GMC Sierra AT4X blends luxury with off-road chops
GMC is well known as General Motors' premium truck and SUV brand, but over the last few years, the company has been raising the bar for off-road capability. The AT4 and now AT4X trim levels have added features usually associated with aftermarket four-wheel-drive shops as factory equipment. This is good for consumers because it means you can get the truck you really wanted, with full warranty protection.
The Sierra 1500 is GMC's full-size half-ton model, but don't be fooled by that designation. In the AT4X trim with a crew cab, the Sierra 1500 can carry up to 1,420 pounds of payload, including passengers and cargo, and it can tow up to 8,900 pounds. In other trim levels, the Sierra can pull up to 13,000 pounds.
When you buy the AT4X trim, the package starts with GMC's most powerful V8 engine. The 6.2-liter V8 delivers 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, made even more effective with a 10-speed automatic transmission. A shift-on-the-fly transfer case allows you to choose traditional high-range or low-range four-wheel drive, or Automatic mode, which acts more like a modern all-wheel drive system, engaging the front wheels as needed for traction. Unlike older systems, you can leave the Sierra in Automatic mode all the time without putting stress on the equipment.
The AT4X then adds all the off-road parts, including Multimatic DSSV spool-valve shock absorbers, taller springs, a steel transfer case shield and extensive underbody skid plates, and electronically locking differentials on the front and rear axles. The transfer case is capable of one-pedal rock crawling in Terrain Mode, and the entire suspension has been tuned for off-road use. Finally, the AT4X rides on 18-inch black wheels outfitted with Goodyear Mud-Terrain tires.
The surprise with the AT4X is that with all that off-road equipment, you still get a luxury interior. The front seats are leather-covered, with 16-way power adjustment, heat, ventilation, and a massage system. The back seats are heated leather. Touch surfaces are made from real ash wood and microsuede. On the windshield in front of you, a 15-inch color head-up display delivers key driver information. There's a power sliding rear window and a sunroof, as well as a 12-speaker Bose audio system.
On the road, there's no doubt you're in an off-road capable vehicle. It's a climb up into the cabin, and this is a big truck. However, it's comfortable and steers well for its size and configuration. The brakes are excellent and bring the Sierra to a stop with authority. If you like driving big modern pickups, you will really appreciate the Sierra AT4X.
When it comes to price, GMC is not an economy brand and the AT4X is among the top Sierra trim levels; only the Denali Ultimate is more expensive. If the roughly $75,000 price tag of the AT4X is out of budget for you, there's a less expensive AT4 trim, and GMC offers several less expensive trims with standard 4WD. The AT4X is really for drivers who actually plan to drive off-road on a regular basis. You can still get a 4WD Crew Cab Sierra with a 5.3-liter V8 engine for as low as $46,195, and as low as $37,195 with a standard cab and 2WD.
The bottom line on the GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X is this: it's not a truck for everyone, but if you're looking for an ultimate off-road machine that's also comfortable enough for everyday driving, you'll like what GMC has to offer.
2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X
Base price: $73,300
Price as tested: $76,790
Type: Full size pickup
Engine: 6.2-liter V8 (420 hp, 460 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 14/18
Overall length: 211 inches
Curb weight: 5,640 pounds
Final assembly: Silao, Mexico
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