By on August 27, 2021

GMC introduced an interesting concept at Colorado’s Overland Expo Mountain West 2021 this week and the timing couldn’t have been better. While North America has always appreciated off-road vehicles, there’s been an overnight explosion in the number of people considering 4×4 adventuring as a hobby. Troubled times have encouraged individuals to embrace the kind of cars that can tackle any terrain while doubling as a mobile campsite, and the Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX Off-Road Concept certainly seems capable.

Although the hypothetical production model probably has a better chance of becoming canvases for online influences than carrying anybody through a genuine disaster. This is something GMC likewise appears hip to, as the whole point of the concept SUV is to show what can be done with the Canyon, a little creativity, and a wad of cash reserved for aftermarket accessories. 

While the pickup starts at $28,000, the OVRLANDX Off-Road Concept defaults to the 3.6-liter V6 that’s standard on the AT4 variant (MSRP $40,195, including destination). Considering the base model is still pretty large for a “midsize” pickup and comes with an anemic 2.5-liter, the decision to go with the 308-hp V6 makes sense. Ditto for sticking with the AT4, which is effectively a budget version of the off-road-friendly Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. However, the torque-rich 2.8-liter Duramax diesel (181 hp/368 lb-ft of torque) would have been a similarly good fit, if not better for overlanders interested in maximizing their fuel economy and towing proficiency.

“We wanted to showcase GMC Canyon with this concept and punctuate GMC’s commitment to premium, off-road capable vehicles. Consumer reaction to this concept’s design will help us further serve the growing market of buyers leading authentic outdoor lifestyles,” said Buick and GMC Global Vice President Duncan Aldred upon the concept’s introduction.

But what kind of items does one require if you’re interested in leading an “authentic outdoor lifestyle?”

According to GMC, a factory-lifted, extra-wide, off-road chassis with enhanced underbody coverage is the place to start. Then they add rocker panel protectors, cast-iron control arms, Multimatic DSSV dampers, and upgraded front bumper with a winch, some integrated recovery points, electronic locking differentials, wheel flares, a swivel mount for the full-size spare tire you’ll be needing, and guylines to protect your windshield from branch attacks.

Minus the tree protection, which doesn’t look as though it would stop anything more serious than a twig, the resulting package seems like a competent off-road vehicle and the AT4 was already a solid place to start. GMC said the OVRLANDX Off-Road Concept yields a 27.7-degree approach angle and a full 10 inches of ground clearance thanks to the 33-inch BFGoodrich KM3 Mud-Terrain tires on 17-inch AEV Crestone wheels. It’s also supposed to be able to make it through over 32 inches of standing water thanks to its custom snorkel intake.

It sounds pretty good. But remember this isn’t a real product, just a vehicle the manufacturer hopes you’ll try to recreate with your own GMC Canyon. And the brand had plenty of recommendations for roof-mounted tents, solar panels, places to affix jerry cans or traction boards, and just about every other item one might want when camping in or driving through an untamed environment.

If you’re wondering why the Caynon and not something larger, like the Sierra, it’s all down to the demographics. The smaller of the two pickups is helping GMC rake in new customers, specifically younger adults who are the most inclined to build their truck up into an end-times 4×4. This Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX Off-Road Concept is simply a template for them to use in a bid to procure more sales and it certainly seems to have done its job.

It’s not going to get everyone, particularly those who are seeking longer-term solutions to vehicular living or a tiny home on wheels. But it’s bound to get the creative juices flowing for someone interested in driving to remote destinations without relying on the surrounding infrastructure more than absolutely necessary — perhaps netting the Caynon a few more sales in the process.

[Images: GMC]

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16 Comments on “GMC Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX Off-Road Concept...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Seems pretty nice, actually. I suppose the factory version would be ~$50k?

    As for the guylines – I like the theory, but they could also serve as snag points for branches that approach from the side. Not sure they’re a net positive.

    You’d really have to be committed to the “authentic outdoor lifestyle” to get one of these.

    • 0 avatar

      @SCE to AUX – a friend of mine has those cables on his Jeep. They work exceptionally well but Jeeps has a very square windshield. The one’s on this Canyon don’t make much sense since they don’t protect the snorkel. Most who would buy this truck would claim to be hardcore when travelling down a dirt road to the cottage.

      I’d like to get a diesel ZR2 but my financial picture has differing plans. LOL

  • avatar

    All you have to do is disconnect the OnStar and you are FREE!

  • avatar

    Don’t have any opinion on it’s off road prowess, but Hyundai puts better interiors in their $20,000 vehicles.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I’ve done a little 4X4ing over the years. I’ve yet to see a new – or even late model – truck out on the bumpy stuff. Old Broncos; Samurai; Jeep Comanches; YJs; and the odd Chevy or FJ, sure. A Hummer? G-Vagon? Lifted Dodge Cummins? Nope, and likely never will.

    This past month The Kid and I put 33″ tires/17″ wheels on his 2000 GMC Sierra to get the oily bits further away from the terrain. A truck tent and a jack-all and a tow strap completed the package. All in, including the 4.8L V8 truck, was CDN$4500.00. He’s out in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains as I type this.

    Going off- or soft-roading should NOT cost USD$50,000.00, though to look like you do so certainly can!

    • 0 avatar

      @Tele Vision – my son has an old F150 with an 8 inch lift, front and rear lockers on 35’s. He paid 3,500 Canadian for it. It’s a beast off-road. He blew the front diff so it’s sitting at a friend’s farm. He bought a Cherokee for 3k with a 3 inch lift. He put 33’s on that and it’s more impressive than his Ford since it’s so small. He can go almost anywhere my buddy in his heavily modified Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon can go. Once he adds front and rear lockers it will outperform the Wrangler.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision


        That’s the ticket: Cheap and able to take damage without a hit to the wallet. The Kid has an LSD in his ancient truck but the front differential is open unless in 4Low, I think. Maybe not, I dunno. He’s getting good at bringing it home covered in mud with no tow calls to Dad.

    • 0 avatar

      they do it. the vids are all over youtube. like “newb rekt brand new gladiator”

  • avatar

    Is is professional grade?? HAHAHAHAHA more gm crap!

  • avatar

    GM is dead last in the off-road vehicle for your driveway, showoff to the neighbors game. This vehicle is a cry for help, for attention, to replace the lost buzz of last GM Pep-Boys special. Whatever that was (I can’t seem to recall). Just wait for the first 10,000 pound electric Hummer to break down in the woods, or burn it down. Zero profit. Zero lessons learned. Zero credibility.

  • avatar

    It’ll look good in the national park campground next to the bathrooms and Subarus.

  • avatar

    You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

  • avatar

    They had me at AT4. /s

    50+K to SHOUT TO EVERYONE you know that society is for losers, and mavericks like yourself are at their happiest when far away from civilization. A new breed of anti-human human, as it were.

    • 0 avatar

      Or maybe they just like being outdoors and camping?

      • 0 avatar

        I mean sure, but that doesn’t preclude the fact that we are in a weird, contradictory cultural moment. Don’t you think these marketing fads have an impact on what people “like”?

        Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go put some all terrains and a bull bar on my beater pt cruiser.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    -smirking- At the Rencen, some GMC VP is going SEMA! We’re taking this to SEMA!

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