The all-new 2023 GMC Canyon is the brand’s attempt to not only take on the crowded midsize off-road truck segment but to crush the competition from Toyota, Nissan, and Ford. While the 2023 Canyon shares its platform with the new Chevy Colorado, GMC has taken the Canyon decidedly upscale to help differentiate it from its sibling. The good news is GMC has come out swinging and delivered a midsize pickup that kicks ass.

2023 GMC Canyon AT4X Edition 1

All 2023 GMC Canyons are positioned as off-road capable models with each trim level, from Elevation at the lower end, to the AT4X at the high end, get the wider track upgrade and suspension lifts that are optional on the Chevy Colorado. The Elevation, AT4 and Denali receive a 2″ factory lift, while the beefy AT4X receives a 3″ lift. Only the Elevation trim can be had with 2WD. The AT4, Denali, and AT4X trims are 4WD only.

A 2.7-liter turbocharged high-output 4-cylinder engine powers the 2023 GMC Canyon through an 8-speed automatic transmission, producing 310 horsepower and a massive 430 lb-ft of torque. In every measurable metric, this engine outperforms the gasoline V6 and available diesel engines from the previous GMC Canyon. In fact, it makes a whopping 61 lb-ft more torque than the outgoing diesel. As of this writing, nothing else currently on sale in the segment aside from the Colorado ZR2 can even come close to measuring up to the Canyon’s performance.

GMC says the Canyon AT4X is inspired by the 2021 Canyon AT4 Concept, and boasts the most off-road capability in the Canyon lineup. It comes with standard 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic DSSV dampers, front and rear e-lockers, underbody skid plates and a Baja drive mode only found on the AT4X.

GMC Canyon AT4X front and rear electronic locking differentials

The Canyon AT4X has a 66.3-inch track width and 10.7 inches of ground clearance thanks to the trim exclusive 3″ lift. This gives it 1.1″ additional ground clearance over the rest of the GMC Canyon lineup. The approach angle, departure angle, and breakover angles are 36.9 degrees, 25 degrees, and 24.5 degrees, respectively.

While I didn’t have a chance to test this specific Canyon AT4X off-road, the Multimatic DSSV dampers give the truck a fantastic on-road ride quality. Based on previous experiences off-road with DSSV-equipped vehicles, the GMC Canyon AT4X will also handle beautifully off-road. Off-road capability is further helped by a multitude of camera views and off-road telemetry displayed on the infotainment screen.

View of GMC Canyon AT4X with Edition 1 package interior with pitch and roll screen featured.

The interior of the GMC Canyon AT4X is a fantastic place to spend time, whether on the road or off. The Canyon AT4X gets a digital instrument cluster and the largest touch screen available in the Canyon lineup at 11.3-inches. The Ceramic White contrast materials and red trim found on the AT4X help give the interior a little extra visual interest.

Detail view of GMC Canyon AT4X with Edition 1 package’s perforated leather-appointed front seats with AT4X logo in leather.

With the 2023 Canyon AT4X, GMC finally has a mid-size truck that not only can go toe to toe with names like Tacoma and Ranger, but also bests the current generation of those trucks in many areas. That said, Toyota and Ford are about to launch new generations of both trucks. It will be interesting to see how well these trucks find a way to gain a competitive edge in the off-road midsize truck segment. For now though, the Canyon AT4X is easily my pick for someone wanting luxury combined with off-road prowess in a midsize truck. Price as-tested for our Canyon AT4X came in at the mid-$50k mark. That’s a lot of truck and technology for the money.

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Zerin Dube

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