The race for pickup truck supremacy has taken another leap, with GMC introducing a pair of swanky new trims on its popular Sierra line of half-ton haulers. Both will be laden with the type of opulence and tech features once reserved for the toniest of luxury sedans – and one also seeks to conquer off-road trails.
We’ll get to that trim in a minute. First out of the gate is the Denali Ultimate, which GMC says will be positioned one rung above the top-dog Denali. Dripping with darkened chrome (the brand told Wheels it is internally referred to as Vader chrome, which is all kinds of excellent), exclusive 22-inch wheels, and available Super Cruise driving assistance tools, it’ll show up for duty with an interior that finally lives up to the Denali name.
Taking much from the Denali-grade Yukon, the new Sierra Denali Ultimate features a 13.4-inch infotainment touchscreen in its centre stack, pairing with the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 15-inch heads up display. GMC is fond of saying there’s now “over 40 inches of diagonal screen display” in the Sierra, though that assertion is like adding all the dimensions of your home televisions together and bragging to your buddies you’ve a 120-inch jumbotron. Nevertheless, this is a quantum leap over the existing GMC Sierra interior, with a new console shifter and all manner of premium materials like suede headlining and relief maps of Mount Denali embossed into the swanky leather.
The availability of Super Cruise in a pickup truck is a big deal, doubly so when one learns it’ll work while towing a trailer. Save for automatic lane changing, all the Super Cruise bag of tricks will be available when hitched up, making it a boon to long haulers and nervous first-time RV owners. After inputting a handful of trailer dimensions, Super Cruise is ready to take stress out of those lengthy highway journeys. As for power, the Denali Ultimate will come standard with GM’s excellent 6.2-litre V8 engine which continues to make 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.
But it’s the new AT4X trim which really grabbed your author’s attention. This truck takes the AT4 sub-brand, which GMC says is responsible for bringing a healthy number of new customers into the fold, and cranks everything to eleven. Found on each corner are GM’s excellent DSSV shocks, truck suspenders previously reserved for Chevy and their ZR2 line of off-road beasts. AT4X will also permit the use of Terrain Mode (including one-pedal rock crawling) in 4Lo, a distinction the pedestrian AT4 does not share. Front and rear e-lockers, plus an extra skid plate over the transfer case, round out the mechanical differences of this package.
With this off-road kit, how does it differ in intention from its ZR2 sibling? GMC told us features such as power massaging seats and unique upholstery options are intended to set the truck apart, suggesting GMC is going after customers who don’t want to give up Denali-like features in exchange for off-road prowess. The mighty 6.2-litre V8 is standard here as well.
These trims are in addition to the existing Sierra catalog. Elsewhere in the 2022 lineup, look for a redesigned front end (it’s not your imagination – that grille is four inches wider) similar in shape to what’s shown on this Denali Ultimate and AT4X, plus a trio of new colours. SLE trims and above will benefit from this new interior design, leaving base models with the old cabin, and GM’s 2.7-litre Turbo truck engine now gets a torque boost to 420 lb-ft, some 20 per cent more than last year. Barring supply chain challenges, look for the new Sierra on dealer lots in Q1 of 2022.