A rugged truck that's ready for anything.

2021 GMC Canyon Review: Hero | CarMax

In need of a rugged vehicle that can go wherever life takes you? The 2021 GMC Canyon is a go-anywhere pickup truck that can be found in multiple configurations to suit your lifestyle. Whether you need to head off the beaten track for work or want to run errands while in the lap of luxury, there's a GMC Canyon out there for you.

While we currently do not have many 2021 GMC Canyons on our lots, we look forward to selling more in the future. Here's what you'll learn in this 2021 GMC Canyon review:

Key Specs and Features:


  • The 2021 GMC Canyon in two-wheel-drive with the 2.8L diesel engine gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined.1
  • With the 2.8L diesel engine and four-wheel-drive, the 2021 GMC Canyon gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined.1
  • The two-wheel-drive, 2.5L gas engine achieves an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined.1
  • With the 2.5L gas engine and four-wheel-drive, the 2021 GMC Canyon gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined.1
  • The 2021 GMC Canyon with the 3.6L V6 and two-wheel-drive gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined.1
  • With the 3.6L V6 and four-wheel-drive, the 2021 GMC Canyon will achieve an EPA-estimated 19 mpg combined.1

Cargo Space:

2021 GMC Canyon Review: Trunk | CarMax
  • The Canyon offers 5-foot-2-inch and 6-foot-2-inch bed lengths, depending on cab type.

Towing Capacity:

  • The 2021 GMC Canyon with the 2.8L diesel engine can tow an estimated 7,700 lbs, when properly equipped.2
  • With the V6 engine, the 2021 GMC Canyon can tow an estimated 7,000 lbs, when properly equipped.2
  • With the 2.5L gasoline engine, the 2021 GMC Canyon will tow an estimated 3,500 lbs, when properly equipped.2

Seating Capacity:

2021 GMC Canyon Review: Front seats | CarMax
  • The Extended Cab version seats four people.
  • The Crew Cab version seats five people.
2021 GMC Canyon Review: Backseats | CarMax

Engine Options:

  • Standard 2.5L four-cylinder engine (two-wheel-drive models only) with 200 hp.
  • Available 3.6L V6 engine (standard on AT4 and Denali trims) with 308 hp.
  • Available Duramax 2.8L turbodiesel engine (from Elevation trim upward) with 181 hp.

Tech Features:

2021 GMC Canyon Review: Cell | CarMax
  • Standard four-way power driver seat (six-way power on Elevation trim upward)
  • Available Bose® seven-speaker premium audio system (from Elevation trim upward)
  • Standard tire pressure monitoring system
  • Available driver assistance features from the Elevation trim and up
  • Standard rearview camera
  • Seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto integration
  • Bluetooth® connectivity

5 Reasons to Buy

1. Capable Work Truck

The base Elevation Standard trim of the 2021 GMC Canyon comes without any unnecessary bells and whistles. This means it's a great option for the worksite when you don't need all the little luxuries of a daily driver. As standard, it comes with two-wheel-drive and the 2.5L four-cylinder engine but there's the option of the powerful V6 engine and four-wheel-drive if you need a bit more grunt. Seating either four or five people, depending on the cab size, you can take your crew along with you, too.

2. Luxury Awaits

2021 GMC Canyon Review: Exterior | CarMax

If you're going to be using your pickup for longer journeys or just like the finer things in life, the Denali trim has you covered. It has everything you need for off-road adventures, as well as luxury touches such as driver lumbar control, heated and ventilated front seats, a Bose premium sound system, and wireless charging. Alongside the premium cabin and advanced technologies, you get a stand-out truck that's ready to turn heads thanks to the redesigned Denali grille and trim-specific exterior accents.

3. Great Towing Capacity

2021 GMC Canyon Review: Engine | CarMax

With the available diesel engine, the 2021 GMC Canyon lets you tow your favorite toys or work gear behind you, too. The 2.8L Duramax engine can tow an estimated 7,700 lbs, when properly equipped, allowing you to haul a trailer or camper behind you.2 The low-end torque of the diesel engine also makes it fantastic for heading off-road. You know what this means – the 2021 GMC Canyon would make a great companion for wilderness camping trips. Look out for the Trailering Package if you'd like to add extra capability to the base, Elevation or AT4 trims; it comes standard on Denali models.

4. Ready for Adventure

The 2021 Canyon's AT4 trim is designed for those who love to go off the beaten path. It has presence and style as well as the ability to keep going once the pavement ends. You have two engine options: either the 2.8L diesel or the mighty 3.5L V6, and four-wheel-drive comes standard on this trim. The off-road suspension package is fantastic for those times when the terrain gets a little rough, plus you'll also get hill descent control and an automatic locking rear differential. This makes the AT4 trim a great choice if you love the challenge of off-road driving, or want a go-anywhere vehicle that's ready for the adventures you and your crew will throw at it.

5. Driving Made Simple

2021 GMC Canyon Review: Dashboard | CarMax

The available driver assistance tech makes everyday driving easy. You already get the high ride height of a pickup truck, which gives you great visibility over the road ahead, and added features such as forward collision alert and lane-departure warning (available from Elevation trim) give you that extra peace of mind. There's also a Convenience Package available for the base model if you want cruise control, keyless entry, and an EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate.

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What You Need to Know

Available Trims

  • Elevation Standard: Four-way power driver seat, stability control system, tire pressure monitoring system, rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, seven-inch touch screen, and more. Additional convenience package available.
  • Elevation: Adds six-way power driver seat, LED fog lamps, eight-inch touch screen, and unlocks available driver assistance features and additional packages.
  • AT4: Adds automatic locking rear differential, off-road suspension package, power driver lumbar control, advance hill descent control, trim-exclusive leather seats, and more.
  • Denali: Adds trailering package, leather-appointed front and rear seats, heated and ventilated front seats, driver-assist features, eight-inch screen with navigation, trim-specific exterior design features, and more.

Available Colors

  • Cayenne Red Tintcoat (not available on base model)
  • Desert Sand Metallic (Elevation and AT4 only)
  • Dynamic Blue Metallic (base model and Elevation only)
  • Hunter Metallic (Denali only)
  • Onyx Black
  • Satin Steel Metallic
  • Summit White

Average CarMax Prices

The 2021 GMC Canyon is a newer model year and we currently have a limited number in our inventory. See below for average CarMax prices for previous model years of the GMC Canyon.3

  • 2015 - Average prices less than $25,5003
  • 2016 - Average prices less than $27,5003
  • 2017 - Average prices less than $31,0003
  • 2018 - Average prices less than $32,5003
  • 2019 - Average prices less than $31,5003


  • Standard four-way power driver seat
  • Available Bose® seven-speaker premium audio system (from elevation trim upward)
  • Seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity
  • Choice of four or five seats depending on cab style

Similar Model Years

If you like the 2021 GMC Canyon, check out some previous model years of this vehicle with similar features:


The 2021 GMC Canyon received an overall 4/5 rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.

Similar Vehicles

If you're interested in the 2021 GMC Canyon, you should also check out these similar vehicles from previous model years.

Ford Ranger

Re-released on an all-new platform for 2019, the Ford Ranger is a great choice if you're looking for a midsize pickup that will do a bit of everything. The tough steel frame makes it a great daily driver, especially if you plan to take it to the worksite or across rough terrain. With the available FX4 off-road package (2019 onward), you'll get a trail-worthy 4x4, letting you get off the grid and back to nature.

2019-2020 Ford Ranger XL models include these standard features:

  • 2.3L EcoBoost® engine
  • Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technology
  • Available 4G Wi-Fi hotspot4
  • Rearview camera
  • Choice of two-passenger rear seating in SuperCab models or a three-passenger rear bench in SuperCrew® models.

Toyota Tacoma

The third generation of this pickup truck began in 2016 with a number of updates over the years, including a full facelift in 2020. This is a great choice if you want to get dirty and Toyota's TRD Pro version (from 2017) is the one to look out for if a capable off-roader is on your shopping list. The Tacoma's available 3.5L V6 engine gets you access to the standard tow package and an estimated 6,800 lbs of towing capacity, when properly equipped (2018 models).2

If adventure is what you're after then the TRD Pro is a great choice, but there are some great standard features on other 2018-2019 Toyota Tacoma models, too. These include:

  • Automatic limited slip differential
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Toyota's suite of driver-assist features
  • Wireless smartphone charging (TRD Sport models upward)
  • Premium JBL® sound system (standard on Limited trim, available from TRD Sport)

Chevrolet Colorado

This is a supremely versatile pickup thanks to the available GearOn system (2015 onward). It's an innovative storage solution that connects to the Colorado to allow you to easily secure bikes, canoes, surfboards and more above the bed while keeping the space underneath free for luggage and everything else you might need for an adventure.

The available turbodiesel engine adds further practicality to this capable truck whether you use it at the worksite or on camping trips. With the 2.8L diesel engine, it'll tow an estimated 7,700 lbs when properly equipped (2018-2019 models).2

Look out for these great standard features on 2017-2019 models:

  • Rearview camera
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Seven-inch touchscreen display
  • Locking tailgate
  • Teen driver technology

The Bottom Line

The 2021 GMC Canyon is a great option if you're looking for a pickup to suit your daily needs alongside those weekend adventures. Whether you're using it as a work truck, or just need something spacious and rugged for the road ahead, the 2021 GMC Canyon is one to watch.

Looking to learn more? Check out these related articles:

1Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates when vehicles sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov for details.
2Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
3Based on prices on carmax.com from May 1, 2020, through October 1, 2020. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees.
4Wi-Fi hotspots require a data plan to activate and may also require a compatible device. See the owner's manual or manufacturer website for more information.
Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.