The GMC Sierra has always been one of the pillars that has helped support the GMC truck brand. In recent years, the Sierra has added extra levels of technology to its already impressive arsenal of rugged performance hardware in an attempt to help it stand out from rivals like the Ram 1500 and the segment-leading Ford F-150. The current generation truck is no slouch, but it was held back by lackluster interior and exterior design. GMC has decided to take action and has unveiled the all-new 2022 GMC Sierra.
Mid-Cycle Evolution Adds Precision To Venerable Nameplate
While this is more of a mid-cycle refresh versus an outright revamp, it still addresses some of the things that have constantly dogged the truck since it was unveiled a few years ago. The front fascia is all new and it not only incorporates a wider front grille, but it also adds new LED projector headlights too. This helps further enhance the differentiation between it and its Chevy-badged sibling the Silverado while allowing the Sierra to further express its personality.
C-shaped daytime running lights help give the Sierra a wider stance and GMC reps even pointed out that the truck will now have lightning animation when you approach or leave the truck. The side profile leads out to the back of the truck which looks largely the same as it did on the outgoing truck. GMC designers claim some sprucing up took place here too, but you will need a sharp eye to spot all the changes. The SLT and base Denali now offer new wheel designs while three new colors (Titanium Metallic Rush, Dynamic Blue Metallic, and Desert Sand Metallic) spice up the truck’s color palate to a certain extent.
Denali Ultimate Pushes Sierra Closer To Cadillac Territory
The 2022 GMC Sierra will offer a myriad of trims and configurations when it makes its way to dealerships. However, two trims, in particular, will serve as the truck’s main way of getting attention, and we think that they will cater to a wide range of consumer tastes. The first is the all-new Denali Ultimate model which serves as a noticeable step up over the base Denali model.
The exterior is adorned in Vader-hued chrome with the grille and the badging all taking their respective trips to the dark side. Massive 22-inch low gloss black wheels feature machined accents and help give the Denali Ultimate a commanding street presence. These models also feature a trim exclusive Mount Denali logo on the front fenders. The bed of the truck comes equipped with the CarbonPro composite box which not only helps shed some weight but also offers the best capacity for short bed pickups.
The interior of the Denali Ultimate uses the fundamentals of the Denali’s already opulent cabin and enhances things further with several noteworthy additions. They include full-grain leather trim as well as open-pore Palado wood accents. The wood even features an etched image of the topographical map for Mount Denali which is a nice follow-up to the Lunar-themed map that we saw in the Hummer EV pickup. The Ultimate is also the last word on GMC’s equipment packages with brand reps claiming that the only thing optional is an engine swap with the 6.2 liter 420 hp V8 having the ability to be swapped out with the optional diesel engine if a customer is so inclined.
AT4X Brings More Capability To The Trail
Meanwhile, the all-new AT4X focuses on enhancing the base AT4 formula which has proven to be very popular with customers ever since the AT4 trim was introduced a few years ago. As the name implies, the AT4X is an enhancement of the standard Sierra AT4 and adds some new features to help make trail busting more enjoyable. Like the Denali Ultimate, the AT4X is powered by the 420 hp 6.2 liter V8 which is mated to a 10-speed automatic but it now comes equipped with Multimatic sourced DSSV spool-valve dampers and trim exclusive springs that help increase suspension travel by 50 mm and 25 mm respectively versus a standard AT4.
A two-speed transfer case offers several different driving modes including an all-new terrain mode that allows the driver to do one pedal rock crawling on trickier sections of the great outdoors. The AT4X also looks the part too thanks to a set of 18-inch black wheels with LT265/70R18 Goodyear Duratrac Mud-Terrain tires.
The interior is still focused on luxury, but the AT4X is designed to balance out opulence and trail-ready dependability. The cabin is adorned in Obsidian Rush black and dark Vanta ash wood trim gives the truck a distinct look. The front seats have 16-way power adjustment and can be heated or cooled. Like the Ultimate, the X comes with a 15-inch heads-up display and also comes equipped with Bose’s 12-speaker Bose Premium Series Audio System with Center Point technology.
Brand New Infotainment System Is The Real Center Of Attention, Performance Plays Supporting Role
With the performance hardware being largely carried over in this mid-cycle update, the infotainment technology inside the Sierra has a rare opportunity to shine. In this case, it actually manages to outdo Ford in this regard with SLE and higher trims getting an all-new 13.4-inch touchscreen which is slightly larger than the optional 12-inch screen that can be equipped to certain Ford F-150 models. Next-generation Super Cruise also trickles down into the Sierra for the first time, with the system being standard on the Denali Ultimate and Denali models. We had a chance to sample it a short while ago, and it’s a noticeable evolution over the outgoing Super Cruise setup.
The system features built-in Google software which allows many of the features that are commonly associated with Android phones (Google Maps, Play, and Assistant) to be displayed in the system itself. The system also comes with existing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and even bundles in Amazon Alexa for good measure. Certain trims even come with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster which GMC claims gives drivers over 40-inches of configurable space to work with.
As for the performance hardware, there are only two notable changes here with the 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder getting a slight bump in torque to 420 lb-ft and some structural and software tweaks. The 3.0 liter Duramax diesel engine gets its own share of improvements and while horsepower and torque are unchanged, the engine can now tow 13,200 lbs which is a 4,000 lb improvement over the 2021 model. The 5.3 liter V8 will solider on as the volume engine and will largely carry on with business as it does in the GMC Yukon. The 2022 Sierra also comes with several layers of cybersecurity technology, with brand reps claiming that the truck is protected from a wide variety of cyber threats.
When Can I Buy A 2022 GMC Sierra?
The 2022 GMC Sierra will be making its way to dealerships in early 2022, but the brand will be opening up reservations today on its website. GMC even released preliminary pricing for the 2022 GMC Sierra family. The $32,495 Pro model will serve as the gateway into the Sierra club with the SLE and Elevation models wielding base stickers of $43,895 and $45,595 respectively. These three models are in the proverbial sweet spot for budget-minded buyers and are comfortably below the $50,000 barrier.
The $50,895 SLT is where the Sierra truly begins to flex its luxury-lined muscles with this trim being the one that gets more technology and convenience features. The rugged AT4 starts at $60,995 with the beefier AT4X slightly higher at $74,995. The Denali and Denali Ultimate are the co-range-toppers of the family with these models starting at $61,295 and $80,395.
This pricing ladder still allows the Sierra to bring the fight to the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 but the Denali Ultimate’s place in the pecking order allows GMC to have a true competitor to the F-150 Limited as well as similarly equipped Ram models. The Sierra will also have to contend with the recently revamped Toyota Tundra, and it will be interesting to see how the AT4 and AT4X in particular measure up against the TRD PRO. One lone omission is a bed-mounted inverter generator, but while GMC is not putting one here in this version of the Sierra, the brand is still investigating offering it, and it just might make an appearance in a fully revamped Sierra model.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.