Pickup trucks and off-roading go together like peanut butter & jelly. Or Saturday mornings and cartoons. The latest full-size trucks to arrive on the scene are the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X and 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor. The F-150 has been completely updated last year and the Sierra 1500 received a major mid-cycle update for this 2022 model year. So how do they stack up against each other?
Engine – The Ford F-150 Tremor is only available with one engine, despite there being many other engines available for other F-150 trims. It has a 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque (298 kW & 678 Nm). Although it is turbocharged, this engine is very responsive. Peak torque isn’t reached until the 3,100 rpm mark but it has plenty of grunt below that rpm threshold. The 3.5L EcoBoost engine pulls hard with Car & Driver testing the 0-60 time at just 5.3 seconds.
The 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X is also available with just one engine, a 6.2L naturally aspirated V8. It can produce 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque (313 kW & 624 Nm). With this engine being naturally aspirated, it too is responsive but it doesn’t have the same “kick” at lower rpms as the turbo engine in the F-150. So at times, it can feel as though this truck isn’t as quick. But in a test of the Sierra Denali Ultimate (which has the same 6.2L engine), Car & Driver clocked its 0-60 time to be 5.4 seconds. Almost identical to the F-150 Tremor.
Fuel Economy – With both these trucks having 400+ hp, you’ll be paying a pretty penny, and then some, at gas stations. The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X is rated for 16.5 L/100km (14.2 MPG) in a city and 13.2 L/100km (17.8 MPG) on a highway. The Ford F-150 Tremor is a little bit better at 14.3 L/100km (16.4 MPG) in a city and 11.8 L/100km (19.9 MPG) on a highway. In the real world, it is the F-150 Tremor that is more efficient, but I was unable to reach either of their claimed combined fuel economy numbers. In the Sierra AT4X, I averaged 16.4 L/100km and in the F-150 Tremor, I averaged 14.7 L/100km (16 MPG). Both of these numbers were mostly city driving (and some off-road) with about 30% highway driving.
Transmission – Both trucks have the same 10-speed automatic transmission. It was co-developed between the two companies but the software is different. In the GMC, you hardly notice the transmission doing its job. Shifts are smooth and relatively quick.
In the Ford, the transmission feels the same but it has an odd characteristic. I first noticed this when driving the F-150 Powerboost last year and in that one, it had a somewhat harsh shift. This transmission in the F-150 likes to skip 2nd gear. Thankfully in this 2022 Tremor, the programming and the skip from 1st to 3rd or from 3rd to 1st is much smoother than the F-150 I drove last year. By the way, the 10s-eed does not skip 2nd when the truck is in Sport or Tow/Haul modes or when accelerating at a more brisk pace in Normal mode.
Braking – Both trucks have strong brakes that have no trouble in bringing the heavy pickups quickly to a stop. The brake pedals in both feel firm when applying light or heavy pressure. But of course, both trucks take a bit of a nose dive under emergency braking situations.
Handling – There isn’t much to differentiate these trucks when driving around corners. Steering is on the light side in both and the suspension resists quite a lot of body roll. The most noticeable difference comes from how the previous generation of the GMC Sierra felt compared to this new generation. The new one feels a bit more agile thanks to its weight loss program. It’s by no means a “sports truck” but if you’ve driven a pre-2019 truck, you’ll notice the agility of the new one immediately.
Off the beaten path, the GMC Sierra AT4X is a bit more capable than the F-150 Tremor. The GMC has Multimatic DSSV suspension which is not electronically adjustable but the spool valves it uses provide specific on-road damping as well as good off-road compression and rebound movement. The truck is also 2-inches higher off the ground than the standard Sierra 1500 and it has locking front and rear differentials which can be toggled at the flip of two switches in the cabin. The AT4X is also equipped with 33” Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires.
The Ford F-150 Tremor receives a locking rear differential and can be optioned with a Torsen limited slip front differential. It too has 33” all-terrain tires but these are General Grabber tires which are a little bit more balanced for on-road and off-road driving than the Goodyears in the Sierra. To help the F-150 tackle the off-road terrain, it is equipped with Trail Turn Assist. This locks the inside rear wheel when taking a sharp corner to better rotate the truck. It also receives off-road dampers but they are not as sophisticated as the DSSV dampers in the AT4X.
Both trucks have downhill assist modes along with heavy duty underbody plates for added protection. They also have different drive modes to help with the specific off-road situation that you may put each truck in.
Capability – For those that plan to do a lot of towing and carrying cargo in the bed, the F150 can take more. The Tremor trim is rated for 10,900 lbs of towing and 1,885 lbs of payload. The Sierra AT4X is rated for 8,900 lbs of towing and 1,420 lbs of payload. However, although both trucks have advertised 5.5’ length beds, the bed in the Sierra is actually a bit bigger than the one in the Ford. It is longer and the side walls are a bit taller. Total bed volume is 1,781 L (62.9 cu-ft) for the AT4X and 1,495 L (52.8 cu-ft) for the F-150 Tremor. As well, the Sierra’s bed has more standard tie-down points for better load flexibility.
These being modern pickup trucks, they both have multi-function tailgates. The one in the Ford is available as a power operated tailgate (power down and up). It also has Ford’s famous built-in step, areas for holding clams, indentations for cup holders and phone holders, as well as a built-in ruler.
The GMC Sierra has the MultiPro tailgate which allows for 6 different functions. Everything from a workbench to a load stop to a step. It is not power operated like the one in the Ford but it does feel a bit more sturdy than the F-150’s.
Ride Comfort – Although the GMC Sierra AT4X receives the Multimatic DSSV suspension which has a specific on-road tuning, the ride feels firmer than the one in the Ford F-150. The shock of driving over a pothole is felt more in the Sierra than the F-150. As well, the seats in the Ford are more plush than those in the Sierra. Although the AT4X has a massage feature built into the seats, I’d much prefer a softer cushion.
Interior Space – With both of these trucks being crew cabs, they are very spacious on the inside. Between them, they have an almost identical amount of front and rear headroom & legroom. For my 6’4” stature, I feel small inside these trucks. That’s how much space there is. One thing to note, both trucks have fairly large A-pillars which hamper a bit of the outward visibility and they both have large B-pillars as well. But in both, you sit really high up and have excellent visibility over smaller vehicles.
Both trucks have large center consoles and both have storage bins underneath the rear seats. The Ford’s bin is larger though and it can collapse when not in use.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The trucks have relatively quiet engines when driving at normal speeds. Of course both roar into life at higher rpms. Noise noise is minimal too despite their boxy shapes. But tire noise is the differentiating factor between the two. The Goodyear Duratrac tires on the Sierra AT4X are much louder than the General Grabber tires of the F-150 Tremor.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X is the more expensive of the two with a starting price of $93,203 CAD ($81,700 USD). The 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor starts at $63,145 CAD ($61,110 USD). As equipped, the Sierra costs $95,303 CAD ($83,290 USD) and the Tremor costs $85,240 CAD ($74,855 USD).
Gadgets – With the $10,000 CAD difference of their as equipped prices, you’d be expecting that the Sierra has more features. And you’d be right. But not $10,000 worth. The only features that really pop out are the rear camera mirror which gives you an unobstructed view out the back of the truck, the aforementioned massaging seats, and a large head-up display.
Other than that, both trucks have leather upholstery, heated & ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheels, surround view cameras, sunroofs (panoramic in the Ford), dual-zone climate controls, remote start, wireless charging pads, and many other features that one would expect from trucks these days. One key feature that the Ford can be equipped with and that is not available at all on the Sierra AT4X is Blue Cruise, or Super Cruise on the GMC side. Both are hands-free driving systems on most highways across Canada and the United States. It can be equipped on the Sierra Denali but not on the AT4X.
The 2022 Sierra AT4X receives a new infotainment system for this model year. It is an Android automotive based system and it has a lot of Google Built in apps such as Google Maps, Google Assistant, and many more. Plus more apps can be downloaded and installed. The new infotainment looks great and it’s pretty easy to navigate around. It allows for wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto connectivity.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor has the Sync4 infotainment system. This too is an easy to use system with wireless CarPlay & wireless Android Auto connectivity as well. It’s not as customizable as the infotainment in the Sierra though.
Interior Design – I can finally say that the GMC Sierra’s interior looks like a product of the 2020’s rather than the 2000’s. The updated interior for the 2022 model year is much, much nicer than the pre-2022 models. The 13.4” infotainment screen is the main attraction with physical buttons and knobs for the climate underneath it. Unfortunately those buttons are in shiny gloss black which will easily attract fingerprints and smudges. The driver display is also digital and more customizable than ever before. It has a few different themes to choose from and there are multiple sections that can be changed with various vehicle parameters such as transmission temperature, off-road data, and so on. The center console has also been changed a bit with a new electronic shifter and a different placement of the wireless charging pad. Overall, a very nice interior.
The Ford F-150’s interior doesn’t see too many changes for this Tremor trim apart from the Tremor badges on the seats and the orange highlights. The infotainment screen is not as large at 12” but it looks a bit bigger, possibly due to the fact that it’s a bit more square than the widescreen format of the one in the Sierra. The F-150 also uses physical buttons and knobs for the climate and vehicle controls but they are not in gloss black. The center console has loads of storage for small items and the F-150 has a foldable gear selector. Doing so will allow you to flip over the lid of the center armrest to use as a work table. Overall, not quite as flashy of an interior but very usable.
Exterior Design – The Sierra AT4X has a slightly updated look for 2022 with slimmer DRLs, a slightly reshaped grille, and a slightly reshaped front bumper. Speaking of which, the Sierra does not receive the front bumper cutouts of the Silverado ZR2. Thus the approach angle of 25.5 degrees is quite a bit less than the 31.8 of the ZR2. It is also less than the approach angle of the Tremor which is 27.6 degrees. The Sierra’s breakover angle is 23.4 degrees and the departure angle is 23 degrees. The Tremor’s breakover angle is 21.2 degrees and the departure is 24.3 degrees. The ground clearance of the AT4X is 11.1” while the Tremor’s is 9.4”.
Both trucks sign off their off-road packages with coloured recovery hooks, steel side steps, and various LED lights around each truck. Ford calls this Zone Lighting and it allows you to switch on front, side or rear zones. GMC doesn’t call it anything special but you can do the same thing.
Safety – Though both trucks are equipped with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keep, blind spot sensors, rear cross traffic alert, parking sensors and so on, most of these features are standard on the Sierra but optional on the F-150. However, the IIHS gave the Ford a Top Safety Pick Award while the Sierra did not receive one. The F-150 performed better in the small-overlap passenger side crash test than the GMC.
Warranty – The 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km new vehicle warranty and a 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. In America, these warranties are 3 years / 36,000 miles and 5 years / 60,000 miles respectively. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For USA warranty information, click here.
The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X is covered by the same 3 year / 60,000 km new vehicle warranty and a 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. In America, these warranties are 3 years / 36,000 miles and 5 years / 60,000 miles respectively. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For USA warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – To summarize these trucks, the 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor is a pretty capable off-road pickup truck but it excels at on-road comfort more than the Sierra. While the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X is the opposite. It is a bit more capable off the beaten path but the ride is firmer, the tires are louder, and the engine is less efficient. So it comes down to how you plan on using the truck. Will you be playing in the mud each and every weekend? In that case, the Sierra is your best option. Or will you stick primarily to city streets? Then it’s the Ford that should be at the top of your list. If I were in the market for one of these trucks, I’d be going for the Ford as I’m not much of an off-road enthusiast but at least I know that if I do want to go off the beaten path once in a while, the Tremor is a capable truck.
Thank you to Ford Canada for providing the F-150. www.Ford.ca
Thank you to GMC Canada for providing the Sierra 1500. www.GMCCanada.com