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First Look: 2022 GMC Sierra 1500

General Motors Canada’s most popular new vehicle gets a thorough refresh for 2022.

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General Motors’s GMC brand has pulled the sheet off its refreshed Sierra 1500 full-size pickup for the upcoming 2022 model year. The top-selling truck wears a new look outside, carries an improved cabin inside, and adds a pair of specialized trim levels never offered before.

“GMC is offering customers more advanced technologies and upscale appointments across the Sierra 1500 lineup, including the all-new Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate and AT4X,” said Duncan Aldred, global vice president of GMC and Buick.

 

What’s new?

Outside, the 2022 Sierra 1500 wears a fascia that looks more smoothly integrated into the rest of the truck’s body than the bolted-on-grille look of the 2021 model. The grille is the same size as the old one, but its corners angle into the rest of the bodywork. More oversized LED running lights bracket it. Vents below the headlights have shrunk and lost their chrome. We think it gives the truck a more polished look.

Inside, critics tended to ding the outgoing Sierra 1500 for lack of cabin tech and materials that didn’t always feel equal to its price. They’re not likely to have that complaint about the 2022 model. The central touchscreen has grown (it’s now 13.4 inches). Also available are two displays for the driver: a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster; and a 15-inch multi-colour head-up display. Both can be configured to show whatever information the driver prefers.

Under its hood, the refreshed Sierra 1500 will be offered with a choice of engines, ranging from a turbocharged 4-cylinder, a choice of V8s, and a turbocharged diesel 6-cylinder. The 4.3-litre V6 found on the 2021 model has been dropped from the lineup. Why? According to GMC, the smaller, more fuel-efficient 2.7-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder option has received a power boost that makes the V6 unnecessary. The turbo-4 gets the same 310 horsepower as before, but torque has been boosted by more than 20%. That boosts the tow rating to 9,600 pounds (4,354.5 kilograms) for rear-wheel-drive versions and 9,300 pounds (4,218.4 kilograms) for 4-wheel-drive models.

Truck buyers with serious towing needs will want to consider the 3.0-litre turbodiesel 6-cylinder. It’s now available with the maximum towing package, allowing tow ratings of up to 13,200 pounds (5,987.4 kilograms)—4,000 pounds (1,814.4 kilograms) more than the 2021 model.

The 2022 Sierra 1500 does come with one cool towing trick we weren’t expecting. Sensors now warn if the addition of a trailer exceeds the truck’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. It’s not quite as handy as the Ford F-150’s new built-in payload and towing scales. But it could save drivers from a drivetrain-damaging mistake.

The Sierra 1500 Denali kicked off the luxury truck trend when it arrived 20 years ago. But competitors have caught up. So GMC plans to up its game with a new Denali Ultimate trim for 2022.

Exterior accents come in a colour GMC calls “Vader Chrome,” apparently inspired by the Sith empire. The already-luxurious Denali cabin is taken up a notch with full-grain leather in Alpine Umber and open-pore Paldao wood trim. Topographic maps of the summit of Alaska’s Mount Denali appear on the dashboard and rear door panels. The usual Denali premium suspension with adaptive ride control smooths bumps in the road.

The other trend in truck design these days is off-road-ready trims. GMC will bring its own to market in 2022 with the Sierra 1500 AT4X. The new off-road Sierra features longer suspension travel, a 2-speed transfer case with a single-pedal driving mode for rock crawling, and front and rear electric-locking differentials. The AT4X comes standard with the Sierra 1500's most potent engine, the 6.2-litre V8. 

Keep in mind, few buyers consider a GMC just for off-roading. GMC is General Motors's luxury truck brand. So, the automaker says, the AT4X's cabin "is awash with premium leather, including full-grain leather-wrapped and technical grain leather accents. All of which is highlighted with white piping and red stitching."

 

What’s the same?

The new 2022 Sierra 1500 isn’t a full redesign. The GMC full-size pickup truck’s last remake was for the 2019 model year, so it isn’t time for a completely new version. But this is a more thorough refresh than we’re accustomed to seeing at the halfway mark in a model’s lifespan.

 

When will it go on sale?

The refreshed 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 arrives in Canadian dealerships in the first quarter of 2022.

 

How much will it cost?

Pricing will be announced closer to the start of production.
 

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