Could a revival of GMC's street-focused ZRX package be in the works for its Canyon pickup? A trademark application filed earlier in August by General Motors suggests that such a project might be underway.
The filing, spotted by Autoguide, contains no sketches or specifications, leaving us to speculate as to what form a modern ZRX might take. Fortunately, we have a baseline guide in the form of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
While the ZR2 targets the off-road niche (especially with the super-rugged Bison package), it still gives us a glimpse into how GMC could tackle building a Canyon that is geared toward on-road performance.
What makes us so certain that ZRX wouldn't simply be a re-badged ZR2, off-road chops and all? GMC is in the midst of consolidating all of its off-road trims under the new AT4 moniker. While this doesn't completely rule out the use of ZRX on an off-road product, it does diminish the likelihood.
The ZR2's party piece is its suspension, which is anchored by Multimatic's Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) shocks. While they're tuned specifically for off-road use in the ZR2, that's not their only application. In fact, GM first utilized DSSV shocks in the last-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28---a machine with serious street performance credentials.
A street-tuned DSSV system combined with a lower ride height and a limited-slip differential borrowed from Chevrolet's performance models could make for a compelling on-road package. But what about the power? The original Sonoma SRX made do with GM's long-running 4.3L V-6, so it stands to reason that the Canyon's existing 3.6-liter V-6 would be tapped for duty in a new ZRX. If the ZRX follows the ZR2's lead, the corporate 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4 could also be made available.
While it hasn't made an appearance in GM's smaller pickups, there's also the remote possibility that the new 2.7-liter turbo-4 from the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra could make its way into future Canyon models. Its base output of 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque is already plenty respectable. With a high-output tune, it could make an even more compelling case for a performance engine in the smaller trucks.