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2015 GMC Canyon SLE All-terrain (pictures)

GMC's latest balances feeling like a big, fun truck when you need it to without also being too much truck for urban living.

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Antuan Goodwin
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1 of 30 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 GMC Canyon SLE All-terrain

Available in a variety of configurations, the 2015 GMC Canyon driver has many choices for cab size, bed length, engine, transmission, drivetrain and more.

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Big is the new small

The "small truck" category has grown significantly over the years. Everyone who approached or rode in the Canyon commented on how big and tall the pickup was.

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3 of 30 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

GMC grille

"That sure looks a lot like the Toyota grille, doesn't it?" asked a friend. Well, not really, but the broad strokes are kind of there and now I can't unsee the resemblance.

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Multitool

In its crew cab, short bed configuration, the Canyon is a bit of a do-it-all vehicle. It's spacious and comfortable like a sedan, but flexible and capable in a way that an SUV can't match.

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Crew cab, short box

The short box is about 5 feet long, but a 6-foot-long box is available.

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Halogen projector-beam headlamps

The headlamps feature bright, crisp projectors for forward illumination and LED daytime running lights for visibility.

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3.6-liter V6

The base Canyon is available with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, but our SLE model boasts a more powerful 3.6-liter V-6.

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6-speed automatic transmission

That V-6 is mated to a single-option six-speed automatic transmission. Drivers of the four-banger have an optional six-speed manual at their disposal.

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Rear or 4-wheel drive

Power exits via the rear wheels or at all four corners via an optional 4WD system.

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Drive modes

With the twist of a knob, the electronic automatic transfer case can be set to 2WD (rear), 4WD, or automatic modes.

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Automatic locking rear differential

Our All-terrain model also features an automatic locking rear differential and a metal underbody transfer case shield.

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Stability controls

Stability control is standard, as is trailering sway control. The All-terrain model also adds hill descent control which uses the brakes to rein in speed when heading down steep, low-traction surfaces.

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Standard rear camera

I was pleased to find that a rear camera is standard equipment on the 2015 Canyon.

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Corner step

The Canyon also introduces a rear corner step for the 2015 model year to ease reaching and climbing into the bed.

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Assist step

The side assist step is a $745 option that is useful when paired with the All-terrain package's elevated ride height. However, I never really got comfortable using them.

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16 of 30 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Available driver alert tech

Though not equipped on this example, the Canyon can be had with forward collision alert and lane-departure warning. I was disappointed to see that blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are missing from the options list.

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All-terrain suspension

The All-terrain model features an off-road tuned suspension, all-terrain tires and unique 17-inch wheels.

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Rear seat

In the crew cab configuration, the rear bench offers excellent head- and legroom for two to three adults.

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Heated, power front seats

The front bucket seats are extremely comfortable and feature heated backs and bases at the SLE trim level and above.

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Interior

The cabin feels as comfortable and fully featured as any sedan in this price range.

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Quiet cabin

Though the All-terrain suspension and upright profile generate a bit of road and wind noise, the Canyon's cabin seems well insulated and remains acceptably quiet while cruising.

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Infotainment interface

One of IntelliLink's coolest tricks is a simple one. A row of softkeys along the bottom edge of the screen allows the driver to save and access favorite terrestrial, satellite and Pandora Internet radio stations as well as addresses for navigation and contacts for hands-free calling.

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IntelliLink

At the center of the dashboard is the optional IntelliLink navigation and infotainment system.

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8-inch screen

The 8-inch touchscreen was easy to see and reach and was resistant to glare. However, I noticed that it was covered in fingerprints after a few days' use.

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Optional navigation

Navigation is smooth and crisply rendered. Unfortunately, I noticed that the manual destination search interface was more sluggish and unintuitive than the rest of the IntelliLink system.

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Steering wheel

Steering wheel controls are well distributed and allow the driver to control the information displayed on the instrument cluster's color display.

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Information display

This color display is where you'll view fuel economy and trip data. With steering wheel controls, the display can be configured to also display navigation data, to select and call contacts and to input destinations via voice command.

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Automatic climate controls

Automatic climate controls are single-zone and included as part of the SLE Convenience package along with remote start.

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Bose audio

The $500 Bose audio system isn't much to write home about, but it certainly gets the job done. Interestingly, the system features separate EQ curves for talk and music content. This is great for fans of sports radio, podcasts or audiobooks.

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GMC or Chevy?

If you'd prefer a bowtie badge up front, the 2015 GMC Canyon is mechanically identical to the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, save a few styling, suspension and transmission tweaks. It's worth noting that an identically equipped Colorado Z71 is about $2,000 cheaper than the Canyon All-terrain.

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