Discover the Used GMC Canyon Years to Avoid and Best Canyon Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you in the market for a pre-owned, but very reliable and capable mid-size pickup truck?

A used GMC Canyon might just be the perfect choice for you.

But not all model years are created equal. Some years are plagued with issues like engine misfires, transmission troubles, and torque converter malfunctions.

Don’t let these problems derail your purchase and cost you a fortune in repairs. The 2015 and 2016 models are particularly problematic, and even the 2021 model scored low in owner satisfaction and reliability.

But fear not! We’ve done the research for you and compiled a comprehensive guide to help you avoid the pitfalls of buying a used GMC Canyon. So buckle up and get ready to find your perfect ride!

GMC Canyon Years to Avoid

History of GMC Canyon

The GMC Canyon is a popular mid-size pickup truck manufactured by General Motors.

This truck was introduced in 2004 to replace the GMC Sonoma and shares many similarities with its sibling, the Chevrolet Colorado most reliable models.

Over the years, the Canyon has gone through several changes and improvements to cater to the evolving needs of its audience.

In its early years, the GMC Canyon faced a few challenges. The first-generation models, specifically the 2004 and 2005 model years, received numerous driver complaints, mainly due to struggles with their 4-speed automatic transmission.

In 2015, the GMC Canyon’s second generation was launched, featuring a complete redesign and improved features. The truck now offered more modern technology options and enhanced safety features.

Here Are The Worst Canyon Years to Avoid

2005 Model Issues

In the early years of the GMC Canyon, the 2005 model had a few notable issues that you should be aware of. This model faced problems mainly with the:

  • Transmission
  • Engine
  • Electrical system

Take note that these issues were common in the 2004 model as well.

2015 Model Complaints

The 2015 GMC Canyon has been reported to be one of the most problematic years for this truck. The primary issues reported in the 2015 model include:

  • Transmission problems
  • Stalling and poor acceleration

Many owners filed complaints regarding these problems, which led to multiple recalls. This makes the 2015 model a year you should avoid when shopping for a used GMC Canyon.

2016 Model Problems

The 2016 GMC Canyon also faced significant problems similar to the 2015 model year. The primary issues with the 2016 model involve the following:

  • Transmission malfunctions
  • Engine problems

As a result, this model year has received a relatively high number of complaints and bad reviews. When looking for a used GMC Canyon, it’s worth considering skipping the 2016 year as well.

Redesign Years

There were a couple of redesign years for the GMC Canyon. The second-generation GMC Canyon began in 2015 and brought some new issues.

Though the 2015 and 2016 models were known to experience the most problems, the 2018 model also had its fair share of concerns. In summary:

  • 2015 Model: Transmission and stalling issues,
  • 2016 Model: Transmission and engine problems,
  • 2018 Model: A few complaints, but not as severe as the previous two years

It’s essential to be cautious when looking into these particular redesign years, making sure to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before your purchase.

Some Important Common Problems

Engine and Transmission Issues

Some models, particularly the 2015 and 2016 versions, have been reported to experience major transmission problems. These may include:

  • Not shifting correctly
  • Moves in park
  • 4WD stuck in low
  • Transmission failure

Additionally, you might experience problems such as shuddering, shifting issues, rough idling, or harsh shifting.

Checking your vehicle with a trusted mechanic before purchase can help you avoid experiencing these issues.

Electrical Problems

Electrical issues can also plague some GMC Canyon models. Common problems reported by owners include battery dying unexpectedly and, in some rare cases, electrical components catching fire.

Suspension and Steering

Your GMC Canyon’s suspension and steering systems play a major role in providing a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience.

However, several models have been reported to experience suspension and steering problems, most notably the 2015 model with frequent power steering issues.

Some common suspension and steering problems that may arise include:

  • Worn or damaged suspension components
  • Power steering failure
  • Steering issues making it difficult to control the vehicle

To mitigate the risk of encountering these problems, it’s crucial to have your prospective GMC Canyon inspected thoroughly by a mechanic before making a purchase.

Reliability and Safety

Certain model years stand out as being less reliable and safety issues, so it’s helpful to know which ones to avoid.

In general, the GMC Canyon is a reliable pickup truck, but the 2015 to 2018 models have various performance issues that warrant caution. Here are the years that you should avoid:

  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

While the 2007 and 2008 models barely made this list, they still might be reasonable options if you need an older GMC Canyon.

However, it’s best to have the truck inspected by a mechanic before purchasing, to avoid any expensive repairs down the road.

In terms of safety, GMC Canyons, like their Chevy Colorado counterparts, are generally considered safe vehicles.

However, some years have better safety ratings than others. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) evaluates vehicles’ crashworthiness, including the GMC Canyon.

Notably, the 2021 GMC Canyon, one of the newest models, has rock-bottom scores for both owner satisfaction and reliability. Despite these low scores, the NHTSA gave the 2021 Canyon mostly four and five-star ratings in their crash tests.

When examining the GMC Canyon’s reliability and safety, it’s wise to consider the specific complaints and repairs needed for each model year. Investigate common issues like engine misfires, transmission problems, and torque converter concerns.

Lastly, don’t forget that regular servicing and maintenance can significantly impact your truck’s reliability and longevity. A properly cared-for Canyon can easily last over 200,000 miles. Happy truck shopping!

The GMC Canyon Best Years

Let’s take a look at some of the best GMC Canyon years to consider.

2009 GMC Canyon

The 2009 GMC Canyon is a solid choice if you’re looking for a reliable and dependable truck. This year is known for having fewer issues compared to other model years, and it is praised for its reliability.

With a 2009 model, you can expect smooth driving and fewer worries about potential maintenance problems.

2012 GMC Canyon

Another fantastic year to consider is the 2012 GMC Canyon. This model year boasts improved reliability compared to earlier years, and it provides impressive performance.

With a 2012 GMC Canyon, you’ll enjoy a high-quality driving experience while knowing you have a reliable truck.

2013 GMC Canyon

The 2013 GMC Canyon is also a reliable and trustworthy choice for your next truck. This model year has proven to be dependable, with fewer reported issues and a higher reputation for longevity.

If you decide on a 2013 Canyon, you can rest assured that you’re getting a reliable truck that will serve you well.

2014 GMC Canyon

Lastly, the 2014 GMC Canyon is another excellent year to choose when purchasing a used Canyon.

With improved reliability and performance, the 2014 model solidifies itself as a top choice among the best GMC Canyon years.

You’ll enjoy a smooth and trouble-free driving experience when opting for this model year.

Performance and Interior

Notice that the 2015 to 2018 GMC Canyon years are associated with various performance issues.

Specifically, the 2015 and 2016 model years are known to have major transmission problems, affecting their overall reliability. The issues include excessive oil consumption, automatic transmission problems, and misfires.

Be cautious with engine options. Some models have a four-cylinder engine, while others offer a V6.

While the V6 offers more towing capacity, the four-cylinder engine may be more fuel-efficient. Knowing your needs will help you make the right choice.

When it comes to towing capacity, depending on the engine you choose, the GMC Canyon can tow between 3,500 and 7,000 pounds. Ensure you understand your towing needs to select the best engine option.

Shifting our focus to the interior, comfort is essential in any vehicle, especially when using it for work or long journeys.

Ensure the GMC Canyon’s seats and cabin offer you the necessary level of comfort. Check the upholstery, material quality, and overall ergonomics of the vehicle’s design.

Trim Levels and Options

As a midsize pickup truck, the GMC Canyon offers various trim levels for you to choose from.

You have the freedom to pick from an assortment of colors and interior accessories. In this section, you’ll learn more about the different options so you can make a well-informed choice.

To begin with, let’s explore the trim levels available in recent model years:

  • SL: This is the base trim, designed for functionality and value, offering a basic setup with essential features.
  • Canyon: The Canyon trim provides added features such as a touchscreen infotainment system and backup camera.
  • SLE: As a step up from the Canyon trim, the SLE offers more convenience, with features like automatic climate control and remote entry.
  • All Terrain: This off-road-oriented trim features rugged styling and a robust suspension for a more adventurous experience
  • SLT: The SLT is a luxury-focused trim with leather upholstery, heated seats, and more advanced safety features.
  • Denali: The top-of-the-line Denali trim boasts premium features like a heated steering wheel, navigation, and an upgraded infotainment system.

Each trim level comes with a range of interior accessories and entertainment systems, including:

  • Touchscreen infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Premium Bose sound systems
  • Heated front seats

Consumer Reports and Reviews

The Consumer Reports, a reputable source for car reviews, has rated the GMC Canyon throughout the years.

Another valuable platform is Car Complaints, where you can find information about specific issues reported by owners of various GMC Canyon models, including the 2017 and 2018 ones. This resource can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of potential problems and repairs.

U.S. News & World Report is another credible source that ranks the 2021 GMC Canyon. They provide detailed information about its performance, safety, and predicted reliability.

Their rating system includes a score for owner satisfaction, which can help you gauge how pleased drivers are with their purchase.

To summarize, when evaluating which GMC Canyon years to avoid or consider, remember to:

  • Review Consumer Reports ratings for overall performance and reliability.
  • Check for reported issues on Car Complaints.
  • Evaluate owner satisfaction scores from U.S. News & World Report.


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