Sunday Drive: To the top of the Tushar Mountains in the new GMC Sierra AT4
This week, we had the opportunity to get into the all-new GMC Sierra AT4, and we were again very impressed with the newly designed interior of GM’s 1500 truck. The way they have designed the screens into the center console is going to set these trucks apart from the competition. We really love the landscape mode of the infotainment screen; it’s much better than a portrait-type installation.
Along with this 13.4-inch, work-of-art touchscreen in the console, the designers have also gone all out by adding a completely digital dashboard that spans all 12.3 inches of real estate in front of the driver. And if that were not enough in the digital domain, there is also a ginormous 15-inch, full-color heads-up display! Yes, that is a total of 40 diagonal inches of display on the windshield in front of the driver.
Couple that with the standard 6.2-liter engine, an added 2-inch factory lift and all kinds of four-wheel drive goodies that come in the AT4 and you are pretty much set for any outdoor adventure. You’ll be enjoying it in complete comfort and surrounded by technology.
With that in mind, we sought out an adventure to enjoy in the Sierra, and we came up with a brilliant plan thanks to the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources. The department was offering a mountain goat watch event in the Tushar Mountains east of Beaver on the Saturday we had the Sierra.
Since the event started with a caravan from the Beaver area that left at 7:30 a.m., we thought an overnight stay in Beaver was in order and headed south on Friday afternoon in the new AT4. With the added lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control, the ride down Interstate 15 from Springville was completely enjoyable. We set the truck at 85 mph and cruised on down, only having to stop once to add some fuel and take a break during the two-and-a-half-hour trip.
Beaver is a quaint little town in southern Utah with a population of about 3,115 people, and it turned out to be a great place to stay. We even had heads turning in the small town and questions about the new truck.
Early Saturday morning, we were up and ready to go with what turned out to be about 50 SUVs and other trucks headed to the viewing event. It was recommended by the DWR that those attending come in some kind of a high-clearance vehicle as the last 18 miles were off-road, part of which was an 18% grade.
We were glad to be in the AT4 as it had rained the night before and there were some places that were muddy. It turned into quite a steep climb as we headed for the tops of the mountains. That’s where the mountain goats live — high up above the timber line. Following state Route 123, we climbed to just over 10,000 feet in altitude, then stopped on a small flat to try to spot mountain goats on the peaks surrounding the area.
Slipping the AT4 into four-wheel drive got the truck easily over all of the terrain we encountered along the way. If only the mountain goats would have known they were supposed to be out that day for all the folks in our caravan to see. It turns out there was an overland 100-mile mountain race in the area that morning. The rangers figured the mountain goats had moved to another location while all the human visitors were there as the goats are always on those mountains at that time of day in August.
We did get to see a couple of goats that were roaming around on the mountain. They are huge and white and quite a majestic creature. We will go back the next time, and hopefully they will be more accommodating.
Despite being on the top of the mountain, we were able to get a signal to the Google-equipped navigation on the Sierra. The DWR guys thought that if we continued following the road, we would end up in Marysvale, and they were right. We asked the navigation system to show us the way there, then followed the road down the other side of the mountain to Highway 89, where we turned and headed for home.
Again, the very steep down grades were easily accomplished by simply downshifting the AT4 as we wound through the steep terrain of state Route 123.
It was a fantastic ride and more beautiful than words can describe. The high mountains were still as green as could be with pine trees towering into the bright blue sky and temperatures in the low 70s for most of the trip. It could not have gotten any better.
We are of the opinion that there are not many places in the state of Utah that this fully capable truck could not go, including the trails of Moab. It took on the trip as if it were just another day on the job, no matter what terrain we encountered.
The AT4 can pull up to 8,900 pounds, so getting almost any trailer to those out-of-the-way places should also be easy for the new truck. With all the new cameras that come standard on the AT4, hooking up a trailer and keeping track of it is even easier. There is even the option to put a camera on the back of the trailer to see what is really behind it.
The new 2022 Sierra is one of the best choices out there on the truck market this year. We enjoyed every minute of our time with it.
Base price: $ 73,300
Destination charge: $1,695
Price as driven: $76,790