Late last month, GM Authority spies caught a prototype of the upcoming 2023 GMC Canyon AT4 undergoing testing. Today, we caught yet another prototype of the upcoming 2023 Canyon AT4, but this truck is even more aggressive from an off-road standpoint, and could very much represent an even more capable version of the AT4 that we’ll refer to in this article as the AT4X.
A cursory glance at this particular truck would likely have many guess that it’s a prototype of the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2. However, a closer look reveals that it’s actually a GMC Canyon, and not a Colorado. This is evident in the prototype’s placeholder lighting configuration, which has all the makings of a GMC product. Specifically, the placeholder headlights feature a makeshift LED signature strip at the top of the cluster followed by the primary forward lights mounted lower on the front fascia.
Prototypes for the 2021 GMC Yukon, 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 refresh, 2023 GMC Sierra HD refresh and the 2023 GMC Canyon all feature the same placeholder lighting configuration. Chevrolet prototypes, on the other hand, typically feature horizontally-oriented lights at the top of the placeholder headlight cluster followed by an LED strip at the bottom of said cluster. All this makes us conclude that this is, in fact, a GMC rather than a Chevrolet. With that out of the way, let’s delve into the mechanical details of this 2023 GMC Canyon prototype.
The initial 2023 GMC Canyon AT4 prototype featured 20-inch wheels with beefy sidewalls, but no signs of a next-level suspension system. But this new prototype rides on 17-inch wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires – the same rubber fitted to prototypes of the upcoming Chevy Silverado ZR2. Whereas the current AT4 and ZR2 trucks ride on 31-inch 265/65R17 tires, this particular prototype features 33-inch 285/70R17s. But wait, there’s more!
This particular prototype appears to be wearing MultiMatic DSSV shocks front and rear. Look closely at the rear end, and you’ll see the makings of the DSSV configuration mounted outside of the frame, rather than inside like the current Colorado ZR2. Aside from a black housing covering the typical blue-and-gold finish of the DSSV damper, the wide casing of the triple-chamber design is undisguised. It’s worth noting that a similar black DSSV housing was used in Silverado ZR2 prototypes.
There’s also even more evidence of the MultiMatic DSSV shocks at the mounting points visible on the prototype, illustrated by two images with a DSSV overlay. Specifically, the unique threaded collar on the DSSV’s piston chamber is clearly visible on this 2023 GMC Canyon AT4 prototype. At the front, we can also see a matching pin and mounting assembly that appears to be identical to the front shocks of the current Colorado ZR2.
At this point, it’s worth noting that the MultiMatic DSSV shocks are currently exclusive to the Colorado ZR2, and are not available on the GMC Canyon whatsoever, even in the offroad-oriented Canyon AT4 model.
All that brings us to wonder what, exactly, this 2023 GMC Canyon prototype is all about. Two years ago, GM Authority was the first to report, General Motors filed to trademark the AT4X name about two years ago with the Mexico Institute of Industrial Property. That filing followed in the footsteps of a 2016 filing for the same name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Put all that together, and we think it’s a fairly safe bet that the AT4X name ends up gracing the production version of the prototype seen here, with the product slotting above the “regular” Canyon AT4 as an even more capable model with MultiMatic shocks (as opposed to the Rancho shocks of the regular Canyon AT4).
If this assumption proves to be correct, then this is our very first look at what will essentially be GMC’s first-ever equivalent to the Colorado ZR2.
As GM Authority was first to report, the 2023 GMC Canyon will ride on an updated version of GM’s current GMT-31XX midsize body-on-frame architecture, which will be dubbed 31XX-2. The vehicle will get an all-new exterior and interior, along with an all-new powerplant in the form of the turbocharged 2.7L I-4 L3B gasoline motor currently offered in the Sierra 1500. In that application, the boosted four-pot is rated at a healthy 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque. GM’s 10-speed automatic transmission will handle shifting duty. The current model’s atmospheric 2.5L I-4 LCV and 3.6L V-6 LGZ, along with the 2.8L I-4 LWN turbo-diesel baby Duramax will not be offered.
GMC’s midsize pickup truck will also adopt GM’s new Global B electrical architecture – otherwise known as Vehicle Intelligence Platform, or VIP. Besides allowing for over-the-air (OTA) updates to all vehicle systems, Global B also allows for the latest in infotainment and active safety technologies.
The 2023 GMC Canyon, including the Canyon AT4, will continue to be built at the GM Wentzville plant in Missouri alongside its corporate cousin, the 2023 Chevy Colorado. GM invested $1 billion into the facility specifically for the new midsize pickups.