After driving the 2006 GMC Canyon pickup, we found that the new inline engines are reasonably refined, but their lack of off-the-line punch and odd exhaust notes are disappointing. Shifts from the four-speed automatic are firm and well timed, and although it's still fairly vague through the gears, the five-speed manual gearbox is about as good as you're going to find in a compact truck. The stock suspension tuning is on the soft side, but the Canyon handles well for this class. Go with the ZQ8 package for sharper reflexes on pavement or the Z71 for a boost in off-road capability.
On paper, the GMC Canyon offers the necessary ingredients to satisfy the majority of compact truck buyers. The engines provides both efficiency and power, and with three body styles to choose from in both two- and four-wheel drive, finding a configuration that meets your needs isn't too difficult. The problem is, the Canyon feels cheap, even in a class of vehicles where functionality and value come before upscale accommodations. The doors are lightweight and tinny, and the first thing you'll notice when you slide behind the wheel is how low-grade the dash looks and rough the upholstery feels. Out on the road, neither the four- or five-cylinder engine provides acceleration on par with V6 and V8 engines offered by the Dakota, Frontier and Tacoma, and the Canyon's tow rating is the lowest in the class. If you're shopping for a small pickup, make sure you explore all the options before settling on the 2006 GMC Canyon.
GMC was the first to offer roof-mounted side curtain airbags; they’re optional on all 2006 GMC Canyon body styles. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes come standard on all trims. Traction control is optional on two-wheel drive trucks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the GMC Canyon a ""good"" rating for front-offset crash testing performance. In government crash tests, the four-door Canyon earned four stars out of five for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts. In side-impact tests, it received four out of five stars for front-occupant protection and a full five stars for rear passengers.