By on May 3, 2017

2017 GMC Canyon Diesel

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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38 Comments on “Ace of Base – 2017 GMC Canyon SLE 4×4 Duramax...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’d rock an extended cab SL 4 cyl manual transmission 4×4 model but not the luxury work vehicle picture above.

    If you’ve got to have the diesel you are “in for a penny in for a pound” at that point and might as well go for the SLT. (This is from a guy who has spent more time studying GMC trim levels than he’s comfortable admitting.)

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Now I’m confused. You say you’ve spent considerable time studying GMC trim levels, and I believe you, but then you call this SLE model “luxury.” But SLE has been the mid-level trim for decades.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’m saying it’s not “base”. (Plus you should see what you get in an SLE now-a-days.)

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I agree with that too. Being that SLE is more-or-less equivalent to Ford’s XLT, it’s the trim I’d be most interested in if I’d ever want a Jimmy.

          But as long as we’re splitting hairs, the lowest trim level that I’d consider “luxury” is Ford Lariat/Chevy LTZ/GMC SLT/Ram Laramie.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    can you really call it “base” when opting for the diesel automatically kicks you up three trim levels to SLE? Chevy does that too, you can only get the diesel in the top-shelf Z71 trim.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Next the review of the Ace of Base Maybach………..$40,000+ isn’t “Base” in my book.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Took the words out of my mouth!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      My opinion is that the Ace of Base column should have been a limited run series where the few truly exceptional base trim vehicles were highlighted. Turning it into a regular column results in some odd choices like this, or *every* car being an Ace of Base because a) every car is well equipped nowadays and b) you’ve got to get something posted this week.

      • 0 avatar
        srh

        I’ve thought this about several of the recent AOB columns. Most cars are an “Ace Of Base” if you order the base with all the options. Precious few qualify in true base form. Those are the ones I’m interested in hearing about.

        Otherwise these are just super light-weight vehicle reviews. So call them reviews.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Yesterday I played around with the configuration tool on the Chevy website and here were the prices I got:

    Cheapest possible Colorado diesel : $36,335

    Cheapest possible Silverado 6.2L : $44,430

    Cheapest Silverado 5.3L Double Cab : $32,800

    Cheapest Silverado Double Cab DMax : $45,590

    Granted, this doesn’t include all incentives or dealer discounts.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      And the full-sizers are most likely to have the highest incentives or dealers most willing to deal.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        My father bought a Ram 3500 6.7L in December. MSRP was $64K and the pre-tax price he got was $48K. He’s hardly some stone-cold negotiating superstar.

        • 0 avatar
          94metro

          Here in the seattle area, they recently rolled out a new tax on car tabs that is 1.1% of MSRP a year (discounted gradually based on model year).

          I always think of that tax when I hear these of “10K+ off MSRP!” stories. You have to pay an extra $100 a year because the manufacturer wants to have a fictional price tag on their big truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The cheapest RAM crew cab diesel I could build is $38,925. I’m interested to see where the F150 Diesel comes in.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The way they deal on those fullsizers it is making a crew cab, 6 foot box, 4×4, V8 an attractive idea for me and I don’t even need a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          I definitely want one. However, I’m going to use better judgement and drive my car until it dies. I’m so bored of it though.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          The price and Michigan’s post apocalyptic roads sold me on the idea.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            If I lived in Flagstaff I’d totally buy one. Arizona should be ashamed of the condition of I40 around the city.

            Thankfully our roads aren’t quite that bad even here in impoverished NM.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            “My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos… ruined dreams… this wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior.”

            -Every day driving in the Detroit Area-

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I’m the same way. A few years ago I’d tell you the Tundra was grotesque and shuffle off to my Golden Age ™ 4Runner. But I totally see the appeal now. Granted there’s quite a bit less dealing on price on the Tundras. F150 would be my second choice, aluminum body is very appealing given just how prematurely the ’09-’14s are getting rotted out cab corners.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            But even the aluminum F-150 isn’t 100 percent aluminum. I was thinking that the cab corners were still made of steel, but I’d have to research that.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            The only steel in the body is the firewall.

      • 0 avatar
        TDIGuy

        Was crew cab one of the requirements, though (other than apples to apples price comparison)? If the quest is to find the cheapest diesel truck possible, you can get the Eco Diesel in the 2-door Ram work truck trim.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      ajla – that is something I look at. Last fall a LTZ crew with 6.2 had a huge discount of 14k which put it within striking distance of a full load Colorado.

      The local Ford dealer has a bunch of 2016 fleet spec F150 reg cab 5.0 4×4’s with 11k discounts. That puts them 2k more than a base model extended cab 4×4 Colorado.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      If one can get 10k off a $44k MSRP 6.2L Silverado they’ll be doing great. It actually makes me want to look at them despite all the other shortcomings.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Hummer – I usually see 10k off of high end trucks. What surprises me right now is that Ford Canada is offering 10k off of any leftover 2016 5.0. I can get a 43k HD payload reg cab F150 4×4 with 5.0 right now for 33k. That is a great deal. Interestingly enough, a base model V6 F150 4×2 has 2,500 off.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    Base? $40K? Jeez, just make it a base Rolls Royce article for crying out loud!

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Click bait. Why didn’t you just title it “This Oil Burner Exploded the Internet!”

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    The hyperbole is strong in this young padawan.

    “Just the sight of it sent me jonesing for a trucker’s hat and a set of cowboy boots.”

    You can always tell a real cowboy, the bullsh!t is on the outside of those boots ;)

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “Considering most truck buyers haul air in the back of their trucks 90 percent of the time”

    Big Al, where did you dump Mathew Guy’s body?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      In my neck of the woods, most farmers DD 3/4-ton or larger pickups, and use the full capacity of these beasts about 30% of the time, with the other 70% being equally split between hauling nothing and hauling half-ton-worthy loads. But for that 30%, there is absolutely no other suitable machine for the job. 15K lb. farm implements, towing a load of hay off-road, criss-crossing a disked field, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Drzhivago138 – As you are well aware, most of us can’t afford a fleet of vehicles. Some say rent a truck when you need one. In my part of the world rental trucks tend to be in short supply because many seasonal businesses use them. If you want to take the truck off paved roads, then the fees are exponentially higher.
        I do agree with you. I see trucks owned by loggers and ranchers running empty but when they use them, they really use them. I’d rather have the capabilities of a long, wide truck with a lot of ground clearance in winter conditions or running down a gravel road.
        My brother goes through a truck every 2-3 years. He often isn’t loaded but there isn’t much else out their that would survive the abuse like a pickup.

  • avatar
    4drSedan

    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)

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    WTF is ACE OF BASE????

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