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Rocky Mountain Driving Experience 2023 Features 2023 GMC Sierra AT4X AEV, Canyon AT4, 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L and More

Dozens of journalists converged on the Denver area to check out the latest vehicles and see how they performed on the winding Rocky Mountain roads. The Rocky Mountain Driving Experience featured vehicles like the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale, 2024 Nissan Ariya and Toyota Crown.

The Rocky Mountain Driving Experience is back to its original form, taking automotive journalists into the Rocky Mountains to experience how the latest vehicles perform at altitude. For the last few years, RMDE events had been scaled back because of COVID, but dozens of journalists returned in full force this year. The list of vehicles was stellar, featuring the latest offerings from Jeep, Nissan, Alfa Romeo, Honda, Toyota, Subaru, Lexus, Mercedes and more.

2023 GMC Sierra AT4X AEV and Canyon AT4

The Rocky Mountain setting is perfect for the 2023 Sierra AT4X AEV and 2023 Canyon AT4 pickups. Both of the trucks were designed for on and off-road performance. The Sierra AT4X with its AEV (American Expedition Vehicles) package is especially rugged, with added underbody protection for the most difficult terrain. Automakers have found that off-road performance is a huge driver in the market right now, with customers willing to pay more for vehicles already lifted and outfitted for off-roading.

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale

What an incredible way for Alfa Romeo to introduce its first mid-size SUV to automotive writers in the western region. This is Alfa Romeo’s first launch in six years and the partial hybrid EV seemed right at home in the Rockies. The Tonale provides 33 fully electric miles but has a total range of 320 miles. Stephanie Goldstein, Alfa Romeo’s head of marketing for North America says “The Tonale provides total freedom. The transition from electric to the gas engine is seamless. You don’t have to think about it so there is no range anxiety. You aren’t beholden to a charging station, you have total freedom to take a road trip.” The Dodge Hornet is similar to the Tonale and should offer similar performance in the mountains.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L with its Summit trim was perfectly suited for the drive through the Rockies. The L signifies that it is the three row or longer version of the traditional Grand Cherokee. It is hugely popular with growing Jeep families that want the extra room that the longer version provides.

2023 Nissan Ariya2023 Nissan Ariya

Nissan was turning heads with its all-new electric crossover SUV. Jannelle Grigsby, Nissan’s public relations manager for the Western Region expects the Ariya to do well in the mountain market. She says “The Ariya is the best of Nissan with connectivity, convenience and driver assistance, with up to 304 miles of range. Denver is a big EV market and Nissan likes to give its customers what they are looking for.”

Toyota provided a range of vehicles for the writers to drive including the Crown which is new to North America, as well as the latest Prius and the Corolla GR. Genesis had its luxurious G90, Mercedes provided two beautiful SUVs, Kia and Hyundai were well-represented. Land Rover’s Defender was a popular choice and Honda, Acura, Lexus and Mazda rounded out the list of vehicles. It is wonderful to have all of the reporters and automakers back in the Rockies.

Mary Conway Photos

Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.

Follow Mary Conway at @maryconwaymedia and send her car news tips for future stories.