Off-road enthusiast and GearJunkie Motors Editor Bryon Dorr spent a long day and a few hundred miles in the latest top-dog off-road truck in GMC’s lineup. Here’s what he loved about the 2022 Sierra 1500 AT4X — and what he wasn’t impressed with.
The very first AT4 vehicle in GMC’s lineup was the Sierra 1500 in 2019. Since then, the AT4 sub-brand has been extended across all of GMC’s vehicles and attracted more affluent young buyers to the brand. The 2022 Sierra 1500 AT4X is the next evolution of the AT4 story and the new pinnacle off-road vehicle in GMC’s stable.
The Sierra AT4X comes at the same time as the midcycle refresh of the truck, along with the luxury-focused Sierra Denali Ultimate trim. The updates include a new front-end look (grille, fascia, headlamps) and a very updated interior (instrument panel and center console with a larger 13.4-inch touchscreen).
The exterior updates are made to give the truck a wider look with more aggressive lighting cues whereas the interior updates focus on the driver and updated tech.
For GMC, the AT4X badge represents refined sporty and rugged looks, nicer interior materials, more tech and comfort features, Multimatic DSSV shocks, and off-road-focused features like selectable lockers.
GMC polled its customers and found that 19% actually use their vehicle off road, which bodes well for sales of its most off-road-capable truck yet.
2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X Review
Let’s dive into the good — and the bad — that we found during our time with GMC’s latest off-road-focused half-ton pickup. Here are the 10 things that we love about it and five we weren’t impressed with.
10 Things We Love About the Sierra AT4X
1. Impressive Shocks
By far the thing that stands out above all else about the Sierra 1500 AT4X is the shocks. The Multimatic DSSV shocks — like you’ll find on the Colorado ZR2 with tech developed in F1 — are truly impressive both on and off road.
On road, they help keep the truck flat through the twisties. Off road, they are really good at smoothing out the ride over small-to-medium obstacles at moderate-to-spirited speeds.
They can, however, be a bit harsh at extremely slow speeds in rough terrain. And no, they can’t handle big obstacles like a TRX or Raptor is capable of. But that also comes down to tire size, wheel travel, and jounce shocks.
2. Off-Road Easy Buttons
Selectable e-lockers are the easy buttons of off-roading, and the Sierra AT4X has them at both ends of the truck. Just tap one of the piano keys on the center stack, and the axles are mechanically locked up, allowing the power to be put to the ground no matter the scenario.
This works impressively well in steep and loose terrain, even when a tire or two is in the air, as we experienced in our testing.
3. One-Pedal Off-Roading
Off-Road Mode is for higher speeds while Terrain Mode is for slow-speed off-pavement adventures.
In Terrain Mode, selecting L1 (manual shift mode first gear) initiates a one-pedal-like driving experience. You just need to use the skinny pedal to control the truck, as the brakes are automatically dragged hard and the truck will stop — even in super-steep terrain — when you let off the pedal.
This one-pedal driving experience is great for beginners at off-roading, as it makes it extremely easy to modulate the speed over tough terrain. I prefer to two-foot drive and use left-foot braking, but the Sierra AT4X will also allow that when the gear selector is in automatic mode.
4. Quality Rubber and Clearance
Under the AT4X, you get 18-inch aluminum wheels with 32-inch all-terrain or mud-terrain tires. This setup offers plenty of sidewall for quality aired-down off-road comfort and capability.
Combined with the suspension setup, you get a full 10.9 inches of ground clearance, which is plenty to clear most obstacles this truck will encounter.
The AT4X also comes with a full-size spare, which is very important when off-road adventuring.
5. Massage Seats
One of my favorite features in the 2022 Sierra AT4X — and Denali Ultimate — is the front massage seats. They offer a ton of different massage options, intensities, and even one-button activation. Yes, there is a separate button on the seat just to activate the massage feature.
GMC does know its customers, and they want comfort. Besides helping my messed-up back survive a road trip, I found this feature to also be great at helping keep the blood flowing and keeping me alert behind the wheel.
6. Comfy Seats
The front seats are also heated and ventilated. And to top it off, they pretty much lay flat — great for trail-side naps. No, these are not as good as the Ford lay-flat seats, specifically because the back and lower seat cushion intersection doesn’t support your back as it does in the Ford when the seat is reclined.
7. Big HUD
The new, massive, 15-inch heads-up display (HUD) is clear, concise, and configurable. While it dims considerably when wearing polarized sunglasses, it’s still completely readable. That’s something we can’t say for other HUD systems on the market.
8. Quiet Cabin
Inside the Sierra AT4X, it was impressively quiet for such a big pickup rolling on off-road tires.
9. Versatile Storage Solutions
GMC touts being professional-grade, and part of that is always having great storage solutions. While not new, the rear seats have built-in storage cubbies that are quite useful.
Also not new but unique to GMC trucks — and also truly useful — is the MultiPro tailgate. It can even be configured with a Bluetooth Kicker audio system.
10. Smooth Power
The 6.2L V8 under the hood is no slouch, with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque on tap. It’s backed by a 10-speed transmission that is super smooth.
5 Things We Don’t Love About the Sierra AT4X
1. Gas Guzzler
While the big power V8 under the hood moves this truck with authority over any terrain, it isn’t perfect. First off, you’ll notice a large bill at the gas pump. Our test truck got a 12.6mpg average over about 1,000 miles, and even less in the time we were behind the wheel. The Sierra 1500 AT4X is EPA rated at 14 mpg city and 18 highway, which isn’t good.
We also experienced a big delay in power delivery off the line when trying to set a 0-60mph time, which we clocked multiple times at just over 7 seconds. We’d estimate that at least half a second of that was waiting for the engine to respond to the massive throttle input we gave it.
We tried several different settings in the truck to remove this initial delay but couldn’t, and GMC engineers couldn’t explain it either.
2. Unimpressive Steering
The electric power-assisted, rack-and-pinion steering feels vague and super disconnected. You turn more toward a compass bearing than a specific spot on the road. While that is for sure a bit of a dramatic overstatement, the steering feel really was disappointing.
And the turning radius didn’t feel very good on or off road. In reality, it’s competitive in its class — 23.65′ Sierra 1500 AT4X, 23.9′ F-150 Tremor, 23.15′ Silverado 1500 ZR2, 23.1′ Rebel, 24.3′ Tundra TRD Pro. Long wheelbases — the new norm for pickups— create impressive interior volume for passengers and cargo, but they kill breakover angle (22.7 degrees) and turning performance.
3. Needed But Poorly Designed Rock Sliders
Our review truck, and all in the press fleet, was outfitted with the $1,150 optional Rocker Guards. These are a combination rock slider and sidestep, which the long-wheelbase truck really does need to protect the rocker panels when off road.
While it looks to be a sturdy slider and worked well in our testing as such, it’s an extremely poor entry/exit step for this lifted truck. The step portion of the Rocker Guard is extremely slippery and comes to a point (when it should be flat) where you put your foot, meaning your foot gets very little purchase on it.
4. Slow and Glitchy Screen
While we loved the new massive touchscreen in general, we did find it to be slow to respond and sometimes glitchy. But the new 13.4-inch infotainment touchscreen with Google has all the built-in tech you’d expect, like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
5. Lacking Some Key Features
While the new Sierra Ultimate gets Super Cruise hands-free cruise control standard, and it’s optional on the Denali, the AT4X didn’t get it. That’s sad, as it’s pretty awesome and now includes both trailering and auto lane-change features.
While the AT4X has plenty of off-road technology baked in, it doesn’t have a trail cruise control feature. In Hill Descent Control mode it does now, however, display the speed it’s going and allows you to adjust that speed with the left steering wheel thumbwheel.
Sadly, there is a sticker in the glove box that says you can’t put a truck camper in the Sierra AT4X. We’d wager you can, but because of the lift and shocks, GMC’s lawyers won’t allow it to be sanctioned. With a 1,420-pound max payload capacity, it could for sure handle a lightweight camper.
The Sierra 1500 AT4X can tow up to 8,900 pounds, though, so I guess you just need to tow a camper trailer instead.
There’s no diesel option on Sierra AT4X — yet. But it’s available on Sierra 1500 AT4 models.
2022 Sierra AT4X Pricing and Availability
Pricing on the 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X starts at $74,995, including the destination charge. And if you check just about every option box, you’d be hardpressed for a sticker price above $82,000. A fully optioned (to my preferences) Sierra AT4X comes in just under $81,000 (see image above), as built on GMC’s online configurator.
A similarly optioned Sierra AT4 comes in at about $74,000, which means you’re paying about $7,000 for a huge shock upgrade, selectable lockers, a big front seating upgrade, nicer interior materials, an upgraded audio system, dark nickel exterior trim, proper rock sliders, and unique wheels. That’s quite a value!
The new 2022 Sierra AT4X, and other refreshed Sierra models, are rolling into dealerships now.
While the Sierra is the first production vehicle to wear the AT4X badge, it won’t be the last. We’ll see the GMC Canyon AT4X later this summer and hope that it offers much of what the concept truck did.
And yes, the Sierra 1500 AT4X is very similar to the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2. Some exterior aesthetics and interior layout are about the only differences.