GMC isn’t content letting Chevy, Ford, and Ram outdo the brand. In a response that’s not quite a full-on off-road attack monster but not quite as lite as the brand’s AT4 offerings, GMC has unveiled the Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV Edition.
The Sierra AEV edition is similar in execution to the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison, another GM vehicle that used AEV off-road parts. While GMC says it’s the most off-road capable Sierra ever, think of it as more of a Ford F-150 Tremor competitor than something that can tango with the Ram TRX and F-150 Raptor.
GMC dug deep into the AEV parts bin to ensure they could back up the capability claims. Up front, you get AEV stamped steel heavy-duty bumpers with heavy-duty recovery points. The front bumper also has winch capability, but sadly you’re going to have to get that on your own as a winch isn’t an option. The front fascia and grille have also been updated to accommodate the new front bumper (a heavy-duty bumper is also on the rear).
GMC didn’t cheapen out on the tires either. Some brands will do an “off road” version of a vehicle and then slap on some all-season tires. GMC went proper with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires wrapped around 18-inch AEV Salta wheels that are finished in gloss black and laser engraved. The wheels also come equipped with AEV’s recessed valve system that protects the wheels from rock punctures on the trail.
Underneath there are skid plates, of course — but not just any skid plates would do. Covering the main critical points on the chassis (steering gear, transfer case, fuel tank, rear diff, and front approach), the Sierra AEV edition gets hot-stamped boron steel skid plates. Boron steel is steel that has a small amount of the element boron, which increases the hardness of the metal.
The front fascia and grille have also been updated to accommodate the new front bumper. There are also optional off-road rocker panels for added protection. Inside you won’t forget that AEV provided the parts for the truck, as GMC says the branding is throughout the interior. All the usual luxury and tech is there like leather-wrapped massaging seats and a 12-speaker Bose audio system.
All this adds up to a truck that seems to back up its off-road capability claims. Power comes from GM’s familiar 6.2-liter V8. There’s also selectable drive modes, one of which is an off-road mode. You’ll need it, as GMC says that compared to a regular Sierra AT4X, the approach angle for the AEV edition has increased 27 percent. Ground clearance also increases to 11.2 inches over the AT4X. Departure and break-over angles could be better, only improving .4 and .3 degrees respectively.
While pricing for the Sierra AT4X AEV Edition hasn’t been set yet, I’d expect it to be much more than the $78,295 starting price of the regular Sierra AT4X.