The Right Spec: 2023 GMC Canyon

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
the right spec 2023 gmc canyon

It’s always entertaining to craft a Right Spec post for a machine which is freshly revamped for the upcoming model year, and GMC is pulling out all the stops for 2023 with its new Canyon. We ruminated on its brother, the Chevrolet Colorado, not too long ago – but there are some key differences between the siblings which weren’t present before the redesign.

Most important? The fact that GMC is throwing the most powerful tune of this engine into all the trims – even the base model.

Where the bowtie brigade chooses to offer its 2.7L four-banger turbo in three different strengths, GMC has taken the strongest variant (310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque) and applied it across the range. This includes two-wheel drive Canyons and base model trims, making the most affordable Canyon stand on equal footing in terms of power as the priciest Chevy Colorado.

At launch, the Canyon line will start with a base Elevation and next-rung AT4, followed by the brutish AT4X and zooty Denali. For those who must stand out, the first-year trucks can be had in an AT4X Edition 1 livery, complete with an integrated winch, 3-inch factory lift, and trick DSSV shocks from Multimatic. Here’s the thing: AT4X will receive those features as well, save for the winch – though we strongly suspect a dealer will be agreeable to add one in exchange for a sufficiently large wad of hundred-dollar bills.

Sticking to the lower end of the trim walk will be a smart move for anyone looking to haul a trailer, with Elevation and AT4 trims (and the not-cheap Denali) good for a maximum towing measure of 7,700 pounds. AT4X and AT4X Edition 1 trucks are limited to 6,000 and 5,500 pounds, respectively. Off-road gear giveth, and off-road gear taketh away. Increased curb weight doesn’t help either, though it should be noted a Denali is only 110 lbs lighter than an AT4X yet sheds 1,700 lbs in towing prowess. And, before you get your knickers in a knot, we know that’s an AT4 at the top of this post – it’s the lowest-trim photo GMC has yet distributed of its new Canyon.

Elevation and AT4 trims have the same ground clearance (9.6 inches), approach/departure angles (33.3 and 22.3, respectively), and overall height. In other words, popping for the AT4 is more of an appearance choice in 2023, since the AT4 even wears the same 18-inch P-rated tires as the base Elevation. AT4X, of course, gets burly 17-inch LT rubber while the Denali gets snazzy 20-inch hoops. The AT4 and Denali do get a limited-slip diff as standard, however.

Likewise, there’s no choice in body style, with GMC dropping some options and choosing to focus on the crew cab configuration with four full doors. Interior space, cabin measurements, and fuel tank capacity are all equal across the board. And, if Chevy’s musings are any indication, some dandy interior details will be standard for all hands including the 11.3-inch infotainment touchscreen,

Absent a live build-and-price tool, we’re working off what information the brand has already released about the ’23 Canyon in the form of PR bumfs and whatnot. This means pricing is also up in the air for now but it’s safe to say the spread between trims will remain similar to today, even if the base price does jump a tad. With that in mind and the feature count of which we are aware at this time, we’ll pop for an Elevation-equipped four-wheel drive Canyon. With Chevy reserving the best engine for its top trims of Colorado, the Canyon Elevation will be the least expensive way to get behind a wheel of a GM truck with the 2.7L’s best – and most powerful – variant.

[Image: GMC]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Join the conversation
3 of 19 comments
  • Kip65688146 Kip65688146 on Dec 15, 2022

    I'd like to own one of these midsize trucks but just too many compromises & zero benefits /advantages over a FS 1/2 ton with a V8.

  • Irvingklaws Irvingklaws on Dec 16, 2022

    Lost me at "Crew Cab Only..."

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Dec 16, 2022

      I couldn't find an extended cab ZR2 diesel so I went with crewcab. Better resale and more room for my dogs. I'd prefer to carry my dual sport in box with tailgate up.

  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that
  • John Williams Sounds like a Burnout Special you can put together on any 5.0 F150. Whoever said this was Cars and Coffee bait is right on the money.
  • ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 (  Bronze or  Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the  Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??