Serious off-roaders have gotten plenty of new options lately, like the GMC Sierra AT4X. General Motors’ “professional grade” truck brand has been upgrading things with the of American Expedition Vehicles and, together, GMC and AEV are showing off what could be the “ultimate” package, the Sierra Grande Concept that will make its official debut at the SEMA Show next week.
In the early days of the COVID pandemic we seemed to have just two real options: go into lockdown or head out into the back country. Automakers responded with an assortment of increasingly off-road-ready options.
At GMC, you can go from good to better to best with the Sierra AT4, the AT4X, or the AT4X AEV Edition. But the automaker, working with American Expedition Vehicles, plans to show off what might be the ultimate off-road package at the SEMA Show next week.
What starts out as the Sierra HD AT4X AEV has been transformed into the Sierra Grande Concept and, with its massive, 40-inch BFGoodrich tires, it’s hard to imagine there’d be much that could stand in its way.
“The idea behind this concept stems from our team envisioning the most adventure-capable truck possible,” said AEV Marketing Manager Matt Feldermann.
“With that in mind, we needed the best platform to build upon which of course led us to the GMC Sierra HD as the foundation,” Feldermann added. “AEV was thrilled to collaborate once again with GMC, and this new Sierra Grande concept vehicle is a testament to what two storied brands can create when working together.”
Muscle behind the capability
The current Sierra HD AT4X AEV offers a choice of powertrains, including a 401-horsepower, gas-powered V-8. With the Sierra Grande, AEV opted for the turbocharged and intercooled, 6.6-liter V-8 diesel which pushes the pony count to 470, while delivering a stump-pulling 975 pound-feet of torque.
The oil-burner is paired with a stock 10-speed automatic, but AEV added a snorkel that can increase the concept’s water fording depth, as well as keep sand out of the engine during desert runs. An ARB onboard air system helps occupants breathe clean air.
There are plenty of places where you can spot the AEV touch. The stock model’s stamped steel front bumper now gets an AEV brush guard, as well as a 12.5k winch and AEV 7000-series off-road lights.
And it now features three separate stamped steel skid plates, as well.
The suspension has been lifted another 1.5 inches over the tall-standing Sierra HD. But there are a few carryover features from the stock AT4X AEV, such as control arms, steering knuckles, rear suspension, and M
ultimatic DSSV dampers.
Completing the exterior package are the 40-inch tires — up from 35-inch rubber on the current Sierra HD AT4X AEV edition. They wrap around AEV Salta wheels. And the truck gets new HighMark fender flares.
Rough and ready
AEV and GMC aren’t saying much about the interior but they opted for a regular cab body. That made it easier to also go for an 8-foot bed with an aluminum tray and an upright AEV spare tire mount.
There don’t appear to be any production plans — at least for now — though potential customers will find many of the upgrades shown on the Sierra Grande in the AEV catalogue.
“The Sierra Grande Concept represents AEV’s creative vision of how the company would further elevate the adventure-ready foundation of the GMC Sierra HD AT4X into a legendary overlanding rig,” the outfitter said in a statement.