When GM announced the eventual arrival of a diesel powertrain in their small pick-up trucks I was immediately interested. The idea of excellent fuel economy, generous amounts of torque, and decent towing capacity in a small diesel package is pretty much an easy sell for me. Or was it?
The Duramax on start-up is a bit noisy and there is a noticeable difference between it and the RAM 1500 EcoDiesel. The Duramax feels a little more rough and less refined than the EcoDiesel and some may find that an endearing trait. Count me as one of them. The Canyon sounds and feels like a big truck without being--well--big. The 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine puts out 181 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft of torque which generate some nice launches. I know, I know..why does he feel the need to launch a pick up truck? Don't know, but something always forces, yes thats it, me to "see how fast it is."
Seeing that I was in possession of a 4x4 I was compelled--er forced--to take it for some off roading fun. Plowing through mud and climbing steep hills wasn't on the agenda, but I wanted to get a feel for how the Canyon handled some rough Texas Hill Country off road excursions. I found a nice spot that had a little bit of everything from extremely rocky paths to some small steep, uneven hills. I slipped the Canyon into 4 wheel drive and headed deep into Texas Hill Country.
I encountered a lot of loose rocks, gravel, erosion pocked narrow paths, and some pretty steep hills littered with loose rock (30-40% incline). The Canyon handled the terrain with aplomb. The torquey Duramax never strained or sputtered as it easily traversed the Hill Country back roads.
I found the interior sorely lacking in the Canyon. The overall presentation is honest, but for this truck that was carrying a sticker of $44,365.00, it just fell way short. The infotainment system felt cramped, and the overall interior just wasn't 'eye catching.' Again I have to bring in the RAM 1500 EcoDiesel as a comparison, but this time the RAM beats the Canyon when it comes to interior design. For what its worth, I own a 2015 Chevy SilverRAYdo so for those of you wondering if I'm nit picking on GM-- the answer is no. I'm very fond of GMC and Chevy product but they do need to up their game when it comes to interiors.
With my 2 hour off road excursion and plenty of city/highway driving, I managed to put 210 miles on the odometer along with a surprisingly good 21mpg. Not bad at all.
After a couple days with the Canyon I have to say that I liked it a lot more than I thought. For a small truck it has all the attitude of a big diesel less towing and payload capacity. That may turn some people off, but not this guy.
GM put together a great package with the Canyon/Colorado trucks. The Canyon is hella-easy to park, will fit in a normal garage, can tow 7,000 pounds (7,600 w/ diesel option) and comes with a 4x4 option that truck buyers.