An Outdoorsier GMC Canyon Waits in the Wings
Adventurous types looking for off-road fun from their local GM dealer already have the option of choosing the brawny Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and its butchier Bison variant, which leaves GM’s truck-only GMC brand as something as a spectator. GMC hasn’t gone whole-hog into the off-road midsizer niche, though it does offer its Canyon pickup in All Terrain trim. Cutaway front fenders are most definitely not included.
The same dynamic may exist after 2020, but the All Terrain will be gone, replaced with an AT4 trim that hopefully goes the extra mile in terms of off-the-beaten-track capability.
According to details blabbed by GMC at a recent first drive event, the Canyon gains GMC’s AT4 trim line for 2021, GM Authority reports. A teaser view of the upcoming lux-brawn truck was shown at the Wyoming event, bearing no shortage of front-end camo.
Can midsize truck fans expect the same treatment as the ZR2? Not likely; the more likely reason for the camo is simply because, as the publication recently learned from insider sources, the mildest of refreshes — so mild, it seems, that GM ‘s apparently not even calling it one — is on the way for 2021. The upcoming Canyon AT4 may just bear the updated grille born of this mid-cycle tweak.
AT4 is not a snorkel-sporting TRD, nor is it ZR2, but it does give a GMC truck added brush-beating content (heavily dependent on model, of course. Keep in mind there’ll soon be a Terrain AT4). Debuting on the new-for-2019 Sierra, AT4 represents a step down from Denali in terms of interior niceties, with the full-sizer gaining a two-inch lift and Rancho monotube shocks. Skid plates abound.
Having made so much coin off its Denali sub-brand, GMC saw no reason not to add a second. Within a year, AT4 will be a brand-wide offering.
And the Canyon AT4 will surely follow in the same vein as its larger stablemate, though what buyers can expect in terms of ride height remains to be seen. Certainly, the AT4 will be an upgrade over the existing Canyon All Terrain both inside and out, and its price will surely reflect this.
The question of whether a Canyon AT4 will stimulate additional interest in the model is also unanswered at this point. Compared to its Chevy twin, the Canyon lags well behind in popularity — not unexpected, given GMC’s premium pretensions. Still, “less popular” is okay as long as sales remain stable.
The Colorado and Canyon reportedly still have four years left in their current form, and while Canyon sales rose 12 percent in the first half of 2019, Ford’s rival Ranger has a laundry list of trims waiting to challenge the GM siblings. This wasn’t a concern when the current-gen GMs debuted.
[Image: General Motors]
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