2015 GMC Canyon: European refinement mated to an unabashedly American truck

If you’re anything like me, you’ve a soft spot for trucks. While I love trucks, I don’t live a lifestyle that really requires a full-size pickup. I move things from time to time, like Motorcycles or drum kits. Those things, though, don’t require a 26,000-pound towing capacity or the need for a large, fuel-thirsty V8.

And mid-size trucks in this country have slowly gone the way of the polar bear, relegated to memories past. That’s all about to change, though.

Late last year, Chevrolet unveiled its all-new Colorado mid-size pickup. Now GMC – Chevy’s luxury cousin – has followed suit with the slightly more upscale Canyon pickup, filling out its three model truck range.

Unveiled today at the 2014 Detroit Auto show, the Canyon, as you might have been able to guess from the photos, and, well, GM’s history, is a rebadged Colorado with some nicer kit and a new front end. This doesn’t mean that it’s not equally exciting.

Just like the Colorado, the Canyon will be offered with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder estimated at 193 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. From there, customers can step up to the 3.6-liter V6 producing 302 horsepower and 270 lb-ft. Lastly, and certainly most intriguing, is the new (to us) 2.8-liter turbocharged diesel engine that will be hitting showrooms in 2016. As one might expect, the Canyon will be offered in two- and four-wheel drive.

Where the Canyon gets interesting, though, is in its well-appointed cabin. GMC has gone all-out and loaded the Canyon with all the tech goodies we’d expect from a brand like Audi.

Here’s a list of some of the tech options fitted to the 2015 GMC Canyon: Eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen and multiple USB ports; OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hot spot; Next-generation OnStar and IntelliLink enhancements with gesture recognition and natural language voice recognition; Siri Eyes Free Mode for iPhone users; Teen Driver feature; and GMC AppShop.

Most of these are fairly self-explanatory. What might not sound familiar is the Teen Driver feature and the AppShop.

The Teen Driver feature “allows parents to set a radio volume limit, establish a speed warning set between 40 and 70 mph, and set a speed limiter. It also automatically mutes the radio when the driver or front passenger safety belt is not fastened and a “report card” that records mileage, wide-open throttle events, ABS events, maximum speed and other data. The custom features are locked by a PIN, which is set by the parent.”

As for the AppShop, it “allows customers to download apps directly to their IntelliLink system and organize, update or delete them throughout the life of the vehicle. Available apps will connect drivers to music, news, weather, travel information, vehicle data and more.”

I for one am quite excited that GM has given new, tech-savvy life to the mid-size pickup truck and loaded it with all the stuff I used to shake my fists at the Europeans for getting, including a turbo diesel and actual, usable infotainment.

I’ll reserve my final judgments until I drive the Canyon. But I suspect if it’s half as good as it’s big brother the GMC Sierra, I’ll be rather smitten.

First-look video

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