Ask anyone passionate about trucks what the biggest difference between a GMC and Chevrolet is, and they won’t think twice about the answer. GMC delivers a level of luxury that’s unattainable and unimaginable to Chevrolet. The automaker is constantly upping the ante and positioning itself ahead of its GM sibling. It’s a healthy rivalry where drivers reap the benefits as GMC and Chevrolet work to differentiate themselves within their corners of the market. After all, each has a loyal following passionate about why they love one brand over the other.
The rivalry continues with the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500. The models, at their cores, are essentially identical, making the race a close one to call. Even Car and Driver gives the models the same 8.5/10 score and touts the 2023 Sierra as the premium version of the Silverado with “more attractive sheet metal with marginally less towing capacity.” Where the Silverado 1500 focuses on high-value packaging that blends affordability with performance, the Sierra 1500 has tunnel vision for luxury, comfort, and capability.
This focus is even more apparent on specific models, like GMC’s first-ever Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV Edition and Chevrolet’s ZR2 Bison. The off-road-oriented trims are part of GM’s collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) and prepare the best-selling trucks for life beyond the pavement. As expected, the models offer many similarities, but the newer AT4X AEV Edition stays true to its heritage by providing greater comfort in any driving conditions. So, how do the trims compare? How does GMC deliver comfort beyond the pavement, deep in the woods, and down the trail in the AT4X AEV Edition? In the only way that GMC knows how: with premium luxury.
GM’s collaboration with AEV is ongoing, initially giving us models like the 2019 Colorado ZR2 Bison. The off-road trim was such a massive success for Chevrolet that it prompted another round of collaboration, with Chevrolet adding the Silverado ZR2 Bison to the fleet, followed by the newly introduced GMC Sierra AT4X AEV Edition. Since the models are under the same banner, it’s no surprise there are many similarities throughout the AEV-inspired adventurers.
GM’s partnership with American Expedition Vehicles proved lucrative when Chevrolet debuted the ZR2 Bison on the Colorado in 2019, and again on the Silverado in 2022. The Bison introduced Chevy fans to a more rugged and adventurous Silverado outfitted with AEV-stamped high-strength steel front and rear bumpers with heavy-duty recovery points and front winch capability. You’ll find GMC’s version of the AEV bumpers on the AT4X AEV Edition, which gives the Sierra and Silverado improved approach, departure, and breakover angles. They take the Sierra from a 25.5-degree approach angle to 32.5 degrees for improved performance on the trail.
The AT4X AEV Edition is like the ZR2 Bison because it gives you the confidence to explore the unknown. The first-ever Sierra 1500 AEV Edition comes equipped with five AEV hot-stamped boron steel skid plates that are three-and-a-half times stronger than rivals. These plates give the truck ample coverage, protecting vital components like the fuel tank and transfer case as you navigate everything from boulders to water crossings to more technical and challenging terrain.
The 2023 Sierra AT4X AEV Edition comes with GM’s proven 6.2L V8 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. You’ll find the same setup on the ZR2 Bison, delivering 420 horsepower, 460 lb-ft of torque, and a maximum towing capacity of 8,900 pounds. GMC offers even more capability and power with the enhanced 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel, which features all-new steel pistons, a retuned turbo compressor, improved temperature control features for optimal performance, and new fuel injectors. The updates give the Duramax a notable advantage, pushing the AT4X AEV Edition to deliver best-in-class 305 horsepower and best-in-class 495 lb-ft of torque. It shares the V8’s maximum towing capacity of 8,900 points.
Off-roaders carry a lot of gear, from camping and backpacking equipment to recovery tools and extra fuel. This gear is in addition to the truck’s everyday demands, like hauling equipment for work from one job site to another, or carrying a load of mulch for a weekend landscaping project. In any situation, the Sierra AT4X AEV Edition and Silverado ZR2 Bison make it easy to get every job done with GM’s revolutionary multifunctional tailgate. Known as “Multi-Flex” on the Silverado and “MultiPro” on the Sierra, the tailgate offers six unique functions that make loading, unloading, and accessing cargo easier from the highly versatile bed. The design includes multiple load stops to keep items secure, a full-width step for easy access into the bed, and a flat work surface for holding small equipment, paperwork, and other tools.
Wheels and Tires
The Sierra AT4X AEV Edition sits on race-inspired, laser-engraved 18-inch AEV Salta Wheels finished in gloss black, an upgrade over the AEV wheels found on the ZR2 Bison that Chevrolet advertises as “exclusive gloss black.” However, this cosmetic difference is minor and only subtly distinguishes the Sierra AT4X AEV Edition. Both trucks come with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires and AEV’s signature recessed valve system.
While the GMC Sierra AT4X AEV Edition and the Silverado ZR2 Bison share many similarities, the trucks have a few differences that position the Sierra ahead of its Chevy sibling. Both trucks are incredibly competent on the trail, offering comparable off-road-oriented features. However, GMC does more to ensure your comfort, whether navigating your weekday commute or technical terrain.
The AT4X AEV Edition comes standard with heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats with a massaging function, which is absent on the ZR2 Bison. In addition, the AEV Edition’s cabin is fitted with an Obsidian Rush interior with full-grain leather seating, technical-grain leather accents, and authentic Vanta Ash wood. These high-quality materials give the GMC a distinct advantage and add opulence to the cabin. The Bison’s Graystone and Jet Black interior trim with Strike Yellow accent stitching give it more of a sporty rather than luxurious aesthetic.
Another critical advantage the Sierra AT4X AEV has over the Silverado ZR2 Bison is its immersive listening experience. While this may not seem like a significant difference, a truck’s sound system is integral to your time behind the wheel because it’s responsible for relaying navigational cues, driver-attention alerts, music, news updates, and more. GMC goes the distance to ensure the experience is concert-like, outfitting the AT4X AEV Edition with a 12-speaker Bose Premium Series system with Centerpoint Surround Sound. In contrast, Chevy takes this experience down a few notches, relying on a seven-speaker system from Bose.
The Devil Is in the Details
Although Chevy beat GMC to the punch by introducing the ZR2 Bison to the Silverado lineup in 2019, GMC proves the wait is worthwhile on the all-new 2023 Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV Edition. The trail-worthy road warrior comes straight from the factory ready for adventure and lives up to GMC’s stellar reputation for offering next-level luxury and comfort in its workhorses. For GMC, delivering this luxury is in the details, as we see from the AEV Edition’s premium interior with its high-quality finishes and more immersive Bose sound system. Where Chevrolet offers a cut above its rivals, GMC ups the ante, besting its brand sibling and maintaining its reputation for its no-compromise approach to luxury and capability.