GMC has been on a roll when it comes to expanding its growing AT4 lineup of vehicles. The brand like others in its segment, sees off-roading as the next lucrative cash cow, and has made a key step towards cementing its fortunes in the segment, with the unveiling of the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Performance Edition. The Performance Edition represents a noticeable upgrade over the standard AT4, but what does it bring to the table?
It’s not a Bison, but it’s close to one
For those that wonder whether the AT4 Performance Edition is the long awaited equivalent to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison? The answer is no, but it still brings a number of welcome changes to the Canyon AT4. The exterior styling for example ditches the lower air dam to help improve approach angles, while additional rocker panels and the installation of aluminum front and mid mounted skid plates to help shore up the truck’s protection from rogue obstacles or debris. This is all on top of the sturdy transfer case shield which comes baked into every single AT4 Canyon.
In addition to the functional upgrades, the Performance Edition also brings some styling tweaks to help it stand out better from the off-road ranks. Carbon black hued AT4 logos are splashed throughout the exterior, 17-inch gloss black wheels, as well as a gloss black exhaust tip. The interior of the Performance Edition does not change too much from the standard AT4, and as a result, it will look largely familiar to those that have spent time behind the wheel of one.
Performance for when you need it
While the exterior and interior styling don’t deviate too much from the core AT4 aesthetic, GM engineers chose to invest the bulk of their efforts on enhancing the off-road equipment that the Performance Edition brings to the table. The 17-inch wheels that we mentioned earlier are shod in 31-inch Goodyear DuraTrac off-road tires, while the suspension itself receives a specialized tune that was designed just for this model, Like other AT4s, the truck comes equipped with four wheel drive, but builds on it by adding a Eaton sourced G80 automatic rear locking differential, as well as Hill Descent Control
When can I buy a GMC Canyon AT4 Performance Edition?
GMC has not released any pricing information for the Performance Edition, but the brand did reveal that the truck is on track to go on sale later this year. We hope to hear more information on that subject very soon, as well as questions in regards to other key aspects of the truck.
We hope that GMC will eventually get a Canyon AT4 variant that makes full use of the DSSV shocks that define the ZR2 Colorado, but this Performance Edition should still do a good job of wetting the taste buds of off-road truck buyers that want to buy an AT4 Canyon, but want something that has more punch and capability than the standard model.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.