Today, we meditate on another escalation in the arms race. No, not that arms race – the interesting one. The truck arms race. We used to just have trucks. They were pragmatic, ugly, and you could slam some scrap metal in the back without a care in the world. But, in over the past decade, trucks have become drastically more liveable, outfitted with the same technology and comforts as passenger cars. Their performance has also surged. At nearly any dealership you can find a truck that can ford a river, climb a mountain, and win a drag race. Arguably, no truck better combines modern refinement and genuine off-road performance quite like the Sierra AT4, based on the new 2019 Sierra.
On the extant 2018 Sierra, GMC offers a package called All-Terrain. It combines some performance features like Hill Descent Control and enhanced skid plates with some rugged aesthetic improvements. For those who want GMC refinement and off-road performance, it is currently the best option. However, some feel that the Sierra All-Terrain is more style than substance and can’t match up against trucks like the Ford Raptor. But that’s about to change with the approach of the next-generation Sierra.
The Sierra AT4
“For those whose active lifestyles carry them beyond the pavement’s edge, Sierra AT4 provides smart capability, innovative technologies, and off-road capability without compromise.”
The Sierra AT4 is a bonafide off-road truck. It has a 2” suspension lift, two-speed transfer case, Rancho monotube shock absorbers, and locking rear differential. Like the old All-Terrain, you also get Hill Descent Control and protective skid plates. It gets the 5.3L V8 as standard equipment, along with the smooth eight-speed transmission, but other powertrains are available. The Sierra AT4 also allows buyers to choose between all-terrain and mud tires. Yeah, it has genuine off-road chops. But that’s only one side of the story.
The Sierra AT4 also boasts GMC’s innovation and premium features. The Multi-Pro liftgate is standard. It can adjust to a number of useful positions: it’s a load stop, standing workstation, step, and more. And the Multi-Pro gates opens onto the industry’s first carbon fibre bed. It’s lighter and stronger than steel, giving you the best performance advantage. Highlighting the Sierra’s upmarket ambition, GMC even offers an available segment-first head-up display. It projects vital information onto the windshield so that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
The AT4 is set to deliver great performance along with comfort and convenience. But many potential buyers will want to know if the AT4 can stack up against the super popular Ford Raptor. While both trucks offer a ton of power and reinforced parts, the Raptor probably more rugged. It’s high output 3.5L engine delivers a pretty insane amount of horsepower and torque. It’s performance can’t be denied. However, the Raptor is let down on the inside by an awkward layout and cheap materials. Maybe it’s unfair to criticise a narrowly off-road truck for being utilitarian, but with an MSRP of $69,049, a more ‘liveable” interior would be nice.
The main point is that the Sierra AT4 and Raptor are for different buyers. If you put the trucks side by side with the Raptor oozing machismo, you’d be able to guess that for yourself. GMC’s off-road truck is much more well-mannered. It doesn’t have as much of a penchant for chaos, but likely nicer to spend time in.
The Sierra AT4 will be available beginning fall 2018.