This truck was purchased for many reasons. We are remodeling the house, so we've been making many trips to the dump and Lowes. The Volvo 940 sedan we have is worthless for this type of job, but has been a great commuter car nonetheless. My Tracer wagon has come in handy several times, but its small size limits what we can carry, although it has carried patio furniture, bags of mulch, an outdoor BBQ grill, and a dining room serving buffet. A small pickup truck was what we really needed though. Something that could do the hauling and towing, but without costing a fortune to fuel.
Originally we were looking at compact 4cyl. and V6 pickups around 5yrs. old, like the Chevy S-10, Ford Ranger, and Nissan Frontier. The Frontier was what we REALLY wanted, but they were simply too expensive used. The Ranger I've had some experience with before and was very wary of their automatic transmission. The S-10 seemed like a nice balance, but the 4cyl. was far too weak, the V6 seemed like overkill at 4.3L (and a gas guzzler), besides having the worst safety of the bunch.
Then I stumbled upon a brand-new leftover '07 GMC Canyon listed for sale on Ebay locally for basically the same price as all the 5yr. old used trucks we had been looking at. The price was so low it seemed too good to be true, but we went to check it out anyway.
Turns out it wasn't too good to be true! The low advertised price was correct and not an issue of "bait and switch" as I was fearing. The dealership had been sitting on it for several months as a leftover model and just wanted to push it, so they dropped the price very low. Even though we weren't in the market for a brand-new truck, how could we pass up this one considering it was around the same price as all the 5yr. old used trucks we had looked at? It was a no-brainer. What made it such a great situation, beside the price, was that it was the ideal truck for our needs. It's a basic 4x2 SL model with automatic, the optional 5cyl. engine, A/C, tilt wheel, and cruise control. EXACTLY what we wanted and needed! So of course the truck went home with us that day.
I hate to comment too much about the truck since we've only had it 2 days, but I will say what I definitely like and don't like about it at this point.
- The 5cyl. has ample power with 242hp and 242lb-ft of torque. It doesn't even have to try to go. It just goes.
- The transmission shifts silky smooth while accelerating, but I have already noticed it abruptly clunks into a higher gear if the truck gains speed while coasting downhill at low speeds. It kind of felt like a mis-shift and made me a little nervous being that it's brand new. Probably just new car owner paranoia. Otherwise it's a super-smooth shifting unit.
- The interior is the roomiest of all the small trucks we test drove. I really love the modern, straight-forward and simple interior design. It is a million times better than the S-10 we test drove, which was obnoxiously curvy with a dashboard so large and protruding that it felt like we were wearing the dashboard on our laps. The Ranger's 13 year old curvy interior design looks very dated compared to that of the Canyon. I also love the LARGE speedo and tach that light up bright white with orange needles. I've always been a fan of huge white-lit gauges. They just appeal to me for some reason.
- The exterior seems to be an acquired taste. Some love it. Some hate it. My Dad thinks it's hideous. I love it! It's very unique. Something you don't see much of these days in automotive design. The chiseled creases in the rear fenders look great along with the tail lights. I also like how thought was put into the headlight design. They are mounted unusually low, which helps reduce blinding oncoming traffic. Something trucks are terrible for.
- The ride is typical truck-firm. It rides similar to the Ranger, but slightly softer. It has that same stiff bounciness to it like the Ranger though. That I could live without.
- The brakes are a little spongy, which seems to be the norm with most American vehicles, but it isn't horrible. The brakes grab consistently with increased pedal pressure and work very strongly with the ABS.
- The steering is pretty good for a truck. Not quite as firm as that found in the Ranger, but response seems equivalent. It's a huge improvement over the loose feeling steering on the S-10 and I generally like it.
- Interior quality is light-years ahead of the S-10, but maybe on-par with the Ranger. It generally looks good, but there are some minor fit/finish issues. The hazard light button looks and feels like it's made of styrofoam, although I'm sure it's plastic. The silver trim is a nice touch to jazz up what might otherwise be a bland interior.
- Paint quality appears to be top-notch. No orange peel effect anywhere, which seems to be very common on a lot of new vehicles, even of more expensive brands.
So far we're loving this truck and very happy to have picked it over the Ranger or S-10. The Canyon is the best package of safety, power, fuel economy, and modern design.
I'll update this review with more info on fuel economy, comfort, reliability, etc, when we have more experience with it.