By on January 13, 2020


The upper tier of GMC’s midsize Canyon line revealed their enlarged faces Monday, heralding a similar treatment on lesser trims. Like the recent Acadia crossover, the mid-cycle refresh arriving for the 2021 model year sees the Canyon grille gain significant height, joining a revamped bumper and headlamps that mimic the larger Sierra.

Canyon also ditches the former All Terrain trim in favor of a sexier off-road-themed moniker: AT4.

First seen on the full-size Sierra, AT4 is positioned as a sub-Denali premium trim with enhanced off-road chops. It’s also a sub-brand of its own, boosting profits as it filters through the GMC lineup (AT4 recently turned up on the refreshed 2020 Acadia). In the case of the Canyon, AT4 does not net a buyer the two-inch increase in ground clearance seen on Sierra models, though it does jazz up the exterior with similar red tow hooks.


Here, the standard equipment of the All Terrain model carries over, meaning buyers can expect the same 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires wrapped around 17-inch aluminum wheels, a suspension tuned for off-road forays, GM’s advanced hill descent control system, an Eaton G80 rear automatic locking differential, and skid plates galore. Inside, things ratchet up a notch, thanks to Kalahari stitching and “AT4” embroidered onto the headrests. If you’ve shelled out extra for AT4, occupants should at least see some evidence of it.

Externally, the Canyon AT4 contrasts those red hooks with dark chrome finishes.


Moving up into the top-flight Denali (not pictured here), it seems GMC decided the lux trim needed more evidence of its own. Having piloted a pre-refresh Acadia Denali a while back, it’s no secret the trim’s interior trappings failed to live up to what one would expect of a vehicle of that price. So, for 2021 the Canyon Denali’s cabin dons open-pore wood trim, aluminum brightwork, and special stitching. Barring a full revamp of the aging midsizer, there’s only so much GMC can do.

Outside, chrome side steps, a layered grille treatment and additional chrome trim signal to passers-by that this is no regular Canyon. It’s an expensive one.


While moving up to AT4 and Denali ups the poshness, it doesn’t deliver something exclusive under the hood. Both models will continue with a standard 3.6-liter V6 rated at 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. Optional is the returning 2.8-liter Duratec diesel four-cylinder, still rated at 181 hp and 369.

Still a ways off from deliveries, GMC will announce 2021 pricing — and the rest of the Canyon line — closer to its on-sale date later this year.


[Images: General Motors]

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