showed a base price of $19,950 for the 2004 Canyon Extended Cab Z85 SLE
4x2, but the up-to-date GMC Web site listed this model starting at $20,080
(neither price includes the $685 destination charge). Our test truck also
had OnStar ($695), Power Convenience Package ($500), 6-disc CD player
($395), XM radio ($295), traction control ($295), trailer hitch ($270),
locking differential ($270) and side curtain air bags ($215). These are
the type of options typical shoppers would desire. The entertainment upgrades
make long drives more bearable, and the locking diff and traction control
help in inclement weather. The tow rating for the 4-cylinder engine with
the 5-speed manual transmission and 3.73:1 is just 2000 pounds, so a trailer
hitch won’t do anyone much good unless they’re towing personal
watercraft or a trailer with landscaping tools.
For those seeking more of a bargain, the Extended Cab with the Z85 suspension
can be ordered with the base SL trim, starting at $18,370. The SL includes
the 2.8-liter dual-overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual, chrome
bumpers, 60/40 bench seat, vinyl floor covering, compact spare tire, AM/FM
stereo, air conditioning and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. The SLE adds
bucket seats with floor console, folding seats in the rear, carpeting,
tilt steering wheel, cruise control and CD player.
is based on an entirely new platform that isn’t shared with an SUV.
As with any new product these days, the frame has been stiffened to improve
handling and ride comfort. In fact, GMC says the Canyon frame is 27 percent
more rigid than the old Sonoma. We found the interior to be quieter than
expected with reduced road noise and a more accommodating cabin atmosphere
to conduct conversations and listen to music. The audio system in our
SLE trim features six speakers while the base SL trim has four.
part of the entertainment system is the availability of XM satellite radio.
If you do any extensive traveling, or live in a major metropolitan area
such as Los Angeles where quality radio is difficult to find, XM is welcome
relief to constantly changing channels. Just pick your favorite genre
of music, talk radio or news and leave it there. No commercials, and the
DJs are more interested in the music than promoting themselves. Of course,
you have to pay a monthly fee to maintain the satellite radio. Our only
suggestion to GMC is to add an input jack for an MP3 player or iPod since
the manufacturers are going after the youth market. Our truck also had
OnStar, which adds security measures.
Added comfort is the key to the SLE trim, especially with the bucket
seats and upgraded cloth fabric. But the claim of a larger pickup to warrant
the midsize may be a little confusing. While there are no official criteria
for acceptance into the midsize arena, the Canyon didn’t expand
that much on the outside but picked up enough on the inside to challenge
the reigning midsize standard.
wheelbase was stretched three inches to 125.9. Track was expanded from
54.5 to 57.5 inches. But overall length and width hardly changed: 207.1
and 67.6 inches for the 2004 model versus 205.3 and 67.9 inches, respectively,
for the 2003 model. The interior opens a little more with about two inches
more legroom and hip room but only two-tenths of an inch more shoulder
room (front seat only—the rear fold-down seats in the Extended Cab
accommodate only small pre-teens).