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I got the opportunity to road test a new Canyon yesterday. 4 door, 4wd with 3.6L engine. I can sum it up like this - for me, I need more than a truck and that's why I choose the Ridgeline. This road test confirmed I made the right choice for me.

In general - The only Ridge owner that would trade out for a Canyon, never liked their RL because they wanted a 'truck'.

The goal: to run the Canyon through the same chores as my RL does.
The criteria: I have it for one night, and can't put too much mileage on it.
With this in mind, Thursday is my errands night. I try to pack in all my stops in one evening. The truck I got is likely a direct comparison to my own RL, except it's a higher trim level. I followed the same routine on the same roads I take every day.

1 - wow, is this ever small! The interior feels cramped next to my RL. Not satisfied with my own bias judgement, I pulled the 2 truck together at home and had my son try all the seating positions with me. In the back seat, without any doubt, the RL is superior in comfort and space. The under seat storage? Win goes to RL again.
Front seat comfort for me was not good. 170lbs and 5'7", the seat cushion just fits my @ss? The bolsters irritated my legs, and there's no dead pedal to rest my foot! Didn't realize how much I use that.
The center console pales in storage compare to my RL. The feel of the buttons and the plastic is barely equal, but more so, I noticed the feel of the buttons when you actuate them. ex, signal lever feels clunky, the mirror selector button feels like something from Radio Shack, and the space for the mirror adjust buttons is really tight. The door pull is in the wrong spot and too car like (+1 for the RL "tool" grip door pulls!).
The leather was nice and the contrast stitching cool. But the nooks and crannies to clean would put my OCD into overdrive LOL.
Front seat (electric) adjustment doesn't move the cushion where I want it, very limited.
Driving, I found the gages too low and prefer my RL big gauges.

So - interior: RL roomier, more comfortable and simple. Canyon, much more upscale looking, but I'm not impressed after just using it one day. Especially after doing groceries... Where do you put people in this thing?

2 - Ride and drive: I hate this transmission! 6 gears that can't decide what to do. The buzziness from engine is felt in the floor and seat, and the exhaust note sucks. It honestly feels like the exhaust was grounded to the frame somewhere. Stab the throttle (quick on/off) and the RPM jumps, mission does a bunch of shifting and it all sounds wrong. Rolling stops and light accel from a corner causes a significant hesitation... like the whole thing just kinda stops in time to think. The jittery truck ride would soon tire me, and this could never do as a daily driver. It feels strong, but I think it's more noise than anything else! On this test, I averaged 15L/100km where my RL under similar conditions gets between 11.5 and 13L/100km. On the hwy portion, I got 12.8L/100km, where my RL typically returns 12.5. Obviously, both do better in warm weather. This test is under the same conditions for both vehicles.

So - RL drives nicer, smoother and sounds a LOT better on accel. Canyon steering is nice and heavy (but maybe a little too much), both trucks feel solid and planted. I like using the headrest in the RL, but couldn't do it with the Canyon... the ride is too buzzy to relax in the seat the same way. F/E looks to be better in my RL. Used as a DD (85% of what I do), the extra power was not noticeable in the Canyon.

3 - Appearance: I won't go too deep here as these are only opinions.
"I" didn't care for the look of the Canyon. "I" don't think my RL is 'beautiful', but I think it's hot when I have the Toyo tires on it.
I've taken my RL off road. It has limitations and I wouldn't bet pinks with the guy driving a Taco. But side by side with my RL, I find it hard to believe the Canyon wouldn't be dragging it's butt through the bush. My shorter RL with excellent overhang front/rear and a short wheelbase should easily be the better buggy. (Note - my RL has a 2" lift. This is likely helping.. A LOT).

4 - in Summary:
The Canyon is a nice TRUCK. I love the full transfer case and low range option. The bed has a gator finish that looks super tough. The gate is lockable and has the soft lowering feature. It looks like a sedan inside. The leather steering wheel is very comfortable and the right size. The info-tainment system is very good.

The RL (1st gen) is far more useful, much easier to drive, a much nicer place to be when on road. The storage is still head and shoulders above a 'truck'. The RL IS NOT A TRUCK! It's much much better than that :act035:

I doubt that the extra bed length, better towing or power would sway "me" to a truck. Likely, the day I need to tow or haul something big, what are the odds the load would be too much for the RL and just right for the Canyon?

Disclaimer - these are my impressions, based on what I use my RL for. Your results may vary :act024:
 

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Your observation of the GMC being cramped compared to Ridgeline are correct.
When I saw the Chevy twin at auto show last year I said it back seat would not be comfortable for 3 adults to ride in 100 mile road trip. If you don't need this then GM twins are okay. I use this for my comparison need something that has 2nd row space and seating of SUV like Pilot/MDX when you start folding down/up seats in SUV for cargo your giving up possible passenger seating if needed at time. With a bed I consider this an added bonus for cargo hauling. The passenger cabin space is important to me the GMC seems lacking that in rear.
 

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Looks like you drove a low line model. The high end are much nicer. Didn't you like the dramatically improved acceleration and better infotainment and Bluetooth capabilities.

The two trucks are not currently even in the same league.
 

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The 6" or 12" increase in bed length that the Canyon has would be nice, but the the lack of 48" between the wheel wells pretty much kills it for me (lack of a trunk kills it too!). If the GenII Ridge really gets a 5.5' bed, and maintains the 48"plus between the wheel wells, then that would hit the "sweet spot" for my needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Looks like you drove a low line model. The high end are much nicer. Didn't you like the dramatically improved acceleration and better infotainment and Bluetooth capabilities.

The two trucks are not currently even in the same league.
Matter of opinion I guess Joe. I agree, they aren't in the same league. The Canyon is a truck through and through, and I think the RL is the better vehicle!

While there is no dispute that the NEW Canyon has a superior infotainment system, I am comparing this to a 6 year old RL. For $500, I could replace my radio and have a superior system to the Canyon! For sure, the next gen RL will be boss on this front.

Driving = On paper and maybe at the track, the Canyon would win a drag race. Please note that my comparision had to do with 'how I use my Ridgeline vs a new Canyon'.

I have never drag raced my truck. 0-60 in a compact truck do little to impress me. I don't want my truck to be a dog, but the accel times in my truck are measured at half throttle most of the time. I doubt you'll find many that drive their truck differently than I do.
That said, and unless the Canyon I drove was defective, there is NO comparision in driving quality between the two. The RL is easily the nicer truck to drive.

The Canyon I drove (6000km on the odom) felt like the exhaust was grounded to the frame. Mild to hard excel created a shake/buzz felt right through the whole vehicle. The exhaust note was pityfull next to the RL's sound under the same conditions. Mission shifts are much more abrupt in the GM, and I wonder if you noticed the lag/delay on roll away stops (like when you come to an intersection, and turn on the green light... let off the throttle, brake, coast, turn and accel gently/mildly away). There was an eery second of dead space before the truck decided what to do.

I'm not sure how base this model is - leather interior, auto 4wd = is has a sticker price of $41000 CAD. Regardless, the trim wouldn't change how my driving impression turned out as the transmission and motor were comparable to the RL. Did it have more content than my RL? Yes. Were the touch surfaces better? Ummm, no. Nicer steering wheel, but mine's not leather (RL VP package, 1 above base). Door panels, A and B pillar covers, headliner and carpet were about the same as my old truck. The switches on the other hand didn't feel as nice as what Honda calls standard. Touch the mirror select switch and tell me it doesn't scream cheap '80s Atari components.

Surely you noticed how tight the driver's arm rest is, how small the space is to adjust mirrors - something that you use when changing driver's or towing. Did you notice that to access the menu on the radio, the touch button on the screen is tiny and too low on the rights side of the screen? Speaking of which, did you notice the touch screen is not the capacitive type and won't work with gloves on? No pinch or zoom features, which are already found on Honda products and undoubtedly will be features on the next Ridge.

So I do agree the trucks are in different leagues. The Canyon is a truck first and has all the things I dislike about trucks - poor use space, little cargo room unless in the open box, jittery bouncy ride, so/so fuel economy and too big for most jobs.

The Ridge is a cross over, giving the capability of most of the truck uses I have and offering them in a package I can live with everyday.

If Honda is using the Canyon as their benchmark, they've set the bar pretty low IMHO.

As always Joe, you input on the forum is appreciated.
 

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\This comprehensive review is appreciated, and acknowledged as being written from a "how-I-use-my-truck" point of view.
I did not drive the Colorado, but I have to say that when I sat in it, I almost had an Alice In Wonderland sense that, while the outside almost felt "clumsy big" compared to the Ridgeline, the inside felt significantly smaller as I sat in it. I didn't do any measurements, but I'm telling you that it just did not feel as roomy inside when I looked over at the wife and felt the doors closed around us. Might just be perceptions, but I didn't like it (the feel). I liked the look of the upholstery, but that's about it.
I like the proportions of the RL.... what can I say.

And I've NEVER ridden in a truck that rides as nice as the Ridge (although I've heard good things about the Dodge 1500), and I've never driven ANY vehicle that drove as well over wash-board dirt roads..... that includes passenger cars. Not that I've driven 'em all... but the one's I have didn't come close. To be honest, I was amazed the first time I was out with the Ridge on one of those roads.... I remain impressed.
 

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The 6" or 12" increase in bed length that the Canyon has would be nice, but the the lack of 48" between the wheel wells pretty much kills it for me (lack of a trunk kills it too!). If the GenII Ridge really gets a 5.5' bed, and maintains the 48"plus between the wheel wells, then that would hit the "sweet spot" for my needs.
I think you will be happy with the new next-generation Ridgeline if 6" is good enough for you (66" or so).

It will tow maybe 500# more but not be in the same league with the Colorado / Canyon. Keep in mind that i ONLY recommend the Canyon with the AuoTrack system (not currently available on the Colorado.

Storage space is a HUGE issue with the Colorado / Canyon. Coming from a Ridgeline will be a major diissapointment. I don't know why GM didn't address this significant issue (even after talking and submitting my recommendation on pre-production models). Sad. The new diesel next year would be my ideal vehicle except for the very limited storage space. Get to work GM!!!

-Joe
 

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Thx for the review! I always felt that the 'flat floor" helped give the RL the nice sense of roominess. I might be crazy but the RL feels more roomy to me than a full size Ram!
 

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Excellent review xrdad.

Very few truck buyers use their trucks at the outer limits of performance. The antics I see on TV commercials have nothing to do with the real world.

What is important to me and probably most other buyers is how pleasant and easy it is to use while meeting your everyday needs . That is where the RL excels.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The 6" or 12" increase in bed length that the Canyon has would be nice, but the the lack of 48" between the wheel wells pretty much kills it for me (lack of a trunk kills it too!). If the GenII Ridge really gets a 5.5' bed, and maintains the 48"plus between the wheel wells, then that would hit the "sweet spot" for my needs.

Eurban, I had to go back and check.. you are right! 44" between the wheel wells? :act064: (RL = 49")

Joe, the Canyon and Ridgeline are NOT in the same league! Cargo capacity being virtually the same, I know that I can carry 8' sheets of drywall in my RL without any special loading techniques. This type of job is what my compact truck was purchased for, in addition to being a DD. If you have to buy lumber to fit the same load in a Canyon, somebody in the GM truck dept was asleep at the switch. Neither truck is going home with the tailgate closed in this case, and I think this measurement (4X8) is likely the benchmark for loading a pickup. If you want a real shock, my old DAK Quad Cab S/Box dimensional specs are oddly similar to the Canyon and I remember how much I hated loading sheet goods in that bed! :act027:

I'm not trying to be snide or sarcastic (although GM does make it easy). As mentioned in my 2nd post, the odds a load too heavy to tow with the RL, but falling into the limit of the Canyon (less then 1500lbs when the next gen arrives) seems limited at best, especially when you take into account what the percentage of people who are actually towing anywhere near limit is.

I also compared height, overall length and bed length, ground clearance, etc... of a crew cab s/box 4x4 to the RL. The #'s are quite similar!

You mentioned offering them advice? While looking at specs to compare, I found a mistake on their website. You might want to give the boys over at GM a heads up :act060: (first image shows web page comparing the 2015 Canyon to x. That truck doesn't look quite right!)

I also added an image of the Canyon infotainment, showing the ridiculous menu button location. Slip a pair of mitts or gloves on and try out the 'superior' audio system. I'm not impressed.
 

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Excellent review xrdad.

Very few truck buyers use their trucks at the outer limits of performance. The antics I see on TV commercials have nothing to do with the real world.

What is important to me and probably most other buyers is how pleasant and easy it is to use while meeting your everyday needs . That is where the RL excels.

Getting something 'more modern' with better mileage, no standard 4WD and less room & convenience does not make sense to me.
I agree Honda is not what they used to be, but I fear GM still is in some ways.
 
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