by the added weight and braking was still on point. With the Cornerstep feature it was easy popping up to the bed to toss the wood. In the past I had to use my hops to jump up onto the opened tailgate, which in this case also features the EZ Lift and Lower mechanism. Moreover, handling from the 18” aluminum wheels along with the StabiliTrak stability control system added road solidity without any detectable inference of wind sway or imbalance.
The Canyon is powered by GM’s 2.8-liter Duramax turbo diesel that provided reputable low end torque and enough power for most service jobs. I’ve always been a fan of diesel engines and wouldn’t want anything else under the hood of my truck. Diesel powertrains last a very long time and fuel fill-ups are less frequent. Once we hit Highway 95 both of us were impressed by the quiet and efficient performance of the Copper Red Metallic Canyon. With 181-horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque at at 2000 rpms we pushed through the turnpike’s asphalt with ease. Paired with GM’s 6L50 Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic transmission fuel range became the main topic of discussion from fellow commuters interested in how the Duramax was fairing. The 20-gallon tank pickup clocks an impressive 23 city and 29 highway mpg which was very close to the actual 534-mile range of the road trip to Detroit from Silver Spring, MD. Expect to pay a $3,730 upcharge for the Duramax.
With a MSRP of $37,450 my test vehicle was elevated with an array of comfort features that increased the total to $44,365 including the Bed Liner Spray On, the premium Bose audio system and the Driver Alert Package with Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. These are impeccable characteristics in a vehicle not traditionally known for ultimate comfort and safety and provide more of the technological advances available in today’s pickup trucks. But like others in this category the Canyon still lacks the important safety feature of an adaptive avoidance system. Though, its visibility and viewpoint vantages extended greater coverage from blind spot areas. As well, the rear-view camera is a must, especially when large cargo blocks your direct view through the rear-sliding window.
Time flew by with premium staples such as the integration of Apple CarPlay within the 8” IntelliLink infotainment system. My most cherished apps were replicated on the color touchscreen and made the majority of the operations seamless for the most of the ride. There were a couple of technical issues with the USB connected iPhone and XM Radio while using traffic awareness applications, thus becoming a distracting drawback. Most impressive still is OnStar’s 4G LTE with Wi-Fi Hotspot. This feature always enhances streaming reality for family devices when accessing your favorite stations, applications and games are a priority, especially for our boy in the back seat.
Overall, the Canyon is a very charming pickup truck. Its leather steering wheel and seats, power windows, prolonged fuel economy and durable traits make it a keeper. We highly enjoyed the GM stablemate during our first summer road trip!