DETROIT -- The 2015 GMC Canyon is the bolder, more-chiseled half of General Motors' dual bid to revive consumer interest in smaller pickups.
While the Chevrolet Colorado is sporty and sleek, the Canyon, its corporate sibling, looks a bit like a little brother to the GMC Sierra full-sized pickup. And that's by design.
The Canyon, unveiled Sunday on the eve of press previews for the 2014 Detroit auto show, was designed to resemble a "little Sierra" to attract buyers of full-sized pickups from other brands, says GM North America President Mark Reuss.
Reuss said he believes some owners of bigger trucks such as Ford's F-150 and the Ram 1500 want a smaller vehicle that still has most of the hauling and towing capability.
"We want to steal people from big pickup trucks in other brands with the GMC," Reuss said in an interview in November.
Reuss said the Canyon and Colorado are aimed at slightly different buyer groups. While Chevy will position the Colorado as a sporty truck for active families, the bold-faced Canyon will be for buyers who want capability in a smaller package.
Bucking the trend
With the introduction this fall of the Canyon and Colorado, GM will be zigging while its competitors zag. Both Ford and Chrysler Group have abandoned the shrinking market for mid-sized trucks, leaving the Toyota Tacoma as the dominant force.
GM is betting that improved offerings can breathe new life into the mid-sized pickup segment, which shriveled to just 227,111 sales last year, from more than 1 million in 2000, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Only the Tacoma, which accounted for 70 percent of the segment's sales in 2013, and the Nissan Frontier remain significant players.
GM touts its "three-truck strategy" of having mid-sized, light-duty and heavy-duty offerings in both Chevy and GMC's lineups as the best way to meet the varying needs of pickup buyers.
"Not everyone needs full-size capability, but they still deserve strength and true truck attributes that come in larger models," GMC marketing chief Tony DiSalle said in a statement. "The Canyon will offer all the capability with confidence."
The powertrain options on the Canyon are the same as those offered on the Colorado. Two gasoline engines are available: a 193-hp, 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine and a 302-hp, 3.6-liter, V-6 engine. Both engines feature direct fuel injection and variable valve timing.
A six-speed automatic transmission is standard and a six-speed manual gearbox is available with the 4-cylinder engine in extended cab models.
GM, aiming for even more incremental sales, plans to offer a 2.8-liter turbodiesel option in both trucks in the second model year.