Deciding Between the 2021 GMC Sierra and Nissan Titan Isn’t Easy

If you’re looking for a new full-size pickup, a Ram or Ford truck might come to mind. But don’t discount the GMC Sierra and Nissan Titan, two excellent choices in a crowded field. But be warned: Deciding between the Sierra and the Titan might not be as easy as it seems.

The 2021 GMC Sierra

With the base-model 2021 GMC Sierra, you’ll pay a bit of a premium at $30,000. But you’ll have a bevy of engine and transmission options and your choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The base model comes with a 285-hp V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. However, you can choose a 355-hp, 5.3-liter V8 with either a six-speed or eight-speed automatic transmission or a 420-hp, 6.2-liter V8 with a 10-speed automatic.

The Sierra also offers several cab and bed configurations. They include a two- or three-seat cab with an eight-foot bed, a double cab with an eight-foot bed, or a crew cab with two different bed options. Towing capacity starts at 6,600 pounds with the base model and tops out at 12,100 pounds with the Max Trailering package, MotorTrend reports.

Though its chrome stylings make for an attractive exterior, its interior doesn’t match some of its competitors’ luxury levels. The Sierra’s cabin is spacious but practical and plain. Standard features include a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, and a two-speaker sound system. The base model also comes with a 3.5-inch cluster display and a Wi-Fi hotspot. However, you’ll get more features on higher trims.

Notable trim levels include the Sierra trim, which starts at $56,990. It comes with a 6.2-liter V8, heated and ventilated seats, a head-up display, and an eight-inch infotainment screen, among other features. The AT4 trim provides off-roaders with responsive steering and a two-inch suspension lift, Car and Driver reports.

The 2021 Nissan Titan

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The base-model 2021 Nissan Titan starts at $36,650. It comes standard with a powerful 5.6-liter V8 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission, producing 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. It offers three cabs and bed configurations of 5.5, 6, or 8.2 feet. An eight-inch infotainment system, six-speaker audio system, and 7.0-inch cluster display are also standard.

The base model comes with RWD and several advanced safety features. They include land-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, automated emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. Like the GMC Sierra, the Nissan Titan has a relatively drab interior. However, the Titan is best suited for work, so many prospective buyers might not mind this.

Both MotorTrend and Car and Driver note the Nissan Titan doesn’t handle particularly well. MotorTrend describes the steering as “lifeless,” and Car and Driver says the Titan’s ride quality is worse than that of the competition. However, both publications note the Titan sacrifices handling for hauling power and ruggedness. The Pro4X trim sports a set of shocks and a suspension system built for tough off-roading. It can haul up to 9,600 pounds — less than many of its rivals but enough for most drivers.

Which truck should you choose?

The GMC Sierra and Nissan Titan are fairly middle-of-the-pack. They’re not top-shelf models like the Ford F-150 or Ram 1500. Neither their hauling power, fuel economy, nor handling is best-in-class. They can’t compete with luxury models even though their higher trims are priced like luxury trucks. They’ve also both earned average safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And neither has a clear advantage over the other.

So why choose a GMC Sierra? If you’re looking for a reliable, good-looking truck with plenty of options to customize, you’ll be pleased with this pickup. It offers unique features like a trick tailgate and multiple exterior paint options. The base-model Sierra also costs thousands less than the entry-level Nissan, and the GMC’s premium trim provides greater hauling power.

But if you’re looking for a powerful truck with a quiet interior and excellent towing performance, choose the Titan. It’s best as a reliable work vehicle. However, it also has slightly more upscale technology features than the Sierra and a better warranty (five years/100,000 miles compared to the Sierra’s five-year/60,00-mile option).

Overall, your decision depends on which truck better suits your needs and budget.