Despite the blue-color connotations of its “Professional Grade” tagline, GMC has really offered slightly more sophisticated versions of General Motors pickups and SUVs for years. Certainly GMC’s Denali sub-brand/trim level has taken vehicles into the upscale reaches of its market segments. But, until now, GMC has ceded another niche to Chevy, that being the off-roading arena. Just ahead of this week’s New York Auto Show, all of that is set to change.
Tonight GMC invited us to New York a bit early, to witness the debut of its 2019 Sierra AT4, an off-road read version of the popular pickup truck. And with the Sierra comes the news that “AT4” will be affixed to every vehicle in the GMC portfolio within two years. Before you begin conjuring images of hardcore off-road GMC crossovers like the Acadia, know that the AT4 line – while possessing some all-terrain chops – will be aimed at the capable off-road space as opposed to machines seeking Baja stardom.
At face value the Sierra AT4 does seem to have some rough-road credibility. The buffed truck gets a two-inch lift kit with Rancho monotube shocks, riding on either 18- or 20-inch wheels (mud-ready Goodyear Wrangler Duratec rubber is available on the smaller rolling stock). Four-wheel drive is standard with a two-speed transfer case and a locking rear differential. Skid plates are also standard equipment.
The AT4 will also make use of a multi-mode Traction Select System, which can alter transmission and throttle mapping along with stability control, as benefits for different surfaces and road conditions. And not only will this Sierra get a multi-color heads-up display that GMC calls a segment first, but that five-by-seven-inch screen can be used to show vehicle tilt angles front and rear, and side-to-side. There’s also a hill descent system; and while we still have a hard time grasping the real-world practicality of those, the tech always serves as a neat party trick.
Later in the 2019 model year, the Sierra AT4 will also play host to the GMC CarbonPro carbon-fiber pickup bed box. This advanced truck box replaces the standard steel inner panels and floor with lightweight, scratch-resistant, corrosion-resistant carbon fiber composite. What’s more, the box has recreational vehicles like quad bikes and motorcycles in mind from the get-go; there are three indents in the front panel, meant to make locating and securing a front tire easy and secure. With all the hubbub made from Ford using aluminum in the F-150, we’re anxious to see how customers respond to a carbon-fiber truck bed that GMC is calling, “…the most durable pickup box in the segment.”
Further adding flexibility to the load space is the multi-position “MultiPro” tailgate, which is designed to make loading, unloading, and working with the truck bed all that much easier.
In terms of powertrain, the Sierra AT4 will offer massaged versions of three engines that we already know from the rest of the GM truck family, and the brand new turbodiesel we’re looking forward to. The 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 engines will be available, along with the diesel 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder. Specific horsepower and torque outputs for AT4 haven’t been specified, but they’re likely to be close or identical to existing versions; 355 hp and 383 lb-ft (265 kW and 519 Nm) for the 5.3L; 420 hp and 460 lb-ft (313 kW and 624 Nm) for the 6.2L. Both the 6.2L V8 and that diesel will be mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission; both gas-burning V8s will have cylinder deactivation tech, and engine stop/start.
We expect the first 2019 Sierra AT4s to go on sale this fall, though pricing has yet to be divulged. And, naturally, you should expect to see a First Drive review of the new truck, just as soon as we can get our jeans in the seat and hands on the wheel.
Gallery: 2019 GMC Sierra AT4
Refinement Ventures Off-Road with All-New Sierra AT4
NEW YORK — GMC redefines the off-road space by introducing the all-new 2019 Sierra AT4. For the first time ever, the Sierra AT4 delivers a unique formula of authentic off-road capability and innovative technology paired with premium refinement and a bold appearance expected from GMC.
“The 2019 Sierra AT4 is designed for the customer who wants an elevated presence on the road and the capability to venture off life’s beaten path,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global GMC. “It’s also the beginning for the AT4 brand, which will be seen on every vehicle in our lineup in the next two years.”
Standard content on the 2019 Sierra AT4 includes:
- 2-inch factory-installed suspension lift
- Standard 4WD with a two-speed transfer case, locking rear differential and skid plates
- Off-road-tuned Rancho monotube shock absorbers
- 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires or available mud terrain-rated Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tire, or available 20-inch wheels with all-terrain tires
- Exclusive wheel design with machined-face, dark-tinted appearance
- Hill Descent Control
- Traction Select System
- GMC exclusive, industry-first MultiPro Tailgate
- Black chrome finish on the fog lamp bezels, fender surround and grille insert
- Body-color grille surround, door handles and bumper
- Exclusive athletic interior trim elements
- Red vertical recovery hooks
- Standard 5.3L V-8 engine
Available content on the 2019 Sierra AT4 includes:
- Segment-first Multi-Color Head-Up Display
- Segment-first Rear Camera Mirror
- GMC exclusive, industry-first Carbon Fiber Pickup Box
- A full suite of advanced safety features* including Surround Vision, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking and Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking
- 2L V-8 or Duramax 3.0L inline-six turbo-diesel paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission
*Read the vehicle's owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.
Dark, Distinguished Appearance
Building on the commanding presence of the next generation 2019 Sierra, the new Sierra AT4 enhances its confident, broad-shouldered stance with sophisticated, functional design elements that support its off-road capability.
“The 2019 Sierra is the boldest expression ever for GMC’s full-size pickup, and the new AT4 reinforces its essence of capability with distinctive, athletic cues,” said Matt Noone, director of design, GMC Exteriors. “From every angle, it conveys GMC’s premium yet functional design language.”
The Sierra AT4 has a unique look driven by dark exterior finishes and modern detailing. The front and rear bumpers and the grille surround are finished in body color, while the bold grille design with its rugged, knurled texture is finished in black chrome set off by the Sierra’s bold, C-shaped LED lighting signature.
Additional accent details such as the LED fog lamp bezels and fender trim continue the use of black chrome, while a premium high-gloss black finish is applied to the window trim, mirror caps and skid plate. Touches of red complete the package and make the AT4 stand out with subtle detailing in the Sierra’s all-new AT4 signature emblems and bold, unique vertical tow hooks. The exterior details create a distinct and modern personality for the AT4 that projects GMC confidence and capability.
The interior also carries AT4-specific darkened trim, including dark-tinted and textured aluminum finishes on the steering wheel, center stack and sill plates, as well as a unique Jet Black/Kalahari color accents in the seats and live stitching. Leather-appointed seating with embroidered AT4 badging on the headrests and all-weather floormats are standard and support our customers’ active lifestyles and AT4’s mission of delivering capability with uncompromising durability and comfort.
Authentic Off-road Capability
Sierra AT4 comes standard with a factory installed 2-inch suspension lift that provides additional ground clearance and four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case that includes low-range four-wheel-drive gearing for extremely tough conditions.
Sierra AT4 also includes standard off-road tuned Rancho monotube shock absorbers, a locking rear differential and Hill Descent Control, a driver assistance feature that leverages the anti-lock braking system to enable smooth, controlled descents on steep grades without the driver having to touch the brake pedal under certain conditions. The locking rear differential directs engine power equally to both rear wheels for the greatest traction on slippery or uneven terrain.
The Sierra AT4 boasts innovative technologies that optimize capability and elevate driver confidence.
- Traction Select System allows the driver to choose from preset drive modes that have been tailored for different terrain or weather conditions. Selecting one of these modes adjusts Sierra’s transmission shift points, throttle mapping and StabiliTrak to optimize performance for the situation at hand.
- Segment-first Multi-Color Head-Up Displayprojects key, customizable vehicle data, including an off-road inclinometer, on the windshield in a 3x7-inch display. The off-road inclinometer shows the fore-and-aft tilt, front tire angle and left-and-right tilt.
- Surround Vision is available on Sierra AT4 and provides the driver with a bird’s-eye view through an overhead image on the infotainment screen. It can prove useful when slowly maneuvering in tight quarters, be it within a parking garage or out on a challenging trail.
- All-new ProGrade Trailering System with Trailering App offers a connected, comprehensive suite of trailering technology that brings more confidence to the towing experience than ever before in a Sierra.
Groundbreaking Cargo Box Capability and Materials
Debuting first on the 2019 Sierra Denali and SLT, the all-new Sierra AT4 also comes standard with the industry-first MultiPro Tailgate — the segment’s most innovative tailgate ever. The MultiPro Tailgate features six unique functions and positions, offering enhanced second-tier loading and load-stop solutions, a standing workstation mode and easier access to items in the box.
Later in the model year, the 2019 Sierra AT4 will offer an available GMC exclusive and industry-first carbon fiber box — the CarbonPro — developed to increase the truck's durability, efficiency and functionality. It replaces the standard steel inner panels and floor with a lightweight, purpose-designed carbon fiber composite that offers best-in-class dent, scratch and corrosion resistance, making it the most durable pickup box in the segment.
The CarbonPro box combined with our MultiPro Tailgate makes the task of loading and unloading objects such as motorcycles or quads much easier than ever before. The CarbonPro box was designed specifically with three molded in wheel indents in the front bulkhead of the box to locate and secure the front tires. Thanks to added tie-down hooks located in the corners and center bulkhead, and new centralized LED lighting, the task of loading and securing motorcycles and bikes has never been easier. A 110V outlet in the rear routes power to the tools and supplies needed for a day at the track or on the trails.
When it comes to the space and storage vital to truck customers, the 2019 Sierra AT4 delivers innovative solutions. The cargo boxes offer best-in-class cargo volume of 63 cubic feet (1,784 liters) on the short box and continues to be made of roll-formed, high-strength steel, yet a revised alloy offers 50 percent more strength than the current model.
Available GearOn accessory rails within the box allow for bike racks, kayak carriers and other accessories to be installed or adjusted quickly and easily. The rails’ integrated position makes cargo more accessible and frees up space in the rest of the box.
The rear seat backs open to reveal two 10-liter rectangular storage spaces large enough for tablets, tie-down cords or other personal accessories, as well as a large 24-liter storage tray under the second-row seat that can secure all your gear while you’re on the go.
Sierra AT4 Performance
Sierra AT4 features new versions of the proven 6.2L and 5.3L V-8 engines along with all-new Duramax 3.0L inline-six turbo-diesel engine. The available 6.2L and 3.0L engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The 5.3L and 6.2L engines feature stop/start technology and new Dynamic Fuel Management that enables the engine to operate on one to eight cylinders, depending on demand, to optimize power and efficiency.
The GMC Sierra AT4 goes on sale this fall.