BORREGO SPRINGS, Calif. – What do the 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X have in common with the Aston Martin Vulcan, Mercedes-AMG GT, Camaro ZL1 and Ford GT? Answer: Multimetic DSSV spool-valve damper. These dampers – or as they are called shock absorbers – are much like adaptive dampers found in sports and luxury vehicles. In the general sense, they allow drivers to choose how soft or strong the ride is, but multimetic dampers respond quickly and have the added benefit of off-roading.
The main reason for off-roading is that this new AT4X model has been added to the Sierra lineup this year, along with its advanced level of luxury. This is a big step up from the existing low-capacity AT4 trim, which misses DSSV dampers, electronically locking front and rear differential, and 32-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrack mud-terrain tires. The launch time coincides with a significant overhaul for the entire 2022 Sierra lineup, including modified styling, a more muscular 2.7-liter turbo-four engine and, most notably, an internal overhaul that replaces this generation’s dull and old dashboard with a new one. . , Powerful modern and more competitive interpretation with a large 13.4-inch touchscreen powered by Android Automotive OS. Adding to the luxury is a new, fully-loaded Denali Ultimate trim with a Super Cruise automatic driving system, although our modified 2022 Sierra time was almost entirely on the AT4X.
In addition to the off-road equipment and interior improvements listed above, the Sierra AT4X 420-horsepower features a 6.2-liter V8 standard equipment, advanced underbody skid plate, and a new terrain drive mode. But that’s not all, as the AT4X is distinguished by the X-less AT4, a cabin that’s just as awesome as that luxury Denali model, without the availability of a Super Cruise. Ventilation seats with massage function, premium leather upholstery, wood trim and Bose audio are all standard. All in all, this great truck could be the perfect way to go on your next Glaming Adventure.
We had the opportunity to test the power of the AT4X in the Anja-Borego Desert State Park just hours before San Diego. There, we encountered a long stretch of dry riverbed, narrow chokepoints as well as steep ascents and descents. After lowering the tire pressure of the Goodyear mud-terrain and flexing it to 15 psi, we effortlessly skimmed through the bottom of the silty river.
Chokepoints have proven to be even more challenging as seen from the driver’s seat does not give a very good indication of where the corners of the truck are. The new dashboard is still long enough to prompt a 5-foot-10 driver to at least increase the seat height to see the hood, but even then it was likely to misjudge the clearance by a full foot. Numerous trail cameras have been shown to be useful, but only if the lenses are kept clean. With a light dust covering them, the scene from that new infotainment screen turned into a beige fog. Instead, we chose the unobtrusive solution of having passengers hang their heads out the windows to act as spots.
At Devil’s Drop-Off, a parallel set of steep hills with offset ondulation that could swallow a Miata, we stopped to switch to low-range gearing with the push of a button. We popped the new, console-mounted electronic gear selector neutrally, tapped another button at the bottom of the touchscreen to lock the front and rear differences, then selected a new Terrain mode with a knob on the left side of the steering wheel. As we select the second gear, we carefully proceed to a large depression on the left, then another on the right, and much more. Terrain mode allows one-pedal driving in such situations, with adequate engine braking to get to a full stop on the course.
It was easy to make at the bottom, but those offset ondulations put a spotlight on the AT4X’s breakover corner. We’ve dragged optional rock sliders (called rocker guards by GMC) to the top of almost every hump, making long tires a good idea. Sadly, GMC says that 35-inch tires will not fit without changing the truck. Then again, this barrier is probably more advanced than most drivers face.
The parallel path climb was similarly easy and the 11.1-inch ground clearance proved to be sufficient for some of the larger rocks in our path. The power from the big V8 was perfect for this climbing and truck gearing. Reaching the summit at a slow and steady pace was so easy that it was almost climactic. The AT4X occasionally had a wheel that hung well from the ground, but the rigid frame did not emit any creek due to twisting.
The suspension travel is said to be 9.84 inches for the front and 10.62 inches for the rear, which is less than the minimum clearance of the Ford F-150 Raptor (13 inches) or Ram TRX (14 inches). The AT4X’s 25.5 degree approach angle is smaller than the Raptor’s 31 degrees and the TRX’s 30.2 degrees, but the 23 degree exit angle is only a fraction less than a degree. The Raptor is suitable for 37-inch tires, though, which allows it to pull further.
If anything, these shortcomings highlight the fact that the AT4X and its equally new Chevy Silverado ZR2 cousins are not intended to be Apple-to-Apple competitors for the Raptor and TRX. Basically, they slot into those trucks and have low off-road trim levels such as carry-over AT4, Ford F-150 Tremor and Ram 1500 Rebel. At the same time, the AT4X boasts all the benefits that can be more rewarding than the hardcore All-Terrain Challenge that it may not fully cope with.
In particular, since most of us have to travel to a suitable off-road area and use things to play with on the weekends for daily commute, the less committed off-roaders should find the AT4X’s on-road behavior to suit their preferences. Thanks to those multimetic dampers, the ride quality is remarkably smooth compared to Raptor or TRX. Although none of these trucks show real rigidity, there is less bouncing and pushing inside the GMC, which makes it feel more stable and calm. It’s quieter, the only recognizable amount of wind noise and no screams from those tires.
Some driving quirks adapt, however. The steering has a good on-center feel, which allows the truck to track a highway lane directly with minimal input from the driver, but when navigating a steep turn near a hill, the steering feels strangely lazy. On a few occasions, the truck will run wide at these turns unless we continue to feed more steering input. Increasing pedal pressure is also required to stop the brakes, causing the heart to beat faster.
Not only is there a new interior for the 2022 Sierra, but two. The SLE, SLT and elevation trim layers share the same updated design as the 2022 Chevrolet Silverrado (pictured above SLT above), while the AT4, AT4X, Denali and Denali Ultimate get their own variations on the same common theme (AT4X pictured above left). This is similar to what you will find at GMC Yukon. With both designs, you see a serious improvement. The interior they replaced looks old for the first time, suffering from a small touchscreen and lots of cheap-looking plastic surfaces. This was especially noticeable in the trimmed layers above, where the “wooden” token bits were somehow enough to compete with a Ram 1500 Limited. The overhaul for 2022, which includes smooth new infotainment screens, graceful center stacks and soft-touch materials, is now at the top of the Sierra Trim level on par with RAM. The unique design gives the top Sierras a clear point of difference with their Silverrado counterpart.
Knitpicks? We prefer to group the transfer case and drive mode dials to the bottom of the center stack or to the rest of the off-road buttons on the center console. Everything is a little more scattered. The new electronic gear selector and accompanying trailer brake controller also took up a lot of real estate on that center console, leaving us wondering if GM could come up with a better replacement for the old column shifter.
All things considered, the 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X will likely meet the off-road expectations of most buyers. For those who want to conquer more challenging terrain, options like Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX, as well as Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler will serve better. GMC gained an advantage with its 8,900-pound towing capacity, beating the Raptor and TRX by as much as 900 pounds.
On the other hand, the AT4X will probably surpass buyers’ expectations for comfort and luxury. It is a good truck for everyday driving on the sidewalk and comes with almost every available option. This is effectively an off-road answer to the Denali Trim, although the truck does not have several upgrades to the AT4X, including the option of a Super Cruise automatic driving system. There’s also the new range-topping Denali Ultimate that elevates the upper crust Sierra cabin to the highest level of luxury possible.
All of this comes at a price, of course. The 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X starts at $ 79,090 with destination charges. Compared to the Apex-Predator truck, this price is not as scary as you might think. A Raptor starts at around $ 8,000 less, but the price advantage of a similarly equipped model (remember, the luxurious AT4X is already fully loaded) drops to 1,000. A TRX starts at hundreds of dollars, but with competitive options, it’s close to 90,000. Then again, the TRX has another 282 horsepower. Within GM’s own portfolio, the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 starts at about $ 10,000 less and has almost the same capabilities, but is less luxurious and works without the same standard bell and whistle.
The Sierra AT4X should be suitable for deep-pocketed buyers who are looking for a reasonable mix of all terrain capabilities and on-road comfort. It’s one of the rare vehicles that can play in the dirt all day, but enough for one night in the city, with only one car wash.