2023 GMC Sierra AT4X AEV Edition

What it doesn’t have that is so sorely lacking is a sense of humor.
What it doesn’t have that is so sorely lacking is a sense of humor.

by Nathan Leipsig | July 10, 2023


Here we’re looking at the 2023 GMC Sierra AT4X AEV Edition, which is GMC’s offering for the so-beefy-it’s-silly off-road truck segment. Ford did it first with the F-150 Raptor, capturing a segment of the truck market we didn’t know existed, who I affectionately refer to as the “I want to be able to throw my truck off a Goddamn cliff” crowd. Ram answered the Raptor with the TRX (it’s no accident that TRX sounds like T-Rex), a monstrous-er, hulking-er competitor of the already monstrous, hulking Raptor, to which Ford responded with the Raptor R, which I’m convinced just means Raptorer. 

Meanwhile, General Motors hasn’t really been trying to play the same game. Their ultra-beefy varietals of truck don’t have unique powertrains or bespoke chassis designs like Ford and Ram, and they’re not even trying to incorporate dinosaurs or dinosaur related puns into their naming convention, opting instead for a more serious alphanumeric scheme: AT4X AEV. This doesn’t mean they’re not trying, they’re just not going quite as over the top as the other kids on the school yard.

The AT4X was new for last year, and this year adds the AEV Edition, which sees GMC partner with the renowned (within the community) Montana-based off-road aftermarket builder American Expedition Vehicles. For $7,995 on top of the AT4X, the AEV Edition adds extra-hard boron steel skid plates, unique 18-inch AEV Salta race wheels, rocker guards, and bespoke steel bumpers, which are much tougher, incorporate heavy duty pickup points, are winch ready, and improve approach and departure angles to 32.5 and 23.4 degrees, respectively. Of course there’s also a healthy amount of extra badging and embroidery, so everyone knows where your eight grand went.

All this “throw my truck off a cliff” armor stacks on top of the AT4X’s surprisingly comprehensive off-road chops, which incorporates locking differentials on both the front and rear axles, engine and transmission oil coolers, and a set of incredibly sophisticated spool-valve shocks, courtesy of the mad lads at Multimatic (based out of Markham, Ontario!). Said shocks provide incredibly sophisticated active damping control, allowing for impressive compliance when being thrown off a cliff, but also taut body control when crawling back up said cliff.

The AEV Edition also incorporates 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler mud tires, which act as a bit of double edged sword here. On one hand, they provide excellent traction and set off the “throw me off a cliff” aesthetic, but on the other hand, they aren’t as big/badass as a the 35’s and 37’s on the other “throw me off a cliff” trucks, and despite this, they absolutely decimate the Sierra Denali’s Ultimate’s excellent fuel economy and ride.

I compare this “off a cliff” spec rig to the GM’s flagship luxo-truck because, at an eye-watering $106,698, this is almost exactly the same price as that flagship. It incorporates a lot of the same decadent accoutrements, like full-grain leather seats with heating, ventilating and massage functions, and real wood trim, and the same 16-speaker Bose sound system with the same Android powered 13.4” touchscreen, but it gives up some of the nice detail touches, the option of Supercruise, as well as the Denail’s sublime ride – it’s not bad for what it is, rather than just being flat-out good.

The AT4X’s only engine choice is the GM’s venerable 420 horsepower 6.2-Liter V8 engine, which, despite seeming antiquated on paper, has always provided excellent power, refinement, and when paired with GM’s clever 10 speed automatic transmission, provides pretty astonishing fuel economy. Unfortunately, when saddled with the big mud tires and a lifted body, fuel use goes way up, to an observed average of 17.8L/100km. Again, not bad for what it is, rather than just good like brilliant Denali.

The comparison with the flagship Denali presents another significant problem – the AT4X AEV is expensive. It gives up a lot of livability to the Denali, gives up a lot of badassery to the slightly cheaper(!) Raptor, and a loaded Ram Rebel drives better than either of them, with the top shelf TRX and Raptor R providing more theater than just about anything else on the road. The GMC has a lot going for it – proven V8 powertrain, genius suspenders, top-shelf cabin accommodations, handsome style, and enough armor to be thrown off a cliff with the best of ’em.

What it doesn’t have that is so sorely lacking is a sense of humor. Like I said early on, kind-of-but-not-really in jest, it doesn’t even try to incorporate a dinosaur themed pun into its name. Yes, that is a stupid criticism to level against a serious, purpose built machine, but these trucks in this price bracket are inherently kind of stupid, and that’s what we love about them. No one needs a truck that can be thrown off a cliff, but if you’re gonna do it, you might as well have fun with it, and that’s where the 2023 GMC Sierra AT4X AEV Edition falls flat for me. 

See Also:

2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning

2023 Ram 1500 Limited Elite

Vehicle Specs
Full-Size Pickup Truck
Engine Size
6.2L V8
Horsepower (at RPM)
420 at 5,600
Torque (lb-ft.)
460 at 4,100
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Nathan Leipsig

Deputy Editor Nathan is a passionate enthusiast with a penchant for finding 80s and 90s European vehicles. He can typically be found messing about on his E28 5-series or on Kijiji looking for the next project. Current Toys: '23 Miata Club 6MT, '86 535i, '99 Beetle TDI 5MT