The 2024 GMC Sierra AT4X is getting an upgraded powerplant for the new model year. Where it once solely featured GM’s 6.2-liter V8 truck engine, it’s now set to offer Duramax diesel power as standard. It’s a move set to win over the hearts and minds of the oil-burning faithful.

Updated for 2023, the 3.0-liter Duramax engine now delivers 305 horsepower and 495 lb-ft of torque. Those figures are up 10% and 7.6 respectively compared to 2022 models. The power bump comes courtesy of new steel pistons, injectors, and an upgraded turbo compressor wheel. GM also saw fit to upgrade the temperature control features to keep the Duramax humming in a healthy range. The engine was first introduced on a number of 2023 Sierra 1500 models, and will now be standard on the AT4X.

This is the badge you get on your new 2024 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X. GMC

The Duramax diesel is paired with a 10-speed automatic in the AT4X, just like the V8. With prodigious torque in excess of that offered by the gas engine, it’s the perfect choice for towing applications. With 95% of peak torque available at just 1,250 rpm, it offers plenty of grunt at the low end for tough off-roading situations, too. An added bonus is that the diesel’s superior fuel economy should give the AT4X longer legs, making it ideal for overlanding duties.

“The 3.0-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine has long been a favorite of Sierra light-duty owners,” said Will Mellon, marketing manager for the GMC Sierra. Noting that the Duramax engine has shipped out in 20% of Sierra 1500 sales, he expects that to climb higher thanks to the AT4X trim. The gasoline V8 will still be available, but it will be an option going forward.

The Sierra AT4X going diesel is not unexpected. It follows the example of the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2. The off-road variant of Chevy’s workhorse will get the Duramax, too, as an option alongside the existing 6.2-liter gasoline V8. It’s a potent upgrade to usability above all, as we’ve explored before.

The change comes alongside a bevy of other updates to the Sierra 1500 lineup. The Denali, Denali Ultimate, AT4, and AT4X are all getting new fruit. New power retractable steps will be available, along with an active exhaust option that will also feature on the SLT. Two new wheel designs are also coming to the range. Finally, and hilariously, GMC has specified two new “unique and bold” exterior colors: Downpour Metallic and Thunderstorm Gray. Muted neutrals, on a truck? Groundbreaking.

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For a rugged off-roader, big diesel power makes great sense. It also makes it easier for owners in areas like farming, mining, or forestry, where there’s always diesel fuel on hand. GMC could see the AT4X would be living its best life with an oil-burning heart, and made the change.

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