Trucks are valued for their utility, ruggedness, and reliability. The Tacoma and the Canyon make for two viable competitors in the mid-size truck segment. But how do they compare?
The Toyota Tacoma has a rich history. It started out as the legendary Toyota Hilux in 1969. In 1975, the truck was rebranded simply as Toyota Truck. Then in 1995, Toyota rebranded the truck once again as the Tacoma. The GMC Canyon, in contrast, debuted much more recently in 2004.
Both the Tacoma and the Canyon have trims with off-roading capabilities. The Tacoma offers two trims: the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro. The Canyon offers one: the All-Terrain trim.
The Canyon’s SL 2WD extended cab base trim starts at $23,395. The Tacoma’s SR 4x2 Access Cab 4-Cyl. 6-Speed Automatic base trim starts at an MSRP of $26,050.
While the Canyon has a starting MSRP advantage, the Tacoma offers more standard advanced active safety features than the Canyon at every trim level. Let’s review how these mid-size truck competitors stack up in the categories of performance, safety, and reliability.
Trucks need to be able to handle whatever life throws at you. The Toyota Tacoma can help get you where you need to go safely and in style.
Though you can’t always be out on the open road, your truck needs to be off-road ready. Both the Tacoma and the Canyon have trims with off-roading capabilities.
The Tacoma TRD Off-Road with 4x4 Double Cab V6 6-Speed Manual Short Bed and the TRD Pro 4x4 Double Cab V6 6-Speed Manual include Active Traction Control (A-TRAC). Another off-roading feature, 4WDemand part-time 4WD with electronically controlled transfer case and Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto LSD), comes standard on the Tacoma TRD Sport 4x4 Access Cab V6 6-Speed Manual, Limited 4x4 Double Cab V6 6-Speed Automatic, and TRD Pro 4x4 Double Cab V6 6-Speed Automatic configurations.
The Tacoma TRD Pro’s V6 engine produces 278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. torque. The Canyon All-Terrain has a horsepower output of 308 and 275 lb.-ft. torque.
For those who like to be more connected to the driving experience, the Toyota Tacoma also offers a manual transmission available on the TRD Sport, TRD Pro, and TRD Off-Road trims. The 2020 GMC Canyon does not have an available manual transmission on any of its trims.
Unlike the 2020 Canyon, the Tacoma includes both engine and front suspension skid plates to help protect your car from off-road wear and tear. The TRD Pro variant includes a custom TRD-stamped front skid plate. A front skid plate and mid skid plate are available but do not come standard on any Canyon trim.
Whether commuting to work or on the open road, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma helps keep you safe with a standard suite of advanced safety features.
Every 2020 Tacoma features Toyota Safety Sense® P (TSS-P). This standard suite includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).
The GMC Canyon also offers active safety features, including Teen Driver, Forward Collision Alert, and Lane Departure Warning. Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning do not come standard on all trims. They are only available as optional upgrades starting with the SLE trim and come standard on the Denali trim. The SLE 2WD Crew Cab, Short Box and Denali 2WD Crew Cab, Short Box start at $32,195 and $41,695 respectively.
The Tacoma TRD Sport trim has Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) available. These advanced features come standard on the Limited and TRD Pro trims. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert are available on the Canyon SLE and are standard on the Denali trim.
When comparing the safety of both vehicles, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma crew cab pickup received the 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick award when equipped with LED reflector headlights for the Off-Road, Sport, Limited, and Pro trims. The 2020 GMC Canyon crew cab pickup did not receive this distinction.
“Quality. Durability. Reliability”. That’s the Toyota promise and the 2020 Tacoma delivers.
Toyota carries a long history of delivering reliable, quality vehicles. That’s why all new purchases and leases of Toyota Tacomas come with ToyotaCare and 24-hour Roadside Assistance. This factory-scheduled maintenance plan lasts 25,000 miles or two years, whichever comes first. ToyotaCare Roadside Assistance is included for two years and unlimited miles.
The Canyon does have two maintenance plans available called GMC Pre-Paid Maintenance and GMC Pre-Paid Maintenance Plus at an additional cost. The prices of these programs are determined by the terms you set up with your dealer. Please see a GMC dealer for more details.
In keeping with Toyota’s legacy of dependability, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma won three Kelley Blue Book® (KBB®) Awards. They are the 5-Year Cost to Own, Best Resale Value for Midsize Trucks, and Best Resale Value Top 10. It also received a Consumer Reliability rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Not to mention, the Tacoma has also been America's best-selling midsize pickup for 15 years.
The 2019 GMC Canyon did not win any KBB® Awards and got a 4.6 Consumer Reliability rating.
Finding the right mid-size truck for your lifestyle can be as easy as hooking up a trailer to the right hitch. The trick is knowing where to look. That’s why this Canyon vs. Tacoma head-to-head comparison looked at important features in performance, safety, and reliability.
While the Tacoma started out as the Toyota Hilux in 1969, the GMC Canyon debuted more than three decades later in 2004. That means that the 2020 Tacoma comes backed by many, many years of experience. But the new models also come with the most updated features including advanced active safety features.
The Canyon does have some comparable safety features to Toyota Safety Sense® P (TSS-P), like Lane Departure Warning. However, these advanced safety features are only available starting with the SLE trim and come standard on the Denali trim.
When comparing the handling options for each truck, the Tacoma has a manual transmission available. The GMC Canyon dropped the available manual transmission option for all trims in 2019. While you're driving your truck's underside can stay protected. Every Tacoma includes engine and front suspension skid plates standard. These are optional features on Canyon trims.
All purchases and leases of new Toyota vehicles come with a factory-scheduled maintenance plan called ToyotaCare, lasting for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
GMC has two maintenance programs but how long they last and their costs depend on the terms you set up with your GMC dealer, with terms lasting from 24 months/30,000 miles to 180 months/150,000 miles.
When it comes to having more standard features and reliability built-in, the 2020 Tacoma comes out on top.