DETROIT — GM is making a big deal of its industry-unique, three-truck lineup (compact, full-size, and heavy-duty) that will be realized this fall with the return of the compact 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. And GMC is making a big deal of the fact that its Canyon isn’t just a Colorado with a different face.
The face is different, to be sure, but it’s not the only difference. Behind its unique LED running lights are soft-touch interior surfaces, real aluminum interior trim, and available Autotrac full-time 4WD (Colorado only offers a part-time 4×4 system).
Like Colorado, the Canyon will be offered as an extended cab with a 6-foot bed, and a crew cab with 5- or 6-foot bed. The extended cab has rear-hinged back doors.
The standard powertrain is a 2.5-liter four with an expected 193 horsepower mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission (2WD extended-cab only) or 6-speed automatic. Optional will be a 3.6-liter V6 with an expected 302 horsepower that will come only with the automatic. Maximum payload capacity should be about 1450 lbs, and maximum towing capacity should be around 6700 lbs.
Some unusual-for-the-class features will be offered. On the safety front, a rearview camera will be standard, with forward collision alert and lane departure warning optional. Available “Techy” features include RemoteLink Key Fob that allows locking and unlocking the vehicle, flashing the lights and sounding the horn, and remotely starting the vehicle through a smartphone app; 4G LTE connectivity with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot; Siri Eyes Free Mode for iPhones; and Teen Driver, which allows parents to set limits on audio volume and top speed, as well as get a “report card” on the driver’s destinations and driving patterns. (Aren’t you glad that wasn’t offered in your misspent youth ….)
With the advent of the Colorado and Canyon, offerings in the compact pickup class nearly double, from three (Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma) to five, reversing a trend of attrition in the segment. And GMC is making sure that there really are two new entries rather than just one plus another with a different grille, which is pretty much the only thing that distinguished the previous Canyon from its Colorado corporate cousin.