2016 GMC Canyon Duramax Joins the Workforce

A little more than a year ago we saw the return of the GMC Canyon midsize pickup. It arrived as a 2015 model with more efficiency and more capability than the previous Canyon (and Chevy counterpart Colorado). For 2016, GMC offers Canyon with a Duramax turbo diesel engine for segment-leading towing and fuel economy.

2016 GMC Canyon/Images courtesy GMC

2016 GMC Canyon/Images courtesy GMC

We like the new midsize trucks from GM as they offer nearly the functionality of a full-size pickup in a smaller footprint and the GMC Canyon features nearly every bit of new technology as its big brother Sierra as well. The new Duramax engine is icing on the cake for shoppers in this segment.


At 2.8-liters of displacement over four cylinders, the new Duramax turbo diesel is shy on horsepower but that is not where the true work is done in towing and hauling. This engine generates a whopping 369 lb. ft. of torque at a mere 2,000 rpm and that, my friend, is where the time clock gets punched. This engine is mated to the Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic transmission and Canyon features tow/haul mode, smart diesel exhaust brake system, and an all-new integrated trailer brake controller.


Canyon is offered in two- and four-wheel drive configuration with our recent tester arriving in 4WD with electric two-speed transfer case. It rides on 18-inch polished cast aluminum wheels with all-season tires and features automatic locking rear differential as well as four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors for extended brake life.


GMC sent this Canyon in Crew Cab configuration with short (5’ 2”) box and in SLT trim. For 2017, the automaker has announced a Denali version of this truck in case you want even more features, more chrome, and higher payments. Other goodies included on this truck were forward collision alert, lane departure warning, Bose premium audio system, 8-inch color touchscreen display with navigation and Intellilink, Apple Carplay capability, spray-on bed liner, and a gorgeous metallic emerald-green paint job.


Aside from the new Duramax engine and Apple Carplay technology, little else changes from the last model year. We did not get the opportunity to tow a trailer with this truck but we did make a run to the big box hardware store for some remodeling items that fit nicely into the cargo box and despite the added weight the truck rode smoothly and very stable and quiet. The rear bumper corner steps are a very welcome carryover feature from the full-size pickups and the tailgate is a breeze to lift and lower.


Pricing for the 2016 GMC Canyon Crew Cab SLT 4×4 with the Duramax engine begins at $37,450 with this tester arriving at $44,365. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway and the truck features a 21 gallon fuel tank. Diesel fuel prices have finally fallen back below those of regular gasoline around here so the new Duramax powertrain (and its $3,730 markup) will make financial sense for those who will work with this truck and keep it for a while.


The 2016 GMC Canyon with Duramax is not the midsize truck for everyone. While it does seat up to five some families may find a full-size pickup to their liking and more functional to their lifestyle. For those living life a little more compact the Canyon may be right up your alley.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.