2022 GMC Sierra AT4X: The Best of Both Worlds?

Published on May 20, 2022 in Test Drives by Antoine Joubert

Yeah, don’t bother telling me: a pickup truck that achieves 15-16 L/100 km is not the best of both worlds, especially with gas prices these days. I know that.

But you see, GMC has decided to push the AT4 lineup a little bit further given the strong demand by customers. The Sierra, which is largely updated for 2022, gets a new AT4X model that could possibly represent the ideal mix of Denali-like luxury and AT4 levels of off-road capability. It’s a curious combination on the surface, but one that could end up being highly profitable for the company.

As you know, GM’s full-size pickups are big business, particularly on the luxury side. Believe me, the new Sierra AT4X is one of the finest. While it may start at $87,748 including destination and PDI, this truck is almost fully loaded with very few options that can be tacked on. You might be wise to consider a tonneau cover, running boards or rocker guards, mind you.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Single Configuration

The GMC Sierra AT4X comes exclusively with a Crew Cab, short bed and 6.2-litre V8 engine, the latter producing 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. It’s a wonderful performer that unfortunately burns a whole lot of gas. Why didn’t GMC offer a diesel option? That would have been awesome. The decision must be a strategic one, but the logic behind it escapes me.

The Sierra AT4X is essentially the GMC equivalent of the new Chevrolet Silverado ZR2—same ground clearance, same body style, same suspension. That last item is arguably the most impressive aspect on the pickup, with Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers that deliver remarkable ride quality in addition to 50mm of extra travel up front and 20mm extra in the rear. The suspension adjusts quickly to the terrain and does a nice job of mitigating rear-wheel hops.

Locking front and rear differentials, Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires on 18-inch wheels and dedicated off-road modes are also part of the AT4X package, which elevates the Sierra above the Ram 1500 Rebel and Ford F-150 Tremor.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Unlike the Silverado ZR2, though, the cabin of the GMC Sierra AT4X puts a big focus on refinement and luxury. The unique Obsidian Rush interior is awash with premium leather, dark Vanta ash wood trim, a premium microsuede headliner and massaging front seats. Also, the old centre display and column-mounted shifter are replaced by an all-new 13.4-inch infotainment touchscreen with Google built-in and a new centre console design with Electronic Precision Shift.

The versatile console, despite reducing the amount of space up front, is a definite improvement. After years of trailing Ford and Ram by a mile, GMC designers and engineers have worked really hard to catch the competition by maximizing ergonomics and elevating interior styling.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

As for the exterior, the 2022 Sierra’s redesigned front end features smoother surfaces, but it’s not any more aerodynamic. The AT4X model looks an awful lot like the regular AT4 except for the 18-inch black wheels and specific badging.

Wait, There’s More

Think the new AT4X is the cream of the Sierra crop for 2022? You’re wrong. GMC has raised the bar even higher with a spectacular Denali Ultimate model that will cost you a minimum of $92,923. And you can have the gasoline V8 or the Duramax diesel with this one.

Watch: GMC Unveils 2022 Sierra 

Test drive report
Test model 2022 GMC Sierra 1500
Trim level AT4X
Price range $85,748
Price as tested CA$90,783
Warranty (basic) 3 years/60,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/160,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 16.5 / 13.2 / N/A L/100km
Options Cargo Package ($730), Dynamic Blue paint ($495), rocker guards ($1,360)
Competitive models 2022 Ford F-150, 2022 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab 4x4 (5.6'), 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Off-Road CrewMax 4x4 (5.5')
Strong points
  • Amazing suspension
  • Surprisingly comfortable
  • Powerful and capable V8
Weak points
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Reduced towing capacity
  • Hefty price
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 1.5/5 Achieving a combined 15 L/100 km, the Sierrra AT4X is a true gas guzzler.
Comfort 4.0/5 While not as comfortable as a Denali model, this truck impresses with Multimatic DSSV dampers and extra travel.
Performance 4.0/5 Power is remarkable. So is capability.
Infotainment 4.0/5 The system should serve as an example for others.
Driving 4.0/5 Handling is surprisingly good and the upgraded suspension ensures tremendous versatility.
Overall 4.0/5 A superb product and alternative to the Ford F-150 Tremor and Ram 1500 Rebel, though quite expensive and inefficient.
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