Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A black 2022 GMC Sierra 3500HD is shown towing a camper.

What is the Best GM Truck You Can Buy?

If you are a fan of GM trucks, then you have plenty of options. For 2022, those options are getting even better with a full refresh of the Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, as well as the launch of the all-new GMC Hummer EV. However, with so many options available, which one should you choose when you are looking for the biggest and baddest GM truck on the market? While the Silverado and the Sierra offer similar performance, drivers who appreciate upgraded styling and a wider array of features will naturally gravitate towards the more premium GMC line. If you are seeking the most capable truck available at a GMC dealer today, then the 2022 GMC Sierra 3500 HD is the model for you.

While one-ton trucks used to be reserved for commercial use, the modern Sierra 3500 HD is as comfortable and well-equipped as any half-ton truck on the market. However, unlike the smaller Sierra 1500, GMC’s line of HD trucks allows you to pair a crew cab with a long bed, giving you plenty of passenger and cargo space. If you want to be able to transport family and friends in style while still having room for muddy outdoors gear and anything else you do not want in the cab with you, then a Sierra HD is a great choice.

The tailgate of a black 2022 GMC Sierra 3500HD is shown open.

A Real Truck

While half-ton trucks are increasingly designed as passenger vehicles first, the Sierra HD is a serious truck. Heavy-duty trucks are not only larger than light-duty trucks; they have stronger commercial-grade frames that make them more rugged and capable of handling heavier loads. The Sierra 3500 HD is the highest-rated truck in the GMC lineup, capable of towing up to 36,000 pounds – almost exactly twice what the Sierra 2500 HD can handle and more than three times what the Sierra 1500 is capable of moving. Even if you are not towing, the large bed and upgraded suspension in this heavy-duty truck mean that it can handle just about anything you want to take with you.

GMC has also done its best to design a truck with a bed that is far more than simply large. The higher trims of the 2022 Sierra 3500 HD come standard with a durable spray-in bedliner, an EZ Lift locking tailgate, and LED bed lighting. There are even factory options for both soft and hard folding tonneau covers that make it easy to keep your cargo secure. The MultiPro Tailgate is a particularly useful touch that is unique to GMC. With six different configurations, this tailgate can transform into everything from a step to a load stop, adding convenience to your life.

The two available engine options are far more powerful than anything you will find in a half-ton truck, but unlike with the Sierra 1500, the diesel engine is the more capable choice. While the standard 6.6L gasoline V8 is a solid choice with its 401 horsepower, the available 6.6L Duramax diesel V8 ups the ante with its incredible 910 lb-ft of torque. While diesel trucks are not usually considered quick, the 2022 Sierra 3500 HD may just change your mind with its more than respectable 6.5 second 0 to 60 time. The options for 4×4 and a dual-rear-wheel setup are both available for the Sierra 3500 HD, but while we would strongly recommend 4×4 for nearly any driver, the dually configuration is best left to those who are looking for a dedicated tow vehicle.

AT4 vs Denali

One of the advantages of shopping for a GMC truck is that you have access to two different lines of premium vehicles. The GMC Denali family needs no introduction, as its emphasis on upscale styling and luxury features is well known to truck drivers. With plenty of chrome and signature badging, everyone knows when they see a Denali. However, the AT4 line should not be dismissed out of hand by luxury seekers. Although these off-road-oriented trucks do lack some of the grace of the Denali models, the Sierra AT4 seamlessly blends premium styling with performance features designed to challenge backwoods trails.

Arguably the largest differences between these two trims is simply the exterior styling. While the Sierra 3500 HD Denali stands out with its unique chrome grille, chrome trim, and chrome 20-inch wheels, the AT4 adopts a more subtle and sporty look. While there are still enough chrome accents to leave no mistake that the AT4 is also a premium truck, the blacked-out trim and red recovery hooks give it a more bold and active appearance. The Sierra 3500 HD AT4 also comes with smaller 18-inch wheels, which allow for greater sidewall flex and are better suited to off-road adventures (although 20-inch wheels are available as an option).

The other major off-road upgrade to the AT4 trim is an upgraded suspension with a 1-inch lift and twin-tube Rancho shocks. This makes the model a bit more capable on backroads and dirt trails than the Denali, but if you are planning any serious off-road excursions, you will probably want to consider investing in a taller lift kit. Replacing the factory 33-inch all-terrain tires with 35-inch mud-terrains would also not be a bad upgrade. If you are planning on upgrading your Sierra 3500 to be more off-road capable, then the performance differences between the AT4 and Denali effectively disappear. However, if you prefer to keep your truck stock, the AT4 is the better backwoods companion.

The black leather interior of a 2022 GMC Sierra 3500HD AT4X shows the front seats and center console.

A Premium Interior

Inside the cabin, both the AT4 and Denali come standard with comfortable 10-way power-adjustable front bucket seats and supple leather upholstery. The steering wheel, front seats, and rear seats are also all heated to take the chill out of those early mornings. Both the AT4 and Denali are available with a premium 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that includes built-in navigation and is complemented by a premium Bose sound system. However, these features are not standard for the AT4, so make sure to get a truck that has that box checked on the options sheet if you want to enjoy the best technology that the 2022 Sierra 3500 HD has to offer.

Other advanced tech features to look for include the available Head-Up Display and HD Surround Vision camera system. The second feature particularly comes in handy when maneuvering this beast of the trucks in parking lots or along narrow trails. Not only does it provide the standard bird’s eye view of your surroundings, but it also includes numerous helpful camera angles. The front-view cameras are particularly helpful when driving in tight spaces, while the Transparent Trailer and Inside Trailer views are incredible if you plan on towing anything.

Overall, the differences again mainly come down to styling. Do you prefer the more active aesthetic of the AT4 with its black cabin trim and all-weather floor mats? Or would you rather relax in the luxury interior of the Denali, surrounded by woodgrain trim and carpeting? Both versions of the 2022 Sierra AT4 also sport their own unique interior badging, helping create two different flavors for the truck despite both checking all the boxes when it comes to providing the premium features that you desire. No matter which version you choose, you will be rewarded with a top-of-the-line one-ton truck that provides a luxurious professional-grade experience.

Experience the Best GMC Has to Offer

GMC has been changing the way we think about trucks for a while now, transforming them from simple work vehicles into premium options that can rival European luxury SUVs. While more and more drivers are realizing that a half-ton truck can make an excellent daily driver, bringing comfort and capability, fewer drivers have discovered that the same is now true of three-quarter-ton and one-ton trucks. Even if you aren’t planning on pulling a large camper or boat, there is something to be said for driving a truck that you know can handle just about anything.