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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

GMC Sierra emerges even more imposing after refresh

Still less polarising than its Chevrolet Silverado cousin, the Sierra has nonetheless received more exterior tweaks.

With Chevrolet having copped extensive criticism for the styling of the current fourth generation Silverado, the bowtie’s upscale bakkie and SUV division, GMC, opted for a conservative approach with its all-new Sierra.

Now four years after being revealed, and just over a month after the Silverado’s mid-life update, the Sierra, whose total sales of 230 000 units last year placed it fourth behind the Ram 1500, Silverado and Ford F-150, has benefitted from not only a number of exterior revisions, but also new specification items.

Unlike the Silverado, the Sierra’s aesthetic changes are more extensive and comprise a restyled grille and new headlights, a redesigned front bumper, new C-shaped LED daytime running lights and a choice of three new colours; Desert Sand Metallic, Titanium Rush Metallic and Dynamic Blue Metallic.

2022 GMC Sierra
Previous AT4 has now become the upgraded AT4X.

Inside, and addressing the same issues that befell the pre-facelift Silverado, the Sierra receives upgraded materials, a new centre console with a floor mounted gear lever instead of the old column shift selector, plus an assortment of new colours.

The biggest change is to be found on the tech side though. Aside from the entry-level Pro model remaining as is, the step-up SLE, Elevation, AT4X and top-spec Denali models all come as standard with a 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, incorporating wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

Individually, GMC has also made changes with the off-road focused AT4 becoming the AT4X and recipient of the same touches as the Silverado ZR2.

ALSO READ: Toughened-up Chevrolet Silverado flexes its muscles

These include model specific black 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac mud-terrain tyres, the 40 mm spool valve dampers from Multimatic, new front and rear springs, front and rear electronically locking differentials, revised chassis, a bespoke steel protector for the transfer case and inside, an Obsidian Black interior complete with red stitching, white piping and grained leather.

Also standard is a fifteen-inch Heads-Up Display, dark Vanta ash wood inserts, a suede roofliner, sunroof, electric front seats that are both heated, cooled and feature a massaging function, an electrically sliding rear window and a twelve-speaker Bose sound system.

Upping the ante considerably, the Denali loses its status as the top-spec Sierra in that it now sits below the newly added Denali Ultimate.

2022 GMC Sierra
Six-way MultiPro tailgate.

Billed by GMC as the “most advanced and most luxurious pick-up in its class”, the Ultimate boasts a barrage of features and tech with the exterior being characterised by 22-inch machined low gloss alloy wheels, a so-called vader chrome GMC grille, the multi-purpose MultiPro tailgate, electric side-steps and a carbon fibre loadbed.

Inside, full grained Alpine Umber leather adorns the seats, door panels and centre console with laser-etched graphics of Mount Denali, the highest peak in the United States, featuring on the seats, door panels and on the Palado open-pore wood inlays.

Boasting the same specification items as the AT4X, the Ultimate however comes standard with General Motors’ often lamented SuperCruise adaptive cruise control that allows for hands-free driving where permitted.

2022 GMC Sierra
Newly added Denali Ultimate sits above the previous range-topping Denali.

Included with the system is Forward Collision Alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Following Distance Alert, Lane Change Assist, a fifteen surround-view camera system, Auto High Beam Assist, Adaptive Ride Control and Trailer Monitoring System.

Up front, and like the Silverado, emphasis has been placed on the turbocharged 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine, which receives a torque bump from 472 Nm to 569 Nm while retaining the 228 kW power output.

Continuing unchanged is the 265kW/519Nm 5.3-litre V8, the top-spec 313kW/624Nm 6.2-litre V8, standard on the AT4X and Denali Ultimate, and the 206kW/624Nm 3.0-litre straight-six Duramax turbodiesel. No longer offered though is the entry-level 4.3-litre V6 that made 210kW/413Nm.

2022 GMC Sierra
New 13.4-inch infotainment system comes as standard on all models bar the entry-level Pro.

The choice of transmissions also continue without change; a six-speed automatic on the 2.7 and 5.3, an eight-speed auto on latter models equipped with cylinder deactivation technology, and the Ford co-developed ten-speed automatic on the 6.2 and Duramax.

Going on sale from the first quarter of next year, GMC has confirmed pricing from $32 495 (R476 134) for the Pro with the Denali Ultimate retailing from $80 395 (R1 177 991).

Unlike the Silverado that will be heading to Australia with right-hand-drive, the Sierra will remain US bound and therefore available only with left-hand-drive.  

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