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2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate and AT4X Trims Offer Up More Luxury & Ruggedness

2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate and 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X

The refreshed 2022 GMC Sierra might not look all that different at first glance, but there is a whole slew of changes that we got to experience first-hand in Detroit last week, and it’s pretty impressive, with styling, interior and tech updates across lineup, including trailering-capable Super Cruise driver-assistance and a slick new 13.4-inch-diagonal infotainment screen.

Perhaps the biggest news about the 2022 GMC Sierra is the introduction of two new premium trim lines. The 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate is the most advanced and luxuriously appointed Denali model ever and the most advanced and luxurious pickup in its class, taking everything that you love about the Denali and turning it up to 11.

For those who prefer getting muddy, the 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X is the new peak of premium off-road performance with serious capability and uncompromising refinements. It’s a segment that isn’t really served right now, but that’s all about to change.

“Sierra’s momentum continues to accelerate, as the fastest growing model in the segment,” said Duncan Aldred, global vice president of GMC and Buick. “With the 2022 Sierra, GMC is offering customers more advanced technologies, upscale appointments and increased capability across the Sierra lineup including the all-new Sierra Denali Ultimate and AT4X.”

Updates To The 2022 GMC Sierra

The GMC Sierra gets a number of updates for 2022, including an elevated exterior design, all-new, expressive interiors, and enhanced technology integration (including a large, 13.4-inch-diagonal touchscreen with Google built-in compatibility). The refreshed exterior features a new grille and revised headlamp design and expressive lighting animation when approaching, starting or walking away from the vehicle.

Other exterior highlights include revised front bumper, fascia, and grille finishes on each trim, new dual-projector LED headlamps with a revised execution of GMC’s signature C-shaped daytime running lamps, new wheel designs on SLT and Denali, and three new exterior colors (extra cost): Titanium Rush Metallic, Dynamic Blue Metallic and Desert Sand Metallic.

A new, unique interior design includes a cockpit-oriented instrument panel along with a new, more functional center console that features electronic precision shift on models with front bucket seats. There are also new color and stitching designs throughout, with more premium materials throughout the cabin. The aforementioned 13.4-inch infotainment screen comes standard on SLE trims and above, and it’s nicely integrated into the dash area (as opposed to other brands who essentially slap an iPad-sized screen smack dab in the middle of the dash).

Functionally, this might just be the best large infotainment screen I have seen yet, with with incredible levels of personalization to suit your specific needs. You can have two areas of information, to display navigation and trailering details simultaneously, for example, with the option to prioritize one over the other. Or, you can choose full-screen navigation, music, or other options. And like another new truck we just drove, it’s got Google built-in compatibility, which offers a plethora of features. Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa are also available if you prefer.

But that’s not all. There’s also an all-new 12.3-inch-diagonal digital, configurable instrument cluster (standard on SLE trim and above) that is absolutely gorgeous, along with an available multicolor 15-inch-diagonal Head-Up Display. Put it all together and you’ve got more than 40 diagonal inches of available digital display space in the new Sierra, each helping provide an engaging, customizable and comprehensive driving experience.

While the Sierra’s 6.2L V-8 and 5.3L V-8 engines are carried over unchanged, the 2.7L Turbo engine gets quite a bit of attention, with a big bump in torque (420 lb-ft, a more than 20% increase), enhanced smoothness and less noise, higher max trailering ratings (9,600 pounds with 2WD and 9,300 pounds with 4WD), and shift scheduling revisions for refinement and quicker downshifts. In addition, the 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel now boasts a max tow rating of 13,200 pounds, a 4,000-pound improvement over the 2021 Sierra.

First-Ever Sierra Denali Ultimate Trim

Up until now, the Denali was the top-of-the-line trim package offered by GMC, and the name has become a luxury brand in it’s own right, the pinnacle of what it means to be professional grade. But as it turns out, many buyers wanted (and were willing to pay for) even more luxury, prompting the brand to introduce an even more premium trim level – Denali Ultimate. And as we saw, it takes the popular Denali sub-brand to an even higher threshold of capable luxury.

Walking up to the Denali Ultimate, it’s identifiable by its unique Vader chrome grille and GMC logo, along with exclusive 22-inch wheels finished in Low Gloss Black with machined accents and unique front fender trim featuring Mount Denali. GMC’s six-way MultiPro tailgate, the Denali Premium Suspension with segment-exclusive Adaptive Ride Control, and power assist steps are also standard.

But the real magic happens on the inside. The Denali Ultimate’s Alpine Umber interior builds on the already luxurious Denali cabin, with full-grain leather appointments and open-pore Paldao wood trim. The wood’s darkened finish creates a distinctive color blend, while the unique graining adds bespoke attention to detail. There’s rich leather throughout (front and rear seats, door panels, instrument panel, console lid, grab handles), along with a microsuede headliner, visor and A- and B-pillars. Etched stainless-steel speaker grilles round out the look.

Embossed and laser-etched across the interior are a number of topographical maps of the summit of Mount Denali, the highest peak in North America. These maps can be found laser-etched on to the open-pore Paldao wood on the front passenger-side dashboard, in the full-grain leather on the front and back of the front seats, rear seat and door panels, as well as on the exterior fender vent badges. These nods to Denali are very cool details indeed.

Seeing as how this is the top-of-the-line model, the Sierra Denali Ultimate comes with GMC’s 420-hp, 6.2L V-8, and it’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission featuring Electronic Precision Shift. Four-wheel drive, with an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case, is standard. Also standard are 16-way power-adjustable and massaging front seats, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, rear camera mirror, 15-inch Head-Up display, and power sunroof.

All in all, this is a very well-equipped model with all of the luxury trappings you could ever ask for. Like an Escalade with a pickup truck bed.

Enhanced Version Of Super Cruise Hands-Free Driving

By now, you’ve likely heard about Super Cruise, GM’s version of hands-free driving. We have tested out Super Cruise before in both the Chevy Bolt and Cadillac Escalade, and its pretty incredible, taking over driving duties for you on more than 200,000 miles of compatible roads. Now, Super Cruise has found its way to the Sierra, and it’s standard on Sierra Denali Ultimate (with a three-year subscription) and available on the Sierra Denali.

In addition, the 2022 Sierra is the first pickup in its class to offer available Super Cruise with trailering on compatible roads. It features specific calibrations designed to account for the additional drag and increased braking distance that comes with trailering. If you have ever towed before, you know how stressful it can be, so having the Sierra take some of the burden off of you is a total game-changer.

When not trailering, Lane Change on Demand and newly added Automatic Lane Change are also available. While the Escalade we drove had Lane Change on Demand (where you signal to switch lanes, and the car will make the lane change when it’s clear), Automatic Lane Change is a new feature, automatically changing lanes when it sees someone in front of you and space in one of the lanes beside you. This is a great feature that adds to an already great system.

Sierra AT4X – The New Peak In Premium Off-Roading

Back in 2019, GMC introduced their AT4 line to the Sierra lineup, and it was an instant success. Now, the all-new AT4X line looks to build on that and take things to the next level. The Sierra AT4X is a balanced execution that delivers advanced off-road capability when called upon without compromising the on-road comfort, tech, towing, and payload capability expected from a premium pickup.

Highlights of the Sierra AT4X include:

  • Standard 6.2L V-8 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Unique Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers
  • Unique springs that, with the Multimatic dampers, increase maximum front and rear suspension travel by 50 mm and 25 mm, respectively, compared with the standard AT4 suspension
  • Two-speed transfer case, with selectable modes for different off-road conditions — including Terrain Mode, which allows one-pedal
    rock crawling
  • Front and rear e-locking differentials, a combination not offered by any other competitor in its class
  • Specific off-road chassis and suspension calibrations
  • Unique, larger steel transfer case shield
  • 18-inch black wheels with LT265/70R18 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Mud-Terrain tires
  • Available rocker guard accessory
  • AT4X’s payload capability is 1,420 pounds and its trailering rating is 8,900 pounds

The functional features are complemented with a unique, luxury-focused AT4X Obsidian Rush interior that balances the off-roader’s capability with comfort and convenience. The cabin is awash with premium leather, including full-grain leather-wrapped and technical grain leather accents, all of which is highlighted with white piping and red stitching.

The interior also features authentic, dark Vanta ash wood trim, along with most of the other features found in the Denali Ultimate (massaging seats, 15-inch HUD, 12-speaker Bose sound system, power sunroof, etc).

2022 GMC Sierra Pricing And Availability

The refreshed GMC Sierra arrives at dealerships in the first quarter of 2022. Customers can place reservations starting today at

Base pricing for Denali Ultimate is $80,395, AT4X is $74,995, Denali is $61,295, AT4 is $60,995, SLT is $50,895, Elevation is $45,495, SLE $43,895 and Sierra Pro is $32,495. (MSRP includes destination charges) Full pricing will be announced closer to the start of production.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the new 2022 GMC Sierra 1500, and especially with their new Denali Ultimate and AT4X trim lines. I think they really knocked it out of the park with these new trims, and they should appeal to buyers who want some nicer accommodations, whether they’re cruising down the highway, or venturing off the beaten path.

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