The full-size truck segment remains competitive year after year. Each major automaker is constantly vying to lure in consumers with the best deals possible across a number of different segments. Right now, one of the more popular pushes comes in the form of off-road trucks. Even the more traditionally luxury-themed GMC Sierra 1500 has received a new off-road option for the 2023 model year. The Toyota Tundra, meanwhile, has recently been buffed with new powertrains and new packaging. If you are interested in an off-road truck, it’s not unreasonable to think about comparing the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2023 Toyota Tundra.
The TRD Pro has been a longstanding off-road option for the Toyota Tundra for many years. The GMC Sierra, however, only recently began receiving some off-roading attention, with the AT4 trim joining the ranks for the 2019 model year, followed by the AT4X in 2022. Now, for 2023 GMC has introduced the AT4X AEV Edition in collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles. If you are looking for a full-size pickup with off-road options, these two powerful trucks are definitely worth considering.
AT4X vs TRD Pro Pricing
Technically, the GMC Sierra 1500 has three off-road options: the base AT4, the more hardcore AT4X, and the top-of-the-line AT4X AEV Edition. The 2023 AT4 comes in at $66,800, while the AT4X is $81,700. Selecting the AEV Edition Package adds another $6,895 to the bill. However, you do get a lot more with the AT4X, especially when it is equipped with the available features from AEV.
What’s interesting is that the 2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has an MSRP of $69,420. This is more than the GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 but less than the AT4X. However, there’s a reason why the AT4X has the price tag that it does. The real question is if there is enough separation between the TRD Pro and AT4 to justify the price jump, and is the AT4X feature-rich enough to justify what you get with that particular trim? Well, let’s dive into the features to find out.
TRD Pro Off-Road Features
The 2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro features 18-inch matte-black forged-aluminum BBS wheels with 33-inch Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires. You also get an off-road-tuned suspension with FOX coil-over shocks featuring remote reservoirs and a 1.1-inch front factory lift. Finally, an electronically-controlled locking rear differential provides added traction and complements the two-speed transfer case. Stylistic elements include a heritage Toyota grille with an integrated light bar, dual exhaust tips, and blacked-out trim.
When it comes to performance, the 2023 Tundra features an i-FORCE Max 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid that outputs 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque. The parallel hybrid design features an electric motor that makes 48 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, powered by a 1.87 kWh nickel-metal hydride battery. There’s a 10-speed automatic electronically controlled transmission with different drive modes, which include Eco, Normal, Sport, and Tow/Haul. There’s also the Multi-Terrain Select system with Crawl Control and Downhill Assist Control. The TRD Pro also has nine inches of ground clearance with an approach angle of 26.2 degrees and a departure angle of 24.2 degrees.
AT4X Off-Road Features
By comparison, the AT4X AEV Edition rides on glossy black 18-inch Salta wheels with AEV’s recessed valve system. The wheels are wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler Territory 33-inch mud-terrain tires. Off-road rocker panel protectors or optional bolt-on steps are designed to protect the panels or offer assistance when climbing into the truck. The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500’s fascia has also been updated with new AEV stamped-steel bumpers with heavy-duty recovery points and winch capability. Five hot-stamped boron steel skid plates cover the undercarriage’s essential parts, including the steering gear, fuel tank, transfer case, and differentials.
The 2023 Sierra 1500 AT4X comes standard with a 6.2-liter V8 engine, which produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. There’s no hybrid tech here, which could be good or bad, depending on how you view it. Good if you don’t want additional points of failure that you won’t be able to fix on your own. Bad if you wanted the extra torque that a hybrid system produces. Nevertheless, the GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X is more than capable without a hybrid system. It features multiple drive modes, including a Terrain Mode and an Off-Road Mode, giving off-road enthusiasts the option for rock-crawling and hill-climbing.
The AT4X also comes standard with Multimatic DSSV dampers. These feature spool-valve dampening, similar to what’s used in desert racing trucks. Class-exclusive front and rear electronically locking differentials also come standard for the AT4X, which makes it easy to gain traction in difficult terrain. The Sierra 1500 AT4X also has a ground clearance of 11.1 inches, with an approach angle of 32.5 degrees and a departure angle of 23.4 degrees.
Are the Features Worth the Price?
When comparing the off-road features of the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2023 Toyota Tundra, they might seem similar, with the major differences being the more robust suspension and protection of the Sierra 1500 AT4X. The Multimatic spool-valve dampers and the AEV bumpers and skid plates are game-changers for drivers who are serious about off-roading. The added ground clearance and, by proxy, increased water-fording capabilities of the Sierra 1500 also gives it an advantage. However, some shoppers might struggle with whether or not that’s worth the price of entry.
The AT4X has more than just the off-road features going for it; there are also a lot of interior accouterments that add value to the truck. This includes the exclusive Obsidian Rush interior, full-grain leather seating with 16-way power front seats with massage functions, Vanta ash wood trim, and a 12-speaker Bose Premium Series surround sound system. This is in addition to the 13.4-inch HD touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital driver information display, and 15-inch heads-up display. These infotainment features are also present in the AT4 trim.
The 2023 Tundra has its own 12-speaker JBL premium audio system, SofTex-trimmed seats with eight-way power-adjustable front seats, a 12.3-inch HD digital driver display, and a 14-inch HD touchscreen. Both trucks have similar features in many ways, but the AT4X has more bells and whistles, raising its price. However, the base AT4 is very close to the AT4X in performance and cheaper than the TRD Pro. That’s because the standard AT4 doesn’t have massaging seats, Multimatic DSSV dampers, or the AEV features. Instead, the AT4 has a two-inch factory lift kit and Rancho Monotube Shocks. Otherwise, the AT4 is very similar to the AT4X.
Sensible Buying: Sierra vs Tundra
If you want the absolute highest level of luxury in a full-size off-road pickup, the Sierra 1500 AT4X makes a lot of sense. The TRD Pro has a lot of neat features as well, and if you are shopping on a smaller budget, it probably looks like a better purchase compared to the AT4X. However, when comparing the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2023 Toyota Tundra, you have to consider that the AT4 still exists.
While the AT4 doesn’t quite have the same level of robust off-road features as the AT4X, it still matches up to the TRD Pro and even surpasses it in the interior amenities and tech features. The fact that the AT4 is also cheaper than the TRD Pro makes it a viable option if you like the style and features of the Sierra 1500 but found the AT4X to be outside your price range. However, if you have the cash for the AT4X, you get a lot more for your money in terms of functionality, comfort, and convenience.