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Refreshed 2021 GMC Canyon adds AT4 trim, improves Denali grade

The new GMC Canyon AT4 carries over many of the equipment and design attributes of the GMC Sierra AT4.

Photo courtesy of GMC

GMC is upping its game at just the right time. As the midsize truck segment gets more competitive with the addition of new Jeep, Honda, and Ford trucks to the roster, the Detroit-based automaker is moving to to make the 2021 GMC Canyon more off-road worthy and more premium.

The first iteration of the GMC Canyon AT4 trim level brings the type of equipment improvements and styling that are featured on the GMC Sierra and Sierra HD AT4 grade. Designed for active lifestyle buyers, the model has a bold exterior design with dark chrome finishes, a larger grille, and red recovery hooks. Its 17-inch aluminum wheels are wrapped in 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTec tires. The truck has an off-road tuned suspension with the Advanced Hill Descent Control System. Its four-wheel drive system has an Eaton G80 Rear Automatic Locking Differential while the transfer case skid plate provides additional protection.

2021 GMC Canyon AT4 The Canyon AT4 is meant for buyers with an active lifestyle. Photo courtesy of GMC

The Canyon AT4's cabin is outfitted with unique detailing including Kalahari stitching and AT4 headrest embroidery.

"The new 2021 Canyon AT4 broadens the appeal to midsize truck customers who live an active lifestyle," said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC. "Much like the Sierra AT4 has attracted new customers from outside GMC, the Canyon AT4 will attract outdoor enthusiasts looking for a premium midsize truck to GMC with the capability, technology and refinement they've come to expect."

The 2021 GMC Canyon Denali gets 5-inch chrome assist steps, signature chrome accents, and Denali-exclusive 20-inch Diamond Cut aluminum wheels as well as an interior filled with open-pore ash wood trim, aluminum accents, and unique stitching. The model has standard heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

2021 GMC Canyon AT4 The interior of the AT4 features unique stitching on headrests. Photo courtesy of GMC

"Denali represents GMC's bold design philosophy and these changes further elevate the Canyon from the mainstream competition, while delivering a modern look for the customer," said Holt Ware, director of exterior design, GMC. "It features a more distinctive and sophisticated design that has become synonymous with Denali."

Both models are powered by a standard 308 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. A 2.8-liter diesel engine is available and delivers 369 pound-feet of torque.

The 2021 GMC Canyon is built at GM's Wentzville Assembly Center in Wentzville, Missouri and will be available later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the model's on-sale date.

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Larger tires headline the upgrades.

Jeep

The off-road wars are heating up. This year alone, we've seen the new Ford Bronco, Rivian's R1T electric pickup truck, new off-road models of the Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, and Chevrolet Silverado, and more rugged versions of the Subaru Outback and Forester. Jeep, already deep in the game, doesn't need to do much to bolster its off-road offering, but the brand is doing just that for 2022. The automaker is offering a new Xtreme Recon Package for the Wrangler Willys SUV, which brings more capability and style to the boxy off-roader.

Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package The package can be ordered for Wrangler Willys models later this year. Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package

Beyond beefy 35-inch tires tires, the Wrangler Willys with Xtreme Recon Package gets a 1.5-inch factory lift, a 4.56:1 axle ratio, 17-inch wheels and swing gate reinforcement. Jeep says those improvements give the Willys best-in-class approach and departure angles, ground clearance, and water fording capability. Approach angle improves to 47.4 degrees, breakover angle improves to 26.7 degrees, and departure angle jumps to 40.4 degrees. The extra ride height also pushes ground clearance to 12.9 inches and the water fording depth to 33.6 inches.

The package's 35-inch tires make the Willys Jeep's third Wrangler model with hardcore rolling stock. It joins the Wrangler Rubicon and Wrangler Rubicon 392 in the 35-inch club, all of which can be equipped with the tires directly from the factory.

Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package A factory lift helps improve ground clearance and capability.Jeep

The Xtreme Recon Package can be ordered starting in October and will be available for the Jeep Wrangler Willys with 3.6-liter eTorque engine. The package adds $3,995 to the Wrangler Willys' price tag, which brings the total starting price to $40,930, including a $1,495 destination charge.

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The concept has been extensively modified for a life lived off the beaten path.

GMC

Overlanding has become a world of its own, with several parts and vehicle customization companies, media publications, and guide services popping up all over the place. GMC realizes this, and to capitalize on the overlanding craze, the automaker built a Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX off-road concept to show off at the Overland Expo Mountain West 2021, which took place last week.


GMC Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX Concept The OVRLANDX concept carries a kitchenette, solar panels, and more.GMC


Some of the upgrades on the truck include:

  • Cast-iron control arms
  • A heavy-duty front bumper with winch
  • Front and rear electronic locking differentials
  • An off-road jack and mount
  • Multimatic DSSV dampers
  • Off-road rocker panel protectors


Listing the rest of the upgrades would take more words than anybody cares to read but rest assured that they are plentiful and impressive. GMC says that the concept truck gained legitimate capability from the upgrades. The approach angle is 27.7 degrees, and the truck can ford water up to 32.1 inches, which come thanks to a ground clearance of 10 inches and a custom-built snorkel system. The truck rides on 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires.

Since it's an overlanding concept, the truck needs the ability to support its passengers well off the beaten path. To do that, GMC gave the Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX a cooler and kitchenette, solar panel, and a truck bed storage system with drawers.



GMC Canyon AT4 OVRLANDX Concept You can build something similar to the concept with off-the-shelf parts.GMC


As a concept truck, it's unlikely the AT4 overlanding rig will make it into production as it sits. That said, it's an interesting idea for an intrepid Canyon owner to use as a blueprint. Outside of the chassis work, most of the parts and upgrades can be purchased and installed without a major hassle, but if you're in the market to build a rig, it's best to research your truck's payload capacity and capabilities before overloading for overlanding.

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