Trucks are becoming more and more sophisticated every year as each manufacturer tries to come up with something new and different that makes their model stand out from the crowd. So it is with GM as you can now get the AT4 or Off-Road edition of your truck with a diesel engine that can tow up to 13,200 pounds, an increase of more than 4,000 over last year’s model.
A couple of years ago, we had planned a four-day mini-vacation to St. George. It gave us the perfect chance to give the new GMC a real-world challenge, not only out on the open road, but also some of the southern Utah desert. Then the truck handled beautifully and we were happy to get into the AT4 two years later.
This year, however, our chance with the new Sierra came in December during a week that included getting 8 inches of snow the second morning we had the truck. Well, what better way to get out and get through the worst Mother Nature has to offer in the Utah mountains than more snow than we saw all of last year?
This very powerful truck had absolutely no problem with any of it, including the ice that came after the snow. Our neighborhood roads were covered in it for a week because the city was ill prepared for such a large dump of the white so early in the season.
Since the launch of the new Sierra a couple of years ago, a nice addition that has found its way into the truck is the adaptive cruise control. This feature is truly a necessity that we have come to love and enjoy, especially since Craig had to make a trip up to Ogden at the end of the week. The cruise helped him get through any traffic problems on the afternoon journey home.
We’re so excited to see this feature make its way into trucks, a segment that seems to have taken longer to arrive than others.
Our test drive came in a beautiful white color that made it easy to keep clean throughout the week. With black 18-inch polished wheels and black running boards, it looked ready to conquer almost anything.
The truck had Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires, and we found the ride around town to be a bit rough; however, this was not the case. It seemed as smooth as being in a sedan, and on top of that, we averaged just over 24 mpg with the new Duramax 3.0-liter I-6 turbodiesel engine for our week.
Coupled with the new 10-speed transmission, this engine was stronger than we imagined and did a good job of handling both the freeways and city roads we encountered during our week with the AT4.
Now capable of towing up to 13,200 pounds (which we didn’t get a chance to test), it should prove to be the best in class. After nearly 400 miles in the AT4, we were completely taken with the new engine. However, one will have to weigh the capabilities against the cost of fuel when deciding whether to go diesel or not.
Another highlight was the huge multi-colour heads-up display in the front window which was customizable but kept our speed and all navigation directions back and forth. We never had to look down – very helpful, especially on a long trip. Four wheel drive information could also be displayed, so if you were out climbing it was all right there on the windscreen!
Over the past year and a half, we’ve driven a few different GM vehicles that have the new LED screen rearview mirror. With the help of a rear camera, an image is projected onto the mirror showing what is behind the vehicle. It is adjustable and can easily be made to fit the rider’s comfort zone.
But in the past we’ve had a hard time stopping to switch back to the normal rearview mirror we’re used to and actually use this technology. This time we took the opportunity to keep the screen on all week.
By the end of the week we had fully adjusted to the new rear sight and loved how it made the night view seem even brighter than the standard mirror. Now it becomes difficult to use a regular mirror. It’s also nice to be able to see what’s behind the truck no matter how many items you’ve placed in the backseat.
The AT4 comes standard with all kinds of four-wheel drive options, including hill control and a traction control system that allowed us to choose the type of terrain we were in.
Also standard is the new Multipro tailgate system designed by GM and only available so far on GM trucks. This allows the tailgate to literally split in half to make a work bench when folded down. When fully down, it provides easier access to the truck bed and even an extra step into the bed. The extra step was very handy with the extra 2 inches of lift on the AT4.
Inside, the truck was dressed in beautiful black leather with inlaid brown accents and stitching. The front seats were both heated and cooled along with heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel included – all standard.
The infotainment package proved instrumental in getting us around as we navigated around town and up to Ogden and back. The 8-inch high definition screen would be your best friend when used while off-road driving and when backing out of tight spots due to the many different cameras around the truck.
The new AT4 would be a great addition to anyone’s garage, and with the new diesel engine it would prove to be a great hauler with improved gas mileage. We really enjoyed our winter week in the truck.
Basic price: $56,300
Destination fee: $1,695
Price as driven: $64,155