Trucks these days seem to come is all different shapes, sizes and configurations, and so it is in the GM wheelhouse when it comes to their powerful AT4 off-road line. We were very excited this time to get into the AT4 with a diesel engine, after spending a week with the gas version a couple of years ago.

Having planned a four-day mini vacay to St. George, it was the perfect chance to give the new GMC a real-world challenge, not only out on the open road but maybe even some of the southern Utah desert.

Since the launch of the new Sierra a couple of years ago, one great addition has definitely found its way into the truck in the form of adaptive cruise control. This one feature is truly a necessity on a long road trip. After leaving Springville and heading south on I-15, once we hit the 80 mph zone across the county line it was set it and forget it time as we headed south!

The large 2-inch, factory-lifted truck took it all in stride, keeping us at an even 83 mph for the entire trip down or slowing when traffic ahead had also done so. We are so glad to see this feature making its way into trucks, a segment that seems to have taken longer to get to than others.

Our test ride that came in a red quartz tricoat color was stunning to just look at, and in the bright fall Utah sunlight it was like a work of art. With black 18-inch polished wheels, and black running boards, it looked ready to conquer just about anything.

Complete with Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires, we imagined the ride down might be a little rough; however, this was not the case as it seemed as smooth as being in a sedan, and on top of that we averaged just over 26 mpg with the new Duramax 3.0-liter I-6 turbodiesel engine.

Coupled with the new 10-speed transmission, this engine was stronger than we would have imagined and did a fine job of handling both the freeway and backways we encountered on our four-day stay in southern Utah.

Able to tow up to 9,100 pounds, which we didn’t get a chance to try out, is not the best in class. We would wager that higher gas mileage numbers will make up for any lack of 1500-size towing in real life. After close to 700 miles in the AT4, we were completely taken with the new engine. And with diesel now cheaper than regular, we got another bonus on our trip.

Another highlight was the huge multi-color heads-up display in the front window that was customizable but kept our speed and any navigational directions front and center so we never had to look down — a huge help again on a long road trip. Four-wheel drive information could also be displayed, so when we were out climbing everything was right up front on the windshield!

Over the past year and a half, we have driven a few different GM vehicles that feature the new LED screen rearview mirror. Through the use of a rear camera, an image is projected on the mirror showing what is behind the vehicle.

It is adjustable and can be made to fit the driver’s comfort zone pretty easily. However, in the past, it has been hard to get used to this new technology and not just switch back to the normal rearview mirror that we have grown accustomed to. This time, with the extended road trip, we took the opportunity to keep the screen on for the entire week.

In the end, we had grown completely used to the new rear vision and loved the way it would make the night seem brighter. It will be hard now to use a regular mirror. We also found on the way home from St. George, with the back seat full of various items attained from a couple of shopping trips, that it was nice to have a camera behind all of that, as we would not have been able to use a normal rearview mirror.

The AT4 comes standard with all kinds of four-wheel drive options, including hill descent control, a traction control system that allowed us to choose the type of terrain we were in, and we used it a couple of times going from dirt to rock to sand over the weekend out in the desert.

Also standard is the new Multipro Tailgate system designed by GM and only available so far on GM trucks that allow the tailgate to literally split in half and make a work bench when folded down, or when all the way down allow easier access to the truck bed and even an extra step up into the bed. The extra step came in very handy with the additional 2-inch lift on the AT4.

Inside, the truck was clad in a beautiful black leather with inlaid brown accents and stitching, and the front seats were both heated and cooled along with heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel all standard. These made for a very comfortable ride as temperatures were touching 90 in the south.

The infotainment package proved vital on our trip, as we navigated around the hills to find different places to hike and enjoy the weekend. The 8-inch high-definition screen became our best friend as we used it off-roading with the many different cameras located around the truck and when backing out of the L-shaped drive of the home we were staying in.

The new AT4 would be a great addition to anyone’s garage, and with the new diesel would prove to be a great hauler with improved gas mileage. We thoroughly enjoyed our time and road trip with the truck.

Base price: $53,400

Price as driven: $64,160

Craig and Deanne Conover have been test-driving vehicles for over eight years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. They receive a new car each week for a weeklong test drive and adventure. They both love having the unique opportunity of trying out new cars. They reside in Springville.

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