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Meet the 2021 GMC AT4 lineup

GMC relies heavily on the success of its Denali line. The top-tier trim level is the cream of the GMC crop offering the latest technology, nicest appointments, and flashy design accents. It accounts for 30 percent of GMC's sales.

Enter AT4. As off-roading and black design accents become more popular, GMC is looking to capitalize on the trend by debuting its AT4 model lineup. Generally, AT4 models are slightly more rugged looking than their mainstream and Denali counterparts. Many have added equipment designed to make off-roading easier and more comfortable. GMC says that they initially projected AT4 sales would be 20 percent of vehicle sales in models where the trim is offered. Sales are inching closer to 25 percent and gaining steam.

The average price of a Denali model is $55,979. That's more than the average transaction price of a Mercedes, Jag, BMW, or Audi. The average price on AT4 models is nearly the same.

For the 2021 model year, GMC is introducing the Terrain, Canyon, and Yukon AT4. Sierra, Sierra HD, and Acadia already have their variants on dealership lots.

2021 GMC Terrain AT4

2021 GMC Terrain

Photo courtesy of GMC

That's the 2021 GMC Terrain AT4 right there in the middle. Not much has been officially revealed yet but a quick walk around of the vehicle during the Vail unveiling of the 2021 GMC Yukon showed that it has many of the features of the other AT4 models like black design accents, AT4 logo on the front head rests, and AT4 badging on the grille. It will be available in the autumn and we're likely to hear more about its features around that time.

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

2020 GMC Acadia AT4

Photo courtesy of GMC

The 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 is by no means an off-roader, but it is a competent and comfortable daily driver. The SUV's blacked out accents make it appear beefier and more aggressive. Acadia AT4 offers an Advanced Twin-Clutch AWD System for increased capability on mixed surfaces, All-Terrain tires and Traction Select with Off-Road Mode.

2021 GMC Canyon AT4

The GMC Canyon AT4 is new for the 2021 model year and gives the aging model a much needed design infusion. Its black door handles and grille immediately set it apart from the crowd while the signature red tow hooks give a color infusion. Canyon AT4 comes standard with off-road tuned suspension, an automatic locking rear differential, and 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires. It will be available in the spring.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4

Photo courtesy of GMC

At first glance, the Sierra 1500 AT4 gets many of the same AT4 treatments as GMC's other AT4 models. Sierra AT4 offers a 2-inch factory lift, skid plates, Rancho monotube shocks, a standard MultiPro Tailgate, and available Mud-Terrain tires. Additionally, its available CarbonPro Edition package, giving the truck GMC's new fancy carbon fiber bed, which can withstand objects being thrown at it by hurricane force winds.

2020 GMC Sierra HD AT4

2020 GMC Sierra HD AT4

Photo courtesy of GMC

Journalists first put this model to the test in Jackson, Wyoming in late 2020 and the reaction from the crowd was a resounding, "Yes!" Sierra HD AT4 features an off-road suspension, skid plates, Rancho shocks, a standard MultiPro Tailgate, and up to 15 camera views.

2021 GMC Yukon AT4

2021 GMC Yukon AT4

Photo courtesy of GMC

The fresh 2021 GMC Yukon AT4 is a beefier looking Yukon. Yukon AT4 offers air suspension with 4 inches of adjustability, an electronic limited-slip differential, and a 15-inch head-up display. The new model will be available in the summer.

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New Jeep Compass Coming Soon

The Compass gets a major update for 2022.

Stellantis/Jeep

The Chicago Auto Show is happening now, which means we've already seen a few new models and concepts. Just yesterday, Jeep introduced the new 2022 Compass compact SUV. It gets a new design inside and out, updated tech, and a load of new available driver aids. The Compass' refresh comes as new models from Ford, Subaru and others could cut into Jeep's off-road dominance.

As it was in previous model years, the new Compass is powered by a 2.4-liter "Tigershark" four-cylinder engine that makes 177 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It's good for up to 31 mpg on the highway in 2WD models and can deliver a max towing capacity of up to 2,000 pounds in 4WD models. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for Compass Sport and Latitude 4X2 models, while all others get a nine-speed automatic transmission that can handle the 20:1 crawl ratio setting in the Trailhawk model.

An all-new Latitude LUX trim joins the Compass lineup for 2022 as well. It features leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat, a seven-inch full-color gauge cluster, and the larger 10.1-inch screen.


2022 Jeep Compass The new Compass is more upscale than its predecessor.Stellantis/Jeep


The Compass comes with a class-leading 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, but higher trims get an even larger 10.1-inch unit. It offers standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and runs Uconnect 5, a colorful, responsive infotainment system with advanced features and tech.

Several new safety features make an appearance, but most are added-cost options. The highway assist system offers a semi-autonomous driving feature, which Jeep says will become available later. Other tech includes traffic sign recognition, standard pedestrian/cyclist automatic emergency braking, a surround-view camera system, parallel and perpendicular parking assist, and a long list of more traditional advanced driver aids like blind spot monitoring and parking sensors.

The Compass lineup for 2022 includes five trims: Sport, Latitude, Latitude LUX, Limited, and Trailhawk. Pricing for the new Compass starts at $26,490, including a $1,495 destination charge. At the top of the lineup, the Trailhawk and Limited models both start at $32,890. It's expected to start arriving on dealers' lots in fall 2021.


2022 Jeep Compass New color schemes highlight the Compass' interior.Stellantis/Jeep

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No, it didn't snow in June.

GMC

Testing trucks is always fun. Well, to be honest, testing any vehicle is fun and is absolutely a privilege, but I absolutely love putting trucks through their paces. My most recent tester was the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, a factory off-road model with style and substance. Let's take a look at what makes it tick.

Off-Road-Ready Truck With a Stout Powertrain

Key upgrades here include a two-inch factory lift kit with Rancho Monotube Shocks, Goodyear Mud-Terrain tires mounted on 20-inch wheels, a two-speed automatic transfer case, and a traction select system with off-road and towing settings.

The net effect of all that gear is impressive. The AT4 rides as smoothly as many crossovers and maneuvers with relative ease for a truck its size. In town, there's little distinction in driving manners between this beefy off-road pickup truck and most family haulers, as long as being taller than nearly everyone else in traffic is ok with you. The truck handles well, and exhibits little instability over bumps at speed, which is a common challenge with pickup trucks and off-road vehicles.

My test truck was equipped with the optional 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel and a ten-speed automatic gearbox. With 277 horsepower and a stout 460 pound-feet of torque, it's the perfect companion for a truck meant to climb over and out of gnarly obstacles on the trails. In daily driving scenarios, the engine is quiet and refined, and shows little of the rattly, noisy diesel sound many people expect from the engines. With plenty of torque on tap, the AT4 feels somewhat lively, and is able to navigate traffic with ease. Reaching highway speeds and passing once there is also a breeze, and the truck remains surprisingly peaceful on the interstate.

Comfy Interior and Useful Bed Features

Inside, my test truck came equipped with leather upholstery and optional heated/cooled front seats. We had a rare heat wave in Maine during my week with the truck, and its powerful air conditioning combined with the cooled seats to create a much-needed oasis for this rare brutal week in northern New England. The front seats are wide and well-padded, but I found myself shuffling around, wanting more in the way of hip and thigh support. There's a tendency to slide to one side of the seat and stay there, which could easily be solved with a bit more bolstering on both the seat back and bottom.


2021 GMC Sierra AT4 The Sierra's cabin is comfortable and well-made.GMC


As all of my vehicle testing adventures do, the week with the AT4 involved plenty of kid transport. The full-size pickup's back seat is wide and flat, which makes it ideal for installing car seats, but I can't imagine that it'd be extremely supportive for an adult over a long-haul trip. The truck's lift means it's hard for kids to climb in, but they had a fun time trying. The novelty may wear thin over time, but it lasted for the week we had the AT4. Once inside, the kids (and anyone else in the back seat) had their own air conditioning vents and plenty of room to stretch out in their booster seats.

Normally, a truck bed would be an afterthought in a review, but GMC has gone to lengths to make its bed a standout. The Carbon Pro composite bed material is tough, as in there's no need to worry about throwing whatever you want into the bed tough. I hauled over 100 30-pound patio paver blocks over the course of a few trips, and never felt the need to add extra protection to the bed after the first trip. I tossed an old rug and some flat cardboard to protect the bed at first, but it proved to be as stout as GMC claims. Adding functionality is the MultiPro tailgate, which offers several options for steps and different cargo hauling situations. It makes an excellent step, and when the center section is folded down, it opens up much more access to the bed when standing on the ground. My tester also had an optional Bluetooth speaker system built right into the step system, which would make for an awesome camping or beach party.

Tech-Heavy Cabin

In terms of tech, the Sierra AT4 is up to speed but nothing to write home about. Its optional 8.0-inch touchscreen runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with an option for wired connections. There's also Bluetooth, SiriusXM Radio, and more. It's a cohesive system that is easy to use and intuitive, made even easier by clever behind-the-steering-wheel-mounted controls that allow volume and track adjustments. My truck also had an optional head-up display, which unsurprisingly is extremely difficult to see with polarized sunglasses. This is a common issue not unique to GMC, and could be solved by switching to non-polarized glasses.


2021 GMC Sierra AT4 The MultiPro tailgate adds ultimate functionality.GMC


Most advanced safety equipment is optional, and when I say most, I mean all. The Sierra AT4, and all Sierras for that matter, is available with automatic emergency braking, a bed-view camera system, forward collision alerts, front pedestrian braking, a front/rear parking assist system, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, lane departure warnings, and more. While I get the need to differentiate models with various features, the lack of some of these safety items is hard to swallow at nearly $60,000.

Bottom Line

I tend to become infatuated with full-size pickup trucks while I have them in for testing, but that feeling typically fades after a while. The Sierra AT4 was a little different. The diesel engine and comfortable interior make for a supremely daily-drivable pickup truck, and the Carbon Pro bed with multi-function tailgate makes a strong case for the GMC. Ultimately, it's too much truck for me, but it's a solid choice for those that can put it to work.

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