Words: Don Cheng
Photography: Don Cheng
Published: March 2, 2016
This might be the automotive equivalent to blasphemy, but I am not a fan of diesels. Now before you share this post with everyone and crucify me on the Internet, let me explain. At every show and shine meet, there will always be a few cars that attract special attention – but nothing quite does it like one that’s rolling coal. The moment the owner mutters the word diesel you could almost hear the collective “sploosh” from the gaggle of guys admiring the car.
From an enthusiast’s perspective, diesels puzzle me. Endless low-end torque and hybrid levels of efficiency are great, but your sexy coupe ends up sounding like a truck, and all that low range torque comes at a cost: your top end is pretty limited. VW has done a lot of work popularizing diesels among the enthusiast crowd but I firmly believe they should be relegated to only two things: daily commuter cars and trucks. To reaffirm my beliefs, I jumped at the opportunity to spend a week with GMC’s new diesel-powered midsize pickup truck, the Canyon.
Having driven both 4 and 6 cylinder variants, I was pretty excited to try it out with a proper “truck” motor – GM’s Duramax turbodiesel four. Though it only has half the number of cylinders of a “man’s” pick up truck, thanks to the advances of modern technology and its preference to burn coal, the diminutive four is more than capable of producing enough twist for your everyday trucking needs. How much twist exactly? How about 369 lb-ft. It’s a baffling amount for a four cylinder, but is one of the things that makes a diesel truck so right.
Although not a Denali – a badge reserved for the tippy top of GMC’s lineup – the inside of the Canyon is a pleasant place to be. The leather wrapped steering wheel feels great to the touch, and that 8-inch high resolution navigation screen looks like it was lifted straight from a Cadillac (I’m fairly certain it is).
Fit and finish is top notch, with plenty of tough materials adorning the dash to give it that “I can handle anything” vibe. Tough as nails doesn’t mean that GM has skipped out on refinement. To that effect, the company has gone the extra mile to quell the diesel racket with extra sound-deadening materials, vibration absorbing dampers in the torque converter, hydraulic engine mounts, and a counter-rotating balance shaft inside the engine.
The result? When cruising on the highway, you would be convinced that a gasoline V8 was lurking under the hood. However, ask the throttle for some extra momentum and the automotive trickery is blatantly obvious. With that being said, GM has cleverly turned the diesel rumble into a pleasant and bearable noise.
Part of that reason is because the engine never feels stressed. Mated to a six speed automatic gearbox, the Canyon never has to hunt for the right cog. With so much torque on tap, every gear feels like the right gear. Put your foot down at the light, and the 2.8-litre engine displays a level of polish that might surprise even the pickiest of drivers.
Delivering peak torque so low on the rev range allows the truck to effortlessly hit 60 km/h. Really push into the gas pedal and an extra kick in the pants comes at 3,000 rpm when the turbo hits boost. As a final testament to the Duramax diesel’s prowess, the Canyon’s towing capacity is rated at 3,493 kg for rear wheel drive models, and 3,493 kg in AWD trucks. To help tow all that weight safely, an integrated trailer brake controller is included.
Mechanically, the Duramax turbodiesel feels no different in handling than its counterparts (and its Colorado sibling). The extra 114 kg of weight from the Duramax required beefier front springs, but the change doesn’t affect the overall driving experience of the truck. Which is a good thing because apart from its obvious size the Canyon handled more like a large crossover. In the city, the truck rides firm, but the bumps and potholes don’t beat up passengers with a jarring ride. Body roll is as expected for a mid-size pick up but minimized thanks to the firm springs and ride.
Let’s talk pricing; if you want the diesel you willl have to opt for the Crew Cab and SLE trim. However, both 2x4, and 4x4 variants are available with the motor. Pricing starts at $31,785 for the 2x4 Canyon SLE. Checking the diesel option adds $5,440 to the sticker – but that also requires the All-Terrain package ($2,110), which adds adds a locking rear differential, off-road suspension, heated front seats, and front recovery hooks.
For those that have kept up, that quickly racks the price up to $41,476. That’s a lot of coin for a truck. The only solace is that this mid-size truck is dimensionally the same as full-size trucks from just a few generations ago. This SLT comes fully loaded with a few extra boxes ticked totalling to $47,690. The extra options include 4x4, navigation, premium Bose sound, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and remote vehicle start. It’s a long list of extras but at nearly $50,000 for a mid-size truck, it better be.
With Dieselgate in full swing, it is a shame that VW has brought the public perception of diesels back to a time gone by. By all means, the Canyon is a great pick-up, but this isn’t the kind of truck that broseph will buy and slap a $4,000 lift kit on. No, this truck is for professionals who will use it as the workhorse it was designed to be. Dimensionally adequate and loaded with a proper diesel engine, the Canyon is the mid-size pickup that we have all been waiting for.
型号 Model: 2016 GMC Canyon SLT Duramax Diesel
顏色 Paint Type: Cardinal Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $39,895
試車售價 Price as Tested: $47,690
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,259
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,395 / 1,887 / 1,796
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,812
引擎 Engine: 2.8-litre inline-four turbodiesel
最大馬力 Horsepower: 181 hp @ 3,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 11.7 / 8.1 / 10.2
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 10.1
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 265/60R18