Not updated For 2022!
While GMC will have a mid-life refresh for the Sierra 1500 coming soon, this is not that truck. Until things start to settle down from the pandemic we get this “AT4 Limited” trim stop gap model, which is basically from 2021. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not an excellent truck!
GMC sent us a 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 Limited with the 3.0 turbo diesel for our review. This engine has 277 horsepower and 460 foot-pounds of torque. Power is sent through a 10-speed auto, 2-speed transfer case with an auto 4wd setting, and a 3.23 final drive ratio with the G80 locking rear differential.
Adorned in Summit white paint and paired with dark chrome accents this AT4 Limited is very attractive. The red tow hooks stand out, making them easy to find. On the other hand, they have become almost a joke in the off-road industry as a symbol of pseudo off-road capability.
The LED headlights, and fully functional (meaning they can be turned on with the headlights off) LED fog lights, are well integrated into the lines of the truck. Both are very bright and the headlights have excellent cutoff. For additional lighting, the mirrors have work lights that point forward and to the side. Think of it as 10 and 2 on the clock. While they are bright, rear facing lights to illuminate the bed sides are more effective.
The 18-inch machined split 6-spoke wheels add to the premium look of the truck. Protecting those wheels are a set of 275/65R18 Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs. These are aggressive tires with excellent traction and durability for gravel roads.
Our tester was equipped with the multi-pro tailgate and Kicker audio system. As part of the kicker audio system there is a USB port and 3.5mm aux input inside of the multi-pro tailgate. This is a great system for those who love music and tailgating.
Something new is a hitch receiver cap. It is wired up so that the smaller-inner tailgate cannot be opened if a hitch is in the receiver. This prevents the inner gate (which can be used as a step with both gates open) from getting smashed when used as a step with a hitch in the receiver. Despite all the new tailgate tech on the market, the rear bumper step is still the best innovation for bed access.
Inside the bed we find GMC’s Carbon Pro composite bed. Clearly this is a durable option and reduces or eliminates the need for a spray on bed liner. At the rear of the bed there is a single 150-volt outlet .
Inside the AT4 Limited
Dual-color seats grab the eye immediately upon opening the door of the GMC. Black leather with tan inserts and tan stitching make the seats pop. AT4 is embroidered into the headrests reminding you what you’re driving.
As expected the interior is nicely appointed. All of the controls are laid out and easy to reach for the driver. The steering wheel is equipped with the adaptive cruise control, hands free, and driver information center controls on the front. On the back of the steering wheel are the audio controls.
To the left and mostly hidden behind the steering wheel are switches to control the head up display. Even further to the left are the drive mode selector, transfer case buttons, and lighting dial and buttons.
On the right hand side we find all the normal controls for climate, audio, and other functions like lane keep assist, parking sensors and even self-park functionality. Also on the right hand side is the trailer brake controller. This is in a great spot for many reasons, but two of them are that it’s within easy reach for the driver’s right hand, and if there is an emergency that requires the driver to keep both hands on the wheel, the front seat passenger can reach the brake controller as well.
For charging up front, there are two usb ports, a 12-volt outlet, a 115-volt outlet, and a wireless charging pad all at the bottom of the center stack. Another two usb ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an SD card slot sit inside the center armrest.
Rear seat passengers have an enormous amount of space. Fitting three car seats across is easy, and there is still room between the car seats and the front seats.
Cargo volume is also massive with the rear seats folded up. Under the rear seats is a smaller storage area that does take up some of the flat floor load space. Inside of the outboard rear seat backs are additional storage spaces.
Charging for the rear seats is done through 2 usb ports and a 115-volt outlet.
Since GMC switched to independent front suspension decades ago, their on road driving characteristics have been at or near the top of their class. That continues in this AT4 Limited. Steering is direct and precise for such a large vehicle riding on large off-road tires.
Power, or torque rather, from the 3.0-liter inline-6 diesel is excellent from idle. This engine is by far the most responsive diesel in the half-ton truck class. The engine, along with the excellently tuned 10-speed automatic, for a great powertrain. The truck doesn’t spend extra time searching for the right gear, it seems to be in the right gear at the right time.
Fuel mileage wasn’t as good as we’ve had in past trucks with this engine. We averaged around 21 mpg, which is what the EPA combined estimate is. However, in the last GMC Sierra AT4 1500 we tested, we averaged closer to 24 mpg.
One thing we love about GM vehicles is the additional information that is listed on the driver’s side door jam. Conventional and gooseneck trailer and tongue weights are listed for this exact truck. This makes knowing how much you can tow a breeze. In this case our AT4 Limited tester can tow 8,800 pounds with an 880 pound tongue weight when using a weight distribution hitch.
Off-Road in the AT4 Limited
Equipped with a two-speed transfer case and the G80 auto locking rear differential, the AT4 is a very capable machine off-pavement.
In our high-speed off-road section the truck was able to meet our 20 mph goal without much drama. When the suspension did bottom or top out, it did so in a controlled manner without any harsh banging.
On the articulation hill, we could feel the truck trying to use traction control to help with the small climb. GM’s brake based traction control system isn’t as aggressive as Nissan’s ABLS. However, adding a little more throttle would cause the G80 to lock and the truck would complete the task with ease. The length of the truck meant that it was able to keep the wheels on the ground most of the time, despite having limited wheel travel.
In the hardest test, the steep hill climb, the AT4 Limited also did very well. Climbing a 40%+ grade while having two wheels with little to no traction is a difficult task. With the G80 locked and the AT4 in 4wd, that difficult task was hardly a workout at all.
Our 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited AT4 tester with the 3.0-liter diesel has a base price of $56,300. It included the following options:
AT4 Premium Package $3,405
Technology Package $2,075
Driver Alert Package II $1,095
AT4 Carbon Pro Edition $1,085
Destination Charge $1695
AT4 Premium Discount -$500
This is certainly a lot of money, but it is a lot of truck as well. Trucks in this class can easily be optioned into the $70,000+ range. We found the AT4 to be reasonably priced, by comparison, with the diesel engine and premium interior.
Wrapping Up the 2022 Sierra 1500 AT4 Limited
GMC has done an excellent job with the Sierra lineup. The responsive 3.0 diesel paired to the 10-speed auto is extremely well tuned. Off-road capability is good and the truck retains a decent towing capacity. Of course the interior is a very comfortable place to be with plenty of room for family road trips. Whether it’s a daily driver, work truck, or a family hauler, the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 Limited will get the job done in style and comfort.
Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.