16 Best & Worst GMC Canyon Years (With Pictures)

The GMC Canyon is a compact pickup truck that began production in 2004.

It has brawny towing capability, multiple engine options, and satisfying driving traits.

In this article, we’ll analyze the best and worst model years of the Canyon.

2023 GMC Canyon AT4

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The GMC Canyon Are:

The best GMC Canyon model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2010, and 2009. The worst model years of the Canyon are 2015, 2016, 2005, 2004, 2006, 2017, 2008, and 2007. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The GMC Canyon?

2023 GMC Canyon

The 2023 Canyon ushers in the third generation in spectacular fashion.

It debuts with a full redesign, off-road-oriented upgrades, and a more techy dashboard and center console system, fitted with a large instrument panel and multimedia screens.

It comes in 4 trim levels: Elevation, AT4, Denali, and AT4X.

Pricing ranges from approximately $38,000 to $57,000. The most popular trim is the midrange AT4, priced at $45,395.

According to EPA fuel estimates, owners can typically get 20 MPG for combined driving, 18 MPG for city driving, and 23 MPG for highway driving. 

When properly equipped, the Canyon is rated at a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 pounds which is sufficient enough to tow a variety of mid-size trailers. 

  • Edmunds: NA
  • Kelley Blue Book: NA
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2022 and 2021 GMC Canyon

The 2022 and 2021 Canyon model years are the final iterations of the second generation.

These models are known for their big towing capacity, robust gas and diesel engine, maneuverable size, and well-mannered steering and handling.

Based on owner feedback, these are the best aspects of the truck: spaciousness, dashboard features, interior quality, overall comfort.

There are 4 trims to choose from: Elevation Standard, Elevation, AT4, and Denali.

The entry-level Elevation Standard and Elevation trims are fitted with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (200 horsepower) mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

For the midrange AT4 trim and top-spec Denali trim, the engine is upgraded to a 3.6-liter V6 (308 horsepower) with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Finally, an optional turbocharged 2.8-liter diesel variant (181 horsepower) paired to a 6-speed automatic can be purchased for certain configurations of the Canyon.

2022 Canyon:

  • Edmunds: 3.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2021 Canyon:

  • Edmunds: 3.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2021 Canyon, Edmunds review:

“I’ve got a little over 2K on my 2021 Canyon AT4 Quad cab short bed.  There is nothing I don’t like about this mid-size pickup.  Really glad with the redesigned body in 2021 vs. prior years.  The ride is smooth, the seats are firm and comfortable. Enjoy the remote start.  Have had to get used to actually putting a key into the ignition again.  The tow rating of over 7K fits with our towing needs and we do have the tow package. The mileage is quite good and auto 2/4x works great.”

2020 GMC Canyon

The 2020 Canyon lives up to expectations as a safe, practical, and comfortable compact pickup truck. 

New to this particular model year is a remote-locking tailgate system, a standard tire-fill alert feature, and minor equipment upgrades for both standard and optional features.

It comes in 3 body styles: 2-seat extended cab, 4-seat extended cab, and 5-seat crew cab.

The model has six trims to choose from: SL, Base, SLE, All-Terrain, SLT, and Denali.

When fitted with the necessary equipment, the maximum towing capacity of this model is 7,000 pounds for the entry-level trims and up to 7,700 pounds for the higher-end models. 

This towing capacity range is enough to tow small boats, travel trailers, pop-up campers, and small utility trailers. 

Fuel economy is average for its segment. EPA states 20 MPG for combined driving, 18 MPG for city driving, and 25 MPG for highway driving. 

  • Edmunds: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2020 Canyon, Edmunds review:

“This truck is actually fun to drive. Adequate power from the V6, Nice brakes and steering that actually gives feedback. The interior, although a bit dated, is nice enough. I previously owned a 2016 Colorado but stepped up to the Canyon. All in all a great truck!”

2020 GMC Canyon

2019 GMC Canyon

With its fantastic towing capacity, alluring size, and capable engine options, the 2019 Canyon is definitely a worthy pick.

New features of this model year include a new infotainment system interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard software, and a high-resolution rearview camera for midrange and high-end trims. 

This model comes in 5 trim levels: Base, SLE, SLT, All-Terrain, and Denali. 

Owners of this truck praised the model for its minimized road noise, fuel efficiency, smooth transmission, appearance, and overall driving experience.

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2019 Canyon, Edmunds review:

“After 34 years in either Toyota, Lexus or Land Rover products I ventured out to GMC due to the available diesel engine (fuel economy), easier entry, better towing and incredible cabin comfort. This truck is as quiet as any Lexus I’ve been in and great ride comfort. I’m not into serious off-road driving anymore so the lower entry height is great. There is only 1 inch difference in ground clearance between my GMC and the Tacoma but it’s definitely easier to get into for my wife when she’s wearing heels. As for the turbo diesel it’s performance is as good as any gas engine in its class but add the extra torque and now I can tow up to 7600 lbs but what’s really amazing is averaging over 30 miles per gallon on the highway and 24 or better combined highway/city…”

2018 GMC Canyon

The 2018 Canyon is the fourth installment of the successful and long-running second-generation series (first introduced in 2015).

It has excellent steering and handling, a comfortable ride both on and off-road, and can tow more than most of its rivals. 

Buyers can choose from 5 trims: SL, Base Canyon, SLE, SLT, and Denali.

New to this model year are trailering assist guidelines to the rearview camera system (as an optional feature), and a bigger 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity and a handful of voice controls.

Noteworthy safety features include the OnStar System and the Driver Alert Package. 

According to the EPA, fuel economy is relatively good. Expect 22 MPG for combined driving, 20 MPG for city driving, and 26 MPG for highway driving. 

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2018 Canyon, Edmunds review:

“I love the ride quality, it’s quiet, controls are easy.  No Homelink in a $40K+ truck is ridiculous.  Thing is a tank in the snow, has a beautifully appointed interior, and is way sharper than other trucks in the mid size class.”

2010 and 2009 GMC Canyon

The 2010 and 2009 model years are the best iterations of the first generation.

Both model years come at an affordable price, provide composed on-road and off-road handling, and come in a variety of engine options.

The 2009 model year has 2 trims: Work Truck and SLE. The 2010 model year also has 2 trims: SLE and SLT.

The Work Truck variant has a maximum towing capacity of 4,000 pounds. This is enough to handle a small pop-up camper or a small utility trailer.

The SLE and SLT trims can reach 6,000 pounds when properly equipped. This rating should confidently handle a mid-size travel trailer, a small boat, and a mid-size camper. 

2010 Canyon:

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2009 Canyon:

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2010 Canyon, Edmunds review:

“Overall an excellent vehicle. Very fun to drive. I expected a little bit better gas mileage given the 5 cyl. only getting 19 MPG, same as my full size truck! interior comfortable front seat, wish the passenger side seat had the lumbar support like the driver. The interior could have used some courtesy lighting for at night, can’t find anything in the dark without having to turn on the dome light. Given the size of the competitors small trucks GM could have given the crew cab a longer bed than the 5 feet. I wish the rear seats had just a little more angle to the backs of the seats just a few degrees too vertical. Overall nice quiet ride. I would recommend it to others.”

2009 GMC Canyon

Consumer Scores For Best GMC Canyon Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 GMC CanyonNANA82 / 100
2022 GMC Canyon3.8 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2021 GMC Canyon3.4 / 5.04.4 / 5.081 / 100
2020 GMC Canyon3.7 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2019 GMC Canyon4.0 / 5.04.4 / 5.079 / 100
2018 GMC Canyon4.0 / 5.04.4 / 5.081 / 100
2010 GMC Canyon4.1 / 5.04.4 / 5.079 / 100
2009 GMC Canyon4.1 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100

Related: 14 Best & Worst GMC Sierra 1500 Years (With Pictures)

What Are The Worst Years For The GMC Canyon?

2015 and 2016 GMC Canyon

Based on statistics online, both the 2015 and 2016 Canyon model years are the most problematic models ever produced.

In addition, CarComplaints.com gave the 2015 model the distinction of “Beware of the Clunker,” primarily due to its faulty transmission system. 

The most prevalent concern common to both model years, however, is a defective steering system.

Several owners experienced steering wheel lock-up and intermittent power steering failure.

Below is one owner’s experience:

“Power steering fails during driving. This happened frequently just like the 2015 model but NHTSA fails to do anything. It happened 3 times on this one day.”

The 2015 Canyon had a total of 337 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 63 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

The 2016 Canyon had a total of 230 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 57 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Not shifting properly
  • Power steering stopped working while driving
  • Runs rough
  • Stalls on acceleration
  • Will not accelerate properly
  • Entertainment system not working properly
2015 GMC Canyon Nightfall Edition

2005 GMC Canyon

Owners of the 2005 Canyon experienced a variety of electrical system issues, affecting different aspects of the vehicle.

Some owners reported air conditioning failure, others reported problems with the power window operation, while others reported vehicle door lock/unlock malfunctions.

One owner experienced a multitude of electrical component issues based on his report below:

“The first problem was the ac/heat blower motor would only work on high, had the same switch replaced multiple times. Dealership after 4 tries was able to get it working. Then with abs/traction control lights on the dashboard started displaying, and took to be repaired they were unable to locate the issue. About a week later my car radio would randomly come on after keys were removed from ignition, then also would come on when I would open truck doors. The seatbelt warning bells chime when keys are not in the ignition will stop when the keys are put into the ignition. Also occasional other random warning lights and chimes will ring.”

The 2005 Canyon had a total of 142 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 9 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Doors lock and unlock at random
  • Power window failure
  • Security system shuts truck off for 10 minutes
2005 GMC Canyon Crew Cab

2004 GMC Canyon

The 2004 Canyon experienced similar electrical system problems to that of the 2005 model year, but had a more pressing issue: frame rust.

A lot of owners reported excessive and premature rusting and corrosion along the rear subframe, truck bed, and undercarriage.

This had affected the integrity of the vehicle in different ways, including bent sections of the truck, components falling out of alignment, and parts completely detaching from the vehicle itself.

Unfortunately, there seem to have been no widespread recall campaigns to address this common issue, as mentioned in the report below:

“The contact owns a 2004 GMC Canyon. While the vehicle was at an independent mechanic for routine maintenance, the contact was informed that the rear subframe and the truck bed were severely corroded. The contact was informed that the vehicle was unsafe and should not be driven. The local dealer stated that there were issues reported about rust to the rear subframe of some similar vehicles; however, there were no recalls to repair the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The approximate failure mileage was 154,000.”

The 2004 Canyon had a total of 96 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 11 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Frame is rusted out
  • Dies going down highway
  • Power window stopped working

2006 GMC Canyon

The 2006 Canyon had various electrical system issues, just like the previously discussed 2005 model year.

Frequently reported issues included ignition failure, defogger malfunction, air conditioning issues, and brake light problems. 

The 2006 Canyon had a total of 77 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 5 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Not starting
  • Valve misfire

2017 GMC Canyon

Contrary to the smooth, comfortable, and reliable riding experience of the typical GMC Canyon, the 2017 model year provided owners with quite the opposite experience.

According to numerous reports, owners experienced jerks, shudders, chugs, slips, and other similar unexpected incidents very early on in the life cycle of the model.

Several owners reported symptoms even before hitting the 100,000-mile mark.

Here is a simple account of what one owner experienced below:

“The contact owns a 2017 GMC Canyon. The contact stated while driving 35 mph, the vehicle failed to respond when the accelerator pedal was depressed; instead the vehicle would jerk forward. The contact stated that there was no warning light illuminated. The contact had driven the vehicle to a local dealer, who diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer had been informed by the dealer of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 64,000.”

The 2017 Canyon had a total of 76 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 15 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Jerks, shudders, chugs, and slips
  • Paint peeling
  • Air conditioning does not work
2017 GMC Canyon Denali​

2008 and 2007 GMC Canyon

The electrical system problem trend that began with the 2005 and 2006 model years unfortunately continued with the 2008 and 2007 model years, albeit at a less frequent rate.

Owners reported issues with the dashboard, air conditioning system, ignition, and even the brake sensors. 

The 2008 Canyon had a total of 62 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 6 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

The 2007 Canyon had a total of 61 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 8 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Charging system quit
  • Engine knocking when starting
  • Would not start
  • Stalling at low idle
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Reduced power

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2023 GMC CanyonNANA0
2022 GMC CanyonNA51
2021 GMC Canyon032
2020 GMC Canyon2100
2019 GMC Canyon11110
2018 GMC Canyon20391
2017 GMC Canyon15760
2016 GMC Canyon572303
2015 GMC Canyon633376
2012 GMC Canyon3252
2011 GMC Canyon3195
2010 GMC Canyon682
2009 GMC Canyon3323
2008 GMC Canyon6623
2007 GMC Canyon8612
2006 GMC Canyon5773
2005 GMC Canyon91421
2004 GMC Canyon11960

Related: 11 Most Common GMC Canyon Problems (Explained)

What Problems Do GMC Canyons Have?

  • Not shifting properly
  • Power steering stopped working while driving
  • Jerks, shudders, chugs, and slips
  • Runs rough
  • Stalls on acceleration
  • Will not accelerate properly
  • Entertainment system not working properly
  • Paint peeling
  • Air conditioning does not work
  • Torque converter slipping
  • Poor reverse assist camera
  • Whining noise from the pinion gear

What Are The Best Alternatives To The GMC Canyon?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda Ridgeline8.4$38,800 – $46,230City: 18 /Highway: 24
Chevrolet Colorado8.2$29,200 -$46,800City: NA /Highway: NA
Hyundai Santa Cruz8.2$25,700 – $30,570City: 19 – 22 /Highway: 25 – 27
Jeep Gladiator8.1$38,775 – $50,995City: 16 – 22 /Highway: 22 – 28
Ford Maverick7.9$22,195 – $27,955City: 22 – 40 /Highway: 28 – 33
Nissan Frontier7.8$29,190 – $39,120City: 17 – 18 /Highway: 22 – 24
GMC Canyon7.7$27,500 – $47,200City: 17 – 20 /Highway: 24 – 30
Ford Ranger7.3$27,400 – $40,945City: 19 – 21 /Highway: 19 – 26
Toyota Tacoma7.2$27,750 – $49,890City: 17 – 20 /Highway: 20 – 24

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 14 Best & Worst GMC Sierra 2500HD Years (With Pictures)










  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...