It has almost been two years since GMC unveiled the Sierra AT4 at the 2018 New York Auto Show, and with it the AT4 trim package. It was at that time that the GMC said that every one of their models would be available with the off-road focused AT4 package, though two years later only the Sierra, Sierra HD, and Acadia models have gotten the treatment. It appears that GMC is now gearing up to fulfill this promise, after giving members of the press a sneak peak of the upcoming 2021 Canyon AT4 at an event in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
There isn’t much to see in the teaser shots though, other than they confirm a Canyon AT4 is on the way. The photos of the truck so far involve heavy camo, and are shown through a backup camera screen – a clever teaser, if we must say. Nonetheless, with the Canyon AT4 confirmed, we can begin to speculate how it will slot in the AT4 lineup.
Despite GMC pitching the AT4 trim as an off-road focused package, this isn’t the case on every model. The Acadia AT4 is little more than a mild appearance package if we’re honest, with some exterior styling tweaks and the addition of gloss-black 17-inch wheels. Despite this inconsistency, it is much more likely the 202 GMC Canyon AT4 will follow closer to its bigger Sierra AT4 stablemate.
The GMC Sierra AT4 is naturally four-wheel drive, with a two-speed transfer case and locking rear differential. Upgrades over a standard Sierra include a 2-inch suspension lift and Rancho shocks, as well a off-road tech like Hill Descent Control and GMC’s Traction Select System help to ease the experience. Skid plates are also standard kit on the AT4 trimmed pickups. Appearance upgrades come in the form of black chrome on the grille insert, fender trim, and the fog light surrounds. Dual red tow hooks sit low in the front fascia, while the once chrome grille surround, door handles, and bumpers are now finished in body color paint.
While all of those options sound like a good fit for the Canyon AT4, GMC already offers an All Terrain trim on the Canyon that includes an off-road suspension and a unique black grille center. In order to further differentiate the AT4 from other Canyons, GMC will likely have to borrow some bits from a GM sibling: the Chevrolet Colorado Trail Runner, née Trail Boss. That means Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires like those found on the mighty Colorado ZR2. Additionally on the Trail Runner are ZR2 skid plates and ZR2 rocker rails. We otherwise don’t expect the upcoming GMC Canyon AT4 to be as capable as the special Colorado ZR2, or the even more extreme ZR2 Bison, for that matter. It’s just not going to be the case.
The reintroduction of mid-size trucks has been welcomed by many truck enthusiasts, and the resulting off-road focused trucks only sweeten their return. General Motors nailed it with the Colorado ZR2, leaving us with high hopes for the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4.