I recently attended the launch of the new GMC Canyon AT4X. The truck is outfitted for fun right from the factory and it joins a growing list of pickups that are already well-sorted right off the assembly line. As these trucks gain off-road and trail-related capability, the parts being thrown at them increase. And now we have vehicles like the Edition 1 version of the AT4X or the upcoming vehicle teased in the lead photo which is an AEV Edition of the Canyon, that include a winch from the factory. This is a specific part that requires a bit of knowledge for proper and safe use. So should automakers that sell trucks like this offer a course on how to use such a feature?
For years, automakers have offered track driving instruction for certain sports car purchases. There are off-road courses for Ford Bronco owners. Land Rover has tons of opportunities for adventure, as well. But I feel there’s a potential gap in some of the training being offered as it relates to what’s currently popular and being sold in ever greater numbers.
On-trail safety is an important topic. If you, your vehicle, and your gear are well prepared and you know how to use it all, you’re in a great position to have a great time even if something unforeseen arises. But some of the items that can help get you out of a tricky spot can also be dangerous to use, and even deadly if you really mess things up. That’s why every time I see a vehicle with a high-lift jack bolted to it, I cringe a bit. Sure it’s certainly a useful tool in certain situations, but it’s also usually stuck on a vehicle without accessible and proper points to use it correctly and safely. And even if the vehicle has such points, the tool itself can still be a bastard.
But back to the specific item offered on the vehicle in the lead picture; a winch. These things are great and can help you or others with on-trail recovery operations. Still, there’s a proper way to use them and failure to do so can do serious harm to people, vehicles, or to the very nature surrounding you.
I believe an automaker should establish a class on on-trail safety as it relates to the equipment being offered on a given vehicle. While it’s not the automaker’s fault if someone buys a truck with a winch and has no clue how to use it, it would be great to see a program that at least gives them the chance to inform. It would still be up to the buyer of the truck if they care to expand their off-road abilities and knowledge base.
Do you agree? What sort of programs would you like to see from automakers?
Also, diving a bit more deeply into that truck shown above. It’s the upcoming AEV Edition of the GMC Canyon, which makes it essentially similar to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Desert Boss edition. This gives it way more protection underneath, proper front and rear bumpers, and of course, it has that great Multimatic suspension setup like on the standard AT4X model.
I actually got a chance to “see” it during the AT4X drive… but it looked like this at the time: