2024 GMC Sierra 2500 AT4X Pickup Truck: It’s a Beast!

GMC logoThere are compact daily commute vehicles that sip delicately at the fuel in the tank and there are monsters that are out to clear your way, gulping down the fuel as they go. Most people use their vehicles to get from point A to point B so it’s no surprise that small sedans and compact SUVs are the most popular cars on the road. Want a pickup truck, but don’t really haul much? The industry’s got you covered with modest compact pickups like the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz.

When pulling a boat, trailer, or hauling a ton of construction equipment is part of your requirement list, however, it’s time to put aside all the little cars and move up to a work truck. That’s exactly where the huge 2024 GMC Sierra 2500 4WD Crew Cab AT4X fits in, so while I was enthused to have a chance to drive this Turbo-Diesel truck for a week, I also realized I wasn’t the model customer for this truck either, lacking a trailer or, well, a ton of construction materials to drive to a worksite.

GMC loaned me a Thunderstorm Gray AT4X with Obsidian Rush interior, powered by a Duramax 6.6L turbo diesel and an Allison 10-speed automatic transmission:

2024 gmc sierra 2500 4wd crew cab at4x - front exterior

This is the kind of truck where you don’t slip into the driver’s seat, you climb in. It took me a while to master entering the vehicle, actually, and I finally settled on putting my right foot on the extending step, grabbing the steering wheel, pulling myself up to vehicle level, and then sliding into the driver’s seat. Once in the truck, it’s a really comfortable environment with far more features than you might expect from a glance. The dashboard is a very rectilinear affair; everything’s squared off and exudes an aura of power and strength:

2024 gmc sierra 2500 4wd crew cab at4x - dashboard

There are also a lot of controls, with all the buttons, dials, and knobs you’d expect, along with a whole new set for towing. Most of it’s automatic, however, so while there are plenty of buttons by your left knee, you can safely ignore them because while they let you choose between 2WD and 4WD high and low, the default is AUTO so the vehicle itself will choose the best traction for the driving conditions. You can leave your headlights in auto and forget about ’em for the future too, and even the windshield wipers now have an automatic rain sensor so they’ll engage if it starts to drizzle without you having to hunt down the correct control.

Most all of the controls are “same as they ever were” with location, unfortunately including the one control that I think is terrible: behind the left steering wheel bar is a button for next/prev track and behind the right steering wheel bar is a button for volume up/down. Or is it vice-versa? Without any labels, drivers are inevitably going to get those mixed up until it becomes muscle memory: I much prefer labeled controls even if it makes the overall button density a bit higher.

While I’m talking about design considerations, this is a truck that really needs a gear knob or dial. By having the shift stick just jutting out the right side of the steering column, whenever you’re in drive it’s occluding a portion of the infotainment screen:

2024 gmc sierra 2500 4wd crew cab at4x - infotainment and gear shift blockage

With Apple CarPlay showing (it supports wireless CarPlay and Android Auto) this hides destination information on the map, requiring the driver to bob and weave to see all of the screen. Seems like such an odd design glitch that could easily be solved with a number of alternative gear controls (including a shorter shift stem). Do you get used to this? Eventually. But it’s just not very good design, from a company that’s been making vehicles since the dawn of the automotive age.

On the positive side, I really appreciated the fixed touch buttons on the left side of the big 13.4″ display that allowed quick access to the parking camera (an absolutely vital feature for parking this behemoth!) and a simple way to bounce back to CarPlay when I was done. Notice the screen is also split into two areas: Unlike some of the other vehicles I’ve driven, this does not offer the option of stretching the Apple (or Android) screen to utilize the full width of the screen. This might be a future software upgrade because it’s quite useful.

Climate controls might take you a minute or two to figure out, but props to GMC for having the target temperature display embedded in the knob:

2024 gmc sierra 2500 4wd crew cab at4x - climate controls

The toggle switch row along the bottom offers lots of other features with an iconographic language all its own. Just be careful not to push the one on the right because it extends the periscope and lets you drive underwater! Or, not. Don’t quote me on that feature, okay? The main gauge offers lots of information too:

2024 gmc sierra 2500 4wd crew cab at4x - main gauge

This is also where you can’t help but notice that the 6.6L Turbo Diesel isn’t doing anything good for that fuel efficiency, offering an average of 13.8mpg across the last 733 miles of driving. And that’s without a trailer. As a commuter vehicle, the GMC Sierra 2500 would be awful, but if you need the room and capacity then you might have to overlook its diesel-guzzling habits. It does have an impressive towing capacity of up to 20,000 pounds, which means it can easily handle even the biggest boats or personal trailers, along with tool and equipment trailers for on-site needs.

The trailer bed is a generous 6-foot 9-inches long too, and that’s with the crew cab configuration:

2024 gmc sierra 2500 4wd crew cab at4x - truck bed

Notice the handle on the left side to assist with pulling yourself up and into the bed. You need it; this is a chonky truck for sure!

The side view mirrors are also really interesting, each offering a dual view for trailering:

2024 gmc sierra 2500 4wd crew cab at4x - extend side mirrors

These are officially known as “Power Fold/Extend & Heated Trailer Mirrors w/ Auto-Dim” and they’re darn impressive. The top portion is adjustable from within the truck, while the lower wide-angle mirror you have to adjust manually. At one point, I had another truck driver walk over and ogle these mirrors, saying he wished he could get them for his truck. They not only power fold and unfold, by the way, but they can also be extended out an additional 4-5 inches for better viewing of what’s happening behind your trailer.

Rear legroom is quite decent, which is no surprise on a vehicle with this extended length:

2024 gmc sierra 2500 4wd crew cab at4x - leg room rear passenger

You could definitely haul five adults to a worksite or campground in comfort and if it’s just you and your dog, you’ll have room to spare without having to risk gear in an open bed. Either way, this is a big, roomy truck that is ready to take you where you want to go with whatever gear you want to include, whether it’s fifty 2x4s or a 35-foot speedboat:

2024 gmc sierra 2500 4wd crew cab at4x - exterior rear

The drive experience was good too, with solid pickup and acceleration. It was challenging to try and maximize fuel efficiency but that’s not something that Sierra 2500 drivers are going to be worried about; if you want fuel efficiency, get a Prius, right? 🙂

The portents are not good for diesel as a long-term fuel in the United States, however: Diesel trucks will be banned from ports and railyards in California later this year and that’s just one of twelve states advocating a ban on all diesel trucks. The Feds are pushing for zero emissions and some companies have stopped selling diesel vehicles entirely, citing lack of customer interest.

Nonetheless, there was a lot to like about this spendy beast of a pickup truck with its expansive interior, powerful drivetrain and engine, and enormous towing and cargo capacity. This is not a daily commute vehicle for anyone but the most isolated of people, but if you need a burly truck that can take anything you throw at it, the 2024 GMC Sierra 2500 4WD Crew Cab AT4X is one to look at closely.

2024 GMC Sierra 2500 4WD Crew Cab AT4X, powered by a Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel and an Allison 10-Speed Automatic transmission. BASE PRICE: $81,800.00. Options Included: Duramax Turbo-Diesel, AT4X AEV Trim Package, Thunderstorm Gray color surcharge, destination charge. AS DRIVEN: $103,075.00

Disclosure: GMC loaned me the Sierra 2500 for a week in return for this candid write-up. Thanks, GMC!

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dave taylor vertigo film swirl backgroundPlanet Dave is run by Dave Taylor, who has been writing about film, cars, games, and his lifestyle for many years. He's based in Boulder, Colorado and assures readers he's only occasionally falling into a gravity well or temporal distortion field.

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