In the postwar economic boom of the 1950s, it was thought that owning a Cadillac was the ultimate symbol of status and prestige. At one point, tail fins and whitewall tires were the accessories consumers thought of when the term “high-end” entered any conversation. Times have changed regarding what people think of when it comes to items that symbolize luxury and status. That said, there are still vehicles that manage to turn heads and exhibit status.
While GM still manufactures the Cadillac, the GMC brand has come to reflect social standing with their upper trim levels of trucks that have redefined the entire class. Unlike luxury sedans, GMC vehicles haven’t lost their knack for being as practical and versatile on the job site as they are on a night out on the town. The 2023 GMC Sierra 2500 HD is the ideal embodiment of this method of thinking. Possessing the prowess that GM has always exhibited with the refinement and sophistication that surpasses expectation, this merging of two worlds can be found in the AT4 and Denali trims of the vehicle in question.
Two Trims That Offer Unparalleled Strength and Comfort
So far, the 2023 model year has been exciting for fans of GMC. The Sierra’s younger sibling, the GMC Canyon, the equivalent of the Chevy Colorado, received an AT4X trim level. GMC may be known for creating pickups with an air of sophistication, but the AT4X trim—their version of Chevy’s ZR2 off-road package, has proven GMC’s ability to get their hands dirty when the situation warrants it. The world of off-roading, though sometimes considered a niche demographic, is a way of life for many, and having a vehicle that takes the road less traveled is always sought after by enthusiasts of the activity. For those who crave earth-shaking performance and believe that roads only hinder adventure, the AT4 trim of the Sierra HD is made with them in mind.
Similarly, GMC has brought sophistication and versatility to the forefront of its highly-revered Denali trim. If the entire spectrum of pickup trucks were a Hollywood premiere, the Denali would be the A-lister who always has the red carpet rolled out just for them. As we’ll see, the Denali affords drivers the high-end performance that allows for the most arduous of tasks to be accomplished without difficulty, yet an interior that takes comfort and style to limits that are unsurpassed by the competition.
The 2023 Sierra 2500 HD AT4
The concept of the AT4 (all-terrain four-wheel drive) was first introduced for the 2019 model year and illustrated a newfound focus from GMC on providing new options for their clientele who enjoy off-roading. For the 2023 model year, this shows no signs of slowing down at all. Two distinctive engines are offered on the AT4 and Denali trim levels, allowing it to deliver the performance many have come to expect from the brand.
Standard on both trims is a 6.6L gasoline-powered V8 with a six-speed automatic transmission. With a horsepower rating of 401 and the ability to generate 464 lb-ft of torque, even the base offering provides a considerable amount of power. Of course, the AT4 and Denali can be upgraded with some formidable diesel power for those who want just a little more in the realm of performance. This can be found in the 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine. The diesel-fueled V8 produces 445 hp and an astounding 910 lb-ft of torque and is paired with GM’s ten-speed Allison automatic transmission.
The AT4 has several attributes that make it the ideal vehicle for off-road adventures. The most notable of these is its elevated ground clearance, which measures out to over eleven inches. With just under a foot off the ground, drivers will find that roadblocks are of less concern. Of course, its high ground clearance is only the beginning. The X31 off-road package is what delivers the goods when traveling off of the pavement. The suspension of the AT4 is specifically designed for adventurers and features underbody skid plates and a suspension equipped with twin-tube Rancho shocks. This ensures your ride is as straight as an arrow, even when the dunes and desert aren’t.
If you’re the type who’s keen on towing and trailering, then there’s some excellent news on that end. With the available ProGrade trailering system, you’ll have complete oversight on any load you hook up and take with you. Best of all, you’ll be able to do it right from your phone. That’s right; there’s an app for that. With the additional fifteen camera positions also available, you’ll have no difficulty ensuring that lane changes and turns are executed flawlessly and, most importantly, safely.
The 2023 Sierra 2500 HD Denali
If the sophistication is elevated to the world of off-roading with the AT4, then the Denali takes it to a level that surpasses all the industry expectations. We assure you, this is the farthest thing from a couch on wheels with a pickup bed attached. No, the Denali has all the prowess and versatility associated with GMC. While still offering the same engine options as the AT4, the Denali boasts an exceptional tow rating of 18,500 lbs when properly equipped.
Of course, some of the most compelling aspects of GMC’s Denali trim can be found in its interior, which takes comfort to its absolute limit. With the most head and legroom in its entire class, the Denali trim gives you all the space you could ever ask for. Heated and ventilated seats and dual-zone climate control make for a comfortable journey wherever life may take you.
The Denali comes in two available packages that remind us why the trim is considered the best by so many for those who only want the finer things in life. The Black Diamond edition places a keen eye on performance, making use of the 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine and the ten-speed automatic transmission. An auxiliary trailer camera and trailer tire pressure sensors make towing life convenient. All of this sits on a pair of 20-inch high-gloss black painted aluminum wheels. The Denali Ultimate package takes things further with a multicolor 15-inch head-up display, rear camera mirror, and power sunroof. With so much to offer, there’s no wonder why reverence and admiration have always been associated with the trim.
A New Era in Heavy Duty
With so many new announcements about the upcoming model year, it appears GMC has cornered the market for exceptional performance in the world of HD trucks. The AT4 and Denali trims show a brand with exceptional talent continuing to improve upon their past designs and shift the paradigm of what the term “heavy duty” means. With unsurpassed luxury and performance united in a single package, GMC has taken a vehicle normally associated with all work and no play and elevated it to the realm of becoming a status symbol of the elite. Not only is this thinking outside of the box, but it’s also an innovation that breaks the mold. Whether it’s life away from civilization, off the pavement, or the ability to retain all the comfort and amenities while tackling a heavy workload, GMC has you covered.