To test the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X, we took it on a 400-mile Colorado road trip from Boulder to Almont (near Crested Butte) for a winter family adventure. While most of the trip was on pavement, we did hit some snowy patches. But this review is not about the incredible off-road capability of this vehicle, rather how it handles hauling our family of four into the mountains.
In short, the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X held us and our gear very comfortably for this weekend adventure. The cabin was plush for us and the open short bed easily held all the gear we needed.
The 10-speed automatic transmission is smooth and unnoticeable and the steering is easy. No matter the speed, the steering was responsive and never twitchy as is often the case with off-road focused vehicles.
The road feel on the speed sensitive Multimatic DSSV shocks was pretty good, but not silky as magnetic ride control shocks. Still, it’s part of the tradeoff for the off-road capability. And, as expected for a truck, there’s noticeable lean in corners at speed, but nothing of concern.
Braking on the vented disc brakes was smooth as well—the pedal didn’t run too long nor was it hyper-sensative. For long downhills, the 10-speed transmission will automatically downshift to help preserve the brakes.
We headed to Almont for a weekend of playing in the snow, which requires a lot of gear. Not just the skis, but all the bags of warm clothes plus the standard kit for staying a few nights. My 172cm skis just fit in the 69.9-inch short bed. That was the only close call. Otherwise the bags of clothing and other gear piled in just fine. There are also plenty of tie-down points, none of which we needed to use this trip.
Our model was also equipped with GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate, so it was easy to get in and out of the truck bed to unload the bags, plus it’s a great place for the kids (or anyone) to sit and change boots or just relax.
If we really wanted to max it out, the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X can haul a payload of 2,240 pounds and tow up to 13,200 pounds. The rig is wired for a trailer camera as well.
On the inside, the four of us easily fit in the well appointed crew cab. The second row seats fold up to provide weather protected storage in the cab.
This is a tricky topic for large vehicles like this. They are way more capable than just driving people and a few bags of gear around and the fuel economy reflects that. But the 6.2-liter V8 engine offers 420 horsepower and 460 ft-lbs of torque at the mileage cost of 14 city / 17 highway / 15 combined (EPA Rating).
Amenities & Comfort
The AT4X trim blends off-road capability with some very luxurious features. GMC has done well to keep the AT4X trim from being confused with their top tier Denali trim.
While the lower zone in the cab is covered with tough hard plastic to ward off the scuffing from boots, the primary touch points are soft and I never felt the need to shift around from being sore while driving the 200-miles each way of our road trip. GMC also used high-quality leather throughout the cab and the AT4X is loaded with other comforts like ventilated and heated front seats—they even have massaging which I was happy to employ after a few hours on the road. They are probably really nice after bumping around on rougher roads. The rear outboard seats are also heated. Unfortunately, my kids are still in boosters so they couldn’t take advantage of that comfort. Nevertheless, the dual-zone climate system didn’t have any problem keeping the whole cab comfortable.
Other features for the driver include a heads up display and a rearview camera mirror. The center console favors the driver’s side which is nice and the digital display offers all the standard controls from entertainment, climate control, cameras, navigation, and more. I’m a big fan of Apple Play and mostly used that interface.
The 44.53 inches of legroom in the front row was very comfortable and the second row is only an inch smaller—keeping it comfortable for most adults on a long haul (though not quite out of reach from my kids absentmindedly kicking the back of my seat when they got bored).
The spaciousness of the interior of the cab plus the comfort amenities makes this a very family friendly vehicle. The rear seats include the required LATCH points for full kid’s car seats and the car door child safety locks. I wish GMC would go back to having that control in the center stack like they do in my 2012 GMC Terrain—or just have it automatically engage when the car is in Drive, but that’s not specific to the AT4X. I miss having the built-in sunshades to help the kids manage sunlight in their eyes because they’re not always as good at managing hats and sunglasses.
The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X is an incredibly off-road capable vehicle—more so than most will need. And, it certainly served us for this adventure. The price point ($77,500 standard, $79,140 as driven) will certainly make anyone looking at the AT4X really consider if they really need one, or a combination of specific features which might not be available anywhere else. I would love to use a vehicle like this to take my family to a very far off the beaten path camping adventure (though, they may not like the jostling around on the rough road to get there).