The new 2021 GMC Canyon and 2021 Chevy Colorado are two good options if you are looking for a quality midsize pickup. You can hardly go wrong with the latest GMC Canyon, but it is also hard to dismiss the 2021 Chevy Colorado. Both of these midsize trucks are manufactured by General Motors. Read on to know how the 2021 Chevy Colorado stacks up to the 2021 GMC Canyon so you can decide better which between the two fits your needs and wants. But first, here’s a brief overview of the two:
The 2021 GMC Canyon is basically the more elegant version of the Chevy Colorado. These midsize pickup trucks are widely popular, but they’re now facing bigger competition like the Jeep Gladiator and Ford Ranger. GMC gives you the option to have the Canyon covered in chrome and fitted with fancy features like heated and cooled seats. There are also three types of engines to choose from including a strong V-6 and a torque-rich diesel four-cylinder. Unexpectedly, the Canyon offers a sophisticated ride and sporty handling for a truck that is not crossover-based. For this reason, it can mimic full-size pickups like the GMC Sierra through its tremendous hauling and towing capabilities.
The 2021 Chevy Colorado is GMC Canyon’s corporate sibling. The Colorado offers practicality and broad capabilities for daily use. It also has considerable towing and payload ratings. It is also much easier to maneuver than its full-size offspring. The Colorado comes in three different engines to choose from which includes a stump-pulling diesel four-cylinder and an unexpectedly quick V-6 engine. The downside of this midsize pickup is mainly found in its interior that has cheap plastic materials and a small backseat. Nonetheless, it boasts of pleasant driving experience and athletic handling. It comes with a modern infotainment system but it is lacking in modern driver-assistance features. Overall, the 2021 Colorado has enough to offer to many pickup shoppers, but it may not be enough to draw the attention of a larger market.
Is a GMC Canyon the same as a Chevy Colorado?
As mentioned previously, the two are corporate siblings. The GMC Canyon and the Chevy Colorado are virtually the same. The two are largely identical underneath and are both made by GM. They mainly differ in styling with the Canyon having a much more rugged style with its big grille and headlights (but is more glamorous than the other), and the Colorado having Chevy’s iconic bowtie.
Which is better: Chevy Colorado or GMC Canyon?
To find out which is better, let’s take a closer look on how each does in the different categories:
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2021 Colorado has a powertrain that caters to just about anyone: a speedy 308 horsepower V-6 mated with an eight-speed automatic, a base cylinder with a six-speed automatic transmission, and a 2.8-L four-cylinder that produces an astonishing 369 lb-ft of torque. Both the V6 and diesel perform impressively, but the base 2.5-L four-cylinder performs weakly. The diesel’s true strength lies in its maximum towing capability, fuel economy and backcountry trekking.
The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the least recommended among the three engine options of the Canyon. Higher trims feature a standard 308-horsepower 3.6-L V-6 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The diesel four-cylinder prioritizes fuel economy and towing proficiency which in turn sacrifices speed. Many are surprised with the Canyon’s polished engine. But that feature will make you spend more money. While the GMC Canyon’s ride quality is nothing extraordinary for its class, it is able to successfully strike a balance between firm and soft damping. It’s a very capable pickup truck on rough roads and can absorb most imperfections. The AT4 trim should level up the pickup’s off-road capability even more with its upgraded suspension. The Canyon has a desirable stability and is relaxed at highway speeds. When driving around town, its agility and smaller dimensions need less driver attention in traffic. Its brake pedal also gives responsive feedback.
Towing and Payload Capacity
The Trailering Equipment package will unlock the Chevy Colorado’s maximum capacity of 7,000 pounds with the V6 engine and 7,700 with the diesel. The base trim with the four-cylinder engine can tow 3,500 pounds. Trailer-sway control feature comes standard on all Colorado trims. This feature applies the brakes of both the truck and trailer when the system detects the latter is swaying excessively.
The base trim of the Canyon with the four-cylinder has the same towing capacity of the base Colorado at 3,500 pounds towing capacity. The diesel engine has a towing capacity of 7,700 and a payload capacity of 1,605 pounds.
The unimpressive four-cylinder gets EPA ratings of up to 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, while the all-wheel-drive V-6 engine gets 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The Colorado’s most efficient powertrain is the rear-drive diesel having EPA ratings of 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
The gas-powered four-cylinder earns EPA ratings of up to 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive version reduces its highway rating by 1 mpg. The V-6 engine mated with rear-wheel drive will earn EPA ratings of 18 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. The diesel RWD model is expected to earn 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway and the AWD version is expected to get 19/28 mpg city/high, if it is similar to its 2020 model.
Interior and Cargo
You would instantly love Colorado's spacious cockpit. However, fitting more than two people in the available crew cab’s back will be tight and the interior materials look cheap. A deep center-console bin and a large compartment beneath the crew cab’s rear seat offer a fair amount of cabin storage. The Chevy Colorado’s 41-cubic-foot for short bed and 50-cubic-foot its long bed dwarf the Honda Ridgeline’s max of 34 cubes. The Colorado also enjoys a maximum cargo capacity of 49.9 cubic feet.
The Canyon’s interior design may not be that flashy but is highly functional. It comes with an upright instrument panel layout and easy to reach and read controls, though a jumbo shifter does not work to the center console’s advantage. Plastic toggle switches for accessory equipment on the center stack are accessible and handy, but they look cheap in upper trim levels. This is where the major complaint about the Canyon’s interior lies, especially in the Denali trim. Many find it unable to provide a premium environment experience. The front seat is spacious, but you would want more legroom on the back seat. The elevated rear-seating position enhances comfort, but three adults will feel squished on long travels. The Canyon may not provide as much room for carrying suitcases inside the cab, but it comes with the most cargo-bed volume and considerably more space for smaller items than its competitors. Its multiple door pockets, deep center-console bin, and other miscellaneous storage areas throughout the cabin offer refuge for an assortment of loose items. There’s a large plastic bin below the underseat (only on the crew cab) to accommodate larger items.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Chevy Colorado offers generous infotainment features with its Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premium system, two intuitive touchscreens and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The base trim now comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth audio streaming for 2 devices and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability: all other trims have an 8.0-inch display, having attractive menus and responsive touch functions.
The Canyon’s touchscreen infotainment system is intuitive and appealing, having standard features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The screen is user-friendly with rubberized knobs for volume tuning and redundant hard buttons for fast operation. The SLE trim and up comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with a 4G LTE mobile hotspot. The Denali comes with an exclusive wireless charging pad and the Bose premium audio system comes standard.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon
Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration haven’t conducted crash testing on the 2021 Chevy Colorado and 2021 GMC Canyon. The Colorado is lacking when it comes to driver-assistance features. Its key safety features include available rear parking sensor, forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning (which are the same with the 2021 GMC Canyon). If you are looking for more driver-assistance technology features, the GMC Canyon is also not a good option.
Both of these midsize pickup trucks have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front side-impact airbags, plastic fuel tanks, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic stability systems to avoid skidding, traction control, rearview cameras, daytime running lights and available all-wheel drive.
The GMC Canyon does better than its corporate sibling when it comes to fatality history, having an 8.8 percent lower per vehicle than the Colorado.
There is no clear winner in the battle between these two trucks, perhaps, owing to the fact that they are virtually the same underneath. You cannot go wrong with either of the two in terms of capability, though the Canyon AT4 does sport slightly more athletic offroad tires than its Colorado Z71 counterpart.
When it comes to styling, the better option would largely depend on one’s taste though many might prefer the GMC Canyon than the Chevy Colorado. The latter sports a new face for 2021 and a revised lower fascia. Both midsize trucks come with new fog light surrounds and a chin spoiler. If you are a fan of GMC, you will notice a bigger grille to more closely resemble its bigger siblings such as the Sierra 1500. This AT4 model is now a mainstay across the entire GMC lineup, replacing the “All-Terrain”. Both of these midsize pickup trucks are four-wheel drive that have an automatic (non-selectable) locking rear-differential.
In the interior, the 2021 Colorado and the 2021 Canyon are fairly similar. One notable difference though is the “AT4” embroidered into the headrest of the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4. In terms of infotainment and general usability, and 4WD controls, both will provide the same experience.
Is GMC cheaper than Chevy?
The 2021 Chevy Colorado’s lowest trim is slightly cheaper than the 2021 GMC Canyon lowest trim. The Colorado’s price starts at $26,395 while the new Canyon’s price starts at $27,595.
2021 Chevy Colorado Prices
- Work Truck – $26,395
- LT – $28,895
- Z71 – $34,995
- ZR2 – $42,795
2021 GMC Canyon Prices
- Elevation – $27,595
- Elevation Standard – 31,195
- AT4 – $39,395
- Denali – $42,095
You must have known by now how the 2021 Chevy Colorado stacks up to the 2021 GMC Canyon. It stacks up pretty nicely. Both vehicles handle better than most trucks and have impressive capabilities. The most noticeable highs of the GMC canyon is its powerful V-6 and torquey diesel engines, provides better riding and driving experience than most rivals, and it looks grander than its corporate sibling, the 2021 Chevy Colorado. However, its top-of-the line trim, Denali, fails to deliver the luxury you would expect in a premium trim and it has a weak base engine.
Both GM trucks also lack desirable driver assistant technologies. The Colorado also receives negative feedback on its low quality interior and lackluster inline-four powertrain. Nonetheless, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 is a hugely capable midsize truck and you will love how it provides a comfortable driving position. If you go for a 2021 GMC Canyon, many recommend picking the AT4 model which is a posher alternative to the Chevy Colorado ZR2. If you want to have a better off-roading performance, get the Off-Road Performance Edition that adds a few more off-road-focused features to make your Canyon tougher. One of the main features is a factory-installed suspension-leveling kit.