2021 Honda Ridgeline vs. 2021 GMC Canyon

2021 Honda Ridgeline vs GMC Canyon

People love their pickups. Offering a high degree of unmatched flexibility, it’s no surprise why compact pickup trucks have grown in popularity over the years. Your typical small truck, like the Honda Ridgeline or GMC Canyon, is capable of doing big work, even at the drop of a hat. You can’t beat that.

So, how does the fan-favorite 2021 Honda Ridgeline stack up to the 2021 GMC Canyon? Which of these affordable trucks should you grab? Why is the sky blue? The answers to (most of) your “Ridgeline vs. Canyon” questions can be found below.

2021 Ridgeline - Out Truck The Competition

Truck Bed

The ingenuity of Honda engineers is on full display in Ridgeline’s bed. No other truck in the segment offers the same level of convenience and versatility as the Ridgeline, which is quite an impressive feat. These are the Ridgeline bed features that Canyon’s missing out on:

2021 Ridgeline - Dual-Action Tailgate

Dual-Action Tailgate

The industry-first dual-action tailgate is specially engineered to open down, per the usual, or to the side for easier access to the bed’s contents. With the tailgate down, Ridgeline’s bed length extends to 83”, 9 inches longer than the 74” Canyon Crew Cab Long Bed.

2021 Ridgeline - In-Bed Trunk

In-Bed Trunk

Ridgeline is also the only truck in the segment to offer a truck-bed trunk. But it’s not just a trunk; because of its built-in drain plug, it can also act as a 7.3-cubic-foot cooler. Best of all, it’s lockable and can be equipped with cargo dividers.

2021 Ridgeline - Truck Bed Audio System

Truck Bed Audio System

Yet another segment-first, Ridgeline’s 540W in-bed sound system utilizes 6 speaker-like exciters, located in the bed walls, to pump the jams. It can be activated easily via a Bluetooth device or the vehicle’s touchscreen.

2021 Ridgeline - 8 Standard Tie-Downs

8 Standard Tie-Downs

You can pay up for movable upper tie-downs on the Canyon, but why bother when the Ridgeline provides 8 of ‘em as standard equipment? Ridgeline’s heavy-duty tie-downs are rated at 350 pounds, allowing you to secure even the largest, heaviest, and bulkiest items, like those dirt bikes your partner didn’t want you to buy.

2021 Ridgeline -  Lay-Flat Bed

Lay-Flat Bed

No other truck in its class beats Ridgeline when it comes to simplicity. With Ridgeline’s lay-flat bed, you’ll have no problem loading your gear. That’s because it offers 50 inches of clearance between wheel wells (60 inches between walls), which is wide enough for 4’x8’ plywood sheets.

2021 Ridgeline - Truck Bed Outlet

Power Outlet

Ridgeline’s the ultimate tailgating truck thanks to its available 150-watt/450-watt truck-bed outlet. Built right into the wall, the power outlet fits any standard AC cord, including power tools and televisions.

Car-Like Ride Quality

Offering the segment’s smoothest, most sedan-like ride, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline shows that it’s more than just a tough pickup. Well-mannered and in tune with the road, Ridgeline is an everyday driver by conventional standards.

Its coil-spring independent suspension absorbs bumps better than the traditional leaf springs. Cornering is exceptional thanks to its unique unibody construction -- a design that also reduces engine drone and wind noise inside the cabin. The aforementioned i-VTM AWD System improves stability on all road surfaces, from asphalt to slick and muddy gravel driveways. And let’s not forget about the Intelligent Traction Management system, which offers four drive mode buttons: Normal, Snow, Sand and Mud.

Unlike the car-like Ridgeline, the 2021 Canyon feels like a truck no matter what it’s doing. It’s slower off the line. It’s noisier. And the Canyon Extended Cab model is not very comfy for back-row passengers, offering just 28.6 inches of rear legroom and 36.7 inches of rear headroom. That compares to Honda Ridgeline’s 36.7 inches and 38.8 inches, respectively.

2021 Ridgeline Sport 2021 Canyon Elevation
(Extended Cab)
Rear Headroom 36.7” 28.6”
Rear Legroom 38.8” 36.7”

Standard Towing Capacity

The base 2021 Canyon Elevation is fitted with a lackluster 2.5L I4 gas engine that makes 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. The result is a max AWD trailering rating of just 3,500 pounds.

2021 Ridgeline - Towing Capacity

The rough and tough Ridgeline gets rougher and tougher for 2021, entering the arena with a standard Intelligent Variable Torque Management 4 AWD system and 3.5L V6 that pumps out 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Every Ridgeline is equipped with this V6, allowing it to tow up to 5,000* pounds from the get-go. The 2021 Ridgeline even carries more payload than any GMC Canyon model.

2021 Ridgeline Sport 2021 Canyon Elevation
(2WD Crew Cab Short Bed)
Engine 3.5L V6 2.4L I4
Max Trailering 5,000 lbs* 3,500 lbs
Max Payload 1583 lbs 1,578 lbs


The only advanced safety feature standard on the 2021 Canyon Elevation is a rear-view camera. To get a modicum of modern safety or driver-assist tech, you’d have to peel your wallet open and move up the trim line or opt for GMC’s Driver Alert Package -- and even then, the new Canyon can’t match Ridgeline.

Ridgeline is what we’d call a “unicorn” in the pickup segment. It’s one of the only small trucks to earn 5-star safety ratings and an IIHS Top Safety Pick award. The reason is simple: Honda Sensing. Every Ridgeline, from the entry-level Sport to the range-topping Black Edition, comes with Honda Sensing, which includes:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System
  • Road Departure Mitigation System
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Keeping Assist System
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning

Ridgeline RTL models also come with a unique driver-assistive feature: Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor. RTL-E and Black Edition Ridgelines come standard with Auto High-Beam Headlights.

GMC Canyon can be upgraded to include Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert, but you’d miss out on Ridgeline’s Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Auto High-Beams, Blind Spot Information, and Collision and Road Departure Mitigation Systems.


Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 lbs. Towing requires accessory towing equipment. Please see your Honda dealer for details.