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Midsize or Full-Size: Which New 2023 GMC Truck Is Right for Me?

It’s time to do the leg work for a new pickup truck. You’re looking at a potential GMC truck for sale, but you aren’t sure whether you want something small or large. You’re curious about a new Sierra, but maybe you’re also considering the smaller Canyon. Which one is right for you? For those of you looking for help and tips on which to choose, we’ll go over details and reasons why one might be better for you over the other. This article will also go over the benefits of buying new, and how that will affect which kind of truck will benefit you most.

Do You Need a Midsize or Full-Size Pickup?

Buying a truck may not seem like a big deal. You just find what you want and buy it, right? When it comes to GMC trucks, there is a pretty big difference between buying a midsize truck and a full-size truck. There are many significant differences between the midsize GMC Canyon and the full-size GMC Sierra.

It’s not just a matter of size. The Canyon, on the other hand, only has one powertrain, a turbocharged 2.7L 4-cylinder that outputs 310 hp at 430 lb-ft of torque. The 2023 Sierra 1500 offers this same engine, plus two V8 options, a 5.3L V8 making 355hp and 383 lb-ft, and a 6.2L V8 making 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. An inline 6-cylinder turbocharged Duramax diesel engine is also available, which generates 305 hp and 495 lb-ft.

A red 2023 GMC Canyon AT4X is shown driving up a dusty off-road trail.

Stepping up to a heavy-duty Sierra 2500 HD or 3500 HD brings two completely different engine options than the light-duty 1500. The gasoline option is a 6.6L V8 that makes 401 hp and 464 lb-ft. A 6.6L Duramax diesel is also available, producing 445 hp and a staggering 910 lb-ft. If you need a larger vehicle for towing or hauling purposes, then the full-size GMC Sierra would be a more capable and efficient choice. You get more cargo capacity, more utility, and more functionality. However, that comes with some downsides. It also means more wear and tear on the vehicle, higher fuel consumption, and it takes up more space on the road and in the parking lot. The GMC Canyon is a more relaxed truck, providing you with a utilitarian option that is more manageable.

Another thing to consider is costs. If you’re looking to get a new GMC truck for sale, then you will have to consider the price difference between a GMC Canyon and a GMC Sierra. While the Sierra is bigger and offers more power and performance, you will have to pay for those power gains. What’s interesting is that in entry-level trim, the cost difference between the Sierra and Canyon is almost negligible. However, as you scale up the trims for more features, the price differences become significant. You will need to pay considerably more to get more features out of the Sierra compared to the Canyon at higher trim levels.

Considering a Full-Size Light-Duty or Heavy-Duty Pickup

Buying a new truck doesn’t necessarily mean that your options between the GMC Canyon and GMC Sierra is just limited to midsize and full-size, because full-size extends beyond the limitations of just two categories. There are also heavy-duty variants of the full-size Sierra, which includes the 2500 HD, and 3500 HD.

If you’re looking for something to haul tens of thousands of pounds, then obviously the midsize GMC Canyon is just not going to get it done for you. You’re probably also looking for something that is more commercial than consumer-based. If you were working on the assumption that any full-size truck will do, you need to consider that the GMC Sierra 2500 HD and 3500 HD series are heavy-duty variants of the Sierra 1500.

The Sierra 1500 is labeled as light-duty, and configured with the appropriate powertrains and capabilities for its size. The 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty variants, however, come with larger engines we’ve already described and more towing and hauling capacities. Additionally, the bigger iterations of the Sierra mean higher costs, especially if you’re looking into off-roading or the luxury trims. If you need the extra power for work purposes or moving heavy cargo around, then a Sierra 2500 HD or 3500 HD will work out well for you. But if you don’t need a massive three-quarter or one-ton pickup, the Sierra 1500 or Canyon can more than get the job done. For instance, you still have access to the off-road and luxury trims with the Canyon in the form of the AT4 and Denali, and they’re thousands of dollars cheaper than the larger Sierra variants.

A black 2023 GMC Sierra HD is shown towing a flatbed trailer with large units on it up a winding mountain road.

Why Buying New Benefits Truck Shoppers

When buying new, there are many great benefits available for shoppers. There are brand new model year additions made available for each truck. If you were considering a full-size pickup like the 2023 Sierra 1500, you have new special editions like the AT4X AEV Edition, which comes with special badging and features. The AT4X AEV comes with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory mud-terrain tires, an updated front fascia to take advantage of the AEV branding, and 18-inch AEV Salta wheels. New exterior colors were added as well, along with improved Duramax performance. This is all in addition to the Graphite Edition being made available for the Pro trim as well.

For the 2023 Canyon, you get access to the all-new AT4X trim, which comes with an Obsidian Rush interior featuring Ceramic White accents sprinkled throughout the cabin. The AT4X comes with a GMC HUD, a Bose premium audio system, 10.7-inches of ground clearance, an AT4X-exclusive Baja mode, and Multimatic DSSV dampers with 33-inch mud-terrain tires. All of these features make the AT4X a high-end off-roading option for Canyon shoppers. It’s also worth considering that the GMC Canyon’s AT4 and AT4X Edition are less expensive than the Sierra 1500 variations of the AT4 and AT4X, which is important for those who are buying a new vehicle on a budget.

Buying new also provides access to warranties, including limited bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties. There are a number of other warranties that also come standard with buying a new GMC truck for sale as opposed to buying used. The importance of warranties is that if you opt for a new trim like the AT4X for the Canyon or Sierra, you’re covered for the replacement parts or fixes to the powertrain you might need. For a truck that you’re considering for the express purpose of putting through its paces such as hauling or towing, those warranties could come in quite handy.

Opting for a GMC Canyon or GMC Sierra

Ultimately, your choice between a GMC Canyon and GMC Sierra will come down to your needs, your wants, and your budget. If you need a dependable utility truck with a functioning bed and some adequate towing capabilities, the GMC Canyon is a great way to go. It has many of the same features as the Sierra, just smaller. While the pricing is similar with the starting trims, as you scale up to more features, the price disparity between the two widens. The Sierra becomes significantly more expensive, especially when you go from the 1500 to the 2500 HD, and from the 2500 HD up to the 3500 HD.

However, if you need the towing capacity of a larger full-size truck and want the luxury or off-road capabilities, then the extra cost of entry may be well worth it for a truck like the GMC Sierra. Where the Canyon might be a great starter truck, if you have plans on towing loads more than 10,000 pounds, you’re going to want to go with a heavy-duty Sierra. Also, while the Canyon can seat up to five people across two rows, the Sierra can seat up to six. Hopefully, this information will help you with your lab work and buying the right kind of GMC truck, whether it’s the midsize Canyon or the full-size Sierra.