As a competitor for GMC at Madden Bowl XXI this last weekend I had the chance to drive the GMC Canyon during my stay in Phoenix, this isn't a total review but a bit of a diary of experiences with the Canyon over the 5 days we (my guest and I) had with it.

*Full disclosure: VeGiTAX2 was a competitor representing GMC at Madden Bowl XXI in Phoenix.

First Glance

We came across our SLE 4WD after arriving by plane, the Quicksilver Metallic finish stood out in a line of new and used cars in the lot. It catches light and stands out with a crisp finish, the metallic flake balances with the paint to catch the eye without being overkill, many silver finishes often fall on the flat side, creating a dull appearance that feels lackluster. While many cars are doing this more, trucks don't always get the same treatment, GMC put a solid blend in on this color to really catch the eyes.



Once loaded up with luggage in the crew cab to prevent any rain from reaching the luggage we were on the move, the dash immediately boots up as the driver enters the car, allowing the nav / user interface to run post with enough time before they pull out of the car. It's a good consideration to those on the go as the system is ready before the driver is on the move. Features like the backup camera engage automatically by response to the transmission choice, the moment reverse engages it kicks on with guidance pattern to help new drivers understand if they're on the right angle to get out. As a new driver to the Canyon it was a nice help, the radius adjusting on the fly in response to my wheel angles.

Power

Once we were on the move it was easy to feel the power of the 3.5L V6, it packs 305hp with 269lb-ft of torque and has no problem picking up the pace as needed, getting on the freeway it rolled on the power quickly to the drivetrain, the key of course is the same with any manual to apply the acceleration equally. For those who might be heavier on the gas, the manual mode also allows for more control by letting drivers wind out the gears to their desire vs having the automatic try to catch the proper gear to match the acceleration profile.



Personally I enjoyed both options, not for power purposes but to feel a closer level of control while cruising as someone coming from manual cars. It's not about winding out gears but just being able to feel things out while enjoying the ride, after a long day though it's nice to slip into drive mode and leave that up to the automatic to handle. When taking things off on the trail it's certainly understandable that drivers would want more control of their car also and this completely plays to that area.

Control

It poured the first few days in Phoenix, while it was fun driving in RWD mode, the interest was putting that All Terrain feature to use, slipping into automatic 4WD mode allowed the Canyon to use best judgement while traveling over wet and puddled surfaces. While running on gravel and pavement we hit many scenarios but regardless the Canyon kept traction on without slip. Regardless of higher speeds on the freeways with sections of flooded underpasses on a fresh first rain or on gravel roads and dirt sucking up water and making puddles the Canyon handled the terrain without issue and in total comfort.



With a smooth ride and stable response the key was the steering using the upgrade packages for the all-terrain mode. Luckily the Canyon demonstrated smooth control, fairly generous turn radius and strong grip around the long bends without a lean. Those who get used to the dimensions fast will have no issues in parking lots or tight spaces, the steering response is quick for a higher profile vehicle without having a large dead zone or too much play in the wheel. Even with the electric steering the car still translates the road to the driver without feeling dead or clouded.

With smooth control and ride the Canyon of course finishes rounding out the package with a braking kit that allows for smooth speed reduction and quick response in tight moments. While we didn't push the truck into extreme braking we did have our share of stop and go not just in commuter traffic but in high pedestrian areas and wet weather which tested the response over the days.

Sound

While the Bose audio system within the SLE is very enjoyable, the feature of the GMC Canyon is the cabin sound or really, the lack of sound. The truck minimizes road noise to allow for a smooth ride experience, instead of hearing every element of the road and nature in the drive there's a quiet experience that allows for passengers and the driver to talk, enjoy the scenery, use the hands free system or the radio. It's a genuinely welcome experience for those coming from older models or other brands that have heavier cabin noise that catch winds and rough pavement sounds.



The audio system in the Canyon allows for multiple levels of compatibility, aside from the radio, it allows for XM reception and bluetooth connectivity for media sync. The sound is rich and smooth even at higher volume levels without distortion. The combination brings a rich sound field with nice bass and welcoming midrange, the higher range does suffer somewhat but a bit of tuning with the head unit can fix that.

Interior

One of the big features of the GMC line is the Professional Grade quality, as such stitched leather throughout the cabin welcomes drivers and passengers in the SLE, it's a comfortable seating zone for the driver while the passengers can enjoy the stitched leather and metal accents throughout the truck interior and take in the features of USB charging, WiFi hotspot and bluetooth connectivity to share music and heighten the experience while riding along.

During the ride it was pure comfort, the electric seats allowed for quick adjustment depending on the time of day and level of traffic with materials that ensured a comfortable ride during the journey. Despite any rougher bumps or terrain, none of managed to really translate to the seating itself.





For many it's easy to claim a top quality interior experience but it's always clear at some point where the plastic or the vinyl comes into play at just the wrong point. In the case of the Canyon these elements exist when needed (who would really have a leather wrapped 12v port?) and they're carefully used to keep up the design goals.

Overall

Our Canyon drive was a positive one, with over 400 miles put on in mixed freeway and street driving we didn't even go through a whole tank. With a V6 pushing 305hp and variable driving through the experience it was very enjoyable having power and fuel economy on our side. The Canyon provided a smooth ride in multiple driving conditions and a comfortable experience through not only the seating but the low noise cabin and responsive climate control and automated 4WD and even lighting system.

After being in other class competitors like the Frontier and Tacoma I can say it's a very different feel in the Canyon, the ride is stiff enough for off-road but not so much that it's jarring to the ride, it takes the hits and works hard to make sure everyone has the best ride possible. For those looking to find a truck that delivers comfort and functionality the Canyon has the best of both worlds, a comfortable interior for the family and a functional design and power to take on bigger workloads.


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The Los Angeles Auto Show is in full swing this weekend, and while there are a ton of cool cars to check out and admire, there was another story to see during the show.

Note: This was originally published on GameGrep by me, please support original articles there.

The Los Angeles Auto Show is in full swing this weekend, and while there are a ton of cool cars to check out and admire, there was another story to see during the show. Chevrolet unveiled the Chaparral 2X Vision to the world, taking on the Gran Turismo challenge of creating a car of tomorrow that defies the norm, that dares to dream outside of the boxes while using real technologies in development or in research.

Instead of just doing a digital launch, Chevrolet opted to create the Chaparral to the best of their abilities with the materials they opted to assign to the car in game and kept that in mind during development. While talking with Clay Dean of the Advanced Design Studio on this project, there was an air of adventure for the project, looking at the past not for inspirations but for what made motorsports so exciting, the result was the Can-Am series, what was essentially a formula unlimited class of the truest form.



That format, that passion and creativity was what stood as the base of the Chaparral 2X Vision, from the body to the engine and seating position, the whole car was outside of any box that was really known before. Design choices like placing the driver in a MotoGP style position, using a laser firing turbine engine that's being researched by NASA and creating a body with extreme aerodynamics allowing the car to reach and maintain speeds at 293 mph or higher and allowing for cornering.



Speed was an obvious goal of the project but this wasn't just a sled racer, the teams took into account all of the aerodynamics to ensure the car could turn and that functionality remained. The drivers position tucks down in the front and compromises the larger field of vision but the team incorporated the use of integrated side and rear cameras into the driver UI / cluster to present video immediately within sight while driving at these high speeds. No head turning just a whip of the eyes while at full throttle.



Everything about the Chaparral strives to maintain the pedigree of the brand while also bridging new space with the GM team. While a crazy HP engine might possibly reach that same speed, the way it accelerates, the ability it has to maintain it and the consistency are unlike any other car. GM had the Chaparral 2X Vision on demo after the reveal and after multiple turns on the demo station I can say it's not something you can associate to any other motoring experience. Even if you drive jet cars at Bonneville for a living the handling and function and position are massively different.

Out of the gate the acceleration is quick enough to leave users catching the speedometer passing 200 mph and climbing fast, the car sucks up pavement while cutting down the track at breakneck speed, the first sense of the acceleration with the wheel and the fight from the wind resistance and lift as the car barreled forward leaves the hands tight on the wheel, worrying if it rocks too hard to the left or right will it be the end, shooting over the top of the hill at 287mph and launching down...289, 290... 291... 292...... 29....3... with a hard push there might be another digit there but in the demo form it stayed and eventually fell off from that top speed. Coming into the high bank corner holding 289-290 mph the car leaves fate to the user, cling to a line and finesse the corner or cut too hard and feel the backlash, go too easy and watch it openly skip up the pavement to the railing. The Chaparral is there to take the player to breakneck speed without apology and it does it very well leaving fate to the driver.

The demo station was limited to this top speed event, but from experimenting on the game it was clear there's handling in the car beyond record speed runs, after doing a fairly wide turn I moved to cut in on the high bank and watched the car correct and slice downward to the exit line I wanted, the response is there, it's just waiting to see it in action next.



So why go that far, why not just make a hybrid electric and combusion corvette with an aero kit of insane proportions? The Chaparral 2X Vision was designed as a way to reach out to what motorsports development was, a pure form of experimentation and research to reach new achievements and engineering heights. It's an ode to a development form that tends to be quite dormant these days and shows that when a team dreams big they can come up with results that weren't even really on the grid.



The Chaparral 2X Vision is coming to GT6 quite soon, the car will include full driver cluster / UI for cockpit experience and the full power of that laser firing turbine engine. There's an unforgettable sound of that engine blasting along the roadway, it's raw and rich allowing players to propel at insane speed and test their ability to manage engine thrust against conventional acceleration. It's certain a car to help spice up the lineup and a unique venture in engineering that I hope more will pursue than what we've seen so far.



*Photos by: Gabriel Vega (VeGiTAX2) do not use without permission.

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Gabriel Vega

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