2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4: First Spin | The Daily Drive


Front 3/4 Sterling Metallic
2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

Consumer Guide Automotive, New Car Review2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

Class: Large Pickup Truck

Color: Sterling Metallic

Seating Capacity: 5

Miles driven: 163

Real-world fuel economy: 23.0 mpg

CG Report Card
Room and Comfort A
Power and Performance B+
Fit and Finish A-
Fuel Economy A
Value B
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big Guy A
Tall Guy A
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs 305-horsepower 3.0-liter
Engine Type Turbocharged diesel six
Transmission 10-speed automatic
Drive Wheels 4WD

Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 19/20/19 (city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Diesel

Base price: $79,200 (not including $1995 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: AEV Edition package ($6895), special paint ($495)

Price as tested: $88,585

 

Quick Hits

The great: Serious off-road potential with an upscale twist

The good: Excellent power and fuel economy from standard diesel engine

The not so good: We’re still not comfortable with $80,000 pickup trucks

 

Tom Appel

What if you are neither boulevardier nor nemophilist? What if your happy place falls somewhere between a Pimm’s cocktail and butchering a freshly trapped badger? What if you’re intrigued by the danger and excitement of heading off road, but want to stop somewhere short of needing winch gear and touch-up paint. If you’re attracted to a life just short of extreme, GMC has a truck for you.

2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT, MultiPro Tailgate
2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

GMC offers a pair of daring—but not so daring—Sierra large pickup trim levels designed to be taken seriously, but perhaps not to be taken too far off road. Also, if you really want to go all the way off road, there’s a Chevy for that (more on the Chevy in a moment).

New for the 2019 model year, the AT4 trim level has elevated the full-size GMC Sierra in several interesting ways. Not only is the AT4 more competent off-road than lesser Sierra trim levels, it is also more luxurious. And, to the eyes of this editor at least, it is also the best-looking truck in the vast Sierra lineup. Added to the GMC lineup in 2022 is the AT4X, which, as the named suggests, is like the AT4, but a little more rough and tumble. We’ll get to the upgrades shortly.

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2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4
2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

Like all American-brand big pickups, the Sierra sells in significant volume. As such, GMC can offer the truck in a number of trim levels. Here’s a breakdown:

Sierras are offered in three trim-level classes. Available are mainstream Pro, SLE, Elevation, and SLT trim levels; luxury Denali and Denali Ultimate trim levels; and off-road oriented AT4 and AT4X variants. Cab and bed-length configurations vary by trim level.

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2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4
2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

Sierra 1500 engines included the base 310-horsepower turbocharged 2.7-liter “TurboMax” four, the popular 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8, the 305-horse 3.0-liter Duramax turbocharged 6-cylinder diesel, and the 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8. An available 285-horsepower 4.3-liter V6 was dropped from the Sierra lineup after 2022.

Despite what would appear to be an almost endless assortment of possible truck configurations, things get simpler when you narrow your focus to just the AT4-series trucks. For example, the AT4 can be had only with the 4-door crew cab, with either a 4.0-foot of 6.5-foot bed. The AT4X option sheet is even more restrictive, as the trim level is offered only with the short bed.

Engine options, too, are limited. The both AT4 variants come standard with the diesel engine, and can be had with the 6.2-liter V8 for extra cost. We’ll explain why later, but we recommend the diesel—especially if you’re a Pimm’s cocktail sort of pickup owner.

If descending into the abyss is your thing, instead of just staring into it, you’ll appreciated the AT4X’s specialized gear. While both the AT4 and AT4x enjoy an additional 2-inches of ground clearance, the “X” adds to the mix cabin-actuated front- and rear-locking differentials, additional under-body skid-plate protection, and Multimatic-brand DSSV performance shock absorbers.

All this hardware does not come cheap, and inflates the bottom line significantly. While the base AT4 starts at $70,390 including $1995 destination charge ($72,285 with the 6.2-liter V8), the AT4X starts at a lofty $83,190.

Here’s the thing, though the AT4, and especially the AT4X, are quite capable, Chevrolet offers a special off-road version of the Silverado called the ZR2, and it is, indeed, the way to go if you’re serious about butchering badgers.

In additional to all the equipment already found on the GMC Sierra AT4X, the Silverado ZR2 adds 33-inch wheels and tires (up from the AT4X’s 32-inch units) and special, and arguably ugly, cutaway front bumpers design to improve the truck’s approach angle. Pretty hardcore stuff. There are also a number of less-significant off-road-orient upgrades enjoyed by the ZR2, setting it off as General Motor’s toughest trail-busting big pickup.

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MultiPro Tailgate
2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

But here’s the deal: We really appreciated the luxury feel of the AT4X, and find its off-road resume more than robust enough to handle whatever “off-road” event we might encounter during the regular course of our suburban lives, the most challenging of which is to make light of the occasional Chicago blizzard. And for that, the AT4X seems perfect.

Consumer Guide recently spent a week behind the wheel of a 2024 GMC AT4X with the standard diesel engine in Sterling Metallic and equipped with the AEV Edition package. All told, our test vehicle came to $88,585, including destination charge.

We’ll skip the part about room and comfort and just note that the Sierra is plenty room, and easy to get in and out of. Note that the extra 2 inches of ride height did make entering the Sierra a challenge for shorter passengers, though none struggled excessively.

As for the cabin itself, we dig the general man-cave ambiance, easy-to-use controls, and excellent 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint-brand audio system. While the cabin materials fall somewhat shy of those used in higher-end Ram 1500 trucks, the AT4X is still a classy affair, judiciously toned down to feel more high-end clubby than overtly posh.

Moving along, we are very happy to report that despite that compliment of off-road equipment, including heady-duty springs and shocks, the AT4X serves up a sophisticated ride and handling balance, and never feels clunky or especially heavy. Impressive, too, is the level of cabin quietness at highway speeds.

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2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4
2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

The big news is the Duramax diesel engine, with is surprisingly smooth and quiet. It is also strong, pulling away cleanly from a stop, and making easy work of highway merging and passing. And, as a special bonus, the diesel powertrain returned 23 mpg in our care, exceeding both our expectations, and the EPA highway estimate of 20 mpg.

Given that the available 6.2-liter V8 engine costs more than the diesel, produces less torque, and requires premium-grade fuel, we can see no reason to select it, unless diesel fuel is, for some reason, difficult to find in your neighborhood. Or, if the big V8’s exhaust note, which is admittedly compelling, really strikes your fancy.

While the Silverado ZR2 costs somewhat less than the AT4X, and is somewhat more capable off road, we find the GMC’s intriguing blend of luxury and capability worth the additional money. And though we may identify, sort of, as nemophilists, we are not prepared to hunt and butcher a badger, or honestly, ford a significant creek or stream. As the AT4X is already more capable than 95 percent of the vehicles on the road, we’ll take its classy cabin, and excellent sound system, and call it day.

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2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

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2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 Gallery

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