Ace of Base - 2017 GMC Canyon SLE 4×4 Duramax

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2017 gmc canyon sle 44 duramax

Sometimes, a manufacturer sees fit to offer its newest ‘you-gotta-try-this’ feature on a range of trims in a particular model. Is it worth getting the most expensive example just to try the new toy? Or should one save their scratch and get the least expensive model?

With the inclusion of a diesel mill, the 2017 GMC Canyon puts us on par with the rest of the world. Everywhere else, this isn’t a mid-size truck — it’s simply a truck. Only in the land of bald eagles and freedom (or maple syrup and hockey sticks) is this machine considered small – or, at least, smaller. The now horribly mislabeled half-ton class of Rams, Silverados, F-150s, Titans, and Tundras aren’t disappearing anytime soon, but there is a sizable group of buyers who don’t want to pilot a Dreadnought-class battleship around city streets.

Tim reviewed the Canyon Diesel earlier this week, finding it to be a left-field choice that nevertheless ticked many of the right boxes. With that in mind, let’s strip away the options and see if it’s still worth buying.

Considering most truck buyers haul air in the back of their trucks 90 percent of the time, the shrunken cargo capacity (compared to its big brother Sierra) is of little consequence. Most urban cowboys will probably appreciate the ability of the Canyon to fit in downtown parking spaces and low-clearance garages. In terms of towing, I find it remarkable that this thing can haul nearly as much as an EcoDiesel-equipped Ram.

Speaking of which, GM sees fit to bundle their Trailering Package with the Canyon in SLE trim, so one will find the all important trailer brake controller and 2-inch receiver hitch without splashing out any extra cash. This makes the extra Simoleons commanded by the SLT trim hard to justify, and it goes without saying that the Denali Diesel shouldn’t be considered at all.

In direct competition with the Party Mode and hastily translated examples for the coolest button ever to be fitted in a modern vehicle is the Canyon’s Exhaust Brake control, mounted on the left in a bank of toggle-type switches. Just the sight of it sent me jonesing for a trucker’s hat and a set of cowboy boots. Plus, toggle switches allow drivers to indulge in all manner of fighter-jet fantasies; the only way it could be better is if they were on the roof. This author is glad it appears on the base model Canyon Duramax. Testing it two weeks ago, I found that while the button sadly didn’t duplicate the sound of a Jake Brake, it did certainly slow the truck more aggressively than with the pedal alone.

The Canyon diesel is available in a single cab style — the four door Crew — so don’t get it in your head that one can waltz into a GM dealership and sign the note on a regular cab, stripped-out Canyon with a Duramax under the hood. A six speed automatic is the only choice, and an oddly placed manual-shift button foils any attempt to row your own gears. Stick it in ‘D’ and fuhgeddaboudit.

Base Canyon Diesels also benefit from cloth seats featuring some of the most durable feeling material this side of my old dungarees. The seating surfaces are wrapped in a tough material that, upon initial inspection anyway, will appear to outlive the truck itself. Naturally, Jet Black cloth is recommended (because truck things) over the lighter Cocoa Dune trim.

Ace of Base, then? I think so, even at $40,275. If one is bent on getting a sensibly sized diesel powered truck, the entry-rung Canyon Duramax includes all the trimmings and trappings to be more than comfortable while satisfying the vast majority of hauling and trailering needs. Anything further up the scale, whether it’s the near $3,000 walk to the SLT or the $7,500 jump to the Denali, is simply for superfluous chrome and leather.

All you have to do is decide if the $3,730 Duramax is worth it in the first place.

Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in American dollars absent of freight and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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4 of 38 comments
  • 4drSedan 4drSedan on May 03, 2017

    I would like to see some more made in Canada vehicles with references to Canadian places like the Fundy Package or Nahanni Edition. How about the Regina spec? I guess that would be the Regina package as well. (I know...Yukon)

  • Scuzimi Scuzimi on May 04, 2017

    WTF is ACE OF BASE????

  • Kwik_Shift It was an annoying feature on my 2018 Nissan Sentra SV. Bugs, leaves and snow would disable it. Should have been a better design .
  • Master Baiter A regulator's job is never done, so yeah, bring on the next level of regulations.
  • DedBull The automatic braking system in my wife's 2019 Tiguan is easily defeated by the slightest amount of solid precipitation, which is not uncommon here in western Pennsylvania. Fortunately we have regular speed-holding cruise control, because the active cruise control uses the same sensor and becomes inactive in the same conditions. It was infuriating in our loaner. I've had a few false-positives over the years, plus a couple where it didn't like my rate of deceleration. Interestingly it did not intervene at all when I had a deer strike a couple years ago. I don't mind the application of the tech, but I think they are setting a pretty high bar going forward. I'm also cautious of over-reliance on tech in vehicles.
  • FreedMike The AEB system on my car has actually engaged only once in the two years I've owned it, mainly because I actually pay attention. But not everyone does...thus, this proposal. If everyone was as diligent as I am, I'd say there's no need, but we all know how that movie ends.if it keeps some moron in a Tahoe who's busy f**king around on TikTok from laying waste to my car from behind, I'm all for it.
  • Lou_BC I've seen photo's of plates that spell "azzhole" when viewed in the rear view mirror. There was a fellow in Canada who's last name was "Grabher". They wouldn't let him have that plate.