Truck of the Year

GMC Canyon: 2016 Motor Trend Truck of the Year Finalist

Amplifying the Canyon’s Appeal With Diesel

Amplifying the Canyon’s Appeal With Diesel

We Like: Its game-changing diesel engine, Buick-like cabin.

We Don’t Like: Spending more money than on the equally capable Chevy Colorado.

GM turned the midsize truck segment on its head last year with the launch of the GMC Canyon and its Chevrolet Colorado twin, and this year things keep getting better with the addition of a Duramax diesel engine.

Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend Truck of the Year finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other Truck of the Year finalists at the links below. Check out the Truck of the Year introduction HERE, and discover how our Of The Year awards have evolved HERE.

Proven overseas and equipped with some extra emissions- and NVH-reducing hardware, the 2.8-liter, turbodiesel I-4 makes 181 hp and a stout 369 lb-ft of torque and comes paired with a six-speed automatic. Everything we loved about the gas Canyon during last year’s testing is further amplified by the addition of the diesel. “The Duramax is a stellar little engine,” Ron Kiino said. “Gobs of torque, plenty of horsepower, and from within the cabin, pretty darn quiet.” Despite the added weight on the nose, the Canyon still retains its fantastic steering feel and excellent ride quality. The torque also does wonders for the transmission, eliminating gear hunting.

Although midsize pickup owners rarely tow or haul anything, the GMC is up to the task. With a 7,600-pound (3,447-kg) trailer hitched to its rear bumper, the Canyon Duramax never let its driver see it sweat during acceleration testing, even if its objective performance was slightly slower than its gas-powered Toyota rivals. The Canyon also shrugged at 500 pounds (227 kg) in its bed.

Even more impressive was its fuel economy, netting almost 27 mpg (8.7 L/100km) from Los Angeles to Arizona. “Efficiency is great,” Ed Loh said, “though if I’m honest, I was expecting slightly better numbers. Then again, I can’t believe that I’m complaining about 27 mpg (8.7 L/100km) while carrying 500 pounds (227 kg).”

2016 GMC Canyon SLT 4×4 Duramax Diesel
BASE PRICE $42,800
PRICE AS TESTED $43,695
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
ENGINE 2.8L/181-hp/369-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 16-valve I-4*
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 224.6 x 74.3 x 56.3 in
WHEELBASE 140.5 in
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,859 lb (58/42%)
ACCELERATION, 0-60 MPH** 9.1; 15.9; 27.7 sec
QUARTER MILE** 16.8 sec @ 80.2 mph; 20.2 sec @ 66.5 mph; 23.9 sec @ 56.7 mph
DAVIS DAM “FRUSTRATION”*** 10.9 sec, 970 ft
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 123 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.74 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 29.3 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON Not yet rated
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY Not yet rated
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB Not yet rated
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 22/30/25
*SAE Certified
**Unladen; towing 3,000-lb trailer; towing 7,600-lb trailer
***50-70-mph passing acceleration with 500 pounds of payload

2016 Truck of the Year Finalists: