If you’ve ever spent time at an overland rally, you know that off-roaders are passionate about their rigs and love to talk about their modifications and gear. That passion is often well-founded because overlanding is a community-rich environment. To be brutally honest, overlanders typically invest a small fortune to customize their trucks and SUVs to their needs, from adding suspension lifts and beefier tires to rooftop tents, lighting kits, and every accessory imaginable to make life and adventure on the trail safer and more enjoyable.
Don’t get me wrong, these rigs deserve every bragging right, because their owners have poured their hard-earned money, blood, sweat, and tears into bringing their vision to life. Most often, that vision starts with a used truck like the Tacoma, icons like the Wrangler, or revered SUVs like the Cherokee and 4Runner, and not with a Sierra 1500 for sale. These Toyotas and Jeeps fetch high prices even on the used lot for reasons beyond their reliability and stellar reputations. People will pay top dollar without thinking twice.
What if there was an alternative that was just as capable, if not more so, and more apt to withstand the demands of more technical terrain? What if you could enjoy this capability straight from the factory floor without paying a premium and be the one to log that first mile on the odometer? Would you jump at the chance? GMC certainly hopes so.
Winning the Off-Road Game: The 2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X
GMC is praised for building luxurious and capable trucks, two characteristics that don’t often go hand in hand in a segment defined by practicality and functionality. Fortunately, GMC defies convention and pushes its best-selling Sierra to new heights in 2024, particularly with the adventure-ready Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X. The AT4 and AT4X are off-road-ready workhorses capable of answering every need on and off the pavement, making the Sierra 1500 the most off-road capable production truck in the brand’s history.
When you start exploring off-road trucks, you immediately see a theme as automakers outfit their models with off-road-tuned suspensions, underbody skid plates, and integrated recovery points on the front and rear bumpers. It’s the standard packaging among trucks destined for the trail, but the Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X take the ordinary packaging and make it extraordinary. GMC adds its race-inspired Multimatic DSSV dampers to heighten the Sierra’s responsiveness and agility in every condition, whether a dirt road or pavement. Front and rear electronic-locking differentials add to this performance, with AEV editions boasting high-strength steel bumpers at the front and rear with all the provisions to add a winch or other recovery equipment.
These components ready the Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X for every adventure, but GMC doesn’t forget its reputation for luxury. What would a 2024 Sierra 1500 be without an upscale interior? The AT4X is resplendent, boasting massaging front seats wrapped in leather and framed by authentic ash wood trim throughout the cabin. With 40 inches of combined digital displays and a 12-speaker premium Bose surround sound system, the Sierra 1500 AT4X is fit for royalty, especially those who like to get a little mud on the tires. But even this opulence isn’t the real kicker.
Off-Roading, Diesel Style
General Motors is revered for its engine designs, with GMC reaping the benefits of that ingenuity and outfitting its fleet with some of the most potent and reliable engines in the industry. The 2024 Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X are certainly no exception and showcase GMC’s success at offering the extraordinary to adventurers.
GMC is constantly tuning its powertrains, with its revolutionary Duramax diesel engine retuned for 2023 to produce more horsepower and torque. Most notably, GMC makes the 3.0L Duramax standard on the 2024 Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X. That decision makes the Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X the only light-duty trucks in the segment to roll off the factory floor with a diesel powertrain. It’s music to an off-roader’s ears, but why?
Retuning the Duramax
The legendary Duramax engine is no stranger to the spotlight in the GMC lineup, but its second generation has earned more praise than its predecessors because of GMC’s ongoing efforts to give drivers more power and capability from trucks like the Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X. The second-generation 3.0L inline-six Duramax diesel features a long lineup of upgrades, stretching from features that improve temperature control to new fuel injectors, a retuned turbo compressor, and all-new steel pistons with an upgraded combustion bowl. Although minor on paper, the upgrades translate to more low-end torque and a steady stream of power, yielding a maximum output of 305 horsepower and 495 lb-ft of torque for the 2024 Sierra 1500. That’s 10% more horsepower and 7.6% more torque than the Duramax under the hood of the 2022 models.
Putting the Upgrades to Use
With more low-end torque, the Duramax does an outstanding job of ensuring the Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X can handle more technical terrain. Conditions like steep ascents and crawling rocks require a lot of low-end gruntwork to pull the truck and maintain your control behind the wheel. The Duramax is designed to deliver the power needed during those low-speed crawls and maneuvers without compromise.
This no-compromise approach is certainly apparent when considering fuel consumption, longevity, and overall value. For starters, diesel engines are far more fuel efficient than their gas counterparts, and the Duramax powering the Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X is no exception. Even when tasked with delivering a steady stream of low-end power, the Duramax modestly sips fuel. Off-roaders gain a significant advantage, with the Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X capable of covering more distance, meaning those extra tanks of fuel go much further as you venture deeper into the woods.
Beyond covering more distance during each outing, you can expect more long-term distance from the Duramax. The Duramax is praised for its longevity, durability, and reliability, which GMC showcases by making this powertrain standard equipment on the Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X. In doing so, the automaker gives you tangible value to reap the rewards of your investment every mile and adventure ahead, especially with a Duramax capable of reliably logging over 100,000 miles without concern. This longevity translates to more time spent on the trail and complements the high resale value of a diesel-powered truck when you’re looking to trade.
Finding Value in Every Adventure
Can a full-size truck like the Sierra 1500 hold its own on the trail among staples like the beloved Tacoma, 4Runner, Wrangler, and Cherokee? Models like the 2024 Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X prove as much. GMC doesn’t simply answer the need for a more adventurous truck but delivers tenfold by making the 2024 Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X the only one of its kind. It’s the only light-duty truck that rolls off the production line ready for the trail with a diesel engine under its hood.
With Multimatic DSSV dampers and all the accouterments expected of an off-road truck, the Sierra 1500 AT4 and AT4X are undeniably capable on and off the pavement. However, the Duramax under the hood instills even more confidence in the truck’s competency and takes its value to unimaginable heights. Off-roaders aren’t only looking at a well-equipped truck that’s ready for the trail from the showroom floor, but one that can withstand the demands of the terrain, handle the low-end gruntwork, and provide the longevity that rivals with their gas-powered engines fail to offer.