Premium trims, a revamped interior and fresh tech breathe new life into the Sierra.
Jon WongFormer editor for CNET Cars
Jon Wong was a reviews editor for CNET Cars. He test drove and wrote about new cars and oversaw coverage of automotive accessories and garage gear. In his spare time, he enjoys track days, caring for his fleet of old Japanese cars and searching for the next one to add to his garage.
When the current-generation GMC Sierra launched for 2019, it was an underwhelming redo, particularly when it came to the interior. Essentially, it sported a light evolution of the previous model's cabin, which looked dated from the get-go from a design and materials standpoint compared to the Ram 1500s of the world. Thankfully, GMC is rolling out an updated Sierra pickup for 2022 featuring two new high-end trim levels and light outside styling updates, but most importantly, a completely revamped interior with new tech.
To raise the Sierra's premium street cred, GMC is rolling out two new trim levels for 2022. At the top of the food chain now is the Denali Ultimate representing an additional step beyond the standard Denali. While the entire Sierra 1500 lineup gets new bumpers, headlights and wider grilles up front, the Ultimate sets itself apart with an exclusive Vader chrome grille, 22-inch low-gloss black wheels with machined accents and front fender badges.
Move inside and you'll discover where the really substantial Sierra updates happen. All Sierras get an entirely revamped dash that looks so much better than the outgoing one with a layout that looks properly fresh. And then in the Ultimate, it's now legitimately luxurious with much nicer materials such as full grain, stitched leather on the seats, door panels and large swaths of the dash, real wood accents, aluminum trim, a micro-suede headliner and massaging front seats.
And if you like screens, the revamped Sierra has got screens. On all models besides the base truck, a customizable 13.4-inch center touchscreen handles infotainment and packs wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa -- and now has Google integrated, which is convenient to have things like Google Maps and Google Assistant right there inside the truck. And on the top Sierra trims, there's a new 12-speaker Bose audio setup.
The gauge cluster is now also a screen measuring 12.3-inches and offers multiple views to choose from. On top of that, a 15-inch color head-up display is available, which also happens to be customizable. Add all those screens together and you can have more than 40 inches of customizable digital real estate in the 2022 GMC Sierra.
When it comes to active safety goodies, GMC equips every Sierra with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, pedestrian detection, auto high beams and a HD backup camera. More interesting is the arrival of GM's Super Cruise system that'll be standard on Denali Ultimate and available on the Denali, providing hands-free, trailering-capable operation on certain premapped highways.
For off-road enthusiasts who also enjoy the finer things in life, GMC is debuting a new AT4X Sierra trim that gets improved off-road chops over the standard AT4, as well as a more plush cockpit. Upping performance are Multimatic DSSV dampers and exclusive springs that contribute to a 2-inch lift, increased wheel travel over the regular AT4, a two-way transfer case and some bigger underbody shields. On the inside, it gets the Denali Ultimate layout done up in slightly different materials but no Super Cruise. Meaning, it's pretty darn nice inside as well, with fancy stitched leather, real wood trim, a suede headliner, massaging front seats, rocking Bose audio setup and lots of customizable screens.
On the powertrain front, the 2.7-liter turbo four puts out the same 310 horsepower as before, but torque climbs to 420 pound-feet from 348. The rest of the gas lineup including 4.6-liter V6 and 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8s carry over. The 3.0-liter I6 turbodiesel continues as well, but it can now be had with a max towing package to pull 13,200 pounds, which is an increase of 4,000 pounds on two-wheel-drive trucks. The four-wheel-drive diesel is rated to tow 13,000 pounds.
The updated 2022 GMC Sierra will hit dealers during the first quarter next year, but customers can reserve their trucks now online at GMC.com or through their local dealer. Pricing begins at $32,495 for the Sierra Pro base truck, $74,995 for the AT4X and $80,395 for the big bad Denali Ultimate. All prices include $1,695 for destination.