Following last month’s introduction of the new Chevrolet Colorado, GM has debuted that truck’s gussied-up cousin, the third-generation GMC Canyon. Headlining the tough, new Canyon lineup, the all-new AT4X follows in the footsteps of the Colorado ZR2 and Sierra AT4X in upping its off-road capability. It supports contemporary explorers with a specialized off-road suspension, skid plates galore, and an available winch for self-rescuing out of jams in remote corners even the local wildlife doesn’t visit.
Since announcing the original Colorado ZR2 back in 2016, GM has doubled down on its commitment to outfitting serious off-roaders and overlanders with better tools of the trade. It’s since launched the Chevy Silverado ZR2 and GMC Sierra AT4X in the full-size segment, launched an even more ready-for-anything Colorado ZR2, and played with concepts like the GMC Canyon AT4 OverlandX.
That last concept served as the initial inspiration behind the production Canyon AT4X, which compounds the name by dropping the “overland” it loses by leaving behind niche components like the bed cap, rooftop tent and snorkel. The production AT4X is ready to serve as a more universal off-road platform – whether that means a minimalist trail runner or loaded-up overlander is up to the buyer.
The Canyon AT4X starts with a Canyon-lineup-leading 3-in (7.6-cm) lift that clears 10.7 in (27 cm) of open space over the ground below, just over an inch more than the 9.6 in (24-cm) offered on other 2023 Canyon models. A combination of the upgraded suspension with Multimatic DSSV shocks and 33-in MT tires helps achieve that raised height. The AT4X boosts traction with a set of front and rear electronic differential lockers and prepares for high-speed off-roading with an exclusive Baja driving mode. A set of skid plates protects the vitals throughout.
In addition to those upgrades, the new AT4X is the only trim with the option to add the Edition 1 package, which tacks on a host of additional upgrades. Edition 1 features include front and rear underbody cameras with wash function, an off-road front bumper with safari bar and Comeup winch, a 30-in off-road front light bar, 17-in beadlock-capable wheels, an adaptable bed rail system, a performance front skid plate, and “Edition 1” tailgate badging.
In addition to the new AT4X trim, the new-gen Canyon has plenty more to brag about, starting with a standard 2-in (5-cm) lift and widened track across the line. The front axle has been moved forward for a more stable stance and improved proportions. Across the lineup, the truck comes in a crew cab/short bed configuration and relies on a 2.7-liter turbo engine with estimated 430 lb-ft (583 Nm) of torque.
The Canyon greets potential buyers and browsers with a new face dominated by a grille with boxy grid design on AT4 and AT4X trims and thinner bar-like segments on the Denali. It looks unnecessarily toothy to us, but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker by any means, especially since the rest of the new styling package looks like an upgrade compared to the current Canyon.
The 2023 Canyon’s headlamps are thinned out into a more aggressive, focused stare, further accentuated by the X-shaped grille surround and daytime running lamp/fog light panels. The fenders bulge more naturally, highlighted by contrast wheel arch trim, and the body sides feature a stronger, squarer design. All in all, it’s a successful styling update for a product that aspires to use its improved off-road engineering to become the “official vehicle of nowhere.”
Tech-wise, the Canyon offers a standard pro safety package with auto emergency braking, front pedestrian braking with cyclist detection, lane keep assist and more. Upper trim levels sport a combo of 11.3-in high-res infotainment display and 11-in digital instrument panel. Other available features include a 10-view camera system, head-up display, Bose seven-speaker audio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, blind zone steering assist, and rear pedestrian alert.
The new 2023 Canyon will enter production early next year, and the AT4X model will follow in spring 2023. The family will start around US$40K, with the AT4X Edition 1 models starting at $63,350, before destination fee. Reservations for the strictly limited Edition 1 are available now.
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