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The midsize pickup segment has become crowded in the last few years with the revival of the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, and Honda Ridgeline models. The good news is that each truck in the segment stands out for one reason or another, so it can be pretty easy to identify the right model for your needs. If you are looking for a truck that blends ride quality, fuel efficiency, towing capability, tech connectivity, and off-road performance, then we think that the GM models fit the bill best. But when comparing the 2020 GMC Canyon vs 2020 Chevy Colorado, there are only little differences, which means they matter a lot when choosing which one is the best for you.
This duo really is a great midsize pickup design. They offer the only diesel engine in the segment, which also means the Canyon and Colorado have the best-in-class torque and max towing ratings (369 ft-lbs and 7,700 lbs respectively). And that same engine also delivers the best fuel efficiency in the segment. For shoppers on a budget, the gasoline engine models have the lowest MSRP in the segment, edging out the Ford Ranger by a healthy margin. One of the most user-friendly infotainment systems in the industry is also common to both the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, and drivers may well forget that they’re in a truck thanks to a smooth, comfortable ride that’s bested only by the unibody Ridgeline.
The Colorado offers the best off-road build with Z71 and ZR2 trims options, but the GMC Canyon is no slouch with its All Terrain trim. But if you want luxury, then the Canyon Denali is the undisputed peak of the segment. In general, we think the classier interior, expanded options list, and bolder styling of the 2020 GMC Canyon make it well worth spending a little more than you would for an equivalent Colorado. Pay us a visit at Rick Hendrick Duluth to see what it means to be “professional grade” and find your new midsize truck today!
The GM siblings share identical powertrains that deliver best-in-class towing and fuel efficiency. If you want to pull something with a midsize truck, then one of these two is your best bet. And if you need more towing capability than the Canyon or Colorado can offer, then you’re probably better off skipping straight to the heavy-duty Sierra 2500 and Silverado 2500 trucks.
The base engine is a 2.5L 4-cylinder that manages 200 hp at 6300 rpm and 191 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. It’s hooked up to a 6-speed automatic transmission that helps it achieve a respectable 20 MPG city and 26 MPG highway. The payload is solid at 1,609 lbs, but the towing capacity is limited to 3500 lbs. If you’re certain that you’ll never need more towing capacity, nothing in the segment is as budget-friendly as a Canyon or Colorado with the base gasoline engine – both models start well under $25,000.
The 3.6L V6 option is a serious upgrade in power and makes 308 hp at 6800 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. It’s a little thirstier, only making 18 MPG city and 25 mpg highway, but it doubles your maximum towing capacity to an impressive 7000 lbs. The V6 is also paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission for smoother shifting and optimal engine speed under all conditions.
In short, you’re trading a little bit of fuel efficiency and a small increase in sticker price for twice the towing capacity and the best highway acceleration in the lineup. The V6 is not the perfect pick for everyone’s needs, but it is the best of the bunch. If you’re already looking above the entry-level trims, then we’d recommend springing for this engine as well.
This is the only diesel engine available in the midsize pickup segment and really puts the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado ahead of the competition. It is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission and makes 181 hp at 3400 rpm. The highlight, though, is the best-in-class 369 lb-ft of torque it achieves at just 2000 rpm. This takes the maximum towing capacity all the way to 7,700 lbs, beating out even the Jeep Gladiator and the Ford Ranger. And to top it off, you’ll also get 20 MPG city and 30 MPG highway, the best fuel efficiency in the segment.
The diesel comes with a price, though. Not only does checking this option bring a fairly sharp price increase of its own, but it also requires upgrading to the higher trim levels. That is a lot to pay, but the diesel is worth it if you are planning on regularly hooking a trailer to your midsize truck.
There’s no aspect that differentiates the GMC Canyon from the Chevy Colorado more than the exterior. The two trucks share a similar silhouette, a forward-leaning stance, and a high bed, but when style counts, the Colorado tends to suffer. The iconic Chevy bowtie is about all that really stands out about its looks – it’s not an unpleasant design, but next to the GMC Canyon, it’s somewhat plain and forgettable.
That’s because the GMC Canyon is styled with bold, beefy bodylines that make it look the part of a “small Sierra.” A large grille, blocky front features, and pronounced styling around the wheel wells project the strength that’s contained within the highly capable V6 and diesel powertrains. It’s like the difference between a dress shirt and a long-sleeved T-shirt – they both get the job done, and the T-shirt is less expensive, but it’s the dress shirt that you’ll want to wear to an interview or a first date.
If the appearance of a Canyon next to the Colorado is like a dress shirt next to a T-shirt, looking at the peak Denali and the ZR2 is like a fine suite next to a football uniform. The Colorado ZR2 is an off-roading machine, with a wider stance and lifted ride height to fit the part. Modified front and rear bumpers, skid plates, a pair of off-road sport bars, and a seriously aggressive grille and hood bulge communicate very effectively that this is a vehicle built for the unbeaten path. The ZR2 starts at $41,400 and suffers reduced fuel efficiency thanks to the larger cross-section it presents, but if off-roading is your thing, this truck is a king.
On the other side of the equation is the Canyon Denali, but it’s not tuned for off-roading (the All Terrain trim offers that). No, the Denali is all about comfort and style, about looking and feeling as expensive as it is (although with an MSRP $40,500 it is actually a bit less than the Colorado ZR2). On the outside, that means chrome – lots and lots of chrome. The grille, door handles, side mirrors, front air dam, side steps, exhaust tips, you name it, it comes in chrome. Like an athlete in a three-piece suit, the Canyon Denali looks tough and refined, an uncompromising take on the midsize truck.
The interior layouts of the 2020 GMC Canyon and the 2020 Chevy Colorado are nearly identical. The differences are in the details – material selections and highlights, plus a range of exclusive features, set the Canyon apart. Fundamentally, the Colorado comes off as utilitarian. Nowhere does it seek to impress with soft-touch materials or aesthetic styling – it’s here to work hard and get the job done. The Chevy bowtie emblazoned on the steering wheel is a nice touch, but really the best thing to say is that the layout and controls are that they are intuitive, familiar, and very user-friendly.
The Canyon steps it up a notch. Available silver highlights on the steering wheel and dashboard brighten things up, and moving up the trim ladder to the Denali brings upscale additions like woodgrain trim. That Denali trim is where the Canyon really stands out. In addition to the chrome and woodgrain aesthetic highlights, it brings advanced features such as wireless charging and vented leather front seats. Top-trim Colorado models have leather-appointed seats with heating, but none offer ventilation.
The Canyon also has some less obvious upgrades, such as improved noise insulation to make long drives a bit less tiring. Combined with visual highlights, better seats, optional brown-tone interior coloring, and identical usability, there’s no denying that the Canyon just looks and feels better to be in. While the Colorado will get the job done, the Canyon will do it in style.