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  • G. David Felt
    G. David Felt

    GMC Taking Heavy Duty Pickups To The EXTREME

      The off-road truck segment just enabled adventures to go further, Welcome the GMC elevated heavy duty trucks.

    GMC has announced today the new extreme versions of their Sierra HD truck lineup with the AT4X and Extreme AEV edition trucks.


    These trucks have the following enhancements starting with an off-road capability of 18,500-pound max trailering, offering most trailering tech in class and first-class luxury features.

    The 2024 Sierra HD AT4X give you premium off-roading the GMC way. Building on the revamped foundation of the 2024 Sierra HD, the Sierra HD AT4X highlights are as follows:

    • Available 18,500-pound max trailering capacity
    • Factory-installed 1.5-inch (38mm) suspension lift
    • Multimatic DSSV dampers
    • Rear e-locking differential
    • 35-inch Goodyear Territory tires
    • Specific front upper and lower control arms and specific steering knuckles
    • Larger steel transfer case skid plate and front aluminum skid plate
    • Unique Obsidian Rush interior featuring premium appointments like massaging, full-grain leather-wrapped front seats

    The Sierra HD AT4X also includes a new Off-Road Mode. When engaged, the Off-Road Mode adjusts various vehicle calibrations, such as the anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control, to provide optimized performance when venturing off-road. Additionally, Off-Road Mode alters throttle progression and transmission shifts to allow for better off-road control and performance.


    The HD AT4X allows you to trailer anywhere, while allowing you to not have to sacrifice the comforts of home.


    If this is not enough for the adventurous you, then move to the 2024 Sierra HD AT4X AEV edition. This edition adds the following features to the AT4X:

    • Robust stamped steel bumpers with integrated recovery points and front winch.
    • Heavy duty steel skid plates covering vital components
    • 18-inch Salta wheels with unique exterior badging and interior cues


    To quote AEV CEO and Founder Dave Harriton:

    “The Sierra HD is an ideal foundation when it comes to on-road performance, off-road capability and insane pulling power, as with the Sierra 1500 before it, we took AEV’s signature performance-driven approach and dedication to detail to elevate the aspects that off-road customers want and demand in their heavy-duty truck. The result is an awesome truck with capability and confidence in all the right spots.”

    HD Power Train Choices

    • Standard 6.6L gas engine
    • Optional 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel 470 HP / 975 lb-ft of torque
    • 10 speed transmission on either engine choice



    GMC ProGrade Trailering System includes a suite of intelligent assistance technologies that allow you to streamline the hitching and towing process with integrated tools that enhance safety and confidence. This includes industry-first Transparent Trailer View for Goosneck and Fifth wheel trailering, Trailer Side Blind Zone Alert and adaptive Cruise Control with Trailering.

    Interior Luxury and Comfort

    These new HD truck trims levels come with a 13.4-inch-diagonal infortainment touchscreen which is complemented by a 12.3-inch -diagonal configurable driver information center and a 15-inch heads-up display. Sierra HD AT4X offers luxurious premium interior materials with the Obsidian Rush Interior that features power massage front seats, full-grain premium leather and a Vanta Ash Wood Decor complimented by a 12-speaker Bose Premium Series Audio system. The AEV edition includes the AEV logo on the fonrt-seats and a unique AEV-floor liner.


    The 2024 GMC Sierra HD AT4X and AT4X AEV editions will be available at dealerships Fall of 2023. Pricing to be announced at the start of production.


     2024 GMC Sierra AT4X & AT4X AEV Edition Specifications






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    I loved the AT4X package on this truck, but I honestly see no reason to spend the money for the AEV. It seems like it is just a badge package much like the Harley Davidson of Ford trucks or GMC trucks that is all badging for an expensive cost without any real benefit. 

    I am sure some will love this AEV much like some seem addicted to Harley Davidson badging on everything. I just do not get it nor see any value in it.

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    • The grand plan was a separate new service to the house of 200 amps so that the garage would have plenty of power for charging multiple EVs and I would have a separate bill each cycle for knowing what I was spending for EV driving. Waking up in the morning to a full charge of power and never having to stop at a gas station due to having a Level 2, 240-volt home charger is a luxury everyone should have allowing you to smile as you drive by a gas station with folks outside dealing with their fueling. The ultimate perk of EV ownership.  I started with reaching out to my local utility and inquiring of the process for a new service. My local utility was more than accommodating in helping me out with the details. As an engineer that loves to learn, this process was very eye opening into the costs, lack of efficiencies by agencies and electrical contractors with a surprising ending to my eventual solution. Let's start off by making one thing clear, every state has their own regulations in regard to electrical. While the USA follows the national electrical code as a starting point, each state, county and city then adds their own additions or subtractions to the code. Always make sure to follow your local code no matter if you hire a company, independent contractor or are a DIY (Do it Yourself) type of person. Full information on the national electrical code can be found here:  The National Electrical Code (NEC) - Electrical Safety Foundation (esfi.org) Another thing to point out is every state has their own way of dealing with electrical supply and competition. As such, some states allow their end users to pick among competitive electrical suppliers even to the point of choosing to use Green Energy (Solar, Wind, and or Hydro) or not (Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear). Other states tend to regulate this down to the city and or county within a state. Washington state is a regulated power supply state so that depending on the county you live in; you deal with your county or the state power supplier. Washington state has one of the greenest electrical grides in the country. It produces 7,816 MWh of electricity and it breaks down as follows: Figures as of May 16th, 2024 Petroleum-Fired - 0% Natural Gas - 21.3% Coal-Fired - 3.9% Nuclear 10.3% Renewables - 64.1% (Hydro, Wind, Solar & Ocean) Fueling Stations in Washington State: Motor Gasoline - 1,846 Stations Propane - 64 Stations EV Charging - 2,153 stations E85 - 5 stations Biodiesel, CNG, & Other Alternatives - 8 stations If you wish to check out your own state information you can do so here by clicking on your state:  U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis Starting off on my project I had decided to go ahead with a ChargePoint+ Home Flex Hardwired solution. Yes, there are a wide variety of good home chargers that run from $250 to $2000 dollars such as the Porsche home charger. Home Flex Hardwired Level 2 EV Charger (chargepoint.com) The choice of this charger was based on the following: Some of the best reviews out there by thousands of people Hardwired allowed me the best power supply available to the EV building in future protection as newer EV tech comes online. ChargePoint sells both CCS and NACS supply cords, making upgrades from my current EV with CCS to a future EV with NACS easy as a self-Upgrade to the charger. ChargePoint app allows for use both at their fast-charging network and to track my own use and cost. You can find a large diverse choice of L1 and L2 chargers on Amazon or from other sources. Many utilities will have rebates if you purchase through your local utility or in the case of my own system, I had to file a rebate form as my charger was on the approved list, but not available from my utility. ChargePoint+ also points out that till 2032 you might be able to qualify for a $1,000 rebate from the federal government. Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Incentives | ChargePoint Now that I have covered some of the basics about electrical and power source, lets dive into my journey for a Level 2 Home Charger. Karl at the Snohomish PUD sent me a form that I had to fill out, this was a "New Service Residential Request" form. Here I had to fill out the normal details such as my house address, current status of the electrical to the home, type of new service being requested, pictures of where the service would need to be connected to the house and where I wanted the service panel to be, etc. This form had an area for requested measurements from the house to the utility pole, gross measurements of where the wiring would need to go so that the service could be sized up accordingly. The last part was the direction from my PUD on checking with the city for any additional requirements. For those wanting to see what the new service request form looks like I supply it here: 1097R_NSQres.pdf City requirements were that any electrical changes to the existing structure that comprised more than 10% cost of the home improvement value as assessed by the county required that the electrical lines from the utility pole to the house be installed underground rather than overhead. Luckily for me, my estimated costs would be under this so I was not looking to have to figure this into the cost of adding the service or so I thought. Karl at SNOPUD said he would do the assessment and have out to me the updated info shortly. In the meantime, I reached out to a couple of recommended electrical companies from the SNOPUD website and a few independent electricians to get estimates on the work to be done. Specifically, I wanted two quotes, first is the all-new service added to the house with dedicated panel feeding the garage. Second was updating the existing panel to support a charger in the garage using my existing service. Here I was expecting a $5 to $6 thousand dollar install connection for the first service and based on the auto industry estimate of around $1,500 to $2,000 for the second. Boy was I off by a bunch. All the estimates from both the electrical companies I contacted, and the independent contractors had the new service install between $10 to $12 thousand dollars and the existing services was between $4,700 to $6,200. This also did not include the connection to the PUD. Here I was informed from Karl at SNOPUD that the service could be done but would require a new transformer to our cul-d-sac to support the added amperage pull. As such, this was more than just a wire connection but an outage to the cul-d-sac ending in an almost $15,000 charge. Who knew that adding a service where you pay them for the flow of electricity would have such a huge cost and impact on my project. This put the cost of a new service between $25,000 to $27,000 dollars. So much for the Auto Industry estimates of $1,500 to $2,000 dollars and it also did not include the required $125.00 electrical permit I would have to get from the city and inspection. I did keep in mind that the price of electrical work varies based on the cost of labor where one lives, power of the charger, distance from the charger to the electrical panel along with the job complexity. What about DIY (Do it Yourself), could I do this job myself and what would the cost be? First, I knew from all the quotes that I was greatly under my 200-amp service pull as I have Gas stove, Dryer, Water heater and Furnace. As such, the 240V 30-to-50-amp circuits that are in my panel are not being used at all. One of the independent electricians had stated that the cheapest way would be to pull an existing circuit breaker and run the wire into the panel with the new Circuit breaker, but most electricians did not like leaving existing wires from outlets in the panel even if they were sealed off, they just did not like doing this, so everyone had quoted based on adding a secondary panel. With this information, I researched from the ChargePoint+ website on installing the hardwired charger I had purchased from them. ChargePoint+ has installation videos and covers all the information on installation as well as becoming a certified installation expert. ChargePoint Home Resources | ChargePoint ChargePoint Home Flex (CPH50) Hardwired Installation Video | ChargePoint Become a Certified ChargePoint Installer | ChargePoint From the website above I gathered the following information on the materials that I would need. Conduit large enough to hold the wiring Brackets to attach the conduit and screws 90-degree wire access conduit Associated pipe nipple for connection into the panel Insulated bushing Appropriate washer and locknut for connection to the panel 6 AWG wiring Black, Red and Green wires per code ChargePoint+ clearly states to use 6AWG for their Level 2 Charger installation. 6 AWG wire stripper 70amp circuit breaker Some states require these to be Arc or GFCI for indoor or outdoor, national code for outdoor installation is a GFCI breaker upstream from the outdoor installation. Check local regulations for proper type required. Make sure to get the proper type of circuit breaker for your panel, I had D block circuits. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters vs. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters - Bob Vila Torque Screwdriver set Most do not know that depending on the size of the circuit breaker, when you connect the wiring to the breaker, the screws must be torqued to a certain range. The 70amp circuits per the side of the breaker states 45 in. lbs. Paintable caulking to seal both access points into the house for the charger. With having my list of materials, I choose to first compare prices online from Home Depot and Lowe's. What I found was that Home Depot was much higher in the cost of the wiring, but cheaper in conduit, circuit breakers and accessories. Lucky, I have both home improvement stores within a 2-mile radius of my house. What I also noticed was that neither home improvement store had the required tools I would need, so clearly, I would have to stop off at my local Harbor Freight tool store. Harbor Freight Tools | Quality Tools, Lowest Prices With the knowledge of what I needed and a shopping list, I headed out and accomplished the following: Electrical Permit from my city.  Wiring from Lowe's - Lowe’s Home Improvement (lowes.com) Conduit, circuit breaker and accessories from Home Depot - The Home Depot Tools from Harbor Freight tools company - Harbor Freight Tools | Quality Tools, Lowest Prices Opening up the electrical panel as you can see here, I have my household 200amp circuit at the top. This will kill power to everything in the house, below this was the kitchen and laundry room 240V circuit and then on down throughout the rest of the house to the garage with various circuits. At this point, I knew that I would be turning off the 200amp circuit to work on this panel and protect the rest of the house. Note to point out is that when you turn off this 200amp circuit, the power is not flowing to the rest of the panel, but you still have the power coming from the street to this panel and so there is live electricity in that 200amp circuit. One must always be cautious when working with electrical. One safety thing to do, remove ALL jewelry, watches, phones, etc. Have nothing on you that is electrical or any kind of metal and that includes a wedding ring. All these are places that can cause an electrical jump / short that can cause you harm. As one that grew up working on auto's and having great respect for the electrical system of auto's, homes, datacenters, etc. there are some things that I do not have a problem doing. In this case I kept the power to the house on while I pulled the panel cover off. A proper panel should have all the wires in 90 degrees to the circuit breakers and to the grounding / neutral bars that are silver in this case. Here I have not had any manipulation of the box done with patchwork electrical hacks. It is always best to learn the details or hire the proper person to do your electrical work. Being that I am comfortable with pulling out the circuit breaker that is turned off, I choose to pull and replace the 240V 30-amp laundry room circuit. Here in this picture, you can see it removed and a better view of the grounding / neutral bar of the electrical panel. At this point, I wanted to pull out the punch of where I was going to run the new electrical lines into the panel. Once I pulled out the punch, I drilled a small starter hole from the inside to the outside so I could line up properly the larger drill bit for the incoming conduit. Upon drilling, I attached the pipe nipple extension to the 90-degree wire access conduit, and I inserted it through the outside wall. Here I put on the washer, lock nut and insulated bushing as you can see here. Now the next step was to install the conduit, some love their hard conduit and gluing it together as it comes in 10ft lengths, and you then have to either use a special heater tool to bend the hard conduit or buy the proper pieces that are curved. I choose to go with liquid proof flexible commercial conduit. The benefit here is that while this is a bit more expensive, the flexibility of the line makes it so much easier to install. One thing no matter what type of conduit you choose to use is that one has to run the electrical lines through the conduit. Hard conduit can be with tight bends very challenging to run the electrical lines unless you have a special tool that allows you to snake through the conduit, attach the electrical lines and then it uses an electrical motor to pull it. I choose to run my flexible conduit out in a straight line, and I had pushed through my three 6awg lines through it so that I had the wire already in the conduit. Now this does make the conduit much heavier to install, but I found it faster and easier to do it this way. You will also notice that I have a Black, White and Green wire rather than the code dictating a Black, Red and Green wire. Both Lowe's and Home Depot were out at the time of purchase the red 6awg wire. So, I did what is allowed and that is on the ends of the wire at both ends, I wrapped them with red electrical tape. I started with connecting the liquid tight end connector to the flexible conduit and attaching it to the 90 degree wire access to the panel. I pushed the wires through to the inside and reattached the liquid tight cover and then started using the brackets to attach the conduit to the house. Two things to consider, one is the over all look of the installation, sometimes the cheapest approach is not the best especially when it comes to ones significant other, wife, partner, etc., not everyone likes to see conduit. I choose to do my best to minimize the visibility of the conduit and once I paint it to match the house it will truly not show up as the wife never noticed it when she came home till after I showed here. Upon installation of the conduit with the 6 AWG wires, it was time to mount the home charger in my designated place. Here you need to make sure it is level, supported by the wall which can sometimes require additional bracing. Here you see my ChargePoint+ unit being installed on the wall. With the charger installed onto the wall, I finished up the connection of the conduit / wires into the unit. Connected the electrical supply side and the charging cable side and reinstalled the cover. With the installation of the charger unit and wiring done, it was time to focus on the circuit breaker installation side. Here I had an LED head light as I finally turned off the 200-amp circuit breaker to the house. I attached the red and black wires to the circuit breaker, installed the ground wire and then installed the circuit breaker into the panel. I also at this time wrapped each wire from the laundry outlet in proper electrical tap and a wire twist to add additional protection and secured them out of the way in the panel corner. I also at this time used my torque screwdriver to ensure proper torque on the wires. With the installation completed at the panel side, I turned back on the 200-amp circuit enabling the house to have power and was time to go enable the charger unit. Here ChargePoint+ has an outstanding cellphone app to enable you to finish up the setup of the charger. I was able to connect to the unit via WiFi and set the unit to 70 amp circuit hardwired. I also then connected it to my house WiFi for internet access. This allowed me to do a update on the unit for software. Here ChargePoint has on the left side of the unit indicators for WiFi connection. Green is good and as you can see in the picture above, I have WiFi connection and the alert is showing green so no issues with the charger. Upon using the regular ChargePoint software app on my smartphone I was able to complete setting up an account and final configuration of my charger as a home charger unit. The unit is green when not in use but ready to be used. During Charging the unit is a pulsing blue. At this point, I had a functional Level 2 240V 50amp hardwired home EV charger with CCS connector. What did this cost me, simple a total of $1,032.23 Level 2 ChargePoint+ Home Flex hardwired charger: $549.99 plus $54.99 sales tax before $200.00 rebate. Total Cost of Materials: $391.77 which was from Home Depot & Lowe's. Tools bought for the job: $110.48 which comprised of a 6 AWG wire striper and a Torque Screwdriver set from Harbor Freight. Electrical Permit: $125 from the city. Best part of this is the cheap charging we get at home at .10 cents per kW. The ChargePoint app allows me to track and monitor in real time our costs and amount used, so it will make it easy to subtract it from the electrical bill to see the house use versus the EV. The app shows that I am constantly at the 11kW controller capabilities of home charging from Kia. This brings me back to why I titled this the Good, Bad and the Ugly. New Service request is the ugly as the costs of the new service from my power supplier has costs that have never been talked about before to me and I still have to pay for the electrical use which makes this the ugly when you are looking at a five figure cost. The bad is clearly adding the new service panel and the associated costs to an electrical company to do the work, pretty much double what the auto industry has stated having a Level 2 home charger installed would actually cost. Good is for those of you who are willing to learn and do the work, a DIY install is in my humble opinion a very cheap way to go even though it did take a chunk of my time, I have no regrets about learning the process to install and dealing with my city on installation. End result is a quality home charger that will serve me well for many years. Please post any questions or comments, happy to respond on this personal journey into home charging of my EV. View full article
    • Tongue and Groove is best! For the Computer Nerds here:
    • One thing leads to another ... having one Alphaville song in my music collection leads to being clue in to another.  These German guys - meaning Alphaville - are good. "Big in Japan" This is quintessentially '80s all the way around, which is just fine!
    • Man cave type jokes since that would describe most of the active members ... here's an oldie but goodie: Did you hear about the two lesbians who built a house? They used no studs ... it was all tongue and groove.
    • This road test of the Citroen C5 was the result of a serious upgrade in a rental at a Sicilian airport.   I’ve been assigned a smaller Citroen C3 at this very airport before – when the AirBump feature was novel and unusual - and remarked on its excellent ride and easy handling. The C5 is quite a few steps up.  Mostly, it’s all good.  This is a heavier vehicle and, along with that, the ride is like that of a bank fault.  It’s smooth, quiet, and isolated.  In some ways, it is perhaps too isolated.  By this, I mean that road feel is a little compromised owing to its very soft ride, and there is too much assist in the steering.  I noticed this upon taking out of the rental agency’s lot and through its narrow alleyways. It reminded me of an American boulevardier more so than the European SUV that it is.  It firms up some on the open road.  It’s at slow speeds that it feels way more "electric" – the way electric felt when there was the palpable adjustment we all had to make from hydraulic steering. This C5 had a diesel engine, but it was almost hard to tell that.  It is a turbo charged 4-cylinder engine.  The mileage was excellent.  It returned about 43 mpg in a combination of driving – mostly highway driving but with some small town and arduous mountain two lane road driving.  The transmission is a geared automatic unit and has 8 gears.  The shifts are extremely soft, which I feel is mostly a good thing, and suited to the C5.  The only time it’s clear that it’s geared is when pushing down the pedal – just because - or to pass. The C5 is powerful enough and certainly has the torque to sustain grades and demanding conditions.  However, passing seems to be a variable situation.  It almost seems to depend on the speed and the grade.  In most situations, it does so fairly easily.  High speed passes require some strategizing, and, in a few rare cases, it seemed better to avoid them.  In maintaining high speeds on the autostrada, it does so effortlessly and stably.  You might not have an idea how fast you’re going (114 km = 70 mph, and, on a few occasions, there were some 120 kms and 130 kms where the “bank vault” feeling didn’t let on that this was the actual speed). The workmanship is quite good.  The seats had centralized cloth surfaces with bolsters and side construction of either leather or leatherette.  There is stitching that is attractive and taut.  The C5 is ideal and comfortable for long hauls.  Front seat comfort and leg room is more than adequate, and rear seat leg room is acceptable.  Rear storage space is capacious, and this is without folding forward the rear seats.  The small lift-up area for the tire well provides for some additional storage and symmetrical small cubbies on the sides of the rear storage area can come in handy. Except for the diagonal edge on the infotainment center screen (a pet peeve), I really liked the volumes of the dashboard. Everything was nicely crafted.  Linear gauges for fuel and temperature seem to be the thing these days and, although nice, it would be easier if they indicated critical zones in orange and/or red.  The audio quality appeared to be good.  Also, setting up Bluetooth and keeping Android Auto going seemed easy. The console, which opens lengthwise in the middle, is both unusual and large.  The air conditioning works quickly.  In concert with liking the volumes of the dashboard, the number and placement of vents worked well to distribute the cool air.  Ahead of the console are two ergonomically placed cupholders and all the switches for key operating functions ahead of them reflect quality workmanship and are easy to operate. These would include the pushbutton engine start button, the transmission lever, the drive mode selector, and the parking brake.  That said, I found operating some of these features on a rented (and reviewed) BMW Series II Gran Coupe less intuitive.  In general, I liked everything about day in-day out living in this C5 more than in the fussier BMW Gran Coupe.  However, with its lower framework and Germanic underpinnings, the BMW really shone for its roadability and the sense of control it offered. The C5’s silhouette is not that captivating.  However, they work around the “chunkiness” and this can be seen from the interior.  I was surprised at how good rear visibility is.  The seating position is high and commanding relative to the road.  In tight spaces, the tabletop look of the hood ahead of the windshield doesn’t have clearly defined ridges and is harder to work with.  It appears wide for the genre.  Thankfully, the parking assist feature and other traffic sensors were fairly sensitive. I asked a friend who likes cars and rents them often in Europe what he thought of the major French brands.  He ranked them as follows: Citroen, Peugeot, and then Renault.  This vehicle speaks well to the Citroen brand and also aligned with what I’ve experienced among these brands. For a person with a little extra money and who needs the space, a supple ride, and its “thickness” all the way around, the Citroen C5 is a good choice.  On a few occasions, its vagueness annoyed me, but that wasn’t too often.  It was challenging to operate on a few narrower Sicilian streets and alleys, but that would apply to narrow streets and parking lots anywhere.  For some, this C5 could check most, if not all, of the boxes. - - - - - PHOTOS FORTHCOMING
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