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Old 09-14-2020, 07:55 AM   #1
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2020 GMC Sierra SLT vs AT4

Morning all!

I'm looking at a new tow vehicle and I'm down to GMC SLT vs GMC AT4. Currently, we're towing a 20' Bambi, but in the next year or so we want to upgrade into a 28' Flying Cloud so I want to make sure we have enough truck when the time comes to upgrade our trailer.

I really like the GMC AT4 as there are some technology features I would really enjoy. However, a higher axle ratio is not available in the AT4 so that'll cost us about 2,200 lbs of towing capacity. Also the GVWR is lower on the AT4.

MY QUESTION: Would reducing towing capacity by 2,200 lbs and reducing GVWR by 300 lbs produce a noticeably different ride / tow experience when pulling a 28' (7,600 lb) trailer?

Thanks in advance all!
-sam
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:31 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgraham1882 View Post
Would reducing towing capacity by 2,200 lbs and reducing GVWR by 300 lbs produce a noticeably different ride / tow experience when pulling a 28' (7,600 lb) trailer?
It might help if you'd post the tow and cargo rating for both vehicles for those not intimate with the numbers.
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:41 AM   #3
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Of course!

I think these are the pertinent details.

AT4
Engine 6.2L V8
Towing 9200 lbs
GVWR 7000 lbs
GCWVR 17800
Payload 1860 lbs

SLT
Engine 6.2L V8
Towing 12000 lbs
GVWR 7300 lbs
GCWVR 17800 lbs
Payload 2080

The main difference between the 2 is really just axle ration and GVWR. Again, just want to get an idea if a difference of 2,200 lbs of towing capacity and 300 lbs of GWVR will make a difference in quality / comfort of towing.

Thanks!
-sam
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgraham1882 View Post
Of course!

I think these are the pertinent details.

AT4
Engine 6.2L V8
Towing 9200 lbs
GVWR 7000 lbs
GCWVR 17800
Payload 1860 lbs

SLT
Engine 6.2L V8
Towing 12000 lbs
GVWR 7300 lbs
GCWVR 17800 lbs
Payload 2080

The main difference between the 2 is really just axle ration and GVWR. Again, just want to get an idea if a difference of 2,200 lbs of towing capacity and 300 lbs of GWVR will make a difference in quality / comfort of towing.

Thanks!
-sam
Are these notional values as provided by GM marketing materials and/or website, or are these the exact values on the specific trucks you are looking at? Depending on the creature comforts selected, available payload might be vastly different than the theoretical values in the glossy brochures.

I commend you for doing the research to "future-proof" your new truck purchase so you can potentially upgrade to a larger trailer at a later date. While I have no doubt that either of the trucks you're looking at has the moxy to pull a 28-footer, just be sure you know what you're getting into. You would be well-served to find real-world tongue weights (including WD / Anti-sway hardware) and then compare to the specific limitations of your selected trucks. How much "stuff" will you be taking with you (i.e. people, dogs, firewood, bikes, generators, etc.)? Decide if you are comfortable loading up to the payload and/or axle limitations, or if you wish to have reserved bandwidth. Only then can you establish if your selected truck will work for your desired future trailer. This process can help push you in the right direction.
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:25 AM   #5
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Thanks!

I plugged the stats into a tow vehicle calculator and if we're towing a 28' Flying Cloud,

AT4 is has 30% towing capacity margin, 8% or ~500 lbs payload margin, and 34% combined weight margin.

The SLT has 49% towing capacity margin, 13% of ~900 lbs of payload margin, and 34% combined weight margin.

I like the creature comforts of the AT4 better, but the SLT on paper looks to be a better fit.

Just looking to see if the data listed above would relate into a real world / noticeable difference on the road.

Thanks!
-sam
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:38 AM   #6
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Sam

I still highly recommend you go to a dealer's lot and inspect the payload decals for SLT and AT4 versions in-person. Then run your calculations.

If you cannot find the trucks locally, find something online and then ask the sales person to snap a photo of the details and send over to you. Real-world data are much better than the online tools, which do not always reflect reality.
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:39 AM   #7
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Good recommendation to look at specific trucks. My GMC Denali has lots of options, an my payload rating is only 1,479 lbs. It all adds up...
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:40 PM   #8
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For sure, I'll definitely be checking out the stats on the actual truck, but for the sake of this scenario, is there a noticeable difference when using a truck with 2,200 extra pounds of towing and 300 more pounds of GWVR?

Thanks!
-sam
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:50 PM   #9
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My opinion only and I'm not one to be overly cautious, if the AT4 is what blows your skirt up the specs are close enough I'd go for it. You have margin on towing and the payload numbers are pretty close on both. I'm not one who feels the need to build a margin of safety of some percentage over what the engineers who designed the rig felt was adequate. I've towed extensively from Fl to CA to AK, back to CA and back to FL with a rig that was right at, and sometimes a bit over, designed specs and never felt the truck was over matched. And for the folks who say towing at rated capacity wears out a truck quicker I'm at 218K on that same rig and intend to put many more miles on it, although now I'm towing half the rated capacity.
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:33 AM   #10
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2019 SLT w/ max tow package

Your numbers are good numbers. I have 2019 SLT crew cab w max tow, 5’ 6” bed. You must be looking @ LonGer bed. The other differences is the 3.73 rear end. The numbers are off the door decal on my truck. I pull a 27FB Serenity you will love the truck as a TV. Great torque and very stable towing for long distance. Equalizer hitch. Fla to GrandCanyon and back via I 40 to N Caroline then Fl at highway speed +. 12.8 MPG. For trip
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:42 AM   #11
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My brother has same truck but a Denali. My SLT with Max Tow has much higher numbers than his Denali which is why I went with SLT vs Denali. Also AT4 sits higher off ground takes difference hitch set up and my wife likes
lower step in height of SLT.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:24 AM   #12
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Sam

I have a 2019 GMC AT4, 6.2 Liter and tow a 25' International. While my response will not address your question I will provide the following.

- Plenty of power to pull
- Porpoising occurs at highway speeds when transiting hills and bridges
- 24 Gal Fuel Capacity is a real challenge for me. Way to many stops for fuel.

I am in the process of moving up to a 2500 and went all in with the diesel.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:33 AM   #13
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I have not had a problem with proposing with Equilizer hitch. I would like more fuel capacity but at 12 + MPG. It makes me stop for fuel, pit stop, and stretch every 3 hrs. Needed for self and wife. Still can do 500 miles a day if necessary. I carry 2200 watt Honda with Berg system on 6gl marine gas tank( extra truck fuel if needed), full tool box, etc. not near GCVW limit per Cat Scales.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:29 AM   #14
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Although I can't speak directly to the comparison that you have proffered, I can attest to the capabilities of the 2020 AT4 HD with the 6.6L Duramax. I pull a 25' Flying Cloud with my AT4 and I sometimes forget that it is behind me. I recently pulled the AS down an extremely steep road to Shelter Cove CA and the tow mode and exhaust brake worked flawlessly. I barely had to touch my brakes. You can't go wrong with either choice. The 2020 models are a fantastic blend of comfort and capabilities.
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Old 09-27-2020, 12:23 PM   #15
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2020 gmc at4 3500

I owned a 2005 Nissan Titan when the wife dropped the idea of wanting an Airstream on me. We shopped, looked at numbers, juggled, didn't like the wheel wells under the table on the 23', and settled on the 25FB Flying Cloud. Tongue weight just came in under the Titan spec. Did the Titan tow it? Of course it did. Did we overload the Titan...of course we did. Was I aware at all times I was towing a large trailer...most definitly. One experience of towing up a large grade convinced me that to travel more than one state away would be better with a more capable truck, especially since the Titan was 15 years old. Skip to 2020 and we sat in a 2020 GMC Denali. Sold...on the idea. Sat in a 2019 leftover and it was no contest, the 2020 in so much more comfortable and roomy. Wanted gas, not diesel, but considering GM had their strike, gas trucks were in short supply, so got over the diesel part. Shopped for a bit, found a nice Denali 2500, stepped away to figure numbers and it was gone. Went back to see a Chevy 2500 they had with 1000 miles on it and found that I could do better on a 3500 AT4 with no other 2500s on the lot, so pulled the trigger. The difference to me now with 4 trips under my belt-with the Titan I had to pay attention to my driving, to the trailer, and to the Titan. I was aware of every hill and every time I had to break unexpectedly. The GMC...man what a difference. I still pay attention to my driving and the trailer but it was really relaxing to know that the tail didn't wag the dog. That relaxation made the entire Airstream experience even better. I know the ongoing tow vehicle debates/threads are as polarized as our country is getting, but bottom line, having experienced both sides now, I would not tow again without something in the 2500/3500 class, regardless of which brand. Is the GMC as good of a daily driver as the Titan? Definitely not. I always joked that the Titan was the Infiniti G35 of trucks (since I had owned a G35), comfortably and easy to drive and park. However, that said, the GMC being a lot more truck like and a bit bouncier unloaded, is still not bad. I did go to Torklift here locally to have my hitch reset for the taller vehicle. The specs they gave me for tongue weight (and including 2 full propane tanks) were 18 pounds more than the Airstream specs, and that included whatever the wife has squirreled away in front storage. Back to your scenario, I wouldn't hesitate to hook up a 28' Airstream and go anywhere. I'm sure I would adjust to the extra 3 feet in no time.

From my door panel-
GVWR 12100 lbs
GCWR 29700 lbs
Max payload 3726 lbs
Conventional TWR 20000 lbs
Max tongue weight 2000 lbs

That's for a 2020 3500 AT4 with 20" wheels.

Happy vehicle hunting!
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:25 PM   #16
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If it has the 5.3, your wasting your money. The engine is not reliable(lifters) and can’t tow a 28 foot trailer. You need a3/4 ton.
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