KSL Cars does not endorse any vehicles. The views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not reflect the views or opinions of KSL.com or its employees.

The GMC Canyon AT4 provides adventurers with a delightful blend of off-road attitude and modern technology. The AT4 trim with the Performance Edition package gives the Canyon a shot of off-road steroids, with big tires and off-road suspension. It’s a worthwhile trim package that makes the Canyon better in all driving circumstances and a great value for compact truck shoppers.

Find all GMC Canyon listings on KSL Cars.

Price and Value

The MSRP range for the 2022 GMC Canyon is $26,800-$41,200. It is available in three trim levels, with a suite of features that includes 308 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque and automatic locking rear differential. Some of the major differences in trim levels are noted below. 

Elevation: $26,800 

  • StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control 
  • 18-inch painted black aluminum wheels
  • Duralife brake rotors

AT4: $38,400 

  • Off-road suspension package
  • Automatic locking rear differential
  • Factory leveling kit that raises the front end 1 inch

Denali: $41,200 

  • Heated and ventilated front seats 
  • Bose premium audio system 
  • 20-inch diamond cut machined aluminum wheels

The Canyon AT4 is priced appropriately and offers performance comparable to its competitors. The GMC Canyon’s warranty is standard for the segment, offering a three-year 36,000-mile basic warranty, and a five-year 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

2022 GMC Canyon AT4 driving up a hill

Photo Credit: GM Media Archives

Performance 

Call it old-school, old-fashioned, or whatever you want, but the Canyon is an enjoyable rig for off-road crawling and grocery store runs alike. It’s easy to drive, fun-to-drive, offers simple ergonomics and a predictable powertrain that is well-suited to the Canyon’s go-getter attitude. 

Engine 

The Canyon is faster and more spirited to drive than you might expect. The naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 produces 308 horsepower. Its 275 pound-feet of torque works wonderfully with the eight-speed automatic transmission. I enjoyed this powertrain and appreciated GM’s fine-tuning of the engine's throttle response and decent low-end torque, especially as it climbed hills both on- and off-road. 

Fuel Efficiency 

For a body-on-frame four-wheel-drive truck, the Canyon’s fuel economy is acceptable. The EPA estimate for the Canyon AT4 is 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, for a combined rating of 19 mpg. During our almost 300 miles of driving, we experienced about 18 mpg.

Drivetrain 

The GMC Canyon AT4 is, like most trucks, two-wheel drive until you select four-wheel drive. The AT4 comes with a trick rear differential that automatically engages four-wheel drive over rough or slippery terrain. The Canyon remains happily committed to a traditional eight-speed automatic transmission and never hesitated under any driving circumstances. 

Be careful when changing the settings for the headlights. The dial is located next to the four-wheel-drive selector. No doubt someone has unknowingly engaged in four-wheel drive while trying to adjust their lighting. 

Acceleration and Handling 

You don’t buy a compact truck expecting sports car acceleration and handling, but for what it is, the Canyon is a decent performer. Car and Driver clocked its 0-60 sprint in 6.7 seconds, which is about average for the segment. The V6 always provided adequate low-end torque on- and off-road, which was welcome when going up steep hills or over rocks. The engine did feel slightly peaky, making maximum power at 6,800 rpm, but it nevertheless felt linear in its delivery throughout the power band. Steering was communicative and accurate but be advised the Duratrac tires can make on-pavement traction a little loose under hard acceleration or on slick surfaces.

Braking 

Braking in the Canyon felt great. The pedal was easy to modulate and never felt uneven in its application. In addition to standard ABS braking systems, our tester was equipped with hill descent control, StabiliTrak stability control and forward collision alert.  

The front seat of a 2022 GMC Canyon AT4.

Photo Credit: GM Media Archives

Interior Comfort and Convenience 

I might be old-fashioned, but I really appreciated the Canyon’s blend of modern amenities and old-school layout in the interior. Everything was simple, comfortable and easy to operate, especially with the rubberized volume and climate control dials. The seating position is high with a long view over the hood, with room for four adults to be comfortable. The AT4’s added rock rails looked cool but did make it a challenge to enter the cabin without getting your pant leg dirty. Oh, and you will love the heated steering wheel — it’s a great one.

Seats 

Our tester was equipped with leather seats that were comfortable and roomy. The front seats (six-way adjustable for the driver, four-way adjustable for the passenger) were heated and the heating elements worked well, even on frigid mornings. While there are three seats across the rear bench, we found that two adults or two kids (even in child seats) worked best in the rear. My 6-year-old son did complain about the difficulty of getting in without proper side steps or a boost from his mom or dad.

Climate Control 

With a smaller cabin than most trucks, you’ll find that it heats up fairly quickly in the cold months of winter. The best thing about the climate controls in the Canyon is the rubberized dials. While they look a little dated, operating the controls is very easy, even off-road. Good thinking, GMC. 

Cargo Space and Cabin Storage 

The Canyon’s interior cargo space is decent, but not great. The center console is large, deep and sits up higher than you might expect. You can easily stow a bag in there. Also, kudos to GMC for integrating a wireless phone charger at the base of the center console — gear selector encroachment notwithstanding. 

The door pockets are small, only allowing for a small water bottle and maybe a sunglasses case, a wallet and a few other trinkets. Aside from that, you have a standard glove box and some storage space under the second row and even more with the seats folded up.

Infotainment System 

I really liked the simplicity of GMC’s 8-inch infotainment screen that comes as part of the AT4 off-road Performance Package. Having experienced far more complex screens, I found the screen’s intuitive and straightforward nature refreshing.  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included in the package, as is navigation, Bluetooth, and more. Included in the package is a Bose premium audio system and it delivered on the quality you would expect from Bose.

2022 GMC Canyon AT4 in a forest

Photo Credit: GM Media Archives

Exterior Appearance and Functionality 

Our Canyon was painted in Cayenne Red Tintcoat (a $695 option) and wearing the gloss black accents of the $3,195 Performance Edition package. This package also includes rock rails, metal skid plates, a leveling kit that raises the front end by 1-inch and the removal of the front air dam. The Canyon is a rugged-looking truck, although I can’t help but wonder what 33-inch Duratrac tires would do to fill in the wheel wells.

Bed 

Our tester was equipped with an aesthetically pleasing 5-foot bed, typical of other compact trucks. As part of the Performance Package, the bed was spray-lined from the factory and came with GM’s EZ lift and lower tailgate. The spare tire is underneath, so there are no under-bed storage compartments or locking boxes. 

Towing Capacity & Payload 

GMC offers three engines in their Canyon lineup, and ours was equipped with the 3.6-liter V6. This V6 is rated to tow up to 7,000 pounds, which is plenty for small ATVs or a small trailer. Payload capacity is rated at 1,599 pounds, definitely adequate for a big Home Depot load.  

Wheels 

The AT4 with the Premium Performance package features gloss black 17-inch shod with 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac tires. The look really completes the rugged appearance of the truck. The knobby Duratracs were surprisingly muted on the road and provided excellent grip off-road. The same couldn’t be said while in two-wheel drive on slick roads, which resulted in some slippage without four-wheel drive engaged. 

Lights and Turn Signals 

Unsurprisingly, the Canyon AT4 sticks with traditional projector-style headlights (not LEDs) and LED fog lamps. The light output is decent, but the old projector beams can’t hold a candle to modern LED headlights. I also couldn’t find a way to have the fog lights turn on automatically. Turning them on manually was a hassle.

Cameras and Side Mirrors 

Our tester was equipped with an HD rear-vision camera, and no others. It would be nice to have a forward-facing camera for parking and off-roading, but oh well. Thankfully the side mirrors provided a good view around the truck.

Front and Rear Windshield 

One of the standout features of the Canyon is the excellent visibility, especially through the windshield. The high seating position and large windows give a birds-eye view of the outside, which is especially helpful in traffic and off-road. The windshield wipers and defrosters made quick work of frost and provided a clear view in minutes. 

Safety 

The Canyon is a safe truck, but it’s also not perfect. There are some safety features that should be standard in this price range (e.g. more cameras), and it only received five-star ratings in two of the five safety categories rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That said, the Canyon always felt safe, even if its safety test performances were slightly lacking.

Features 

The Canyon isn't the most feature-rich truck, but it does have a host of standard safety features drivers will appreciate. These include: 

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Rearview HD camera
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision alert
  • Rear parking assist 

Awards and Ratings 

The NHTSA gave the Canyon AT4 a four-star overall vehicle safety score, with its rollover and frontal crash ratings keeping it from full five-star status.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave “good” scores (its highest rating) in most categories but did receive a “poor” score for its headlights. 

2022 GMC Canyon AT4 driving off road

Photo Credit: GM Media Archives

Final Impression 

After a week of driving the Canyon AT4, I came away impressed. Sure, the interior and exterior looks aren’t the most flashy. Sure, it’s not the most capable, most extreme, or most powerful truck. But it does everything from commuting to grocery-getting to moderate off-roading really well. Enthusiasts (myself included) love to focus on the most capable models in every segment, at the expense of other good, mid-level trims — like the AT4. But in reality, the most capable trims aren’t needed or even desired by everyone. And that’s where the Canyon AT4 shines. 

If you want a good, comfortable, down-to-earth truck that can go almost anywhere and do almost anything, the Canyon AT4 is a solid choice and is worth your consideration. This is the exact trim I would choose, and I would even consider adding the Catback exhaust from GMC for some additional growl. 

The Canyon AT4 is an underrated truck, and you can find yours today on KSL Cars