Report: GMC Canyon AT4 to Gain Special Edition As GM's Midsize Pickup Gap Widens

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon gain arguably overdue refreshes for 2021, ensuring continued consumer traction amid boosted competition from rivals. The midsize pickup segment has grown, and not just in volume.

Joining the GM duo and perennially popular Toyota Tacoma last year was the Ford Ranger; meanwhile, Nissan’s long-awaited Frontier revamp lands for ’21.

Word is that the Canyon, which sees a new AT4 trim for the new model year, will don extra goodies by year’s end. Good news for a truck that’s increasingly playing second fiddle to its bowtie-wearing sibling.

According to GM Authority, the uplevel, off-road oriented Canyon AT4 will gain a Special Edition sometime later in the 2021 model year, potentially adding modest rough-and-tumble goodies from the scuppered Off-Road Performance Edition package expected to appear for ’21.

Should this comes to pass, it’s an opportunity for GM to boost the truck’s margins with readily available add-ons.

Besides the new AT4 trim, which replaces the former All Terrain model, the Canyon sees carryover powertrains and a bolder front end that better mimics the larger Sierra. Since going on sale as a 2015 model, the current-generation Canyon soon saw the gap between it and the Colorado widen as midsize pickup sales (like that of larger segments) took off.

In 2015, GM’s midsize pickup sales amounted to 114,507 units, of which 26.3 percent (or 30,077 units) were Canyon. While Canyon volume stayed relatively stable, reaching a high point the following year (37,449), Colorado sales kept climbing, reaching 134,842 units in 2018, or roughly 50,000 units more than in 2015. Last year, Canyon volume (32,825 units) amounted to 21.2 percent of GM’s midsize truck sales.

At the halfway point in 2020, as GM, like all automakers, weighed the impact of the pandemic-related lockdowns on its sales ledger, the gap grew further. Sales through the end of June fell 36.7 percent for the Colorado and 48.5 percent for the Canyon. In this time frame, the General unloaded just 9,709 Canyons to the Colorado’s 41,273 units, meaning Canyon’s year-to-date slice of GM’s midsize mix was just 19 percent.

With increased consumer spending and improved inventory in the second half of the year, that relationship could change. The new midsizers kicked off production in June, with the models rolling into dealerships in recent days. New faces are good, but in the Canyon’s case, it still won’t be able to offer something on the same level as the Colorado ZR2.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
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  • JGlanton JGlanton on Aug 11, 2020

    I saw two Colorado's working hard on the street during lunch today. Sneaking in and out of traffic, covering themselves behind larger trucks, pulling in on red curbed corners to wait for other cars to make moves... They were both serving as Parking Enforcement vehicles in a busy town center.

  • Akear Akear on Aug 12, 2020

    Why would anyone want such a hulk of a vehicle as a daily driver. I would have more joy owning either a Sonic or Mirage than this monstrosity.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Aug 12, 2020

      @akear: Believe it or not, despite owning a Colorado now, I agree with you whole-heartedly; today's trucks are much too large, as are the truck-based SUVs built on those chassis. That said, Sonic and Mirage (outside of the newer CUV) are both gone. I don't like large but I also don't feel comfortable in most truly small vehicles (excepting the Fiat 500, which was just bloomin' FUN to drive!)

  • VoGhost Fantastic work by Honda design. When I first saw the pictures, I thought "Is that a second gen Acura NSX?"
  • V16 2025 VW GLI...or 2025 Honda Civic SI? Same target audience, similar price points. Both are rays of sun in the gray world of SUV'S.
  • FreedMike Said this before and I'll say it again: I'm not that exercised about this whole "pay for a subscription" thing, as long as the deal's reasonable. And here's how you make it reasonable: offer it a monthly charge. Let's say that adaptive headlights are a $500 option on this vehicle, and the subscription is $15 a month, or $540 over a three year lease. So you try the feature for a month, and if you like it, you keep it; if you don't, then you discontinue it, like a Netflix subscription. In any case, you didn't get charged $500 up front the feature. That's not a bad deal.In my case, let's say VW offers an over the air chip reflash that gives me another 25 hp. The total price of the upgrade is $1,000 (which is what a reflash would cost you in the aftermarket). If they offered me a one time monthly subscription for $50 to try it out, I'd take it. In other words, maybe the news isn't all bad.
  • 2ACL A good car, but - at least in this configuration -not one that should command a premium. Its qualities just aren't as enduring as those of Honda's contemporary sports cars. For better or worse, this is a formula they remain able to replicate.
  • Jalop1991 I just read that Tesla's profits are WAY down "as the electric vehicle company has faced both more EV competition from established automakers and a slowing of overall EV sales growth." This Cadillac wouldn't help Tesla at all, but the slowing market of EV sales overall means this should be a halo/boutique car. Regardless, yes, they should make it.