With a refreshed Sierra coming soon, GMC's stopgap offering feels somewhat long in the tooth.
While a very thoroughly improved GMC Sierra 1500 will arrive later this year, die-hard pickup fans might want to do themselves a favor and consider the 2022 Sierra Limited, essentially a pre-refresh version intended to shore up sales between now and when the new model arrives. No, this reheated Sierra might not keep up with the Joneses all that well, but sometimes a safe choice is a smart decision.
Having gone through a redesign in 2019, the exterior is probably the freshest part of the 2022 GMC Sierra Limited. It's an attractive truck, with headlights and a grille that aren't cartoonishly large, in addition to just the right amount of body sculpting that gives it a burly look without being too over-the-top. My tester's AT4 Premium Package ($3,405) also throws in a set of Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires that enhance the looks even further, and the Cayenne Red paint ($645) is pretty flashy, too. One of my favorite parts of the Sierra is 'round back -- the six-way MultiPro tailgate offers all sorts of flexibility in ways the competition can't match.
And then there's the interior. Honestly, the biggest reason to wait for the refreshed 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 is right here, because when the 2019 model debuted, it was put on blast for basically carrying over the previous generation's cabin, warts and all. In terms of functionality, it's fine -- all the controls are where you expect them to be, and you get copious amounts of storage in the door panels, the two-tier glove compartment and the massive center console. But the design feels like it's a decade old (because it basically is), and the materials used throughout the cabin don't exactly jibe with my tester's $64,715 price tag. If you're using this truck for more than work, you're probably better off waiting for the new Sierra.
The 2022 Sierra's stunning new interior also brings new tech with it, which means the Sierra Limited is stuck with the old stuff. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as the 8-inch display houses a solid touchscreen infotainment system loaded with the usual bells and whistles. My AT4 tester's Premium Package adds wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless device charger and embedded navigation. When it's time to charge, the Sierra offers USB-A and USB-C ports in both rows. However, if you're addicted to big screens, the refreshed 2022 Sierra will offer up to 12.3 inches of telematic goodness.
However, there's more to the Sierra 1500 Limited's tech than just the usual creature-comfort stuff. This truck's $2,075 Technology Package adds cameras around the body and in the bed to help with towing, hauling or parallel parking. The same package also adds an 8-inch gauge display and a 15-inch head-up display to further reduce distraction on the road. GM still locks most of its driver-assist tech behind optional packages, which is more of a letdown each year, but the features are there for those who want them. My tester carries the $1,095 Driver Alert Package II, which adds automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams. If you're looking for Super Cruise -- GM's Level 2 hands-free driver-assistance technology -- you'll have to buy the refreshed Sierra and pay out the wazoo for its top-tier Denali trim.
As for how it drives, the 2022 GMC Sierra Limited is fine. The AT4 trim is all about off-road prowess, and it includes beefier shock absorbers and a 2-inch factory lift to help accomplish that mission. While my colleagues have found it quite effective in those rugged situations, it's equally decent on regular roads in more of a daily-driver situation. The taller center of gravity doesn't really make the Sierra feel any more ponderous, and it's not uncomfortably stiff when unladen. In fact, I'd call the suspension pretty well tuned for most environments, as I only feel unsettled over the craggiest expansion joints and well-hidden potholes. An adaptive suspension would improve the Limited's demeanor, but alas, that's only available on the fancy-pants 2022 Sierra Denali .
While every other Sierra Limited trim requires you to pay more for a diesel engine, on the AT4, the oil-burning powerplant is actually the cheaper way to go. This 3.0-liter Duramax inline-6 produces just 277 horsepower, but it's the 460 pound-feet of torque that matters more, which helps my test truck reach a towing capacity of 8,800 pounds. It'll also accommodate up to 1,580 pounds in the bed in this configuration, although non-AT4 models can handle a couple hundred pounds more. That prodigious torque helps the truck feel lighter than it is in daily driving, as all that twist arrives around 1,500 rpm. The 10-speed automatic transmission chills in the background, swapping cogs without any drama. Credit to GM, this powertrain is one of my favorites.
The 2022 Sierra Limited's diesel engine won't leave you stopping at every gas station in sight. The EPA rates my tester's configuration at 20 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. Those are pretty darn solid figures for a full-size pickup, figures that I was thankfully able to achieve with minimum effort. Keep a light foot on the highway and you could probably beat those estimates, especially if you keep the drivetrain set to 2WD.
Since it's such an old truck, I'm a little surprised the GMC Sierra Limited is still so expensive. The AT4 starts at $57,995 (including $1,695 for destination) in my tester's short-box crew-cab configuration, and with the three aforementioned upgrade packages and that red paint, it rings in at an eye-watering $64,715. That's a lot of money to pay for something that feels this old inside.
When it comes to competition, the Sierra Limited is in a unique space, because it's a stopgap. The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado and 2022 Sierra carry some major improvements in both aesthetics and technology, while current competitors like the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 also look and feel newer than this truck. Still, while it won't have the latest and greatest features, a safe bet is a smart bet, and that's exactly what the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited is.