For the most part, the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 and the Chevy Silverado are very close siblings. And with the more modestly equipped Sierra SLE and SLT models, choosing between the equivalent Chevy and GMC largely comes down to styling preference and whether you got a better deal at the GMC dealer. They’re almost identical twins.
Almost. Because despite the shared DNA, there are differences in terms of model choice. There’s no GMC equivalent to the cheaper Custom Trail Boss, for instance, but there is the high-dollar off-road-oriented AT4 that goes beyond the Chevy LT Trail Boss with more equipment and the availability of GMC’s unique MultiPro tailgate and CarbonPro carbon fiber bed.
GMC therefore makes a compelling case for itself if you’re willing to spend more for your truck, but having said that, the range-topping Sierras also don’t go above-and-beyond in the same ways as the ritzy Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 trim levels do to provide a proper luxury truck experience. The new Duramax diesel engine at least stands out, but otherwise the Sierra doesn’t offer a lot that others can’t match or better (even within the GM family).
What’s new for 2020?
CarbonPro Editions debut for the AT4 and Denali trim levels. These include the CarbonPro composite bed and a Kicker audio system in the MultiPro tailgate. The AT4 versions also gets some unique exterior trim.
Mechanically, a 10-speed automatic is now paired with the drivetrain combo of 5.3-liter V8, Dynamic Fuel Management and four-wheel drive. Aiding visibility are newly available trailer tow mirrors, a bed-view camera, and a high-def 360-degree camera system with trailering elements.
What’s the interior and in-car technology like?
Like its Silverado sibling, the Sierra’s cabin is its least compelling and competitive attribute, falling far behind the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 in terms of quality and design. The dash is drab and frankly ugly in every trim level, but the cabin is particularly damning in the Sierra Denali. Its black vinyl “stitched” onto the black dash and some token strips of wood trim slapped onto the center console and doors just aren’t enough to create the sort of high-dollar ambience truck buyers can find elsewhere. That might’ve been sufficient when the Denali was the only luxury truck, but not anymore.
What’s it like to drive?
Like every American full-size truck, the Sierra and Silverado’s driving experience depends greatly on the engine you choose – and as GM offers more engines than anyone else, the spread of difference is even greater. We have yet to try the base V6, but we found the turbocharged four-cylinder to be as beefy and efficient as advertised, easily assuaging concerns that you can’t put a four-cylinder in a full-size truck. Still, we think that it represents questionable value relative Ford’s small turbo V6 and Ram’s mild-hybrid V8.