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Help w/ Denali vs AT4


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Long time lurker, noob here. I had an 18 Denali 6.2 as my first ever truck after buying Honda cars all my life. I had no idea what I was buying, just loved the way it looked. And then I loved every bit of it. Rode like a Cadillac until about 24k, had power and grace, then got the torque shudder. Dealer "fixed it" with the tranny flush, but it was never the same again. I couldn't convince the dealer that everything was just not the same as before. I got to the point where I hated driving it because the ride was terrible, felt every road imperfection, had noticeably bumpy deceleration, and the leaf springs squealed anytime they moved. Dealer said new tires were needed as the stock 22" Bridgestones ran out of tread at 30k. I pinned my hopes that new tires would cure all ills (except the leaf springs). The day I put on new Michelins the truck was stolen, never to return. 

 

So I'm back looking for a new truck. Won't buy RAM, don't like Ford, hate the Tundra. The Sierra is still my favorite out there, even though I prefer the boxier style before the '19 redo. I'm looking for advice from the truck pros on whether to get the Denali or AT4, and would consider an optioned SLT. Main concern is comfort - I loved the smooth ride of the Denali, but if its going to fade in a couple years then I suppose it doesn't matter. Is the AT4 smooth? I like the looks of the AT4 much better, but I do not off-road, and likely never will. My driving is about 75% city. I don't tow anything, and probably never will. I like the tech packages. I am mildly concerned with fuel economy - was getting 17.5 mpg from the 6.2 Denali with 87 gas which included 30-45 minutes of idle a day from pre-starts and eating lunch on the road in a parking lot. Happy with that. From what I understand diesel isn't a good option for me given the lack of long-haul driving. Just don't want to see 14-15 mpg average. I test drove a 5.3 briefly, and noticed it didn't have quite the get-up as the 6.2, but wasn't a deal breaker. I drive in the right lane on the highway, but liked the power of the 6.2 in the rare cases I needed it. 

 

All that said - what would you do? I feel like I want to love the AT4 due to style, but the AT tires I've never been on and don't know if they are appropriate for 100% paved roads. Any thoughts are appreciated!

 

 

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Looks is the main difference In my opinion. Yes Denali has some extras, but the big difference to me was looks between the two and the stance obviously. So if your leaning towards the AT4 for how it looks I might Suggest going that route as you have to look at it everyday. 
I started modifying my truck truck the same day I bought It to fit my tastes but that’s not for everyone. 
I personally chose the denali for myself as I  don’t want the added height and not a fan of how the AT4 looks, and I wanted the extras on the Denali has. 
the 5.3 vs 6.2 is noticeable in performance, but if your looking for best mileage I’d suggest the 5.3 as my mpg with 6.2 is nothing to brag about and it takes premium fuel. 

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7 hours ago, Nightfly said:

Long time lurker, noob here. I had an 18 Denali 6.2 as my first ever truck after buying Honda cars all my life. I had no idea what I was buying, just loved the way it looked. And then I loved every bit of it. Rode like a Cadillac until about 24k, had power and grace, then got the torque shudder. Dealer "fixed it" with the tranny flush, but it was never the same again. I couldn't convince the dealer that everything was just not the same as before. I got to the point where I hated driving it because the ride was terrible, felt every road imperfection, had noticeably bumpy deceleration, and the leaf springs squealed anytime they moved. Dealer said new tires were needed as the stock 22" Bridgestones ran out of tread at 30k. I pinned my hopes that new tires would cure all ills (except the leaf springs). The day I put on new Michelins the truck was stolen, never to return. 

 

So I'm back looking for a new truck. Won't buy RAM, don't like Ford, hate the Tundra. The Sierra is still my favorite out there, even though I prefer the boxier style before the '19 redo. I'm looking for advice from the truck pros on whether to get the Denali or AT4, and would consider an optioned SLT. Main concern is comfort - I loved the smooth ride of the Denali, but if its going to fade in a couple years then I suppose it doesn't matter. Is the AT4 smooth? I like the looks of the AT4 much better, but I do not off-road, and likely never will. My driving is about 75% city. I don't tow anything, and probably never will. I like the tech packages. I am mildly concerned with fuel economy - was getting 17.5 mpg from the 6.2 Denali with 87 gas which included 30-45 minutes of idle a day from pre-starts and eating lunch on the road in a parking lot. Happy with that. From what I understand diesel isn't a good option for me given the lack of long-haul driving. Just don't want to see 14-15 mpg average. I test drove a 5.3 briefly, and noticed it didn't have quite the get-up as the 6.2, but wasn't a deal breaker. I drive in the right lane on the highway, but liked the power of the 6.2 in the rare cases I needed it. 

 

All that said - what would you do? I feel like I want to love the AT4 due to style, but the AT tires I've never been on and don't know if they are appropriate for 100% paved roads. Any thoughts are appreciated!

 

 

Wait for the 2021s, they will have the new adaptive suspension option available.  

 

I prefer the Z71 or AT4.   I prefer the way the off-road tuned suspension handles and rides, as opposed to the standard option.

 

My 2020 LTZ Z71 3.0L rides much better than my 2014 Z71 did.  The new T1 platform and other updates contribute to that I'm sure.

 

https://gmauthority.com/blog/category/technologies/adaptive-ride-control/

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9 hours ago, Nightfly said:

got the torque shudder

Pretty sure Your MY '18 didn't have 10 speed.  My limited experience @ 2k miles is very good.  I do like the looks of the AT4 but the 2" lift isn't important to me as I do not off road.  And at age 70+ climbing into the Denali is enuf of a challenge.  And a fully loaded AT 4 is pushing the price of a Denali.  

And as I've said b4, shop online at www.laurabuickgmc.com near St. Louis or Howard Bentley in Alabama for the best selection and prices on MY 2020.  Both will deliver.   

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1 hour ago, btj_z71 said:

Wait for the 2021s, they will have the new adaptive suspension option available.  

 

I prefer the Z71 or AT4.   I prefer the way the off-road tuned suspension handles and rides, as opposed to the standard option.

 

My 2020 LTZ Z71 3.0L rides much better than my 2014 Z71 did.  The new T1 platform and other updates contribute to that I'm sure.

 

https://gmauthority.com/blog/category/technologies/adaptive-ride-control/

The Denali already has ARC 

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I have an AT4 - ride quality is very good - but ARC on Denali is next level - so even better - AT4 is a exterior look, Denali is more of a luxury truck - so you have to decide look versus luxury.  Some like the look of the Denali better and the luxury is a bonus.  For me I like the offroad and blacked out look - so AT4 was only GMC I considered - I have a 6.2L 10 speeed and love the truck - It is not an "offroad" truck (like my old Raptor) and you give up some mileage with the 2" of ride height increase over a Denali.  I liked the look overall and it is a great all around truck - I am not a fan of the Denali look - so AT4 was right for me.

 

I would go drive both before you decide.   nice trucks either way! 1195288232_DP1.thumb.JPG.0c75d35792b45a1ec4d5cde5206dfad4.JPG1267978408_DP3.thumb.JPG.b049c0bdb882d51de6bcd063e328789e.JPG

Edited by Supercup
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12 hours ago, Jav_eee said:

My springs are squeaking like crazy on my 2019 AT4 with only 5k miles on it. 

Is the dealer going to fix it, or do they consider it normal wear? 

 

2 hours ago, Supercup said:

I have a 6.2L 10 speeed and love the truck - It is not an "offroad" truck (like my old Raptor) and you give up some mileage with the 2" of ride height increase over a Denali

What kind of mpg are you getting? 

 

2 hours ago, elcamino said:

You must be a hard driver! I got oem Bridgestone Duelers 22's on my '17 and have lots of tread left. 

I'm really not! I drive like a grandpa. The dealer said I was lucky to get 30k. They have people change them out before 20k. I asked why GM would put such crap tires on. The dealer said, "They're not crap...they just don't last!" 

 

Thanks for the replies. I went to the dealership this morning but they didn't have any AT4's to test out. The GMC close by isn't much of a volume seller so they never have a great selection. The manager said he would trade for one this week so I could test it. 

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3 minutes ago, Nightfly said:

What kind of mpg are you getting? 

Over 9,200 miles of all types of driving I have averaged 14.5 mpg - I would estimate 30% hwy, 60% city and 10% towing (8,000 lb enclsed trailer).  Best was 20 +/- and worst was 6.6 towing in the wind.  On highway I drive quick and I am not shy on throttle use - so may be on mid to lower side of others experience.  I have the GM OEM performance package (exhause, airbox and tune) that adds 15 hp, and it sounds great on start up and under acceleration - love having a V8 - that is why I did not buy the new Raptor - not a fan of sound of Eco Boost motor. 

 

1403036657_TruckTrailer-Day1-1.thumb.JPG.ad35b1f5431aa8d5eb9c7df4feff70a2.JPG

 

  

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I prefer the sportier athletic look of the AT4 so thats what I bought. 

One thing I noticed right away was the suspension was a lot bouncier than my previous truck, an older sierra 1500.  Of course, thats because of the off-road suspension that the AT4 was designed with

I think another difference you will notice is the AT4 is a couple more inches higher to climb into. Which might be a concern for older people. 

 

Otherwise, I think the trucks are virtually the same, so its a matter of personal choice. 

 

I think if I hadn't gone for the AT4, I would have considered Elevation. Sure its a lower trim level, but GMC did a really good job on the appearance of the truck and the value of the packages included. 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 9/9/2020 at 10:05 AM, elcamino said:

You must be a hard driver! I got oem Bridgestone Duelers 22's on my '17 and have lots of tread left. 

 

On 9/9/2020 at 12:57 PM, elcamino said:

35,000 + miles

 

 

 

They've switched tires and size since your truck.  22" get 275/50R22 Bridgestone Dueler Alenza HL for "efficiency" now.  

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