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The GMC Sierra AT4 Is a Truck for Rugged, Well-Off Dads

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author photo by Eric Brandt April 2018

A few days before the opening of the New York Auto Show, GMC pulled the wraps off of a new version of the Sierra full-size pickup, which is all-new for the 2019 model year. It's the GMC Sierra AT4, which is the first member of the new AT4 sub-brand for GMC. Think of it as GMC's version of the Jeep Trailhawk line.

AT4 stands for All-Terrain 4, and it isn't a good name. It's impossible to say it out loud without sounding like you're saying "eighty-four," weirdly. But that's beside the point. The Sierra AT4 is all about off-road ruggedness both in appearance and in capability. It has off-road goodies like standard 4-wheel drive, skid plates, a 2-inch lift, hill descent control, a locking rear differential, optional off-road tires and a rugged appearance package that includes vertical red recovery hooks.

Not bad -- but isn't it kind of a half-baked attempt at a Ford F-150 Raptor competitor? It's easy to think that's what this truck is, but I think the Sierra AT4 is something different. It isn't trying to be the insane off-roader that the Raptor is; rather, it's trying to be something else. It's trying to be the truck your dad would want.

The GMC Sierra AT4 is a truck for rugged dads (or dads who think they're rugged) with the means to afford the GMC premium. Dad likes the new Sierra and he wants a version of the truck that can adequately display how tough he is. He might never use it to do any serious off-roading; he might only use it as a commuter and for hauling the boat to the cabin a few times a year. Why do you think the off-road tires are optional?

I'd be willing to bet that a majority of GMC Sierra AT4 trucks that are purchased new will share a garage with a classic Chevy like a Corvette, Chevelle or Camaro, along with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle -- or possibly both. The Sierra AT4 is for the dad who wants a "workin' man's truck," but also wants heated leather seats and the latest tech like a color HUD.

And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. These dads exist, and they can't wait to spend well over $50,000 on a truck that's both luxurious and tough (or, at least, makes them feel tough). No, it isn't necessarily about "compensation" -- it's just what wealthy dads like. Pricing hasn't been announced yet for the Sierra AT4, but my best guess is that it will start around the $50,000 mark.

So don't expect a lot of AT4 vs. Raptor comparison tests. Just expect to see Sierra AT4s hauling $80,000 fishing boats to the lake when they start hitting the road -- and maybe, occasionally, the dirt. If you want a serious off-road pickup truck, then by all means, get a Raptor. But if you want a pickup that delivers luxury and makes you look as tough as you think you are, then the Sierra AT4 is the truck for you.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The GMC Sierra AT4 Is a Truck for Rugged, Well-Off Dads - Autotrader