The extensively revamped 2023 GMC Canyon has been photographed once again. This time, we’re seeing some clues that the Canyon AT4X might be a reality and could bring Colorado ZR2 level suspension tech over to the GMC brand.
Our spy photographer reports:
We just got the first-ever look at the next-generation of GM’s midsize off-road, performance pickups, testing with equipment and specs that appear to match (or exceed) today’s Colorado ZR2. Especially interesting, however, is the fact that this formidable prototype truck appears to be a 2023 GMC Canyon, and not a prototype for the next-gen Colorado. Could we be getting our first look at a truck with GMC’s recently-trademarked AT4X designation?
Catching the next-gen Colorado ZR2 would be plenty interesting, but seeing ZR2-level specs on a GMC prototype is an even more noteworthy, unexpected development. We’ll go into detail why the evidence points to this being GMC Canyon and not a Chevy Colorado later in this breakdown, but first, let’s focus on the details that make this truck a promising off-road beast.
More Formidable, Off-Road-Ready Tire Specs
While earlier shots of a GMC Canyon prototype suggested an AT4 trim, it was riding on 20-inch wheels with healthy sidewalls, but no signs of a next-level suspension set-up. These latest shots show a completely different animal, with 17-inch wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires (the same tires fitted to prototypes of the upcoming Silverado ZR2). The tires get a bump from 31-inches to a healthy 33-inches—the current ZR2 and AT4 trucks ride on 265/65R17s while this new prototype is wearing 285/70R17s.
Visual Evidence Of Multimatic DSSV Shocks Front and Rear
There is clear visual evidence of Multimatic DSSV shocks tucked behind those big rear tires. On this next-gen prototype, the shocks are mounted outside of the frame instead of the inside placement on the current ZR2. The wide casing of the Multimatic’s triple-chamber design is undisguised, except for the nondescript black housing covering the shock’s normal, bold blue-and-gold finish. A similar black housing was used on a prototype for the Silverado ZR2, hiding the DSSV shocks on the upcoming full-size off-road variant.
More evidence for Multimatic shocks are found in the mounting points visible on the prototype (illustrated by two Photoshopped images with a Multimatic shock overlay). The unique threaded collar on the Multimatic’s piston chamber is also visible on the prototype. Up front, we can also see a matching pin and mounting assembly that appears to be a direct match to the front shocks on today’s Colorado ZR2.
Why It’s Likely a GMC Canyon and not a Chevy Colorado
This prototype’s early placeholder lighting set-up has all the hallmarks of of a GMC product, with a makeshift LED signature strip at the top of the cluster, and headlight units mounted lower on the front-fascia (usually in a vertically-stacked orientation). We have provided an image comparing four examples of this lighting arrangement—showing prototypes for GMC’s 2022 Sierra 1500 facelift, 2023 Sierra HD facelift, 2020 Yukon, and this prototype for the 2023 GMC Canyon. The similarities are undeniable. Chevrolet prototypes, on the other hand, have their placeholder headlights horizontally-oriented at the top of the cluster, with the preliminary LED strip at the bottom of the arrangement. So the evidence supports this truck as the 2023 GMC Canyon.
So Is This What’s In Store For GMC’s AT4X Designation?
GMC Reportedly trademarked the AT4X moniker about two years ago, with the Mexico Institute of Industrial Property. This trademark application followed a similar 2016 filing for “AT4X” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Speculation began about what the AT4X designation would mean, but it was widely assumed that it would sit atop GMC’s AT4 trim as a more extreme, offroad-capable variant. The GMC Canyon prototype captured here—equipped with Multimatic Shocks—would certainly qualify as an extra-capable AT4X, over and above a typical AT4 with mere Rancho shocks.
If the midsize Canyon is getting an AT4X variant, can the full-size Sierra be far behind, utilizing the engineering work applied to the Silverado ZR2? We’ll be on the lookout for more prototype evidence out on the streets.