Drive

2016 GMC Canyon is great if you're in it for the heavy haul

Canyon a good choice for tradespeople who need to bring heavy loads into the city core

The 2016 GMC Canyon is a great engine to drive, especially in combination with its well-weighted steering and smooth handling.

Jil McIntosh/For Metro

The 2016 GMC Canyon is a great engine to drive, especially in combination with its well-weighted steering and smooth handling.

Up until now, full-size trucks have been the primary home for diesel engines. But for 2016, GM’s midsize GMC Canyon, and its mechanical-twin Chevrolet Colorado, also add diesel power to the portfolio.

It’s a four-cylinder with a displacement of just 2.8 litres. But while the Canyon’s available 3.6-litre V6 engine makes 269 lb.-ft. of torque, the low-end power that’s important on trucks, this little diesel churns out 369 lb.-ft.

It gives this midsize a maximum towing capacity of up to 7,600 lbs. (3,447 kg), an extra 600 lbs. over the V6’s top ability.

Given its more manageable footprint over the full-size GMC Sierra, the Canyon could be a good choice for tradespeople who need to haul loads into the city core, or easier parking for those who regularly tow boats or campers.

The diesel’s better fuel economy is also a bonus, but you’ll need to drive it a lot before you begin to see the savings. The engine is a $4,390 option, and only available on the two highest SLE and SLT trims levels. It comes in 4x2 or 4x4 configuration, but can only be added to Crew Cab models, not to Extended Cab.

It’s a great engine to drive, especially in combination with the Canyon’s well-weighted steering and smooth handling, and while its diesel rumble is noticeable, I like its sound.

It’s hooked exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission and includes an integrated exhaust brake that helps to slow the truck down on deceleration, a great feature when you’re towing.

The Canyon’s interior looks like a scaled-down version of the full-size GMC, with easy-to-use controls, comfortable front seats, and rear seats that flip up for access to covered storage cubbies below.

You can kit it out with a number of higher-end options, including navigation, forward collision alert, and heated leather seats.

Although I’ve listed competitors, all of them are gasoline-only.

For now, GM’s twins are the only midsize trucks available with diesel. It’s not an engine for everyone, but for those who work their trucks hard, it could potentially be the perfect choice.

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