2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab

2021 MODEL
$42,095 - $45,895
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5.7

Overall Rating

INDIGO

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: November 23, 2020

C. Khandelwal's image
C. Khandelwal

Content Writer


General Motors is one of the largest automotive companies with numerous other brands running under it. This started back in the 1900s when two small automakers in the states called the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company and Reliance Motor Car Company were sold to General Motors and later collaborated into the General Motors Company or the ‘GMC’ as it is known today.

Its first production plant was in Michigan from which its very first mass-production pickup truck rolled out in 1912. After that, the company had a notable history in producing defense vehicles for WWI as well as making trucks and busses in the 80s but things changed from 1996 when GMC was merged with Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors.

This change made GMC what it is today, a pioneer at building luxury utility vehicles. Moreover, with the ongoing “compact car” trend, GMC made its own compact pickup truck - the Canyon decorated with Denali interiors. For 2021, the compact luxury vehicle from GMC has very attractive features with prices starting from $40,900.

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Pros

Can conquer most surfaces

Excellent handling and maneuverability

Impressive towing capacity

Cons

Limited in cab storage

What's New?

New grille design

Standard equipment revised


Pictures & Videos

Videos
2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Detailed Review video

Ratings

5.7

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Base

Base

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$44,400 - $44,700


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Crew Cab 5ft. SB 4WD (2.8L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A) Starting at $44,400 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD 5
4dr Crew Cab 5ft. SB 4WD (2.8L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6A) Starting at $44,400 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD 5
4dr Crew Cab 6ft. LB 4WD (2.8L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A) Starting at $44,700 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD 5
4dr Crew Cab 6ft. LB 4WD (2.8L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6A) Starting at $44,700 MSRP TBD TBD
TBD TBD 5

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Denali

Denali

power
120 hp @ 6300 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
19 combined

$44,700


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Crew Cab 6 ft. LB 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $44,700 MSRP (17/19/24) 120 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L, V-6, Regular unleaded
8-speed shiftable automatic four wheel drive 5

Expert Review


The 2021 GMC Canyon Denali Diesel has limited competition as diesel engines are slowly being ripped off from lineups of potential rivals because of emission standards. The Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary and the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 would just be its rivals for now as they have an available diesel-powered heart.

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Features

As mentioned, the upcoming Denali model has many standard features, from safety to infotainment, it is filled with all the basic features that define luxury in modern times. However, the 2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab is powered by a diesel engine only with the 4WD drivetrain. In addition to this, a selection between the bed sizes is also available with the short-box costing $45,595 whereas the long-box is around $300 more.

Trim

GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel

MSRP

$45,595.00

Key Features

20-inch diamond-cut aluminum wheels

 

5-inch Denali chrome assist steps with an EZ-lift and lower tailgate and chrome heated power side mirrors

 

Heated, leather steering wheel; single-zone automatic climate control and auto-dimming interior rearview mirror

 

Standard front seats with power lumbar support and heated seats

 

8-inch infotainment screen and Bose premium audio system

 

Standard forward-collision assist, lane departure warning, and rear parking assist

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

GMC has a mixed situation here as this particular vehicle averagely costs $200 to own whereas it is probably one of the worst brands when it comes to reliability. However, a decent warranty on offer neutralizes this awkward situation.

Reliability and Ownership Costs

GMC certainly are not very reliable vehicles; nothing in particular about the model can be concluded. Since the 2021 GMC Canyon has not yet been rated by the J.D. Power reports, the 2020 model scores a decent 80/100 but faces transmission and electrical system issues as reported by its customers. However, with quite a few notable changes in the new Canyon, these issues are expected to be resolved for the upcoming year.

Similarly, the 2021 GMC Canyon has not yet been tested for its cost to own but the 2019 model shows an ownership cost of $44,100 is estimated after being driven for 15,000 miles with maintenance and repairs put together costing just around five grand.

Warranty

The warranty offered by the GMC on the Canyon is quite decent and makes its customer a little less worried about the not-so-good reputation for reliability. The 2021 GMC Canyon Crew Cab Diesel is covered with a 1-year/1-visit scheduled maintenance, roadside assistance program, and a few more as mentioned.

Criteria

Period

Bumper-to-bumper limited warranty

3-years/ 36,000 miles

Powertrain limited warranty

5-year/ 60,000 miles

Corrosion protection warranty

3-year/ 36,000 miles

Roadside assistance program

5-year/ 60,000 miles

The corrosion protection warranty also covers a rust-through warranty for 6-years or 100,000 miles (whichever occurs first). Though Jeep has better reliability, the GMC offers just the same period but with little more coverage which makes it more preferable while Chevy has just the same warranty on offer.

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Buying Advice

To be honest, there is no real competition to a diesel-powered truck as comfortable, as utilitarian, and as capable as the 2021 GMC Canyon Denali in the market right now. The compact truck has sufficient performance with some brilliant interiors and convenience features making it the center of attraction to many. It is a very unique vehicle but has a bad reputation in terms of reliability. However, the problems are not very regular and hence we recommend at the least to consider buying it.

Is buying a used GMC Canyon Denali a good idea?

Buying a used GMC Canyon Denali would not be a bad idea but yes, it would be as costly as a new one but would not be as comfortable as it. In addition to this, used trucks could be prone to reliability issues increasing their maintenance cost. The exterior styling would also not be as attractive as the new one. Instead, just go for the brand new one with plenty of features that would not be on a used one.

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Engine and Performance

The GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab is powered by a diesel engine only on the four-wheel-drive models equipped with a two-speed Autotrac transfer case. This is a 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel in-line 4-cylinder that produces 181 horsepower and a massive 369 lb-ft of torque. 

This is coupled with an 8-speed automatic transmission that has some magical features like the tow/haul mode and powertrain braking that makes driving downhill with a trailer-attached easier and much safer. Moreover, GMC provides an optional 6-speed automatic transmission for shorter shifts and better speeds.

Model

GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel

Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Diesel

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Diesel

MSRP

$45,595.00 (short box)/ $45,895.00 (long box)

$42,145.00

$38,195.00 (short box)/ $38,795.00 (long box)

Engine

2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel in-line 4-cylinder engine

3.0L Ecodiesel V6 engine

2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel in-line 4-cylinder engine

Transmission

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

Drivetrain

4WD

4WD

4WD

Power (HP@RPM)

181 hp @3400 rpm

260 hp @ 3600 rpm

181 hp @ 3400 rpm

Torque (lb-ft@RPM)

369 lb ft @ 2000 rpm

442 lb ft @ 2000 rpm

369 lb ft @ 2000 rpm

Jeep offers the best engine in terms of power and torque, however, it is a V6 whereas the other two competitors use only four cylinders producing power somewhere near the Gladiator. Talking about torque, Jeep stays undefeated and has a lot of it kicking in just at the same RPM range as its rivals.

Acceleration and Braking Performance

Since the engine seems to be just the same 2.8L Duramax diesel being used again for the 2021 year model, it is suspected to accelerate the 4000-lb truck from 0 to 60 MPH in 9.8 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 17.5 seconds at 79 MPH. 

In terms of braking, the front 12.2-inch and rear 12.75-inch disc brake rotors stop the truck from 60 MPH in just 115 feet. This is made possible with the help of a few mechanical systems like anti-lock braking and the infamous StabiliTrak electronic traction and stability control.

Model

GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel

Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Diesel

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Diesel

0-60 MPH (seconds)

9.8 seconds

8.2 seconds

9.8 seconds

Quarter-mile (seconds)

17.5 seconds

16 seconds

17.5 seconds

Top Speed (MPH)

TBD

155 mph

TBD

60-0 MPH (ft)

115 feet

195 feet (70-0)

115 feet

With a bigger engine comes better performance and so the Gladiator is the fastest, however, it does not seem to be the fastest to come to a stop. GMC and Chevy have just the same engine and hence their performance is certainly the same, though its top speed has not yet been declared, it supposedly stops well before the Jeep.

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Fuel Economy

The 2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel fitted with a turbo increases the fuel efficiency that is estimated to be around 17 MPG in the city, 24 MPG on the highway, and a combined MPG of 19. Moreover, a fuel tank capacity of 21.0 gallons gives a good range for the compact pickup truck.

Model

GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel

Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Diesel

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Diesel

MPG (city)

17

22

17

MPG (highway)

24

28

24

MPG (combined)

19

24

19

Fuel Tank Capacity (gallons)

19.0

22.0

19.0

Range in miles (city/ highway/ combined)

323.0/ 456.0/ 361.0

484.0/ 616.0/ 528.0

323.0/ 456.0/ 361.0

With the same engine powering both of them, the MPG figures for Chevy and GMC are also the same. Jeep’s Gladiator not only has better power and performance but also wins the game of mileage. Though the range offered by the sister-producers is just enough to travel across states whereas Jeep has an extravagant range and requires less fuel than General Motors.

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Interior

There is no noticeable difference in Chevrolet and GMC powertrain but the interiors of the two are a little different. Upon entering the 2021 GMC Canyon Denali’s cabin, a brilliant mixture of soft-touch materials like leatherette and plastic with beautiful stitch-linings running across the dash gives a luxurious look to the cabin with the choice between a Jet Black trim or a Cocoa/ Dark Atmosphere trim. Moreover, the center console is rigid and is well-designed for utility and ease of operating the vehicle and its dynamics

There are just the right size and amount of buttons and selector knobs that feel very premium to touch. Moreover, some of the attention grasping parts are the metal inlays on the door handles, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and doorknobs.

The heated and ventilated front bucket seats provide good comfort with a 6-way power driver seat and 4-way power passenger seat giving the right seating position for both the front occupants. Additionally, a power lumbar control to the front seats adds to the comfort quotient during long drives. Moving to the rear, a folding bench seat is comfortable but can get cramped for long road trips, however, it gives access to some private storage when folded up.

Model

GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel

Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Diesel

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Diesel

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

Front Row in inches (headroom/ shoulder room/ legroom)

41.4/ 57.5/ 45.0

42.8/ 55.7/ 41.2

41.4/ 57.5/ 45.0

Rear Row in inches (headroom/ shoulder room/ legroom)

38.3/ 56.2/ 35.8

42.8/ 55.7/ 38.3

38.3/ 56.2/ 35.8

Cargo Capacity (ft3)

41.3 (short box)

35.5

41.3 (short box)

Though the room offered by the General Motor vehicles are the same, the difference between them is the quality of the cabin. While Jeep’s Gladiator has a better rear room, the GMC Canyon has a better shoulder room and front legroom which makes it more comfortable and airy on the inside, and it's upstage cabin quality when compared to Colorado, probably dominates this section. Talking about the cargo volume, the GM-owned brands defeat the Gladiator.

How is the infotainment system?

The Denali styled Canyon Crew Cab gets a standard 8-inch GMC infotainment system that displays crystal-clear information as well as entertainment apps. The system also comes with built-in navigation that is very precise at directing to the desired location. In front of the driver is a 4.2-inch digital information cluster that brings in all important data to the driver’s alert. Some advanced features in the 2021 GMC Canyon Denali are:

  • SiriusXM 3-month All Access Trial Subscription
  • 4G LTE WiFi hotspot
  • USB ports, AUX input, and SD card reader
  • Wireless Charging
  • On-Star Connected Services

Another small surprise is a standard 7-speaker Bose premium audio system that delivers every beat in all kinds of music. The speakers are positioned acoustically in the cabin to provide rich and concert-like sound in the cabin.

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Exterior

The upcoming GMC Canyon Denali has been refreshed from the outside and it looks much more attractive than before. Most of its attention is grabbed by the new bigger and wider front grille with a tall-sitting hood along with bolder LED daytime running headlights. 

A view from the side highlights the 20-inch diamond-cut aluminum wheels along with chrome assist side steps, chrome-finished side mirrors, and door handles that make it look very rich and classy.

The LED taillights on the rear are simple whereas the cargo box can be accessed using a black tailgate handle that lifts and drops down softly with standard LED lighting in the cargo area. Moreover, the rear bumper is body-colored which makes it a premium compact truck even from the outside.

Model

GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel (short box)

Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Diesel

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Diesel (short box)

Curb Weight (lbs)

4456 lbs

4650 lbs

4380 lbs

Length (inches)

212.4

218.0

212.7

Width (inches)

74.3 (without mirrors)

73.8

74.3 (without mirrors)

Height (inches)

70.6

75.0

70.6

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.2

10.0*

8.2

Wheelbase (inches)

128.3

137.3

128.3

Though Jeep is the narrowest; it is comparatively very tall and longer than the GMC or Chevy. This is advantageous for the Jeep as it is focused on off-roading and for stable freeway driving but would be a problem when driven in city conditions. The GMC Canyon or Chevy Colorado would handle these conditions better as they are way more compact than the Jeep.

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Safety

This is another section where buying a GMC over the Chevy is practical, the Canyon has standard lane departure warning, rear park assist, forward collision warning, and teen driver assist; unlike the Colorado where most of the mentioned are only available.

Moreover, the new Canyon scores a decent overall safety rating of four stars in the NHTSA safety ratings. On the other hand, the IIHS has not yet rated the 2021 GMC Canyon but the scores of its predecessor do not disappoint unless the ‘crash avoidance and mitigation’ section is considered. Nevertheless, the 2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel is a vehicle that is made to keep its occupants safe.

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Competition

GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel vs. Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Diesel

Whilst the Jeep’s Gladiator is built for full-rugged serious off-roading and not with much focus on payload capacity, hence it has undefeatable power, torque, performance. The Jeep also gives more miles to a gallon and is more reliable and costs lower to own with a similar warranty covering it. Having said that, it feels like the Jeep Gladiator is actually not a direct competitor to the GMC Canyon but what glues them together is the diesel power that is slowly vanishing from this class. 

However, the GMC Canyon Denali has better interior ambiance, safety and infotainment features, and a level of comfort that is managed well within the limits of exterior design. On one side, the Canyon is more utilitarian whereas on the other side the Jeep is performing and capable.

GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel vs. Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Diesel

This would not be a comparison if it were not for these two models that were being compared. Yes, GMC and Chevrolet are mostly the same but not in this case. The GMC Canyon Denali is slightly more comfortable with a little punch of luxury that can be noticed in the cabin, most of these features might only be available in the Chevy. Moreover, a few features on the Canyon’s exterior are more sophisticated towards technology and styling which makes it look more attractive than the Colorado.

2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Final Verdict

General Motors Company has always been up on their toes to make the best modern pickup truck and to be rational, they have pretty much mastered it in terms of capability and utilitarianism. In addition to this, the flagship luxury lineup of Denali just makes it a brilliantly comfortable and convenient daily-use truck. Though it might not be as powerful as some of its direct or indirect competitors, it is undoubtedly one of the smartest options in the current market. The 2021 GMC Canyon Denali Crew Cab Diesel is a compact pickup truck one should consider if capability, utility, comfort, and a little luxury are what one wants.

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