In November, Chevrolet introduced the new Colorado midsize pickup; now GMC has added its version to the mix -- the 2015 Canyon, based on the same architecture.The General Motors truck specialist rolled out the redesigned Canyon at the recent 2014 Detroit auto show, and like its Chevy counterpart, it goes on sale this fall as a 2015 model.Both vehicles have been off the market for three years, and there had originally been speculation that GM would not again produce a pickup less than full size.Once they arrive, though, the Canyon and Colorado will be the American-brand medium-size pickups. Ford has discontinued its Ranger line, and Chrysler has dumped the Dodge Dakota. The only midsize competitors are the Toyota Tacoma, which is made in San Antonio, and the Nissan Frontier, built in Canton, Miss.Honda also makes a pickup about the same size, the Ridgeline, but it’s more car than truck, and isn’t aimed at both work and play markets the way the others are; it’s more like a crossover utility vehicle with the cargo area open.The Canyon returns completely redesigned and greatly refined. It rounds out GMC’s three-pickup family, which started with the redesigned 2014 Sierra 1500 and 2015 Sierra Heavy Duty models.GMC will offer the Canyon in three trim levels -- Base, SLE and SLT -- in two- and four-wheel-drive versions. There are extended- and crew-cab versions in each trim level.Crew cabs have a five-or six-foot cargo bed, while extended cabs have six-foot beds. With the tailgate lowered, the six-foot bed can accommodate items as long as eight feet.An All-Terrain package is offered on SLE models, and includes 17-inch painted-aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires, a body-color grille with horizontal chrome bars, and special suspension tuning.GM says the new Canyon is expected to deliver “class-leading horsepower, payload and trailering” abilities. Developed specifically for North America (there’s a smaller, completely different version for markets abroad), the new Canyon and Colorado ride on a modified version of the new full-size Silverado chassis. They come with a variety of standard or optional comfort and connectivity features, including safety technology such as forward collision alert and lane-departure warning.GM says they will be the most-powerful trucks in their segment, with a choice of four- and six-cylinder gasoline engines. On the Colorado, and also presumably on the Canyon, a diesel engine will be offered as well in the second year of production. Expected to be a popular option, it’s the segment’s only diesel engine -- a 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder Duramax turbo, which is already available in other world markets.As for the gasoline engines, a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder will be standard, and a 3.6-liter V-6 will be optional. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, except that the 2.5-liter engine is available with a six-speed manual transmission on extended cab two-wheel-drive base models.The trucks are expected to have the capacity to tow more than 6,700 pounds.Its design is sleeker than the larger, boxier Sierra1500, which was redesigned for 2014. “Inside and out, the 2015 Canyon is pure GMC, with a quiet, refined interior distinguished by premium materials and a commanding exterior presence that emulates the technology-infused design aesthetic introduced on the 2014 Sierra 1500 and 2015 Sierra HD models,” GMC said. “Bold front-end styling incorporates the segment’s only standard projector-beam headlamps and GMC’s signature C-shaped LED daytime running lamps on all models.”The truck comes with “triple-sealed doors inlaid in the body sides, like the 2014 Sierra, for improved aerodynamic performance and a quieter interior,” GMC says.To help hold down weight and improve fuel economy, the Canyon and Colorado will have an aluminum hood. It also comes with active aero grille shutters, which close at highway speeds to cut down wind drag.The trucks will have the same CornerStep rear bumper design that was introduced with the 2014 Silverado and Sierra, which allows for easy stepping up into the cargo bed. The optional EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate uses an internal torsion bar to make raising the gate easier, especially when doing it with one hand A standard two-tier loading system splits the cargo area into upper and lower sections, making it easier to haul, store and conceal items such as tools, the automaker said. There are 13 tie-down points for use with the optional movable cargo tie-down rings. A factory sprayed-in bed liner is available.The cabin is quite carlike, with comfortable seating for up to five in the crew cab models. The instrument panel and dash are similar to those found in today’s cars. There is a sculpted headliner and sculpted door panels; a large glove box; rear under-seat storage; and enough room inside the center console for a laptop computer.Key controls are lighted, and there’s an open storage area at the front of the center console for mobile devices – right behind charging ports.Standard are high-wear, stain-resistant cloth seats; leather seats are available. An eight-inch diagonal color touch screen is standard on uplevel models, along with multiple USB drives. There is a 3.4-inch driver-information screen in the instrument cluster.Among standard safety features are six air bags, including roof-mounted side-curtain bags designed to help keep people from being ejected during a crash. Also included are large side-view mirrors and a rear-vision camera system.The truck is truly medium-size, with a 41-foot turning radius. It has a fully-boxed steel frame, just like its Silverado and Sierra big brothers.No prices have been announced yet.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at email@example.com.