2023 GMC Sierra AT4X Review: Understated

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn

Fast Facts

2023 GMC Sierra AT4X

6.2-liter V8 (420hp @ 5,600 rpm, 460 lb/ft @ 4,100 rpm)
Ten-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, MPG
14 city / 17 highway / 15 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy, L/100km
16.7 city / 14.0 highway / 15.5 combined. (NRCan Rating)
Base Price
$79,295 US / $100,898 CAN
As Tested
$80,440 US / $102,253 CAN
Prices include $1795 destination charge in the United States and $2195 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.
2023 gmc sierra at4x review understated

Trucks keep getting bigger, don’t they? At some point, one might start to believe that the trend to continually embiggen America’s most favored form of individual transport is further fueled by the trend in media to demonize trucks and their drivers. After all, we’ve seen an overwhelming distrust in and outright hostility to most forms of mainstream news reporting in the past decade, haven’t we? It stands to reason that perhaps some of the engorgement of trucks is in outright defiance of the pearl-clutching screed of the month.

At times, I’ll admit to privately feeling a bit of that disgust at lifted pickups, especially whilst in a drive-thru in my Miata when some yahoo with chromed suspension and wheels nearly drives over me. I don’t know that I personally have a need for something as large as the current batch of full-size half-ton trucks like this 2023 GMC Sierra AT4X. But for now, we live in a world where personal choice and personal responsibility are still mostly the law of the land, and for that, I’m grateful that those who need and want this size and capability can sign a foursquare for it.

That AT4X nomenclature is pretty new, having been introduced for the 2022 model year. The AT4 had been the top-trim choice for Sierra buyers who preferred a butch style rather than the bling of a Denali, but now X gon’ give it to ya with even more off-road capability. The big changes are 32” Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac M/T tires, a two-inch lift, and Multimatic DSSV dampers front and rear. 

Those dampers are something special. They’re speed-sensitive, allowing the hulking truck to feel much smaller when driving quickly on twisty backroads as well as handling nasty off-road obstacles with poise. Highway manners are as good as they’re going to get with the big knobby Goodyears, too. Despite the off-road focus of the AT4X package, this is a very livable truck in the pavement jungle.

The AT4X deviates from the Denali packages visually, too, as a dark nickel finish replaces most of the chrome found on the lux trim. I still can’t call the Sierra a beautiful truck - though, in all honesty, I don’t know if there are many trucks out there to which I’d apply that label - but it’s a bit more handsome after its recent refresh. 

Yes, I know that it’s June and there is snow in these photos. We had a weird spring, and I’ve been busy.

GMC has done a nice job updating the interior of the Sierra, too. For those who care, yes the plastics on the lower half of the dash and around the transmission tunnel are hard. I don’t really have a problem with that here, as they might hold up better to the abuse brought on when clambering in and out while clad in either work boots or hiking boots. But the controls are well labeled, and the shift lever is intuitive. It's a comfortable place to be, front or rear. I appreciate that the trailer brake controller falls readily to hand immediately behind the shifter because when you need it you need it NOW rather than pawing all over the dashboard while trying to manage trailer sway.

There’s plenty of yank for that trailer here, as the AT4X is exclusively offered with the 6.2-liter V8 giving 420 horses and a lovely growl. Fuel economy suffers, with the 15mpg EPA combined rating seeming about right. The turbo sixes and hybrids offered elsewhere are a bit more appealing at the pump, but it’s hard to argue with the tried and true pushrod bent eight here when considering likely longevity. The standard ten-speed transmission also impresses, as it never feels like it’s hunting for a gear - it’s always seemingly in the right ratio and shifts seamlessly when called upon to do so.

With the 2023 GMC Sierra AT4X, I’m thinking that GMC has targeted the buyer who might otherwise look at the aggro Raptor or TRX. They haven’t done anything about the horsepower - this 420hp V8 can be had in a number of trims. But this is plenty of power, and the look here is much more understated than the two rivals. I’m sure the aftermarket will provide should firebreathing power be needed, but for those who’d like to stay a little bit beneath the radar whilst negotiating the worst the backcountry can dish out, this is appealing.

[Images: © 2023 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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4 of 33 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Jun 08, 2023

    This truck is the perfect size, and the fuel economy is very impressive.

    -This post sponsored by ExxonMobil

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jun 09, 2023

    "15mpg EPA"

    The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg

    • See 1 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jun 09, 2023

      @FreedMike - agreed. I know a fellow who purchased a F350 Tremor with the 7.3. He then bought a Civic. The fuel savings made the car and insurance payments while the truck sat.

  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines. https://www.drive.com.au/reviews/2023-ineos-grenadier-review/
  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.
  • Inside Looking Out Chinese will take over EV market and Tesla will become the richest and largest car company in the world. Forget about Japanese.