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First Drive: 2015 GMC Canyon 2.5L (Manual)

2015 GMC Canyon 2.5L

We have all seen those pretty trucks – you know the types – shimmering with impeccably perfect chrome, polished black wheels – most likely to never be seen at the city dump. Then you have the common work trucks, the down to the basics, bare bones kind of rig – ready to haul anything your heart desires.

Having grown-up around work trucks, they’re never anything special. They’ll get you from point A to point B while hauling more weight than its axle can chew. Believe me, I know, we’ve hauled over 30 tons of rock out of our family ¼ ton pickup, shame we got rid of it. However, lucky enough for GMC, we won’t be testing their base 2015 Canyon 2.5-liter with any kind of heavy lifting – even though we need more rock.

While we like to consider our Canyon tester as a base model, it is in fact one step above the absolute base SL. Our sampled extended cab, short bed starts at $22,650, featuring a few options like the $590 Convenience Package which offers keyless entry, cruise control and an EZ Lift tailgate, a $475 spray on Bed Liner, and a $275 Audio System which gives you GMC Intellilink and On Star; after adding $925 for destination, it brings our test truck totaling out at $24,915.

Sitting at a lower trim level, this Canyon is still quite the good-looking truck. Our sampled Bronze Alloy Canyon offers up premium LED accent lights, projector beam headlights, 18” alloy wheels, and a handsome three-bar black grille.

Since this is the bottom tier Canyon we are equipped with the smaller 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. For $650, you can have your Canyon with a six-speed auto – but since we’re forced to manually control our own mirrors, we’re equipped with the standard six-speed manual. Being a truck, it’s still rear-wheel drive – no 4X4 equipped here (that’s an added 7-grand and gets you into that automatic.) The six-speed manual here is a respectable transmission – the clutch has a comfortable easy-to-use balance (perfect for first timers) – the shifts points are smooth and the gear span is wide open making it easy to find the right gear.

Growing up, we referred to these kinds of trucks as “mules” – cause that’s what they are – same things for this 2.5-liter. It’s not quick – not even close – nearly 10 seconds to 60 mph out of its 200-horsepower naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. Its 191lb-ft of torque keeps things moving quite smoothly, but won’t get you anywhere in a hurry.

For a generic base model pickup, it’s a comfortable one to drive. Inside the seats are surprisingly comfy and supportive. The steering wheel has a nice relaxed feel but no telescoping feature. The chassis is snug – doesn’t lumber around. The suspension is civilized, most of the time and the handling is smooth and creamy like butter, even on its decently sized truck tires. It’s even quiet inside at high speeds – road and wind noise will go unnoticed.

Weighing almost 4000lbs, the Canyon still drinks fuel like a truck, even with this four-cylinder engine. EPA rates the Canyon at 19/26/22 (city/highway/combined). During our week we managed to average 19 mpg overall with a good use of highway and city travels. Using regular unleaded fuel we managed to optimize over 450 miles on a single tank.

When you hop inside, it’s really nothing extraordinary – a justly simple ash gray design scheme mixed with cloth seats and plastics on every surface. With the extend cab, the seats are set up in a 2+2 configuration, designating the rear as a child only zone (best to call shotgun on this ride.) At least the rear seats fold up revealing storage bins underneath.

Outside the power windows and locks, everything here requires manual labor – seats – mirrors – those sort of things. The GMC Intellilink infotainment system featured here under that $275 Audio System is very intuitive, from setting up the Bluetooth, managing the radio and to even having a fairly decent backup camera – it’s all easy to navigate, control and connect. With it being a small cabin, the dash design is contoured around the driver having an ergonomic flow for easy functionality.

At nearly 25-grand, the Canyon expresses very good value for money. This is one strong work-horse that will sustain intensive abuse of hauling nearly everything imaginable while being a comfortable, good-looking, and easy to drive pickup for the everyday kind of driver.

Price (As Tested):
2015 GMC Canyon Extend Cab: $22,650
Destination: $925
Featured Options:
Audio System (4.2-inch Diagonal): $275
Spray On Bedliner: $475
Convenience Package: $590
Grand Total: $24,915


  1. Nice review thanks! I ordered the same truck with side steps and a bed cover. Does this 4.2 io4 upgraded radio have Sirius/XM?

    • Thanks for your comment JRJalapeno. The tester here does not have Sirius XM Radio – I believe that would come with the upgraded touch screen.

  2. Cool thanks. The manual says it does but I wasn’t sure.

    I think I’m going to like the truck. I’m just stupidfied that the outside mirrors don’t even have manual knobs to adjust them. In this day and age how could a car not have power mirrors? The base Colorado can get the wt upgrade that snags you power mirrors. Silly gmc 😊

    • I had to double check to make sure – yes the base model comes with a AM/FM 4.2″ Display. This particular one had the AM/FM 4.2″ with Intillelink which offers Pandora (streaming thru your phone). Sirius XM is only offered through the 8″ Touch Screen which is only available on the SLE and up.

      I agree though, the manual mirrors is a bit idiotic. But overall its a small dislike that can be overlooked. The manual tranny is a much better choice than the six-speed auto (from our experience in the Chevy Colorado). Good luck with your purchase. Keep us updated with your purchase. 🙂

  3. Hi. My truck will be built next week. I’ll post pics and impressions once I get it. I’m in the process of ordering even more accessories. Do you remember if the base came with wheelhouse liners and active grill shutters? I got the black side steps and quad bed tonneau cover already. Not sure if I need the wheelhouse flares and mud flaps. Never owned a truck before. 😊

    • That is awesome! Owning a truck is a wonderful experience – once you go in a truck its hard to get back into anything else. I don’t recall if our tester had wheelhouse liners but it did not have active grille shutters.

  4. Off to the dealer to pick up the truck. Only took 6 weeks! I will post pics and impressions later today.

  5. I know have the base model and shouldn’t expect much but everything seems cheap. The knob to the lights feel like it’s going to fall off. I already had to snap plastic back in place on the rear seatbelt covers and the front grab handles. The seat reclining levers feel like they’re going to break. I got a few paint dimples. On the bottom of the outside frame there are multiple “drips” of metal that are really sharp. I have something making a noise like a loose bolt rolling around in the dash. I get a whistling coming from the passenger window once I hit 40 mph. The truck leans to the left about 3/4 of an inch. The carpet is bubbling up in a few spots. The hood flutters pretty bad going highway speed. The stick shift acts like it has a poltergeist in it….shakes violently. Just everything feels really really cheap and I only have 110 miles on it. So much for GMC professional grade. I’ll probably trade it in for a Toyota Tacoma once the new ones come out. I’m not impressed at all with my first American vehicle.

    • Wow, I am sorry you are having such a bad experience. Unfortunately we didn’t quite have the same experience; however, yes, there is definitely some cheapness to the materials in the cabin.

      No pictures can be posted through the comments section, but if you like you can send us an email at

  6. Can I post pics of the truck? I love the way it looks but quality really seems poor. I ended up buying an extended warranty which I never do but I’m nervous about this truck lasting.

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