2012 GMC Canyon

The 2012 GMC Canyon is a practical and versatile truck that comes available in two or four wheel drive.

This compact to mid size pickup looks attractive with its rugged styling. It isn’t one of the fancy trucks but it certainly offers value that can’t be overlooked. It can be easily compared to its twin, the Chevy Colorado.


General Info
Vehicle Type: Truck Base Price: $17,490.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 19 gallons (71.9l) MPG: 18 city / 25 hwy
Length: 192.4 in. (488.6 cm) Wheel Base: 111.3 in. (282.7 cm)
Height: 65.2 in. (165.6 cm) Width: 67.6 in. (171.7 cm)
Curb Weight: 3366 lbs (1526 kg) Ground Clearance: 7.7 in. (19.5 cm)
Maximum Towing: 3400 lbs (1542 kg) Maximum Seating: 3 people
Engine: Inline 4 2WD DOHC Displacement: 2.9 Liter
Horsepower: 185 HP Max RPM: 5600 RPM
Torque: 190 lb-ft @ 2800 rpm Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Available Trims & Engine
Option:SLE-1 MSRP: $20,455; MPG: 18 city / 25 hwy
Option:SLE-2 3.7L Inline-5 Crew 4WD MSRP: $26,470; MPG: 17 city / 23 hwy
Option:SLT 3.7L Inline-5 Crew 4WD MSRP: $31,790; MPG: 16 city / 21 hwy

Engine & Performance

The Canyon is available in three trims with three choices of engines. The base trim is the WT (Work Truck) gives you a basic 3.7 liter, 4 cylinder that provides you with 185 hp and 190 ft-lbs of torque with variable valve timing. You can expect 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway

The second is the SLE gives you a little more to go on with it’s 3.7 liter 5 cylinder 242 hp as well as the other performance features that you find in the work truck trim. Fuel economy is still good at 17 mpg city and 23mpg highway.

GMC gives you a V8 that provides the power you need for hauling or towing. The 300 hp and 320 lbs-ft of torque improves the power and performance. The V8 is available in extended and crew cab models.

The four cylinders come with either a 4 speed manual or 4 speed automatic transmission while the 5 cylinder and the V8 both come with the automatic.


Regardless of the trim you select, the GMC Canyon is a great looking truck with chrome bumpers and metallic paint. The daytime running lights and luxury trim including the titanium look on the doors is certain to catch your eye.

The halogen headlights along with impressive lines are what you would expect from GMC, stylish and innovative. Let’s not forget to mention the straight side bed with a standard rugged bed liner to protect the bed, it does minimize load shifting.


The interior is not as fancy as others in its class. It come standard with a front split bench that has room for the driver and two passengers. The front reading lights and voice navigation system are nice features to have, as is the leather trimmed tilt steering wheel and the Onstar telematics.

Safety & Reliability

The safety features are standard in all trims. The driver side and passenger air bags are just the beginning of the safety features provided by this truck. Side and rear head air bags as well as traction control and electronic stability control, front disc and rear drum brakes provide driver and passengers’ piece of mind.

It comes with a standard 3 year / 36,000 mile basic warranty as well as 5 year / 100,000 mile drive train warranty and a 6 year / 100,000 Mile rust warranty.

Pros & Cons

  • The affordable price makes this a good starter truck
  • Good on and off road handling
  • Engine choices.


  • Seating comfort leaves something to be desired.
  • Average safety scores,poor fuel economy in the V8 models.

Whether or not you like this truck will depend on what you are looking for in a pickup. Although the 2012 GMC Canyon is a decent truck, you may find yourself comparing it to the likes of the Toyota Tacoma (MSRP $18,025; 19 city / 24 hwy) and the Nissan Frontier King Cab V6 (MSRP $23,940; 15 city / 20 hwy). These two are perhaps the closest in terms of size that the Canyon can be compared to. They may cost a little more but are worth looking into.

Overall Rating
54 out of 100

What others say:

“Crash test scores are a concern, but it you’re shopping for a truly compact pickup truck, the 2012 GMC Canyon is probably a better pick than the Ranger or Dakota.”Car Connection

“Canyons corner with reasonable poise, though some testers find these trucks slow to react to steering inputs. Good straightline stability. 4WD models have a noticeably larger turning radius than 2WD versions. The brakes provide quick stops with good pedal feel.”Consumer Guide

“The unrefined five-cylinder engine lacks punch and doesn’t offer a fuel-economy advantage over competing V6s.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“The 2012 GMC Canyon looks sharp and offers good light-duty pickup truck value. But in just about every other area, it doesn’t measure up to its competition.”Edmunds

“If you’re looking for a simple, clean and inexpensive compact pickup to be used the way a compact pickup was intended (working, not cruising), the 2012 GMC Canyon is about as no-nonsense as you can get.”KBB