By Ronan Glon
Monday, Jan 13th, 2014 @ 1:55 am

Closely related to the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado that was introduced in Los Angeles last November, the GMC Canyon shows that General Motors has gone to great lengths to differentiate the two from a visual standpoint. While the Colorado boasts a rugged appearance, the Canyon wears more elegant lines and resembles a scaled-down Sierra thanks to a three-slat chromed radiator grille, a rippled hood made out of aluminum, square headlamps, pronounced wheel arches on all four corners and a CornerStep rear bumper.

The lineup includes an extended cab model with a six-foot bed, a crew cab model with a five-foot bed and a crew cab model with a six-foot bed. Each body style is offered in SLE and SLT trim levels, and SLE buyers can select an All-Terrain package that adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a body-colored grille surround and an upgraded suspension.

Only minor details such as trim pieces and material colors differentiate the Canyon from its Chevrolet-badged sibling. The truck is equipped with a four-spoke multi-function steering wheel, an instrument cluster with large, easy-to-read gauges and a 3.4-inch driver information screen, an eight-inch touch screen mounted on the center stack and a full center console.

Decidedly more high-tech than its predecessor, the Canyon can be ordered with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and a host of electronic driving aids including GM's Forward Collision Alert and Lane Depature Warning systems. All models regardless of trim level come standard with a rear-view camera and six airbags.

GM's midsizers are identical under the hood, meaning that Canyon buyers can choose from a 193-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 302-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 mill. The latter engine enables the Canyon to tow at least 6,700 pounds when properly equipped, and both mills feature direct fuel-injection, jet-spray piston cooling and dual overhead cams.

GMC has confirmed a Duramax 2.8-liter turbodiesel four will be available at an extra cost later in the production run. Power and fuel economy figures have not been published yet.

Both rear- and all-wheel drive variants are available. Base extended-cab models equipped with two-wheel drive and the 2.5-liter mill are offered with a six-speed manual transmission while better-equipped, higher-volume variants only come with a six-speed automatic unit.

The Canyon will land in GMC showrooms next fall as a 2015 model. Pricing information will be unveiled closer to its on-sale date, but a small premium over the Chevy version is expected.

Live images by Mark Elias.