We have a riddle for you. What’s in the middle and at the top at the exact same time? If you guessed a moderate political candidate who’s doing well in a campaign, you know how to think creatively, but you didn’t think of the right answer. If you think the answer is a stomach ache because it’s in the middle of your body and at the top of your mind when it strikes, you got it wrong.
The answer we have in mind is the GMC Canyon Denali. The Canyon is a midsize truck and Denali is the truckmaker’s top-of-the-line trim. GMC introduced the Denali nameplate on the 1999 Yukon. Since then, there have been Denali versions of the light- and heavy-duty Sierra, Acadia, Yukon, and Terrain. You get the picture – pretty much every model except the Canyon. Until now. With the addition of the Canyon, GMC’s Denali lineup is five vehicles strong for the 2017 model year (six if you count the Yukon XL Denali).
GMC offers the Canyon Denali in a crew cab body style with a short or long bed and two- or four-wheel drive. Like its corporate cousins, the Canyon Denali gets a special chrome grille, unique wheels, and a long list of luxury, convenience, and safety features. All 2017 Canyon models are available with the combination of a new 3.6-liter V6 and eight-speed automatic.
We recently received a 2017 Canyon Denali to review for a week. What did we think of it? There’s no riddle there. You don’t have to think of a clever answer or break out your phone to Google anything. All you have to do is keep reading.
2017 GMC Canyon Denali Exterior
One look at the Canyon Denali is all you need to know that it’s a special version of GMC’s midsize pickup. We’re not talking about a glance at one of its three exterior Denali badges, either. Think bigger, as in the front grille. It’s a handsome piece that’s flanked by the cube-ish casings for the projector-like headlights and LED signature lighting, and complemented by the large plate of bright work surrounding the fog lamps and tow hooks.
More chrome shows up on the caps for the side mirrors and the door handles. Those sparkly accents sit between squared and flared fenders, which make the Canyon look strong and visually dynamic. The flower-like, 20-inch aluminum wheels made us look twice.
At the rear, the clear cases for the tail lights are filled with C-shape brake light elements. As upmarket as the Canyon Denali may be, it’s still ready to work with its tow/haul mode, lined bed, soft-drop tailgate, and convenient corner steps cut into the rear bumper.
2017 GMC Canyon Denali Interior
We had a hard time deciding if the exterior of our test vehicle looked more green or gunmetal. Officially, the paint color is called Dark Slate Metallic. On the other hand, we had no doubt about what the interior was: black. Jet Black if you want to get technical. If you want to get even more technical, you could say the cabin was predominantly Jet Black, but brightened up by white stitching on the dashboard and leather seats, and accented with no-gloss, wood-tone trim on the door panels and gearshift surround.
According to the window sticker GMC gave us, our review special had only one option on it and that was its $395 paint job. That means all of the great tech inside, such as the heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot was standard equipment. So was the quartet of USB ports, satellite radio, and eight-inch color touchscreen for the navigation and Intellilink systems.
We took the Canyon Denali from Austin to Frisco, Texas to witness the reveal of the 2018 Ford Expedition at the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters. Coming and going, we were comfortable. When it came to keeping us entertained and connected to the internet for important emails, the Denali was capable.
2017 GMC Canyon Denali Performance
The new 3.6-liter V6 that GMC offers in the Canyon Denali produces 308 hp and 275 lbft of torque. It routes that output through an eight-speed automatic. Together, those two hunks of hardware are capable of getting the Denali down 17 city, 24 highway, or 19 combined miles on one gallon of gas, according to the EPA.** We put more than 1,200 miles – most of them highway – on our media loaner and got more than 22 mpg. Over the course of those miles, we found the direct-injected six to be perfectly suited to moving the Denali with satisfying urgency, whether that meant from dead stops or in passing other vehicles on the highway.
We only used the Denali as a well-appointed and comfortable means of A-to-B transportation. In other words, as a “city truck.” We didn’t get a chance to take it off-road and use the convenient dial for its shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive system. If we had put the Canyon Denali to work, we would’ve been able to carry more than 1,500 pounds in its 5’2” cargo box and pull up to 7,000 pounds behind it.
2017 GMC Canyon Denali Safety
A bunch of checks. That’s what you’ll see if you go to GMC’s site and look in the safety features section of the Canyon Denali. Forward Collision Alert? Check. Lane Departure Warning? Another check. Rear Vision Camera and Tire Pressure Monitoring System? Check and – you guessed it – check. Other safety features include front, side-impact, and side head curtain airbags as well as Stabilitrak stability control. The Canyon Denali also comes with a Teen Driver function. According to GMC, “It automatically activates certain safety systems and allows parents to set limits on other features. A Report Card provides information on driving behavior to help parents to continue to coach their teens.”
2017 GMC Canyon Denali Overall
Prices for the 2017 GMC Canyon Denali start at $39,055.* One outfitted just like the one we tested for a week will cost $44,155.
That brings us to our last riddle. Where’s a place you can find the grandest of Canyons indoors and outdoors? An AutoNation GMC dealer.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.