GMC Canyon and Land Rover Discovery Sport
By Kelly Foss
GMC Canyon | STARTING PRICE: $21,000
Buying a small pickup truck these days is a lot like walking into your favorite movie theater and ordering a small soda. “Small” doesn’t exist and you’re going to pay more for it than you would like. On the upside, 10 or 12 extra ounces of carbonated goodness is always a plus.
Realistically speaking, small pickups are actually mid-size pickups, and deliver more carbonated goodness than compact trucks of the past ever did. Case in point: the new 2015 GMC Canyon.
The Canyon is the flashier cousin to the Chevy Colorado. Its beefy design reflects power and confidence, not unlike the Colorado, but features more chrome and upscale touches. Ingress does require stepping up and in, and that’s where running boards come in handy. The 16-inch aluminum wheels come standard, while the SLT trim gets outfitted with 18-inch polished aluminum wheels.
A number of configurations are available, making it easy to customize the Canyon to your needs. Extended cab or crew cab with either the short or long bed options allow customers to get exactly what they want.
The standard engine is a 2.5-liter I-4 with 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. Also available is a 305-horsepower V6, which allows the Canyon to tow up to 7,000 pounds. Overall ride quality is quite good. It definitely feels “trucky,” but the cabin is comfortable and quiet. Steering feels about as you would expect in a pickup — not too sluggish, but not that sharp, either. And make no mistake: the Canyon is still somewhat of a beast when it comes to maneuvering in and out of tight parking spaces. The V6 gets an EPA rating of 17/24 city/highway.
This upscale pickup is nicely appointed on the inside. All finishes feel refined and of high quality. Tech features like a built-in wifi hotspot and a host of apps keep you connected. Connect to your devices via USB and/or Bluetooth. Control everything with steering wheel-mounted controls or with the clean and simple touchscreen. Another nice feature is the standard rear vision camera, helpful in so many ways. The SLT features very comfortable leather seats with contrasting red stitching. These seats maintain a level of comfort that will leave you with fewer reasons to stop and stretch on long road trips.
As full-size pickups get more costly to manufacture, midsize trucks fill a nice gap for those who want or need a runabout-type of truck. The question then becomes, do you load it with so many options that you approach full-size territory as far as price is concerned? I suppose that’s where you can opt to supersize your drink, er, pickup, but that’s for another discussion.
So, if you’re in the market for a nicer truck with a nicer price (as compared to, say, a GMC Sierra) the Canyon may fit the bill. Starting at about $21K, it’s certainly worth a look.
Land Rover Discovery Sport | STARTING PRICE: $37,995
There’s one thing that’s certain about the Land Rover/Range Rover family of vehicles: they represent status. Drive past any country club and you’ll find an array of Evoques and LR4s stabled in the parking lot. Most of them never see any real off-road action, opting instead for polo jaunts in the country and urban streets lined with upscale dining venues.
However, Land Rover’s newest crossover is harkening back to its heritage, with real-world, off-road capability, and taking back its name: Discovery Sport. This entry-level Land Rover is both competent and luxurious. Status and practicality come together in the Discovery Sport. This mashup of style and ruggedness should turn the heads of everyone who scoffed at the LR2.
Why? For starters, there’s the entry price point of $37,995 — less than the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. Also, the Discovery Sport looks good. It has an athletic stance. Its lines are slick, giving the overall exterior design a very clean, crisp look.
Powered by Ford’s turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and mated to a 9-speed ZF automatic transmission, this combination delivers 240 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque. As a true four-wheel drive, this hatchback can scale mountains and wade through 23.6 inches of water. It has 8.3 inches of axle clearance up front and 9.4 inches out back.
Of course, under normal driving conditions, the Discovery Sport’s handling is smooth, solid, and quiet. For city/highway/on road driving, the Discovery sport offers good steering wheel feedback and minimized noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) – not an easy balance to maintain with its rugged capabilities. This vehicle reaches 0-60 in just over seven seconds, which is a tad slower than some of its competitors, but not really a surprise when you consider this compact crossover weighs a beefy 4,400+ pounds. It rides on a suspension tuned to handle a variety of terrains, aptly named Terrain Response. The driver simply selects the type of surface that they’re driving on, such as gravel, sand or snow, and the suspension adjusts.
Inside, the cabin is generously appointed with Land Rover luxury. Three trim levels are available: SE, HSE, and HSE Luxury. Standard features include partial leather seats, rear view camera, and a rear parking aid. Scale up to the HSE Luxury model and you’ll get heated and cooled Windsor leather seats, an 11-speaker sound system, and navigation, among other comforts. You’ll also move into the low $50K range with this model. The third row is a $1,700 option, and is best suited to the little ones.
The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport offers both status and capability that come together in one very nice, very affordable package.
For information on these and other vehicles, visit mycardata.com.