Ram Power Wagon has a worthy competitor in the GMC Sierra AT4

The Ram Power Wagon has proved its mettle as the ultimate off-road truck many times before. However, there’s another contender – an unlikely one, too - that has the potential to give it a run for its money: meet the GMC Sierra AT4.

The GMC Sierra, despite its intimidating size and structure, is known for its luxuriousness and towing prowess. But the folks at TFL decided to pit the two against each other to see how the underdog performs out of its comfort zone. Do you think the Sierra AT4 can take down the Ram Power Wagon?

How Did The Trucks Fare In The Tests?

The 2020 Sierra AT4 Comes With Stronger Off-Road Specs, But Can It Beat The Ram Power Wagon In Its Own Yard?
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My only grouch with the Power Wagon is that it doesn’t feature an oil-burning drivetrain. This is the biggest advantage the Sierra AT4 holds over its counterpart.

Ram has the amazing Cummins engine in its lineup, but it looks like it is heading the same way as Ford’s Coyote mill.

The TFL folks took both these trucks to the Kane Creek 4x4 trail, which is not the toughest of the trails out there, but it’s not a cakewalk either. The Power Wagon led from the front and cleared the initial obstacles like a small water trail and a slight rocky elevation with ease. The AT4, however, hung up a little bit when climbing the second one.

The Power Wagon showed its true prowess when there was quite a bit of articulation and the truck lost all the traction at the rear wheels. As soon as the front and rear differentials were locked in, the truck moved out without breaking a sweat. When the AT4 attempted the same trail, it got caught at first because of the comparatively poor approach angle, and then because of the lack of a front locking differential.

Despite the strong torque figures on paper, the AT4 struggled to clear this trail.

In terms of visibility, the Power Wagon gives a better vision of what’s under the nose. The Sierra AT4, with its fancy long hood and a hood scoop, lacks visibility, but a strong camera system helps you see things all around quite precisely.

The Power Wagon Is More Suited Off-Road

The 2020 Sierra AT4 Comes With Stronger Off-Road Specs, But Can It Beat The Ram Power Wagon In Its Own Yard?
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The tires on the Ram Power Wagon are better than the Sierra AT4’s Goodyear Wranglers, but measure 33 inches compared to the GMC’s 34-inch tires.

Overall, though, the Ram Power Wagon also comes with better off-road equipment such as a Warn winch, disconnecting front sway bars, and front and rear locking differentials, to name a few.

What makes the Power Wagon a better off-roader in real-world conditions is that it boasts a lower crawl ratio. The 51:1 ratio means that in low range, more of the engine’s torque is available at the slowest vehicle speeds to assist with rock crawling. The Power Wagon also happens to be almost 500 pounds lighter than the Sierra AT4.

The 2020 Sierra AT4 Comes With Stronger Off-Road Specs, But Can It Beat The Ram Power Wagon In Its Own Yard?
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As for the GMC Sierra AT4, it has a unique off-road suspension setup and hosts other equipment like the Rancho Shocks, skid plates, and Eaton locking rear differential.

You can even choose the Traction Select System, which basically allows you to switch drive modes to make real-time adjustments based on the driving situation - there’s an Off-Road mode as well. To make things easier, GMC has also provided Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, Auto Electric Park Brake, and Park Grade Hold Assist in the Sierra HD AT4. Despite all this, the truck rides rough on off-road trails and clearly shows it is better off towing and hauling stuff rather than conquering non-existent paths.

The Sierra AT4 Is a Beast On Paper

The 2020 Sierra AT4 Comes With Stronger Off-Road Specs, But Can It Beat The Ram Power Wagon In Its Own Yard?
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Speaking of the engine specs, the Ram Power Wagon comes with a 6.4-liter, V-8 HEMI gasoline engine that makes 410 ponies and 429 pound-feet of torque.

Power is sent to all the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Since the Power Wagon is built like an off-roader from scratch, it doesn’t boast impressive hauling ratings. The truck can tow up to 10,350 pounds and carry to 1,510 pounds. The Sierra HD AT4, on the other hand, comes with a 6.6-liter, V-8 Duramax turbocharged diesel engine under the hood that produces 445 horses and 910 pound-feet of twist. It can tow up to 18,500 pounds and haul up to 3,862 pounds.

Final Thoughts

The 2020 Sierra AT4 Comes With Stronger Off-Road Specs, But Can It Beat The Ram Power Wagon In Its Own Yard?
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In conclusion, if your main need is to tow and haul stuff, the GMC Sierra AT4 should be your pick. But if you are looking for a truck to have some off-road fun with, the Ram Power Wagon will fit your bill the best.

What are your thoughts about these two trucks? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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