GMC’s Canyon Denali is Great for Wide Open Roads


We are huge fans of Buick and GMC — we have driven and tested their cars before, but never a truck, so we were thrilled to be able to review GMC’s Canyon Denali on a recent trip to Phoenix. Given that we live in a city with small and narrow streets, we don’t normally have the need for (or desire) to drive a larger vehicle that better caters to wide open roads.

When you’re in the Arizona desert however, the Canyon Denali is a godsend for a myriad of reasons.

Canyon Denali Exterior

First of all, whether you’re in the Arizona desert or the mountains of upstate New York or Utah, the Canyon Denali is a great pick. Let’s start with their Projector-Style Headlamps with LED Signature Lighting and their Chrome Fog Lamp Bezels, which is perfect for those foggy nights and early mornings.

The Canyon Denali offers both EZ-Lift and Lower Tailgate and integrated CornerStep Rear Bumper; the former raises and lowers easily and seamlessly through an internal torsion bar.

The Canyon Denali also offers something they call “Upper Tie-Down Hooks” — See Above. The wheels are also superior quality; standard on the Canyon Denali are wheels with painted accents, a durable finish and GMC logo center caps.

If you’re a truck lover and want a combination of quality and functionality with the best service and 5 star reputation, you can’t go wrong with the GMC Canyon Denali. And, let’s face it — she’s beautiful!! The Canyon Denali comes in a variety of colors, including dark sky metallic, white, onyx black, satin steel, smokey quart and a deep rich red, which is what we tested. (shown below)

Canyon Denali

The back of the GMC Canyon Denali

Canyon Denali GM

The exterior of the GMC Canyon Denali

GM Canyon Denali

Right side of the GMC Canyon Denali

The Interior

The interior features are also state-of-the-art. This truck offers heated and ventilated perforate leather with appointed front seating and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel. While this wasn’t an asset in our 101-109 degree weather in Phoenix in September, imagine how great these heated features would be in colder temperature destinations? Think New England, Pacific Northwest, or even parts of the West.

The GMC Canyon Denali also offers a spacious cabin with luxury leather finishings as well, which makes it ideal for anyone who travels a lot or for family touring.

GM Canyon Denali

Canyon Denali interior is super spacious and comfortable. Credit: GMC

And, there’s a large center console which offers great storage, which is a major plus for us.

GM Canyon Denali

Great storage in the Canyon Denali. Credit: GMC.

The Dashboard

The dashboard offers a number of things, such as the time of day, outside temperature, music and listening, among others.

GM Canyon Denali

Above, we were tuning into the 1970’s channel. Notice the 102 degrees on the upper left side of the screen and that was a cooler day of the week while we were there.  The grip of the steering wheel was amazing, says Anthony.

Buick GM Canyon Denali

Anthony driving the GMC Canyon Denali through desert roads outside Phoenix — the grip was amazing!

Power & Functionality

Now, let’s talk about power and functionality! The GMC Canyon Denali has a powerful Duramax Diesel Engine.  Let’s just say that the 3.6L V-6 Gas Engine roared — it is totally engineered for responsiveness with its powerful horsepower, torque, efficiency and an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Add to its ‘awesomeness’ is GMC’s direct fuel injection and active fuel management. There’s also the variable valve timing to help optimize power and efficiency for driving those rougher than normal roads.

While this isn’t a current need for us, the Canyon Denali‘s Trailering Power cannot be dismissed.  The Canyon Denali is strong enough to trailer up to 7,700 pounds when equipped with a Duramax 2.8L I-4 Turbo Diesel.

The truck comes equipped with FerriticNitro-Carburizing technology, which is a GM-exclusive patented process that hardens and strengthens rotors. They offer Duralife in this vehicle, which protects against corrosion (equates to doubling the life of the rotors compared to conventional rotors).

To add to this truck’s magic, the Denali Canyon electronic stability control system helps improve stability by detecting and reducing traction loss. The Trailer Sway Control helps keep things on track by detecting a swaying trailer and utilizing both Canyon’s and the trailer’s brakes (if properly equipped) to help bring it back in line. This feature can lock both rear wheels so they can gain traction on loose gravel or slippery surfaces, making it a great option if traveling on snowy icy surfaces or during heavy rain.

Then, there’s the Trailer Break Controller for additional control of your trailer brakes.  The Canyon Denali offers a diesel exhaust brake system which works with Tow/Haul mode and Automatic Grade Braking to help reduce the amount of braking needed while towing or traveling downhill. In other words, it’s a serious vehicle for the action-minded and adventure enthusiasts.

Navigation, Mobile & Connectivity

We love the always available 4G LTEWi-Fi and its 8 inch diagonal GMC Infotainment System with its full navigation features.

GM Canyon Denali

The navigation system and maps on the GMC Canyon Denali. Credit: GMC.

Their Android app syncs seamlessly, connecting to your compatible smartphone to give you access to the features you rely most such as Google Maps and Google Play Music. You can also use voice commands to access your contacts and make hands-free calls as well as send and receive hands-free text messages.

Canyon Denali

Credit: GMC

The MyGMC Mobile App lets you control many of your Canyon Denali features from your mobile device (a paid subscription with MC Connected Services).  Their “Locate Your Vehicle” Mobile Feature allows you to remote start your engine (great if you live in a cold climate), check your fuel economy, oil life, and tire air pressure (limited trial period included). You can also send destinations to your vehicle through your smartphone.
GM Canyon Denali

Photo credit: GMC

Also included is NavigApple CarPlay Compatibility, which allows you access to your favorite iPhone features, including Apple Music, Apple Maps and Siri so you can send and receive hands-free text messages.
Canyon Denali

Credit: GMC

User-friendly voice-recognition and touch screen navigation allows you to get directions, listen to your favorite music, access your phone book and initiate hands-free phone calls from your smartphone or USB-enabled device easily and seamlessly.

Additional features include handy Bluetooth Connectivity, Siri Eyes Free for some iPhone users, MyMedia which connects media libraries from multiple devices and “Customizable Favorites” which allows you to save albums, songs, artists, destinations and contacts.

Safety Features

The new HD Rear Vision Camera in the Canyon Denali provides a view behind the vehicle, which is displayed in the infotainment screen. You also get trailering assist with guidelines which is included with Tow/Haul mode. This is super handy if you have a boat of course or frankly, anything that you may need to haul.

Canyon Denali

Credit: GMC

The GMC Canyon Denali Rear Seat Reminder is activated when a second-row door is opened and closed during or just before a trip, which is super handy when you are traveling, especially with kids in tow.

Under certain conditions when the Canyon Denali is turned off, five audible chimes and a message in the driver information center remind you to check the second row.

GM Canyon Denali

Credit: GMC

Rear Park Assist & Forward Collision Alert

With Rear Park Assistyou can get the actual distance-to-objects alerts to help you park more accurately and safely, avoiding nearby objects directly behind the vehicle while you’re trying to navigate and maneuver at low-speed, i.e., driving in reverse under 5 mph for example.

GM Canyon Denali

Credit: GMC

If the system detects that a front-end collision situation is imminent while following a detected vehicle, the system alerts you to a potential collision. It also alerts you if you’re following a detected vehicle too closely.

Being alerted to lane departures through their Lane Departure Warning feature is super handy, especially if you’ve been driving long distances and are tired.

Additionally, they’re known for their built-in OnStarwhich comes with great safety features such as Automatic Crash Response, Emergency Services, Roadside Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Assistance. While we have thankfully never had to use OnStar for emergency purposes, we have used OnStar several times and have found them to be super helpful and useful. It’s a must if you are traveling with a family.

OnStar GM Canyon Denali

The OnStar built-in features are a touch away in the rear view mirrors. Photo credit: GMC.

The Teen Driver feature is a built-in system that helps encourage safe driving habits for new drivers. Essentially, it automatically activates certain available safety systems and allows parents to set limits on other features. An in-vehicle report card provides information on driving behavior to help parents to continue to coach their teens.

GM Canyon Denali

The Teen Driver Feature. Photo credit: GMC.

We loved our experience with the Canyon Denali and while we were given a vehicle to test out during our stay in Phoenix, all opinions expressed are entirely our own. We’d happily drive a Canyon Denali truck again and would love to explore more of their features on a future trip that calls for more driving.

For more information on GMC Trucks and the Canyon Denali, visit GMC’s website and their Trucks section.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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