2015 GMC Canyon unveiled at Detroit auto show

GMC Canyon offers big-truck looks in smaller package

The 2015 GMC Canyon, unveiled Sunday in Detroit, was designed to resemble a "little Sierra" to attract buyers of full-sized pickups from other brands.

Photo credit: GM
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GM's global product development chief, Mary Barra, who will become CEO of the company on Wednesday, with the GMC Canyon on Sunday evening in Detroit.

Weight loss

The Canyon is built on GM's global mid-sized truck platform, which it launched in 2011 with the Chevy Colorado in Thailand. GM engineers did extensive work to ready the body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive pickup for the United States. It is about 40 percent lighter than the truck sold overseas.

Compared with the Sierra, the crew cab version of the Canyon is 900 pounds lighter, 17 inches shorter and 6 inches narrower. It is expected to get much better fuel economy, but EPA ratings aren't available yet.

A lightweight aluminum hood and aerodynamic grille shutters, which close at highway speeds, aim to improve efficiency.

The Canyon has a muscular, more premium-looking front end than the Colorado. The hood has a subtle power dome to convey capability. It will come standard with C-shaped LED daytime running lamps and body-colored grille with GMC's signature horizontal chrome bars.

GM incorporated some nifty features that debuted on the redesigned 2014 Sierra and Chevy Silverado. They include corner steps on each bumper, which make it easier to climb up into the bed; and a torsion bar that allows for a gently opening rear tailgate.

Speed limit for teens

Inside, GM promises a hushed cabin. An 8-inch touch screen in the center stack will house an improved IntelliLink infotainment system with voice recognition. IntelliLink will include a new feature, Teen Driver, which allows parents to set limits on speed and radio volume. 4G LTE connectivity with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot will also be available.

Reuss said GM also expects the Canyon will also appeal to Tacoma buyers and owners of older mid-sized trucks whose makers have left the market, such as the Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota.

GM points out that the departure of Ford and Dodge in 2011 and the planned end of production in June of the Honda Ridgeline leaves 30 percent of the mid-sized pickup market up for grabs. Honda has said it will introduce a second-generation Ridgeline within two years.

GMC's U.S. sales last year rose 9 percent, to 450,901.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.