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)
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.
And, there’s a large center console which offers great storage, which is a major plus for us.
The dashboard offers a number of things, such as the time of day, outside temperature, music and listening, among others.
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.
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.
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 OnStar, which 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.
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.
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.