Americans love full-size trucks. So there’s stiff competition among automakers to make the best one. The Chevy Silverado 1500 is one of the nation’s best-selling pickups, second only to the Ford F-150. The 2021 Silverado got several new features, including the available MultiFlex tailgate and even higher towing capacity.
Another great full-size truck is the GMC Sierra 1500. It may not be as popular as the Chevy Silverado, but it comes with a lower starting price and the same engine power. So which one is the better truck?
The beloved Chevy Silverado
The Chevy Silverado offers plenty of powertrain options. It comes standard with a 4.3-liter V6 capable of 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. It has two turbocharged options, one with up to 460 lb-ft of torque. Those who want brute strength can opt for either of the V8 engines. The most powerful one can harness 435 hp.
The Chevy Silverado’s highest towing capacity is 13,300 pounds, but even lower trims can tow 9,000 pounds. Its payload capacity maxes out at 2,280 pounds. This pickup also offers several optional trailering packages with useful technology like hitch guidance and a 360-degree trailer camera.
The Silverado offers three bed sizes, the longest one over eight feet long. Depending on the trim, the bed may also contain its own power outlet and a bed-view camera. However, only some cab configurations are compatible with certain bed sizes, which can be confusing.
U.S. News gives the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 a perfect 5 out of 5 in reliability. The GMC Sierra 1500 scores only 3 out of 5.
The capable GMC Sierra 1500
Despite sharing engines with identical horsepower, the GMC Sierra 1500 doesn’t have the same high towing capacity as the Chevy Silverado. With all the right enhancements, it can tow up to 11,800 pounds and haul 2,250 pounds. Like the Silverado, the Sierra boasts plenty of innovative towing technologies, several of which you can operate from the cabin.
It also has the same multifunctional tailgate, albeit under a different name. It can raise and lower like a regular tailgate, but it can also extend and fold down. This allows drivers to step in the bed easily and load more equipment. The bed itself also has a cut-out panel that makes the loading floor deeper when removed.
Because the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado are so similar, the price might determine which one you buy. This is where the GMC Sierra 1500 has the advantage. According to The Car Connection, the average price for the Sierra base model is around $36,000. Expensive trims like the Denali cost closer to $52,000.
By comparison, the base Chevy Silverado’s MSRP is $38,600. A High Country model could cost close to $60,000 depending on the packages you need.
What trusted critics say
If you check U.S. News, you’ll notice the 2021 Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra share many of the same good qualities. However, the Sierra 1500 offers a better ride quality compared to the Silverado. According to Car and Driver, the Sierra has more precise steering and has less body roll than other trucks.
Regardless, the Chevy Silverado 1500 ranks in the top three of U.S. News’ truck ratings. It barely edges out the GMC Sierra 1500 due to its higher towing capacity and better reliability. But because it’s such a close race, either truck is well worth your consideration.