We’ve come a long way from the days when pickup trucks were utilitarian work vehicles with minimal comforts, driven by people who needed them for work or couldn’t afford a car. There’s no better demonstration of this evolution than the beautiful 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab AT4X, as is immediately obvious by its $76,700 price tag (without dealer upcharges, as has become common nowadays). Figure at least $85,000 out the door with taxes and fees. For a pickup truck. But this isn’t any old flat-bed-plus-driver-compartment, the Sierra 1500 is a beast, powered by a massive 6.2L V8 engine and with every smart vehicle feature and technology you can imagine integrated into the drive experience. It’s also quite comfortable and has plenty of power to pull a trailer up into the mountains or get your boat to the lake with nary a hiccup.
GMC loaned me the Sierra 1500 for a week, asking me not to off-road, though it was darn tempting. The vehicle has lots of 4WD features, including a 2-speed autotrac transfer case, off-road suspension with 2″ lift, skid plates, front and rear locking differentials, hill descent control, mud-terrain tires and tons of towing and trailer smarts. But let’s start with a photo, shall we?
The exterior is Cayenne Red, with an Obsidian Rush interior. You can see that the Crew Cab offers a second row, eating up a lot of the truckbed, but gaining space for three adults in the back seat. Perfect for your posse or, if you’re actually using it as a work truck, the rest of your crew. The actual truckbed is 69.9 inches since this is the “short box” version of the truck. The full-size “standard box” bed, with the crew cab, is 79.4 inches, but, of course, that also lengthens the truck and adds weight, which lowers fuel efficiency.
You can see that the short box at just under 6 feet deep and almost as wide offers a decent amount of capacity for bikes, sporting equipment, boxes, a lot of bags of shopping, or even construction supplies. What’s really fun is that the rear tailgate has a secret addition, but let me first show the tailgate closed because it has a cool dual-gate design:
It’s a beautiful color in direct sunlight, and very eye-catching. But notice that the top portion of the tailgate, where the GMC letters are emblazoned, has its own cutout edge. That’s because you can drop it down separately to the full tailgate, offering a nice armrest for leaning while chatting with friends in the parking lot. Or, perhaps more importantly, with a push of a secret button, access to the Kicker audio system that’s built in to the tailgate!
Quite honestly, this is ridiculously cool and it was my truck-owning son who deserves credit for showing me how to access it. This is officially known as the GMC Multipro Tailgate with Multipro Audio System by Kicker. You can plug in an audio source via USB, 3.5mm AUX, or even connect via Bluetooth and then jam your tunes while being the coolest truck owner at the tailgate. Really a fun feature!
MOVING INTO THE INTERIOR
This is a big vehicle and most people will have to hoist themselves up into the cab, for which the step and interior handle are helpful! Once inside, it’s delightfully spacious, as you would expect with a vehicle that’s over 81-inches wide (by comparison, a Toyota Prius is almost 15 inches narrower). Every control has its spot and it’s all nicely laid out, albeit a bit overwhelming at first glance:
The steering wheel controls are standard for GMC vehicles and identical to the Chevy Bolt EUV I’m currently driving, for example. The infotainment system sports a big 13.4″ touch screen split into two areas (as you can see: The left 2/3 are wireless Apple CarPlay while the right portion is a GMC-controlled audio source control display. It also supports wireless Android Auto). It’s a bit hard to see in this photo, but the interior features leather with very attractive red accent stitching, most notable on the door armrests, as you’ll see in a few pics.
I have to admit, though, when I see controls by my left knee as are visible in the above image, I know that the designers have run out of space for control knobs, dials, and switches. Similarly, the trailer controls are split between those accessible from the infotainment system (like a really slick trailer camera), just behind the gearshift, and a few that are part of the toggle switch row just below the climate controls:
I have to wonder how many current Sierra owners could identify the function of each of these nine buttons, actually! Notice also in the above how dense the controls are overall, even the climate control system. Between seat functions (heat, cool, massage) and the actual temperature controls, there are a total of 20 buttons and two knobs, in addition to the 9 toggles immediately below it. Seems like flying the Space Shuttle might be easier than figuring everything out on the 2022 Sierra 1500 truck.
Look back up and behind the steering wheel and the main gauge control – in “classic” layout – is surprisingly simple and straightforward:
There are actually four display layouts for the main gauge area, along with adjustments and layout tweaks you can use to change the infotainment and heads-up display areas too. In fact, the heads-up display (HUD) spread across a whopping 15″ on the front windshield and, like so much in the vehicle, is exemplary with its clarity and usefulness. It’s complicated, but there really is a lot to like about the GMC Sierra.
Fuel efficiency? Well, remember earlier when I said it was powered by a 6.2L V8 engine? With that in mind, averaging about 17.2mpg isn’t too bad, though I surmise that if you hooked up a 4-horse trailer or a full-size camper – or a trailer full of lumber for a new cabin on your land in the woods – that efficiency would plummet. But that’s the tradeoff for having a big, powerful vehicle that has an almost 9,000-pound towing capacity. That’s 4 1/2 tons. The Prius we used for that earlier comparison? It’d be a breeze to tow, by comparison, weighing in at a paltry 3,010 pounds. Heck, you could almost tow three of ’em!
Speaking of displays and infotainment, I have to confess that with big vehicles like the Sierra 1500 I find the parking and reverse cameras enable a game I like to play called “can you perfectly center the vehicle in the spot?”
The introduction of the stitched-together “aerial view” is really revolutionary and, of course, makes this possible. But am I the only one who seeks perfection with my parking now that I have this camera, or do you find yourself doing this too?
MEANWHILE, IN THE BACK SEAT…
It’s worth noting that the Crew Cab isn’t a squished kids-only seating arrangement, as you can see:
I sat in the back seat and it’s surprisingly roomy. Possibly a bit cozy for three big adults, but certainly plenty of room for two or three children. They even get their own controls for adjusting airflow from the AC or heater, along with seat heating controls and power ports:
All in all, there’s really a lot to like with the Sierra 1500. It’s a full-size pickup truck, so parking it at the local Whole Foods or Yoga studio is going to draw a few glares, but if you need the space and power, it’s a top contender in its segment, and there are a startling number of configuration options. The RT4 trim package covered just about everything shown with this particular truck too, the only add-on was rocker protection, installed by the dealer. GMC works closely with ACDelco, so there are a million options, add-ons, and accessories if that’s something you seek, but that will also fairly quickly pop the price into the six-figure category. As-is, you can configure these to be under $50K but this RT4X truck? Pretty darn sweet.
SPECS: 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab RT4X with 6.2L V8 engine, in Cayenne Red with Obisidian Rush interior. Base price: $73,300. AS DRIVEN: $76,790.
Disclosure: General Motors loaned me the GMC Sierra 1500 for a week of driving in return for this candid review. Thanks, GMC!