Best & Worst GMC Canyon Years

We've ranked all GMC Canyon models for every generation so you can avoid picking the worst GMC Canyon years and pick the best GMC Canyon for you!

In this guide, I’ll break down all GMC Canyon generations, unveiling the best years for the GMC Canyon to buy and the worst Canyon years to avoid.

Our thorough analysis draws from many credible sources, including NHTSA safety data, Consumer Reports reliability scores, and Edmunds owner ratings, ensuring a well-rounded and reliable assessment.

Focused on helping you make an informed decision, this guide highlights key aspects like GMC Canyon’s performance, reliability, safety and tech, common problems, recalls, and resale prices.

Let’s dive right in!

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Table of ContentsShow

GMC Canyon Generations

The GMC Canyon, introduced in 2004, marked GMC’s foray into the midsize pickup truck market.

Its first model featured a blend of practicality and comfort, making it a competitive choice in its segment. The Canyon has evolved through various generations, bringing new features and improvements.

Below is a table showcasing all GMC Canyon generations from 2004:

1st Generation (GMT355)2004-2012
2nd Generation (GMT31XX)2015-2022
3rd Generation (GMT33XX-2)2023-Present

Understanding these generations is crucial as significant changes often occur, impacting everything from design to performance, which can be a key deciding factor for potential buyers.

GMC Canyon Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

In our assessment of the best, neutral, and worst years for the GMC Canyon, we take into account a multitude of factors, including:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

Up next is a graph that summarizes the ratings from the sources mentioned above.

GMC Canyon Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Following is a table categorizing each model year of the GMC Canyon into best, neutral, and worst years based on our extensive research:

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st Generation (GMT355)2007
2nd Generation (GMT31XX)2019
3rd Generation (GMT33XX-2)2023N/AN/A

“Neutral Years” typically represent a balance of qualities and drawbacks, making them reliable choices but not necessarily the best in the lineup.

Factors like NHTSA recalls negatively impact our categorizations. Higher numbers of complaints and recalls typically indicate lower reliability for a particular model year.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst years for each GMC Canyon generation.

Best & Worst Years for GMC Canyon 1st Generation (2004-2012)

GMC Canyon 1st generation 2004 model
The 2004 GMC Canyon

The first-generation GMC Canyon, launched in 2004, represented GMC’s entry into the compact pickup truck market. It was designed to offer both utility and comfort, with options suitable for various consumer needs.

The best years for the first-generation GMC Canyon to boy span between 2007 and 2012, while the worst years to avoid are 2004 and 2005.

The Best Years: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012

The first-gen GMC Canyon’s best years, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012, stand out for their reliability and enhanced features.

Engine options included the 2.9L I4, producing 185 hp, and the more robust 5.3L V8, offering 300 hp, catering to those seeking more power and towing capability.

Transmission choices were a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual, contributing to decent fuel efficiency (18 city/24 highway MPG for the 2.9L I4).

Trim levels ranged from the practical Work Truck to the well-appointed SLT.

These models also saw technological updates, including available OnStar services and a revised suspension system for improved ride quality.

Safety features were bolstered with the addition of standard side curtain airbags and StabiliTrak stability control systems in later years.

The Neutral Years: 2006, 2011

The 2006 and 2011 GMC Canyons were transitional years.

The 2006 model carried forward the earlier engine options, including the 175 hp 2.8L I4 and the 220 hp 3.5L I5, with similar transmission choices as the later models. Fuel economy remained competitive for the segment.

However, the 2006 GMC Canyon saw electrical issues. The 2011 GMC Canyon saw minor updates but was subject to recalls related to hood latch issues, potential rollaway risks, rear axle pin fractures, and inoperative windshields.

The Worst Years: 2004, 2005

With the highest number of owner-reported complaints and recalls, 2004 and 2005 are the worst GMC Canyon years to avoid in the first-generation lineup.

They faced significant problems like sub-frame corrosion, which impacted brake lines, steering and suspension, and electrical issues affecting the AC and ignition systems.

Also, these early models lacked the refinements in safety and technology that later years would introduce, making them less desirable for consumers seeking a dependable compact truck.

See NHTSA 2004, 2005 GMC Canyon recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for GMC Canyon 2nd Generation (2015-2022)

GMC Canyon 2nd generation 2015 model
The 2015 GMC Canyon

The second-generation GMC Canyon, introduced in 2015, focused on providing a more refined ride, better fuel efficiency, and advanced technology, positioning itself as a strong contender in the midsize pickup truck market.

2015 and 2015 are the worst GMC Canyon years to avoid, while the best years for the second-generation GMC Canyon to buy span between 2019 and 2022.

The Best Years: 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022

The second-gen GMC Canyon’s best model years, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, are celebrated for their reliability and feature-rich offerings.

The engine lineup included a 2.5L I4 with 200 hp, a 3.6L V6 offering 308 hp, and a 2.8L Duramax turbodiesel providing 181 hp with impressive torque.

These engines were paired with a 6-speed or an 8-speed automatic transmission, ensuring a smooth and responsive driving experience. Fuel efficiency peaked at about 20 city/30 highway MPG with the diesel engine.

Safety features were enhanced, including forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

Trim levels ranged from the practical base model to the luxurious Denali, offering advanced infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, and high-quality interior materials.

The Neutral Years: 2017, 2018

The 2017 and 2018 GMC Canyons were solid performers but didn’t feature the same level of refinement as the best years.

Engine options were similar, including the efficient 2.5L I4 and the powerful 3.6L V6.

These models continued to offer respectable fuel economy, with slight improvements in transmission technology for smoother operation.

Safety features like Teen Driver mode were introduced, allowing owners to set parameters for secondary drivers.

The infotainment system received updates, but these models lacked some of the more advanced technologies seen in later years.

The Worst Years: 2015, 2016

Which are the GMC Canyon years to avoid? 2015 and 2016 are the worst GMC Canyon years of the second generation, which are wise to avoid like the plague.

Key issues revolved around the powertrain, with reports of transmission problems, including rough shifting and shuddering, and steering, with owners reporting a loss of power steering assist.

The engine options were the same as in later years, but these initial models lacked the later refinements that improved performance and reliability.

Additionally, these years saw recalls related to brake fluid leaks and loss of power steering assist, raising concerns about overall vehicle safety.

See NHTSA 2015, 2016 GMC Canyon recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for GMC Canyon 3rd Generation (2023-Present)

GMC Canyon 3rd generation 2023 model
The 2023 GMC Canyon

The third-generation GMC Canyon, debuting in 2023, represents a significant leap forward in design, technology, and performance. This generation introduces various enhancements, making it a compelling choice in the midsize truck segment.

The Best Years: 2023

The 2023 GMC Canyon arrives with an array of impressive features. Under the hood, it boasts a turbocharged 2.7L I4 engine, delivering a robust 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque.

This powertrain is paired exclusively with an 8-speed automatic transmission, offering a balance of power and efficiency. Fuel economy stands out in its class, with the EPA estimating 18 city/23 highway MPG.

Trim levels range from the practical Elevation to the luxurious Denali, each offering distinct features and styling. The AT4 and AT4X trims cater to off-road enthusiasts with specialized equipment and rugged capabilities.

Four-wheel drive with a true low range is optional on the base Elevation trim and standard on the AT4, AT4X, and Denali trims.

Regarding safety, every 2023 Canyon is equipped with the GMC Pro Safety package, which includes a forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Technologically, the new Canyon stands out with an 8-inch (Elevation and AT4) or an 11-inch (Denali and AT4X) digital instrumentation panel and an 11.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and includes physical climate and audio settings controls.

The 2023 GMC Canyon sets a new standard for the model, promising to be a strong contender in its segment with its advanced features and capabilities.

GMC Canyon Resale Values

Explore the trends in GMC Canyon’s resale values across different years with this insightful graph.

GMC Canyon Average List Price


As we conclude our deep dive into the GMC Canyon, it’s clear that 2007-2010, 2012, and 2019-2022 year models stand out as the best years to buy, offering robust performance and reliability.

Conversely, the 2004, 2005, 2015, and 2016 models are the worst GMC Canyon years that potential buyers should avoid due to their listed issues.

Which of these models have you experienced, and how did they align with our findings?

Share your experiences in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.