The GMC Sierra is marketed as America’s premium pickup, filled with high-end features designed to elevate your work experience. The problem is that over the past few years, the Sierra, even the top-of-the-line Sierra Denali, has been slowly left behind by the competition. The 2019 redesign of the Ram 1500 raised the bar for what was expected of a modern truck, and the 2021 Ford F-150 went even further. With the recent updates to the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tacoma, GMC’s “premium” truck was looking decidedly down at the heels, with an interior that was better suited to 2011 than 2021.
With the October 21 unveiling of the refreshed 2022 GMC Sierra, that is no longer the case. In fact, the extent of the upgrades makes this new model seem more like a complete redesign than a mid-cycle refresh. Not only did the 2022 Sierra undergo the standard styling tweaks, but it also received a total technology replacement, some serious engine upgrades, and two new premium trims that really do the GMC name justice. Whether you are looking to tow, haul, hit the trails, or simply cruise in comfort, the 2022 GMC Sierra should be high on your list of options.
The Denali Ultimate and AT4-X
Today, every model in the GMC line is available in the luxurious Denali trim and the off-road-ready AT4 trim. However, for the 2022 Sierra, GMC has taken these two unique options and pulled out all the stops. While the standard Sierra Denali and Sierra AT4 are better than ever, now buyers also have the option of the all-new Sierra Denali Ultimate and Sierra AT4X.
The Denali Ultimate comes with all the head-line tech features available in the refreshed Sierra. This includes a new 13.4-inch central touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and 15-inch head-up display. However, GMC didn’t just add more screen space when they overhauled the tech in the Sierra – they also modernized the software with the addition of Google built-in. This new software gives you direct access to apps like Google Maps and Google Play without having to connect your smartphone, and we can expect it to start appearing in more models over the coming years. Paired with a serious interior styling update and GM’s exclusive Super Cruise hands-free driving technology, the Denali Ultimate is ready to overwhelm models like the F-150 Limited and Ram 1500 Limited.
While the 2021 Sierra AT4 gave you everything you needed to handle basic off-roading, few serious trail-riders would have considered it a real contender when it comes to hard-core off-roading. The new AT4X changes that, bringing performance features rarely seen in this class. The class-exclusive front and rear e-locking differentials alone would be enough to make enthusiasts sit up and take notice, but GMC didn’t stop there. With exclusive Multimatic DSSV dampers, a 2-inch suspension lift, and 33-inch mud-terrain tires, the AT4X is set to be the premium off-road machine to beat.
Engine and Performance Improvements
While GMC is GM’s premium truck brand, it is also GM’s professional-grade truck brand. So while the 2022 Sierra exhibits incredible new features and technology, GMC didn’t forget to improve the model’s raw performance as well. The old V6 has been eliminated from the engine lineup, the 2.7-liter turbo is the new starting engine and now produces 420 pound-feet of torque, and the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel can now tow a best-in-class 13,200 pounds. With these updates, all four available engines are now solid choices with no obvious budget option.
The 2022 Sierra brings GMC’s full-size truck solidly into the present, with many of its more advanced features verging on the futuristic. The only advanced option that was not announced is an electrified powertrain to compete with the F-150 Power Boost and Toyota Tundra i-Force Max hybrid models. However, GMC appears to be aiming straight for an all-electric Sierra EV to be released sometime next year after production ramps up on the incredible Hummer EV. Until then, we expect most GMC fans to be more than satisfied with everything that the refreshed full-size truck has brought to the table.