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A close up of a silver 2024 GMC Sierra 2500HD AT4 AEV leaving a GMC dealer near you is shown.

GMC and AEV—a Match Made in Off-Road Heaven

For those who know their way around a winch, the name “American Expedition Vehicles” (AEV) should ring a bell. The Montana-based company is known for creating some of the most rugged, capable, and stylish off-roads on the market, collaborating with some of the industry’s leading brands to give their four-wheel drive vehicles the full AEV treatment. After a successful partnership on the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV Edition, AEV and GMC are back at it again, giving the 2024 Sierra 2500 HD an off-road-worthy makeover.

Packed with all the heavy-duty off-road components one would expect from an AEV collaboration, the Sierra 2500 HD AT4X AEV Edition came complete with a custom-designed steel bumper, improved approach and departure angles, increased ride height, five hot-stamped boron steel skid plates, and more. If news of these tantalizing new trucks has you frantically Googling “GMC dealer near me,” you’re not alone—but what exactly does this new pickup have to offer?

Join us as we pop the hood, crawl under the chassis, and see how the 2024 GMC Sierra HD AT4X and AT4X AEV Edition are upping the bar for off-road luxury and performance. We’ll also take a look at some other notable AEV collaborations and see how the brand has earned a reputation as the go-to partner for creating bespoke off-road contenders.

AEV On Board

Founded in 1997, American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) started as the dorm-room dream of Dave Harriton. While enrolled as an undergrad at the University of Montana, Harriton started building stretched-out, off-road-ready Jeep TJ Wranglers for himself and his friends and never looked back. The passion project led to a business school award, which gave Harriton the funds to build the modified Wranglers that would become the odds-on favorite to win the Chrysler Design Excellence Awards at the off-road proving ground that is the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.

Over the last 25 years, AEV has grown from a collegiate daydream into one of the world’s leading suppliers of OE-quality aftermarket parts and accessories for the off-road set, with a specific focus on the overlanding sector. While the challenging off-road terrain around Missoula still serves as AEV’s R&D testing ground, the bulk of the operation has since been relocated to the auto hub that is Detroit.

“The Sierra HD is an ideal foundation when it comes to on-road performance, off-road capability, and insane pulling power,” says AEV founder and CEO Dave Harriton. “As with the Sierra 1500 before it, we took AEV’s signature performance-driven approach and dedication to detail to elevate the aspects that off-road customers want and demand in their heavy-duty truck. The result is an awesome truck with capability and confidence in all the right spots.”

The GMC Sierra HD AT4X AEV marks the company’s second collaboration with the auto brand—and it won’t be the last. GMC has already announced an AEV version of the GMC Canyon AT4X, giving the midsize pickup all the industrial-strength components it needs to excel in off-road scenarios.

AEV Hall of Fame

From Harriton’s early Jeep-based experiments to the all-new 2024 GMC Sierra 2500 HD AT4X AEV Edition, AEV has a long string of successful collaborations to its name. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable creations from the last few years and see how a little input from AEV can make all the difference when it comes to preparing for some off-road antics.

A blue 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown parked on a sandy desert area.

Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison/GMC Canyon AT4X AEV Edition

The 2019 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison marked the first time that AEV has collaborated with a major auto brand on a full-scale production vehicle. All the expected AEV goodies can be found on the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison, from hot-stamped Boron steel skid plates protecting the engine oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case, and both front and rear locking differentials to a sturdy AEV bumper, Multimatic DSSV dampers, and 17-inch Bison-specific wheels and fender flares that were co-developed by AEV.

In addition to all the standard equipment—which includes plenty of AEV badging throughout the interior—customers can upgrade their ride with AEV-approved off-road accessories like an air intake snorkel that comes in clutch when fording water or navigating a dusty trail. The Colorado’s twin—the GMC Canyon—joins in on the fun for 2024, with the automaker porting over the truck’s AEV upgrades to its GMC counterpart.

Chevy Silverado HD ZR2 Bison

In 2023, AEV teamed up with Chevy to give its marquee Silverado ZR2 Bison an off-road overhaul. The ZR2 Bison trim is already geared toward off-road fun, but the introduction of AEV components takes it to a whole other level with improved approach and departure angles and a three-millimeter thick, powder-coated steel bumper.

This pickup’s underbody skid plates are created using a press-hardening technique that gives the plates nearly four times the strength of cold-stamped steel, which goes a long way in protecting the Silverado’s underbody from the countless hazards one will encounter while off-roading. The AEV-ized Silverado also features steel rocker panel protection, 18-inch gloss black AEV wheels, and 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires.

AEV/Bliss Mobile Prospector XL 550

If you think AEV’s production-level vehicles are impressive, just wait until you see their limited-run creations. In 2023, the company teamed up with Dutch brand Bliss Mobile to create the Bliss Mobile Prospector XL 550, transforming a Ram 5500 heavy-duty pickup truck into a rolling cabin on wheels that’s ideal for extended overlanding excursions.

AEV’s contributions include a front bumper and fender flares, a two-inch front suspension lift, heavy-duty wheels wrapped in 41-inch tires, a snorkel, intercooler skid plate, and more. Pair that with a 13-foot cabin with a shower, kitchen facility, a couch, and sleeping for four, and you have a rolling condo on wheels, allowing you to explore the great outdoors without sacrificing any of the comforts of home. That sort of convenience comes at a price, though, with the AEV/Bliss Mobile Prospector XL 550 retailing for an estimated price tag somewhere north of $400,000.

A close up of the rear and suspension of a silver 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AEV AT4X is shown.

GMC Sierra 2500 HD AT4X vs the AT4X AEV Edition

Combining the best in both off-road and luxury equipment, the GMC Sierra 2500 HD’s AT4X trim is out to beat established luxury off-roaders at their own game with a brawny—yet refined—daily driver that can match up with any full-size pickup on the market when the going gets rough. With some bold design cues that immediately set it apart from the garden variety Sierra HD, the AT4X is a pickup all its own.

The most noticeable change would have to be the AT4X’s increased ride height, with a 1.5-inch lift giving the off-road pickup a total ground clearance of 11.6 inches. The AEV version ups that number by 0.1 inches for good measuring, allowing it to claim the title as the highest-riding Sierra HD on offer for 2024.

The tires represent another sustainable upgrade over the standard model, with GMC switching out the Wrangler TrailRunner AT skids for a set of 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires. The AEV Edition shares the same 35-inch tires but ups the bar with a set of 18-inch Salta wheels featuring AEV’s signature recessed valve system and an eye-catching 16-spoke design. The recessed valves give drivers a little extra protection from rocks, logs, and other unavoidable obstacles that might conspire to damage your tires, making them worth their weight in gold out on the trail.

Better yet, the wheels are beadlock-capable—a vital factor for any serious off-roader. For those newer to the hobby, beadlock-capable wheels allow tires to run at much lower pressure without slipping off the wheel itself. Why is this important? In certain off-road scenarios, underinflated tires can be a good thing, allowing drivers to increase the tire’s surface area to float over rocks or loose surfaces like sand or mud.

The Sierra HD AT4X AEV Edition also boasts five high-strength boron steel skid plates to provide the pickup with crucial underbody protection, as well as a striking powder-coated matte black steel bumper with integrated tow points and a handy front winch mounting point for those times when the going gets a little too rough. Luckily, the Sierra HD’s Multimatic DSSV dampers go a long way in smoothing the ride, using a spool valve damping system that provides an unbeatable mix of ride quality and performance.

Under the hood, the AT4X and AT4X AEV Edition are both packing a four-wheel drivetrain, an Allison-certified ten-speed automatic transmission, and a 6.6-liter V8 with 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque; a 6.6-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8 is also available for those drivers who would like to up the torque to a mountain-moving 975 lb-ft. The diesel gives this pickup an 18,500-lb towing capacity, which is second in the full-size category only to the Sierra’s GM stablemate, the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD.

The Duramax gets a literal boost going into the 2024 model year, with GMC overhauling the truck’s turbocharger to deliver a 25% increase in low-end torque. Ideal for towing, hauling, and off-road applications, this torquey truck is ready to put in some real work. These tasks are made all the easier thanks to the Sierra HD’s transparent trailer view camera, which—along with thirteen other camera views—allows drivers to keep an eye on their load, the road, or whatever else might need their attention.

With the 2024 Sierra 2500 HD AT4X and AT4X AEV Edition, GMC is making a serious play for the off-road crown. Off-road-ready pickups have become increasingly popular of late but then tend to skew to the top or bottom of the spectrum. So-called “soft-roaders” that look the part without actually featuring any practical off-road components represent the lower end, while over-the-top supertrucks give drivers all the power of a desert racing trophy truck, whether they need it or not.

With the 2024 2024 Sierra 2500 HD AT4X and AT4X AEV Edition, GMC has found the sweet spot, giving drivers everything they need for a successful off-road journey without burdening them with equipment—or a price tag—that’s surplus to requirements. Given their experience in the off-road arena, AEV probably deserves some of the credit for perfecting the blend, but proper attribution will probably be the last thing on your mind as you’re climbing over boulders, kicking up mud, or blasting across dusty trails in your GMC Sierra 2500 HD AT4X.

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