The GMC team decided to debut another off-road special of its Sierra 1500 pickup truck, continuing GM’s collaboration with aftermarket company American Expedition Vehicles. The AT4X AEV is a superheated AT4X, which itself is a superheated AT4.
This begs a question: Is GM cutting its off-road cake into extremely small segments?
Consider the following. On the bowtie side of its truck showrooms, one can choose from a dizzying array of dirt road trim on the Silverado: Z71, Trail Boss (in Custom or LT), ZR2 and the upcoming ZR2 Bison. Most of them are reproduced on the smaller Colorado Intermediate. On the GMC tiling, buyers can find models like X31 Off-Road, AT4, AT4X and now AT4X AEV. Rinse and repeat (especially) for the 4×4 variants of the little Canyon.
It’s not a complaint. Your author welcomes every off-road-focused truck a manufacturer can produce, whether it’s a factory-built brawler or some sort of blank canvas with which to build a Moab monster. However, spare a thought for customers who aren’t as committed to the off-road lifestyle as this writer who perpetually has dirt under his fingernails and axle grease on his Levi jeans. Trying to explain the difference between an AT4, AT4X and AT4X AEV to a confused customer is likely to be a trial run, leading them to walk out in confusion or simply buy whichever one feels best. And you better believe the latter happens more often than not – leading buyers to grab the keys to a truck in which they’ll never use even a percentage of its capacity.
Speaking of capability, let’s land the plane and get back to the original reason for this post: the new GMC. Teaming up with American Expedition Vehicles, the same crew GM worked with to create the ZR2 Bison, resulted in a Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV with new heavy-duty steel components compared to a non-AEV truck. Stamped front and rear bumpers are ready to be beaten by that rock you didn’t see and your spotter missed, a quintet of hot-stamped boron steel skid plates over undercarriage parts pricey ones like the T-case and rear diff, plus 33-inch Goodyear All-Terrain Meat-and-Unique wheels.
The grille and front fascia are said to have been modified so they can be force-fed with that bumper and tires, while the typical brand-specific trim grip is scattered around the exterior. There are functional improvements to metrics like approach angle, which climbs more than a quarter over a stock truck to 32.5 degrees. The venerable 6.2-liter V8 and its 420 horsepower remain intact.
Look for them later in the 2023 model year, barring supply chain meltdowns.[Image: GMC]
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