The GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X Is The Perfect Blend Of Luxury And Offroading

Test Drive / 3 Comments

One truck really can do it all.

Pickup truck buyers are a loyal bunch, with many having a favorite brand that they rarely stray away from. Its high-quality interior and comfortable ride make the Ram 1500 one of our favorites, although we prefer the powertrain options from General Motors. However, when we reviewed a 2020 GMC Sierra 1500, even in its most luxurious Denali trim, the interior felt far less premium than its competitors from Detroit. GMC has responded to that criticism.

The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 gets a major facelift and introduces two new trim levels: the rugged AT4X and top-of-the-line Denali Ultimate. GMC sent us an eye-catching red AT4X to review for a week, and after spending time in it, we can finally say we love the Sierra. Starting at $74,995, the Sierra 1500 AT4X is a compelling package for buyers who want a proper offroad truck without having to sacrifice luxury.

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Handsome Looks Made Better

The Sierra has always been the more handsome GM full-size truck when lined up next to the controversial Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC has kept its good looks intact. Some overall changes to the 2022 Sierra lineup include a revised front bumper, fascia, and grille designs (trim dependent), dual-projector LED headlamps, new wheel designs, and a few additional colors.

The AT4X is among our favorite Sierra trims, especially when finished in a hot Cayenne Red Tintcoat. This off-road-focused model includes a suspension lift, 18-inch black wheels with chunky Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Mud-Terrain tires, exposed tow hooks, and an available rocker guard. It looks properly aggressive without the impractical dimensions (mainly the width) of an F-150 Raptor.

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Capable Off-Road Gear

It won't win a Baja race against an F-150 Raptor or Ram TRX, but the Sierra AT4X is extremely capable off-road. The standard AT4 offers 10.9 inches of ground clearance but the AT4X adds a two-inch lift kit, increasing front and rear suspension travel by 50 mm and 25 mm, respectively. This truck also gets the same Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers found in the Silverado ZR2, which allow GM engineers to program optimum rebound in on-road and off-road situations.

The result is a comfortable ride on paved road with plenty of suspension travel when the pavement ends. While the Ram 1500's air suspension provides a cushier ride, the AT4X isn't far off. Other off-road goodies include front and rear e-locking differentials, a two-speed transfer case, and Terrain Mode with a one-pedal rock crawling mode.

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A Lovely Powertrain

GMC only sells the AT4X with a single powertrain, a 6.2-liter V8 connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This is our favorite upgraded engine/transmission combination in the full-size segment, besting both Ford's 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and Ram's 5.7-liter Hemi V8. With 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, it's more powerful than its rivals (excluding the Raptor) and even though the Sierra uses the same transmission as the F-150, the GMC is much smoother thanks to superior tuning.

While it can't match the Raptor or TRX on raw speed, it can outperform both on capability. The Sierra AT4X can tow 8,900 pounds, 700 lbs more than the Raptor, and 800 lbs more than the TRX. It also boasts a 1,420-pound payload capacity, more than the Ford and Ram. We only wish GMC offered the AT4X with its 3.0-liter Duramax diesel, as the V8's fuel economy figures are just average (14/18/16 mpg city/highway/combined).

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An Overhauled Interior

The updated cabin is by far the most significant change to the 2022 Sierra. Gone is the carryover interior from last year's model, and it now goes toe-to-toe with the best from Ford and Ram. GMC upgraded the materials throughout the truck with more premium surfaces, button layouts, and more. The AT4 is a mid-level truck, but the AT4X introduces luxury that exceeds even last year's Denali.

The X introduces an Obsidian Rush interior with tons of full-grain leather, white piping and red stitching, and genuine dark Vanta ash wood trim. Both front seats offer 16-way power adjustment with massage function, making the AT4X a great place for a long trip. The 2022 Sierra also gets a significant technology upgrade with a new 13.4-inch infotainment system and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

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Google Tech

GM's technology hasn't been lacking in recent model years, but the 2022 Sierra is one of the few vehicles to receive the latest Android Automotive infotainment system. Google services are built in, meaning you can simply say, "Hey Google" to access almost any information you might need in a hurry. The truck also uses Google Maps as the stock navigation system, which works better than most OEM solutions.

Other clever innovations include GMC's optional Multi Pro tailgate with six positions and a built-in Kicker audio system. Inside, a 12-speaker Bose audio system packs a punch. We also love the high-resolution 360-degree camera, which makes off-road or parking maneuvers simple.

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