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. Find a GMC Sierra for sale
MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Please Help Me Find the Buick Roadmaster Estate I Never Should Have Sold
Here Are the Nine Weirdest Gear Shifters in the Car Industry
Video | The Kia K900 Is an Unknown $60,000 Luxury Sedan