As one new model year starts, it’s already time to set sights on the upcoming year. While 2020 GMC trucks are finding their way to their new homes, truck enthusiasts are already looking forward to the enhancements, engineering, and design updates that will grace the 2021 lineup. While we won’t actually see any of these confirmed updates until summer 2020, GMC has released enough teasers and rumors to get the population revved up (so to speak) about what the future has in store.
Many of the updates focus on aesthetics, which are always important when keeping things fresh and modern amongst the truck driving community. At the same time, we live in a technology-focused world, so additional features that make driving larger, more powerful vehicles safer and easier are always well-received. From the slightest tweaks to a fully re-imagined design, General Motors fans have their ears to the metaphorical walls to learn more about what the 2021 lineup will have in store. To date, most of the confirmed 2021 truck rumors feature the Sierra and the Canyon, two of GMC’s best-selling pickup trucks. Take a look at some of the rumors, predictions, and other features to look forward to in the coming year.
Sierra HD: A Minor Facelift for Maximum Enjoyment
As rumors go, it’s sometimes hard to decipher fact from fiction. That being said, General Motors has confirmed that both the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra HD will receive both interior and exterior updates in 2021.
The 2020 Sierra HD is bigger, more powerful, stronger, and all-around more beastly than previous generations, giving truck fanatics a lot of truck to look forward to. Improving on the existing features would seem to be a fool’s mission or a mind-blowing prospect. Many sources feel that the Sierra will receive only a minor facelift, but that the features that are improved upon will be incredibly impressive.
Currently offered in SLT, AT4, and Denali trims, the 2020 Sierra 2500 includes a choice between a 6.6L gasoline or turbo diesel V8 engine. The gasoline version offers 401 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque, while the turbo diesel option offers 445 horsepower and an unbelievable 910 lb-ft of torque. While it’s hard to believe that GM might reveal a more powerful engine, there are some whispers of a hybrid or flexible fuel-capable Sierra possible in the very near future.
Additionally, while the Sierra currently features a trailering system that provides over fifteen camera views in, around, and beyond the truck and any attached trailer, it is possible that GM will enhance this technology, as other truck manufacturers, including Dodge and Ford, work to improve overall trailer safety in their heavy-duty truck segments.
Large trucks include specific considerations when it comes to safety features, and it is anticipated that while the mid and high-end trim levels—including any possible new introductions to the lineup—will receive more cabin and comfort-forward updates, lower trim packages will focus on safety features related to visibility and braking safety surrounding such a large and heavy beast of a vehicle.
Canyon Denali: Elevated Artform
As the top-of-the-line trim, the Denali sets expectations pretty high. The aging-yet-capable GMC Canyon has received only a handful of updates for the 2020 model year, but statements from GMC executives indicate that the powerful truck will be at the center of a rebirth in 2021.
In particular, the 2021 GMC Canyon Denali model will be at the center of an aesthetic redevelopment that will feature more aerodynamic lines, a larger grille, and more artistic interpretation of the mid-size truck.
As Holt Ware, the director of GMC’s Exterior Design department stated, “Denali represents GMC’s bold design philosophy,” noting that an updated Canyon appearance, “features a more distinctive and sophisticated design that has become synonymous with Denali.”
The exterior facelift will be matched by an interior remodel, featuring luxury comfort aspects such as wood trim, aluminum accents, and heated and ventilated leather seats and steering wheel. Six-way power-adjustable bucket seats will be an enviable option, along with a soft-touch instrument panel. A Bose audio system and wireless charging will come standard on Canyon Denali models, as well.
Rumors that engine options will be added are also in the air. Currently, the Canyon features a 3.6L V6 engine, which offers 308 horsepower. A more powerful 2.8L turbo diesel engine is expected to become available in late 2021, as well, offering 369 lb-ft of torque and improved trailering ability.
Canyon AT4: Off-Road Ready
For those looking for an off-road capable Canyon today, the choices are limited. The 2020 All Terrain model adds off-road tires, tougher suspension, and a rear locking differential; however, GMC drivers have been craving a serious off-road Canyon option.
The 2021 AT4 model will answer the call. Not only will it deliver plenty of power, but it will be well-equipped with features that will serve it well when the trail ends. 17-inch aluminum wheels will be fitted with 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, and the suspension will be specifically tuned to off-road duty, with GMC’s Advanced Hill Descent Control System installed. All AT4s will be equipped with four-wheel drive, including the Eaton G80 Rear Automatic Locking Differential. Skid plates designed for action will protect the undercarriage from the elements.
The overall exterior will be given a makeover as well, with a promise to be bolder, incorporating bigger features that include black chrome and darkened trim. Like the Denali models, the AT4 will be given a bigger grille. Red recovery hooks will round out the purposeful off-road exterior features.
Inside, the 2021 AT4 will offer an impressive amount of comfort for an off-road duty truck. Advanced looks have predicted drivers will have the option of premium leather front seats with Kalahari accents with a branded AT4 embroidered headrest. Dark aluminum details will give the cabin a luxury appearance, as well.
While all-terrain trims generally get the technology short stick, the AT4 will be well-equipped on and off the road. First looks indicate the premium GMC Infotainment system will be available on these trucks, which includes the ability to download apps like The Weather Channel. Additionally, this system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Features such as wireless charging and Waze availability will increase the capability from within the cabin, thereby increasing off-road time.
Under the hood, the Canyon AT4 will feature the standard 3.6L V6 engine, offering 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, or the late year turbo diesel option, a 2.8L inline-4 Duramax turbodiesel, offering 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque.
The Wait Is Almost Over (Sort Of)
While we’ll have to wait until mid-2020 to view the final versions of these rumors and confirmed updates, GMC fans and truck enthusiasts around the country are already looking forward to the brand’s commitment to these updates. From a possible addition to the Sierra trim package lineup, including a potential hybrid model, to at least two confirmed updates to the Canyon lineup, GMC is clearly putting the work to keep these brands at the top of the market. While updating heavy-duty trucks often means newer technology, it’s clear that Sierra is ready to take on the market. As a mid-size truck, Canyon is already quite capable, but the addition of a new level of aesthetics both on and off the road will likely entice drivers who crave a truck that is both capable and comfortable. Summer 2020 releases will put these rumors to rest, giving drivers a chance to gear up for the new model year.