Column: Size isn't everything and the 2023 Canyon Denali proves that

The 2023 GMC Canyon Denali carries itself with a substantial presence, boosted by a stock two-inch lift that is ready for off-road adventures. (Photo courtesy of GMC)
The 2023 GMC Canyon Denali carries itself with a substantial presence, boosted by a stock two-inch lift that is ready for off-road adventures. (Photo courtesy of GMC)

Truck enthusiasts are caught in a "size-matters" paradox with today's beefy pickups boasting spacious cabs while their beds seem to be on a shrinking spree, barely enough to toss in a toolbox.

This trend spans from the heavyweight haulers to their lighter companions, all sporting spacious cabs at the expense of bed breadth, leaving the hauling heavy lifting to their burly big brothers.

The new -- and fully redesigned -- 2023 GMC Canyon Denali is no different. In fact, it may have even had a "Hold my beer" and "Watch this" moment compared to simlilar trucks on the market currently with its five-foot bed that could barely haul two dogs with its limited space.

However, this should not deter potential buyers.

Looking at the truck from the outside, you might not immediately notice the smaller bed size. The vehicle carries itself with a substantial presence, boosted by a stock two-inch lift that is ready for off-road adventures. Yet it's when you step inside the Denali or peek under its hood that the truck truly begins to reveal its more refined qualities.

The interior of the Canyon Denali, which has a price tag of about $51,000, is where luxury meets utility. The seats are wrapped in premium leather that's been carefully stitched and adorned with embossed headrests, showing a level of sophistication one might not expect in a rugged vehicle.

The technological offerings are equally impressive, with a state-of-the-art infotainment system that includes an 8-inch diagonal touchscreen. The system is user-friendly, ensuring that even the most tech-averse drivers can enjoy the benefits of wireless charging and the crystal-clear sounds of a premium Bose audio system.

Visibility and the effectiveness of the air conditioning system are highlighted as positive aspects, suggesting that the overall driving experience is pleasant.

For those seated in the back, the reimagined design of the Canyon Denali seems to prioritize their comfort, offering additional amenities such as a center armrest complete with cupholders and dedicated rear air vents. It's clear that the design team has considered the comfort of all passengers, ensuring that whether you're on a short drive or a long haul, the journey will be a pleasure for everyone.

Under the hood lies a turbocharged 2.7-liter engine that serves up a satisfying mix of horsepower and torque. It's engineered to handle both towing and payload needs, boasting a towing capacity that reaches up to 7,700 pounds and a payload capacity that can handle up to 1,640 pounds. These figures place the Canyon Denali in a strong position within midsize trucks.

The pairing of the engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission that includes specialized braking algorithms is a nice touch for both control and stability.

The truck's eight-speed automatic transmission is fine-tuned with specialized braking algorithms that provide an added layer of control and stability, a thoughtful touch that will be appreciated in challenging driving conditions. Although the engine demonstrates significant power once you get around 30 mph, there's an unexpected lack of acceleration off the line, which might leave some drivers yearning for more immediate response from the turbocharged engine.

Safety features are abundant in the GMC Canyon Denali, underscoring the manufacturer's commitment to driver and passenger protection.

The suite of driver-assist features includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Park Assist. Further enhancing the safety package are Adaptive Cruise Control and a High Definition Rear Vision Camera, which offer peace of mind and bolster confidence across a variety of driving scenarios.

On the road, the Canyon Denali's advanced suspension system allows for a ride that's both composed and comfortable, effectively absorbing road imperfections and providing a sense of stability.

Off-road, the Denali trim demonstrates a surprising level of capability, armed with an automatic locking rear differential and hill descent control, which reveal that this truck is not merely a show pony but has genuine off-road chops.

The 2023 GMC Canyon Denali manages to straddle the line between luxury and labor.

It may come with a bed that's more boutique than barn-sized, but it compensates with a towing prowess and a Cargo Management System that ensure practicality is not just an afterthought.

The truck's well-appointed interior, cutting-edge technology, and robust safety features make it an attractive option for those who seek comfort and security on the road. Off the beaten path, the Denali proves its mettle with off-road capabilities that are as surprising as they are reliable.

So, despite its compact cargo space, the Canyon Denali positions itself as a versatile midsize truck that's ready to meet the diverse needs of modern drivers, blending the plushness of a premium SUV with the muscle of a traditional pickup.

photo The interior of the 2023 GMC Canyon Denali is where luxury meets utility. The seats are wrapped in premium leather that's been carefully stitched and adorned with embossed headrests, showing a level of sophistication one might not expect in a rugged vehicle. (Photo courtesy of GMC)

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