2022 The GMC Sierra 1500 lifts its luxury and off-road game

At the same time, GMC is trying to plant its flag as a premium brand and develop more off-road cred with the updated 2022 Sierra 1500. To do so, the company builds on the truck’s most popular models: the king of bling Denali and off-road AT4. Previously, these two represented the lineup’s most stylish and capable trim levels, but these titles now belong to the recently introduced Denali Ultimate and AT4X respectively.

Along with a remarkable makeover that includes a redesigned front-end and redesigned interior of most 2022 Sierras, the Denali Ultimate and AT4X come with exclusive features designed to enhance their outstanding status and justify their high price tags. For example, they only get the new Bose sound system with 12 speakers and front seats with more adjustments and massage functions. Compared to the standard Denali, the Ultimate’s cabin is lined with richer leather upholstery, a micro-suede headliner and genuine wood details etched with topographic maps of Mount Denali. AT4X, for its part, has added chassis protection, electronic locking of the front and rear diff, larger suspension travel and ingenious Multimatic flush valve dampers that are not offered on the standard AT4.

Here’s the thing: the AT4X starts at $ 77,395 and the Denali Ultimate has a starting price of $ 82,795. That’s between $ 14K and $ 18K more than the cheapest AT4 ($ 63,395) and Denali ($ 63,695). It sounds like a lot of dough for mostly nicer interior materials and upgraded terrain hardware, so to see if the new chart-stopping Sierras are worth asking, we traveled to Southern California, where we got a turn behind the wheel of each truck.

Dynamically, the Denali Ultimate can be mistaken for a 2019 Sierra 1500 Denali that we tested. The ’22 model has the same naturally aspirated 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8, 10-speed automatic transmission and selectable four-wheel drive. We can not confirm that the new truck reaches 60 mph in the same 5.4 seconds, but its intentional acceleration and baritone avastones felt familiar. For people who want to avoid the $ 1,005 V-8 recharging, there is a Duramax diesel 3.0-liter inline six with the equivalent of 460 pounds of torque on the Ultimate. Diesel also raises Ultimate’s EPA combined rating from 17 to 24 mpg. Just like its halftone Chevy Silverado twin, the Sierra 1500 does well for a truck. Its steering is direct, its brake pedal is fixed, and Denali’s standard adaptive dampers help control body movements and isolate driving despite the 22-inch wheels.

We also got to try its Super Cruise hands-free technology on I-5. The system worked excellently in busy traffic, stayed steady around corners at 120 km / h and changed lanes on its own. Still, we would need a longer test drive to contradict Ezra Dyer’s uneven experience.

From anywhere in Denali Ultimate, it’s obvious how much better everything looks than before. The instrument panel layout is more horizontal, and the new 12.3-inch digital meter cluster and 13.4-inch touch screen provide GMC with an answer to competitors’ large screens. In fact, Denali and Denali Ultimate’s new and improved interiors are a necessary answer to the luxurious cabins of the sleekest Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 models. The most attractive Sierras now have more sewn leather surfaces and stronger switchgear throughout that effectively lifts the aesthetics and puts them on the same level as fancy rivals. But GMC is still lagging behind when it comes to details. The leather looks horny in some places, and the metallic upholstery that spans the dashboard feels hollow. The sunroof is not in micro suede like the sunroof, and even if the sunroof is electrically operated, the lid is manual.

The AT4X is not quite as good-looking as the Denali Ultimate. Sierra’s premier off-road vehicle is not offered with Super Cruise, it has smaller wood with open pores inside and chrome is non-existent. Like the Ultimate, each AT4X has a crew cabin, cardbox configuration. Unlike Denali, the 6.2-liter V-8 is mandatory. Our time with AT4X included a game around Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and an encounter with a steep, rocky obstacle called the Diablo Drop Off. The latter showed the value of the truck’s electronic locking differences that helped it easily crawl through the sand and over the treacherous terrain. Sierra’s diversity of camera views ensured that we could clearly locate nearby obstacles, the clipping rails prevented serious bodily injuries and the terrain made it easy to crawl by simulating driving with a pedal in 4HI or 4LO. Its deceleration level can be adjusted with the steering wheel-mounted paddles.

We drove the desert part with the truck’s 275 / 65R-18 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Mud-Terrain tires aired to 15 psi. The gnarled rubber worked great for our purposes, but it is different from what is available on the new Silverado ZR2. More obviously, the AT4X’s front bumper is not as aggressive as Chevy’s either. We wondered why GMC made the most vicious Sierra look less vicious than its bowtie-branded brother. We hear that AT4X misses the ZR2 bumper because GMC thinks that customers like what Sierra looks like and did not want to jeopardize it. And due to clearing issues, the ZR2’s slightly larger 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory Mud-Terrain tires are too large for the AT4X. As a result, the AT4X’s 25.5-degree approach angle is 6.3 degrees smaller than the ZR2’s.

Despite the compromises in bumper design and tire size, Sierra showed us that it is the most capable pickup that GMC has ever built. Its flush valve dampers worked wonders to even out the desert’s washboard sections, and we never hit the shock stop even when we crashed over mounds and ditches. Still, Sierra’s rear leaf springs make the rear of the truck bounce and shake more than the more sophisticated coil springs on the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX. These trucks are both better suited for high-speed driving in the desert. They are also better at peacocks. The new 2022 Sierra 1500 AT4X is more cushioned and practical, and its narrower width makes it easier to turn on narrow canyon paths or on narrow streets. Both long-standing GMC fans and newcomers should appreciate the truck’s expanded capacity and improved interior, but with that they have to put up with its inflated results, which occupy the same price range as the more extreme Raptor and TRX.



2022 GMC Sierra 1500
Vehicle type: front engine, rear or rear / 4-wheel drive, 3-, 5- or 6-passenger, 2- or 4-door pickup

Bass: Pro, $ 36,295; SLE, $ 47,555; Height, $ 49,195; SLT, $ 53,095; AT4, $ 63,395; Denali, $ 63,695; AT4X, $ 77,395; Denali Ultimate, $ 81,690

turbocharged and mid-cooled DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter inline-6, 277 hp, 460 lb-ft; turbocharged and mid-cooled DOHC 16-valve 2.7-liter inline-4, 310 hp, 430 lb-ft; push rod 16-valve 5.3-liter V-8, 355 hp, 383 lb-ft; push rod 16-valve 6.2-liter V-8, 420 hp, 460 lb-ft

8-speed automatic, 10-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 126.5–157.0 inches
Length: 211.0–242.4 inches
Width: 81.1–81.2 inches
Height: 75.7–78.3 inches
Passenger volume: 73–139 feet3
Empty weight (CD estimate): 4600–5800 lb.

60 mph: 5.4–7.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.0–15.5 sec
Top speed: 100–115 mph

Combined / city / motorway: 14–26 / 13–23 / 17–30 mpg

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