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2023 GMC Canyon AT4X Review Mega Thread

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The embargo on reviews has been lifted and here are the ones that have been released so far! As more get released be sure to add them here!

Raiti's Rides


General Motors Jeff

Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk

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2023 GMC Canyon: AT4X Trail Test
When you combine the wonderful engine and chassis of the Canyon, then add the Colorado ZR2’s Multimatic DSSV dampers, you get an even more impressive drive. I understand the Canyon Denali is a posh, plush midsize truck, but the AT4X delivers a more satisfying experience both on- and off-road.

Those spool-valve dampers are constantly working, making the truck much more agile despite its higher stance and 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch tires. I often worry about highway comfort with lifted vehicles, but the Canyon AT4X is even more refined than its less expensive siblings.

Once you hit a technical trail, the Canyon AT4X show off how gnarly it really is. In fact, the AT4X almost makes light trail driving boring — almost. Deep ruts, deeper mud, narrow trails and water fording — the AT4X takes everything in stride without fuss.

Driving a new truck like the Canyon AT4X, with its torquey engine and incredible suspension, is like off-roading in easy mode, and that opens the door for a wider audience. All you have to do is turn the dial to the appropriate drive mode, press a button for high- or low-range four-wheel drive and then toggle the switch on the cluster to activate the front and rear differential lockers. The AT4X also has an exclusive Baja mode for high-speed off-road bombing, but I didn’t experience that during my test.

Gear Patrol

The Canyon's four-pot engine is potent
GMC ditched the Canyon's V6 and diesel engines in favor of GM's turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four. It stands out on paper: you previously had to choose between horsepower and torque, but the new four-pot offers both. The 310 hp is about the same as the outgoing V6, and the 430 lb-ft of torque is 61 lb-ft more than the outgoing diesel. Nothing in the segment currently matches it...though stay tuned for what Toyota does with the Tacoma's iForce Max hybrid.

In practice, the four-pot performs very well. The Canyon is a truck, not a sports car. So the torque comes on more gradually; think more robust reservoir you can tap for a highway pass than rocketing off the line. The eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth, delivering an intuitive power build and low cruising revs on the highway. And the non-AT4X Canyons can all tow up to 7,700 pounds ( though the AT4X still pulls a solid 6,000 lbs).

The one quibble with the new engine — and one the anti-four-cylinder peanut gallery will harp on — is that it doesn't sound perfect. It doesn't sound quite as strained as it does lugging around a full-size truck, but it doesn't have the rumble and growl you'd get with a V6 — and that's something you'll notice every time you travel uphill or deploy the gas with any zest.

While the off-road prowess of the AT4X is impressive, it’s the on-road performance of the new Canyon that will resonate with drivers. The cabin is quiet, and the truck feels taut on winding roads. The two AT4 models’ aggressively treaded Goodyear Wrangler tires add some noise at speed, but it’s not annoying and a fair tradeoff if you are serious about leaving the pavement behind.

The small engine is nonetheless big on torque, claiming an impressive 430 lb-ft of torque at just 3,000 rpm. That’s powerful enough to haul the truck to speed rather quickly, and makes highway passing effortless, even while going uphill. It’s also enough torque to haul up to 7,700 lbs, which is the highest in class, though I did not have a chance to pull a trailer. The transmission works very well, shifting quickly and smoothly, and never wanders between ratios. I have a couple of issues with this new engine, though: there is a distinctive lag when you get off and then on the gas again, and the engine is louder and vibrates more than the other engines I have sampled in previous Canyon models, including the diesel.
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