Home Car Culture The Dependency on Cameras Renders Modern HD Trucks Inefficient Off-Road

The Dependency on Cameras Renders Modern HD Trucks Inefficient Off-Road

The Dependency on Cameras Renders Modern HD Trucks Inefficient Off-Road

GMC Sierra HD AT4X: A Goliath on Wheels

When it comes to heavy-duty trucks, there’s no denying the sheer power and capability they offer. The GMC Sierra HD AT4X is no exception. Recently, I had the opportunity to take this beast of a truck for a spin around the XOverland Ranch in Montana, and let me tell you, it left quite an impression.

I pushed the AT4X to its limits, driving through slick sand, navigating a 29-degree loose shale descent, and conquering sandy hills. Surprisingly, it handled everything with ease. However, there was one downside – the central touch screen demanded my attention throughout the entire drive.

Size Matters

The Sierra HD is enormous, but that’s not surprising considering it’s a requirement in the modern heavy-duty truck market. Today, these trucks need to offer stratospheric towing figures, ample space for five to six adults, a spacious bed, and a powerful engine to handle it all. Moreover, the off-road segment, represented by trucks like the AT4X, has gained immense popularity. Equipped with meaty Mud-Terrain tires and a factory lift, it’s a truck that commands attention. The size of the Sierra HD is worth noting. Its total vehicle height stands at a towering 82.6 inches, a significant increase of 5.5 inches compared to the 2010 Sierra HD. Additionally, the AT4X is longer, wider, and heavier than its previous iterations. Weighing in at a whopping 8605 lbs for the diesel version, this off-roader is a true behemoth.

Rivals and Real-World Uses

GMC isn’t the only player in this game. The AT4X faces off against its Chevy cousin, the F-250 Tremor from Ford, and the segment-originating Ram Power Wagon. While living in suburban California might make it difficult to fathom the need for these trucks, a visit to Montana quickly changes that perspective. Practically every rural home is accompanied by heavy-duty trucks, as they are essential for those who own skid steers, construction equipment, horses, and campers. Moreover, with Montana’s snowy conditions, the off-road capabilities of these trucks become even more pertinent.

The Blind Spots

No one can deny that visibility is a challenge with these larger-than-life trucks. The tall, elongated hood creates blind spots that can be a nightmare for drivers. Even discerning the placement of the wheels becomes difficult, especially when tackling inclines. And this visibility issue extends to other trucks in the segment, such as the Power Wagon and F-250.

Cameras to the Rescue

Manufacturers are well aware of this visibility hurdle, and that’s why they equip their trucks with a plethora of cameras. The Sierra HD AT4X, for instance, boasts cameras pointed in every direction, giving drivers multiple viewing options. From a front camera (crucial for better visibility) to side cameras and a digital wide-angle rearview mirror, this truck has it all. It even comes with additional wiring, allowing owners to install extra cameras if desired. Take notes from the GMC Canyon AT4X, which features an underbody camera that could prove beneficial in this massive truck.

Navigating Off-Road with Cameras

Off-road experts might argue that they can conquer any trail with their 3500s, but for the average driver, visual assistance is a must. The good news is, the cameras in the AT4X do an excellent job. However, herein lies the problem – you’ll have to rely on them heavily. Approach and departure angles are impressive (31.6 and 25.7 degrees, respectively), but the length of the truck compromises the breakover angle, which sits at 21.2 degrees. So, if you struggle to clear an obstacle, chances are it’ll get caught on the truck’s midsection. This is where an underbody camera, like the one found in the Canyon, would come in handy. With trucks of this size, an extra camera can solve a multitude of problems.

In Conclusion

The GMC Sierra HD AT4X is undeniably impressive. Its sheer size, towing capacity, and off-road capabilities make it a force to be reckoned with. However, the visibility challenges are hard to ignore. The reliance on cameras in order to navigate safely, especially in off-road situations, may be a drawback for some. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to deny the usefulness of these trucks, especially for those who require maximum towing capacity and have real-life demands that necessitate such heavy-duty machines.

As trucks continue to evolve, manufacturers will find ways to address the visibility issue. The technology is already there, and with each passing year, we see improvements that make these beasts a little less daunting. Until then, the GMC Sierra HD AT4X remains an impressive contender in the heavy-duty truck market – an undeniable behemoth that’s ready to take on any challenge, as long as you rely on those trusty cameras.


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