GMC Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX Off-Road Concept

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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4 of 16 comments
  • Nick_515 Nick_515 on Aug 30, 2021

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Nick_515 Nick_515 on Aug 30, 2021

      @FreedMike 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.

  • El scotto El scotto on Aug 30, 2021

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

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.