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Holden hand in 2019 GMC Canyon

Cosmopolitan Canyon: Work done on the GMC Canyon test mule spotted last month is not expected to filter down to the mechanically related Holden Colorado.

Aussie work on GMC Canyon suggests powertrain tweak with upcoming facelift


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19 Apr 2018

THE presence of a left-hand-drive GMC Canyon pick-up on public roads in Australia suggests a rumoured forthcoming 2019 update is more than the cosmetic makeover that reports in the United States suggest.

American motoring publications are reporting that the Canyon – a close relative of the Chevrolet/Holden Colorado – is in for a spruce-up to counter the arrival in the United States of the Australian-developed Ford Ranger in early 2019.

However, the presence of this current-model left-hand-drive Canyon engineering mule spotted outside Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria could indicate that the tweak will be more than skin deep.

The Holden engineers specialise in powertrain calibration for General Motors affiliates, suggesting that something is afoot with Canyon driveline development.

The undisguised all-wheel-drive crew-cab Canyon has been seen out and about through south-eastern Australia in recent months, along with other GM vehicles such as the Cadillac CTS limo.

Their presence in Australia does not indicate they are set to join the Holden line-up, as the engineering unit operates as a global resource.

However, Holden is in line to take the new GMC Acadia large SUV to be sold in Australia under Holden badges as a rival for the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 and Nissan Pathfinder later this year.

Launched in 2014 just after the Chevrolet Colorado on which it is based, the US-built Canyon is currently offered with three powertrains – a 3.6-litre petrol V6, 2.8-litre diesel and 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder.

The diesel is the same Thai-made VM Motori unit as the sole engine offered in the Holden Colorado. The Canyon version generates less power – 138kW compared with 147kW in the Holden – but the same torque (500Nm).

It is conceivable that GMC might have opted to ramp up the Canyon’s diesel power to the Holden levels, perhaps to counter the Ford Ranger should the Blue Oval company be tempted to slot its premium 157kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine into the American vehicle.

So far, Ford North America has only announced a 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine with 10-speed automatic transmission for the Ranger that is slated for sale in early 2019.

The 2.0-litre Ford diesel – also hooked up to the 10-speed auto – is set to debut in Australia late this year in the flagship Ranger Raptor.

The current diesel Canyon employs a six-speed automatic transmission, while the petrol V6 version uses a more modern eight-speeder.

An All Terrain badge on the side of the Canyon in our photographs proclaims this unit to be an all-wheel-drive vehicle, but that designation might change when the facelifted model arrives at a date to be confirmed.

GMC debuted a new badge for its AWD vehicles – AT4 – when it unveiled the all-new Sierra full-sized pick-up at the recent New York motor show.

Global GMC vice-president Duncan Aldred said the AT4 brand would be seen on every vehicle in the GMC line-up in the next two years.

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