We Hit the Trail in a 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

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Although we've driven the new 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali and SLT models, we recently had a chance to get behind the wheel of the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 with the new Off-Road Performance Package. This 4x4 package is well-mannered on the road yet able to be raucous off-road. But be warned: This GMC half ton can get pricey.

Related: 2019 GMC Sierra AT4 Video

For a quick recap, the AT4 is the GMC Sierra 1500's four-wheeling-friendly trim. It has a special 2-inch suspension lift (compared to other Sierra 1500 trims) to accommodate larger, more aggressive tires; it adds a set of special-purpose Rancho monotube shocks; includes an automatic G80 locking rear differential; sports vertical bright red tow hooks; and offers a more athletic color scheme with body-colored bumpers, grille surround, mirrors and door handles along with some black accents strewn around the truck. It's similar in size and construction to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss, but it looks quite different.

Sounds and Surfaces

Our test truck benefited from GMC's new Off-Road Performance Package that includes the biggest V-8 engine (the 6.2-liter EcoTec V-8 with Dynamic Fuel Management that puts out 420 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque, which is not available on the Silverado Trail Boss), a 10-speed transmission, 18-inch black aluminum wheels, 31.5-inch Goodyear DuraTrac all-terrain tires, a dual cat-back performance exhaust and a see-through high-flow performance air intake. The cat-back performance exhaust system provides the most noticeable improvement with a stronger, more resonant tailpipe note that constantly reminds you you're driving something special (a selectable exhaust system like the Ford Mustang's would be nice to have here). Get into the throttle on the freeway and the rumble is pronounced or blip it off the line and the throaty echo is quite nice. The performance exhaust pairs nicely with a bigger air intake that allows for cooler, freer-flowing air into the engine, which we're told provides a healthy bump of extra power and torque; better breathing in and out will do that.

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We should note that even though this is GMC's premiere off-pavement pickup, it will impress people with its highway manners and handling. As odd as it might sound when talking about a vehicle with 2-inch-taller front coils and re-arched rear leaf springs, there is no wander from the steering or a "tippy" feeling when carving corners or making sharp turns. GM engineers have provided a balanced and smooth ride for a taller, higher pickup. During high-speed freeway cruises and canyon carving, we never felt the Sierra 1500 AT4 get uncomfortable or out of sorts. Our only complaint was with the noise the Goodyear DuraTrac all-terrain tires made on harder surfaces. The drone was not loud, but it was noticeable and something to consider. As soon as we got to the slower-speed trailhead during a mountain climb, those issues disappeared and we navigated the washed-out ruts and off-camber potholes of the dirt trail with ease and less tire noise.

Off-Roading

The four-wheel-drive system on the AT4 is traditional, running through a dedicated transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear that splits available engine torque 50/50 between the front and rear driveshafts when in low range. But there is a twist. All AT4s have a new Traction Select System feature that allows the 4WD system to adjust specific parameters like traction control, throttle response and more depending on the obstacles and terrain you expect to encounter. We ran our GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 in Off-Road mode in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive and really appreciated the difference between the settings and how well the system controls the truck when moving back and forth between throttle and brake. With the tires at full pressure and an unadjustable suspension, there was plenty of roll and head toss when we didn't tamp down our speed appropriately for the terrain. However, the tire grip and Traction Select System did a good job of getting us through some deep sand and slippery mud patches that could have had us getting close to a nasty ledge drop off.

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Another special feature of this well-equipped off-road package is how comfortable the pickup drives when in low range and turning. Normally, a left- or right-hand turn leads to a "crow hop" that creates an unnerving understeer situation, especially on dangerous and remote trails. We felt none of that here; the steering wheel had a light feel while climbing and descending a steep 50-foot rock face. The surround-view cameras displayed images on the 8-inch multimedia screen, allowing us to see exactly where each of our tires were and how to steer away from any danger.

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We expect this new GMC off-road model to fare well against most other off-roader half tons: the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss, Ram 1500 Rebel, Toyota Tundra TRD Pro and Nissan Titan Pro-4X. The exception is the Ford F-150 Raptor, which is in a league by itself. The 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 could be the new standard the others will have to meet.

Tailgate Tunes

A lunch stop along the off-road trail led to our discovery one of the coolest available bed features we've seen in a long time. All GMC AT4s come with the MultiPro Tailgate as standard, which provided us with a platform from which we could eat lunch standing up. Our test truck had the dealer-installed Kicker Audio system built into the tailgate; it operates completely independent of the factory sound system. It slots two protected high-output speakers into the step-covered part of the tailgate. The system is controlled with a few weatherproof switches and can play music via Bluetooth, USB or an auxiliary jack — so we had tunes with our meal at the top of a mountain. We're told the price for the Kicker system is $699 for the system itself, while dealers will charge separately for the install.

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So, What Does It Cost?

The base price for a crew-cab AT4 is $54,695 including destination, but our truck included the 6.2-liter V-8 upgrade with the 10-speed transmission ($2,495); the Technology Package with surround-view camera, rear camera mirror, color head-up display and 8-inch multimedia screen ($1,875); the cat-back performance exhaust ($1,595); upgraded air intake ($675); and power sunroof ($995). Our truck also had the optional Driver Alert Package II ($745), which includes forward collision alert, lane-keeping assist, low-speed auto braking, safety alert seats and adaptive headlights. Our upgraded Satin Steel Metallic paint ($395) and more aggressive Goodyear DuraTrac mud tires ($295) rounded out the options, bring the total price to $66,365 with a $500 AT4 discount. The price gets buyers a truck with lots of personality and capability.

The bottom line is that the GMC Sierra 1500 is not just a more expensive Chevrolet Silverado 1500, as some people believe. The Chevy does not get the big V-8 or 10-speed automatic transmission or the new tailgate sound system, to name a few features it lacks. The exclusivity of the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 is likely to appeal to lots of new truck buyers. At least GMC hopes so.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams, Aaron Bragman

 

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Comments

The performance exhaust pairs nicely with a bigger air intake that allows for cooler, freer-flowing air into the engine, which we're told provides a healthy bump of extra power and torque; better breathing in and out will do that.

@PUTC

Sort of.

In reality, today's electronic fuel injection, air flow sensors (and electronic controls in general) define the limits in these vehicles. If adding fresh air or offering a free-er exhaust system was the answer to power/performance/FE questions, they'd be doing it across the entire line-up to cheaply address customer wants, and CAFE requirements. Air intakes and mufflers don't cost much to make for someone like Ford or GM

This is a very nice truck. Listen, it's not supposed to be a Raptor fighter. It's an off road truck, not a desert runner. Looks very mean and rugged looking. I think its direct competitor is the Ram Rebel. I really like what GM has done here with this truck.

Now, correct me, but I thought you could get a Trailboss with a 6.2L? It just comes standard with a 5.3L in a Chevy, but an option, and a 6.2L is standard on the GMC?

I have never been a fan of a torsion bar front end setup for doing off-road chores

If you GM guys want these aftermarket parts, go to shopchevyparts.com

I got all my parts for 1/4 off what they want for them at dealership. Exhaust is $1000 and the intake is around $475, so I saved almost $800. I had to bargain with them, but they caved in!

@the real TNTGMC

Great info about pricing. Unfortunately current anti-trust law has been carved-out sufficiently to allow modern car dealerships to be as inefficient as they are without being killed off by their competitors. No different than the NFL and Major League Baseball, the dealers get a pass from Uncle Sam.

Nice truck, the Canyon is coming out in a AT4 package this year. The Sliverado edition looks nice too...
What tires are standard on the AT4? since the Duratracs are optional, unlike on my ZR2. I think what you called tire noise was probably enhanced by the drone of the Cat Back exhaust and the Cold Air Induction. Known issues
Not sure why you expected a "tippy" feeling? This truck is raised 2 inches from a regular truck which over the years has been lowered so much they are used for snow plows with out the blade. Just saying.


@TNTGMC "Now, correct me, but I thought you could get a Trailboss with a 6.2L? It just comes standard with a 5.3L in a Chevy, but an option, and a 6.2L is standard on the GMC? "

I believe you can only get the 6.2L in the LTZ or High Country trim levels. Sad as that seems.

Ford just had to copy gm with a 10 speed transmission.

The GMC looks way better than that ugly Silverado. Some gimmicky features though. $700 to play music out of the tailgate? "sports vertical bright red tow hooks; and offers a more athletic color scheme with body-colored bumpers, grille surround, mirrors and door handles along with some black accents strewn around the truck. "

. "a dual cat-back performance exhaust". Love how they kept calling it a "Performance" cat back exhaust. And a see through air intake? Yeah sounds pretty gimmicky.

which provided us with a platform from which we could eat lunch standing up.". Uh huh sounds like they really tried hard to make the new tailgate sound........useful. no way you could do the same thing with a regular tailgate. I hate reading these articles where they were quite obviously compensated for writing a glowing review.

If GMC wants to be like Ford.

-and-

Papa loves GMC.

-then-

Fill in the blank:________________________

@ yep

That tailgate is ingenious! And putting speakers in it, is an awesome bonus. When your out on a trail and want to just relax back at your truck. Popping tailgate down and listening to tunes, while relaxing with conversation is truly enjoyable. I would love a feature like this. Instead, we just crank it up inside the cab and roll down windows. Having it already outside the truck would keep a lot of pesky flies, mosquitoes, and dirt out of the cab. Fantastic feature. Great job GM.

Maybe you wouldn't know anything about that because you have never experienced it? You should try!

Is that a standard size spare tire mounted under the truck? If I have 31 inch tires, I want a spare to match.

Its official, the AT4 models are a hit.

I'd rather buy the real thing, "RAPTOR" in lieu of a copy-cat glorified station wagon.

I'll pass. GM Fails.

I'd rather buy the real thing, "RAPTOR" in lieu of a copy-cat glorified station wagon...Posted by: Frank | Jan 31, 2019

What's keeping you, Frank!

Just do it. You just want to yack about it.

The last thing I want to do when I'm out on a trail, camping, hunting, or fishing, is listen to music. The reason I'm out on the trail is to escape noise.

@Yep
you have to remember this truck is made for real hipsters, not actors.

What's keeping you, Frank!

Just do it. You just want to yack about it.


Posted by: papajim | Jan 31, 2019 10:56:13 AM

How would you know if I don't already own one. Sheeeesh.

I can only comment based on the truck I buy and or own.

This place is near it's end of life.

Good luck to you all.

@ Frank

You probably don't even own a truck. You just come on here spewing nonsense and insults.

We all hope you move along! I do for sure..please, please, please🙏

@TNT
Keep spewing your thoughtless comments Cinderella.

You're worthless to me, and are considered that white puss that develops at the end of your mouth when you talk.

@ Frank

I thought you were leaving? Oh man, my prayers weren't answered.😡🤔🤞

Go buy a truck that doesn't catch on fire or ask maybe for your bday or xmas a fire extinguisher if you're going to play roulette!

Take care and good riddance to u placenta boy! 🤮

@ PapaJoke

Frank!

Just do it. You just want to yack about it.


Posted by: papajim | Jan 31, 2019 10:56:13 AM

Says the clown that stated “ there’s no reason not to buy the e torque V-6 Ram 1500....

So how you liking that new Ram of yours? Oh right...all talk and no go.

Moron

The tailgate is a hilarious overly complicated and expensive gimmick.

It appears that as awful as the Chevy is all the nice features/options/interior/exterior sytling were saved for the GMC. So bring your money if you want the bailout mobile that's worth a damn.

It is a nice offroad package with the 2" of lift and its really unfair to compare anything but a Raptor to a Raptor as no other manufacturer has ever built anything approaching that level of off road high performance. The last truly high performance trucks from GM were the cyclone/typhoon pair. ZR2 was a great package... Z71 was pretty middle of the pack. Trail boss/AT4 and Bison are good but brand new. I would like to see more serious performance super trucks like the Raptor. Especially one for the street as the market is completely abandoned. But currently there is only 1 supertruck and nothing before it or currently out comes close.

I do pitty the GM fan boys. Their founders aren't studied in school, didn't change America or the world near to the extent Ford did, aren't quoted or even known anymore. They didn't build the Rouge, put the world on wheels, or stay out of bankruptcy. They don't have 3 of the top 10 selling vehicles of all time in the world. They've never built a production car that can match the GT/GT40 or the best selling vehicle/full size truck the last 42 years straight in the US. And today they trail in use of modern materials and engines.

Remember only at a chevy dealer can a full size truck buyer choose a 4cyl that gest less MPG than a V8 or a V8 that makes less power than the competitions V6.

@ the 🤡 imposter

Says the girl who can't find their own username.

Your a hypothetical nonsense spewing car driving parasite

Take your boyfriend Frank and find a project runway show in New York to observe. I'm sure they'll have a few dresses u two can buy and wear for one another.

@TNTGAY

@ the 🤡 imposter

Says the girl who can't find their own username.

Your a hypothetical nonsense spewing car driving parasite

Take your boyfriend Frank and find a project runway show in New York to observe. I'm sure they'll have a few dresses u two can buy and wear for one another.


Posted by: TNTGMC | Jan 31, 2019 12:08:07 PM

Get off your moms couch you little runt sissy boy, your dad needs his Sierra washed.


@ Clint

Again, have u driven a new GM truck?

Have u tried the multi-pro tailgate? Your quite commical when it comes to your talk.

As for the 4 cylinder, have u driven one? Can u attest to poor MPGs? Btw...not a fan of it. Not a fan any V6 or I4 in a full size truck. Especially when my 6.2L gets better FE than any EcoBoost ever owned in my family or friends have owned.

Second the V6 is twin turbo and thats why it makes more power. Throw 2 turbos or a supercharger on a 5.3 or 6.2. Be realistic. Your embarrassing yourself......

Also, Fords V6s (in your thinking) makes more HP/TQ than their own V8, but u didn't mention that or a Ram as well. HYPOCRITE anyone??

@ imposter

I have my own coach and my own Sierra 6.2L monster that sits in my garage

Maybe you should get off of Frank and find a job. Then u could get a truck....🤔🤨😏🤔

Free advice

Couch

The Ford fangays have ruined this comments section.

I could have sworn the Trail Boss I looked at Sunday had a 6.2 in it...hmmmm to cold (-5) to go check

@ Dave

I swore I read you can order one with a 6.2L They just come standard with a 5.3L

GMC is standard only with a 6.2L

Its official, the AT4 models are a hit.
Posted by: GMSRGREAT

A bit premature. Consumers will make that call if warranted.
For certain GM is starting to give GMC its own actual identity and a reason to pay a premium.

For certain GM is starting to give GMC its own actual identity and a reason to pay a premium...Posted by: GM Blows Chunks | Jan 31, 2019

@GMBC

Nope. In fact GM has offered two separate truck lines for decades. GMC has been the elite brand for as long as I can remember. Your comment implies that this is new. Not hardly dude

@TNTGMC
If you like the speaker system idea it's nothing wrong with that.
The Honda Ridgeline 2017-2019 has a Truck- Bed Audio System
so this is nothing new. on the Ridgeline RTL-E & Black Edition models it's standard. It has Six exciters in the truck bed walls that allow for maximum sound it's Bluetooth Compatible can control from smartphone. At first I thought it was gimmick when 2Gen Ridgeline came out but it's very functional I tried it as will get specific model. You could be washing/waxing vehicle or anything don't need to open widows for sound as in Ridgeline it cuts off interior speakers. You can listen to any source of music or talk radio football game ect.

@GMSAREN’TGREAT

The Ford fangays have ruined this comments section.


Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Jan 31, 2019 1:04:14 PM

Your comments are never helpful, nor are constructive. That must make you a Ford fangay.

There are plenty off youtube videos of the Ridgeline system being demonstrated by Honda dealers or in the how it operates video.
So GMC is something like that with speakers outside vehicle so you don't need to blast sound thru windows.

@papa
Yes it is true GMC and Chevrolet have been separate lines for decades absolutely correct no argument there ,however the 2 lines have been nearly indistinguishable for decades.
GM has taken the correct steps to now put appreciable daylight between the 2.
This is a good thing.

With an audio system like this papajim could be out in his yard doing his daily yard work. He could listen to his favorite Fox News Radio Broadcast. He could turn it up when Judge Jeanine comes on with smartphone.

Your comments are never helpful, nor are constructive. That must make you a Ford fangay.

Posted by: papajim | Jan 31, 2019 2:07:47 PM

You too recognize that the Ford fangays comments offer no value to this comments section. Your remaining conclusions are invalid.

With an audio system like this papajim could be out in his yard doing his daily yard work. ...Posted by: 2007 Ridgeline Owner | Jan 31, 2019

@2007RO

I have laborers who take care of that. I enjoy the gardening but my routine does not give me enough time to indulge.

Does GMC still make a standard All Terrain? I like the body color look but don't need a lift or Agressive tires as I drive on road most of the time.

@TNTGMC - I have a boyfriend whose Kent farmhouse is surrounded by cars, dozens of them, all rotting quietly in the damp air. Requests from the council to remove the most ruinous of them, compaints that they are an eyesore and that rats roost in the upholstery have had no effect. Visitors to the house have to park anywhere they can and walk through a graveyard of battered Minis before they can reach the front door. The Minis lack wheels, tyres, engine parts, windows, doors even, but not one of them can go gor scrap or landfill, for they are all loved. Each one has some special attribute, some peculiarity of chassis or transmission, that makes it unique. If my friend wins the lottery, the money will be spent giving the little cars a new lease of life and in that faint hope they remain, quietly rusting away. You know without my having to tell you that this friend of mine is man!

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/02/01/gm-sought-outsource-laying-off-americans/

I'm a homophobic bigot, we all know that.

papajim, we all know you're a lower-middle class old man living in a 40+ year old home in some rundown neighborhood. You drive a 10+ year old paint peeling GM shitbox truck. You have no laborers, lets be honest. Pedophile.

papajim, we all know you're...living in a 40+ year old home in some rundown neighborhood. You drive a 10+ year old paint peeling GM

@lying idiot that uses fake login

Actually I live in a very old house, more than 100 years old. It's one of the oldest homes in central Florida, originally owned by a ranching family with a famous last name. I've only lived here for about 14 mos. so I'm still getting used to it. I'm going to get permission from the people who own the property to build a 2 car garage on the property. You're also wrong about my truck. It is spotless and runs flawlessly inside and out.

So, you're batting 1000

Anyone else notice from the pics that the first time you put that tailgate step down with a drawbar in the hitch it's gonna be toast.

Not a great design imo. Also in the salt belt that thing is going to be a nightmare with all the moving parts

If my receiver ball is in the hitch, it's got a trailer on it.
The first time you slam your shin into it because you were too lazy to pull the pin, you may rethink that habit.

@stevador

Got that right! It will make tears come to your eyes.

Papa J: If you do construction, why do you rent?
Do you have a "Kinfolk Deal"?
My subs all give me personal discounts, but I wouldn't call in a favor on someone else's property. Even if it did improve my lifestyle.

another FAKE i.d.



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