We recently spent a day off-roading more than a dozen vehicles in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The newest and most impressive was the 2019 GMC Sierra AT4. Here’s what we learned.
2019 GMC Sierra AT4 trim level
The AT4 is the upscale off-road specialist in the GMC lineup. We think it stands for all-terrain four-wheel drive. The all-new trim slots above the SLT and below the Denali, and will be offered on every GMC vehicle in the next two years. Off-road differences between the redesigned 2019 Sierra are: 2-inch lift for ground clearance of more than 10 inches; standard off-road Rancho monotube shock absorbers for a softer ride, even over rocks; 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires (the tester had 20-inch wheels for $895), hill descent control, recovery hooks, skid plates, locking rear differential, two-speed transfer case and the awesome MultiPro tailgate, but more on that later. GMC packages most of the stuff you’d option if you wanted an off-road Sierra. AT4 starts at $53,200, but with the 6.2-liter V-8 engine ($2,495) and 10-speed automatic transmission, as well as some Denalian tech features, the AT4 we tested was $64,335.
MultiPro power liftgate
If the difference maker on the modern truck is the liftgate, then GMC has won the battle. MultiPro is the liftgate everyone will want. It folds down like a normal gate but then there is another smaller gate within it that folds down into a large and long step that, like the main gate, can support 375 pounds. It’s easy to lug stuff into the bed. There is also a collapsible vertical handle to help hoist yourself up. Close the gate and that step folds back into a flat workspace for a laptop or to measure something. And if you want to slide plywood sheets into the bed, the step/opening is 49 inches wide. Additionally, that step, once used with the gate closed, acts as a backstop for bigger loads. There are still the fender steps, too. The tester also came equipped with Bluetooth speakers and audio system in the gate. It is standard on SLT, AT4 and Denali trims.
There are cameras everywhere, front, rear and in the side mirrors. The side-mirrors view on the 8-inch touch screen can show a split-screen view of left and right front wheels to see if you’re about to go over a rock or whatever else might be in the vehicle’s immediate path. Then there is another button for rear-wheel split-screen view. There is also bird’s-eye view, for when you’re backing away from a family of mountain goats on a narrow trail and need to do a 37-point turn without sliding over the cliff. A front-camera view projects what’s right before the big hood and the rearview mirror doubles as a rear camera in case the big head in the backseat is in the way. It’s adjustable so you can see from the liftgate or further down the road. Crystal-clear projection.
At this price point, most vehicles have a head-up display that projects vehicle info such as speed and navigation out over the hood. The difference with the AT4 is how large the transparent display is, at 15 inches diagonal, or 3 by 7 inches. It’s customizable and we were able to see front and back tilt, front tire angle, and left and right tilt percentage to help determine approach angles, among other off-road data points.
We drove it over the Continental Divide, through rocky creeks, up and down rock-strewn narrow mining paths flanked by trees in four-low and also four-high. It was the most capable of the dozen vehicles we tested and, while large, was not as bouncy and rough riding as the other rides. It was almost soft, thanks in part to lowered air pressure in the tires, but more so due to the suspension. AT4 is a nice balance between rugged off-road capability and convenient modern-day technology.