GMC is no stranger to the annual Ward’s 10 Best Interiors competition, after having won the coveted hardware last year for the ’14 Sierra Denali 1500 large pickup, so judges were jumping to get inside the new-for-’15 Canyon midsize pickup.

The Canyon did not disappoint anyone, hauling in a 2015 Ward’s 10 Best Interiors award on the strength of clear brand attributes, a good dose of technology and styling that strikes a unique balance between sophistication and good old-fashioned pickup ruggedness.

General Motors turned the pickup scene on its ear two years ago when word broke that the Canyon and its Chevrolet Colorado platform mate would inject some youthful vigor into a segment with just a handful of entries and each awfully long in the tooth.

U.S. truck buyers have responded, with the two pickups combining through the first quarter of this year for 26,278 sales and a 30.7% share of the segment, and GM has found it difficult to produce enough of them. Both were eligible for this year’s competition and faced equally rigorous testing, but in the eyes of WardsAuto judges, the Canyon shines most brightly.

‟GMC really knows how to create a strong brand,” one judge remarks on his score sheet.

Key attributes observed by the judges include an attention to detail, evidenced by tight-fitting seams and a quiet cabin at highway speeds; an abundance of low-gloss, soft-touch materials; console-mounted shifter; and a sturdy, leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The 4-wheel-drive crew cab tester, outfitted in a cocoa and dune 2-color scheme, also boasts the segment’s most connected interior. There’s OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with a Wi-Fi hotspot, an 8-in. (7-cm) color touchscreen display and the brand’s IntelliLink infotainment and navigation system.

‟Good colors, tastefully executed,” offers another judge. ‟Firm, comfortable seats and the cabin warms up quickly on cold Michigan mornings.“

GM has committed millions of marketing dollars to GMC this year, hoping to build awareness of the brand. After two 10 Best Interiors awards in two years, GMC certainly has our attention.

jamend@wardsauto.com