What’s the Difference Between the GMC Sierra and the Chevy Silverado?

August 14th, 2020 by

A black 2018 used GMC Sierra is shown from the rear parked at a modern building near Cincinnati, OH.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a pre-owned truck, then you’ve probably come across the used GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickups at some point in your research. To the untrained eye, they are the same. However, there are several differences between these two trucks that help to make them unique. Both are part of the General Motors family tree, but they are more like cousins than siblings. You can see how they are closely related, but their raw DNA sets them apart from one another just enough to be meaningful. The difference between the GMC Sierra and the Chevy Silverado is in everything, from their interiors and exteriors to their prices. And today, we at McCluskey Auto in Cincinnati, OH, are here to tell you everything there is to know about what separates these vehicles from one another.

Mechanical Differences…Or Not

Both GMC and Chevrolet have vastly different customer bases, and both GMC fans and Chevy fans will argue about which truck reigns supreme. However, when it comes down to brass tacks, the two vehicles share the same mechanics. Let us explain by taking a short trip down memory lane.

Before 1999, both GMC and Chevy referred to the Sierra and the Silverado as the same name. This name was C/K. The “C” was an indication of rear-wheel-drive, and the “K” was an indication of four-wheel-drive. Silverado and Sierra were both trim levels that customers could opt for if they wanted an upgrade from the base model. These two trims became so popular over the years that GM decided to create two vehicles to accommodate the growing fan base for each trim on the same truck.

Also in 1999, the famous Chevrolet Silverado was pushed into the spotlight when it became the standard for all full-size GM pickup trucks. Because of this, all modern Silverado and Sierra trucks are mechanically identical. They both have the same performance capabilities when it comes to horsepower, torque, fuel efficiency, towing, payload, and off-roading capabilities. With that said, though, there is more to these trucks than their mechanics.

Exterior Styling Differences

A red 2018 used GMC Sierra is parked in front of a modern building.

These two trucks may run the same mechanically, but they certainly do not look the same. The Sierra features a boxier shape that is noticeable on the outside, but only slightly. The Sierra’s lines along the side loop around the truck while the Silverado’s lines swoop along the truck’s flank. You can also see the slight styling differences in the fender flares, headlights, exhaust tips, and taillights. If you are looking for something that’s decked out in chrome, the Sierra Denali is the way to go. It features a heavily-chromed grille and restyled logo lettering for a more sophisticated look. In general, the GMC Sierra tends to be more upscale than the Chevy Silverado.

Another unique exterior feature in the 2019 used GMC Sierra models is the MultiPro Tailgate. It comes with a built-in load stop to keep long items from falling out of the bed, and the upper section of the tailgate can be folded down to accommodate two-tier cargo transportation. With six different functions, the MultiPro Tailgate can also support up to 375 pounds. So, with that in mind, there are some significant differences between the two vehicles already.

Trim Level Differences

When it comes to buying a used truck, the trim levels will vary greatly depending on the model year. For the sake of this article, we are going to go over the latest production runs that can now be easily found on the used market.

Generally, the GMC Sierra is offered in five trim levels, and the Chevy Silverado is available in eight trims. You can find used GMC Sierra trucks in the following trims: base, SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali. It’s also easy to find a pre-owned Chevy Silverado in the following trims: WT, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country. If you are looking for a simple work truck, the Silverado is a solid option. However, if you want a truck that is dripping in style from the inside-out, nothing beats a Sierra.

Interior Differences

Again, many details about either vehicle can vary depending on the production year and the trim level you choose. Slipping behind the wheel of the Sierra and the Silverado, you will notice immediately that there are not very many differences. The cabins are almost identical, aside from some more upscale features in the Sierra models. These luxurious styling elements can include leather upholstery, open-pore wood trim details, and even genuine aluminum accents. The top-of-the-line Sierra Denali is in the same price range as a Mercedes-Benz, so you now have a general idea of just how elegant that truck is. It’s no ordinary work truck that you use to go mudding.

Even though both pickups share many of the same technological features, you will find more advanced systems on the Sierra models. For example, the latest advancement in backup camera technology for GM is the rear camera mirror. This displays the video feed from the rearview camera on the rearview mirror instead of the infotainment stack touchscreen. The Silverado models have a traditional rearview camera. Another innovative technological feature you’ll find a newer used GMC Sierra is the head-up display. This multi-color feature projects vital vehicle information onto the windshield so that you don’t have to look away from the road to check the status of your truck. This is meant to help prevent split-second accidents. For instance, you’ll be less likely to hit a deer that is running across the highway if you don’t take your eyes off the road.

One last tech upgrade in the Sierra is a more responsive infotainment interface. For the Silverado, you need to opt for a mid-level or higher trim to get a good infotainment system included. Features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not included in the lower trim levels of the Silverado.

Trailering Differences

A black 2018 Chevy Silverado is towing an enclosed trailer out of a ranch.

The list of specs for both vehicles is dizzying. The towing capacities vary depending on a significant number of factors, including cabin style, bed length, and engine. While both trucks have the potential to perform the same, the GMC Sierra offers the ProGrade Trailering System on used 2019 models. Standard on the SLT and Denali trim levels, this feature adds a pre-departure checklist so that you don’t forget any steps, a trailer tire monitoring system, an integrated light test, and even hitch guidance. Essentially, it turns hitching up a trailer into a one-person job instead of a two-person job. It’s incredibly helpful for people who travel solo.

Price Differences

Since you are already aware of the fact that the GMC Sierra is more luxurious than the Chevy Silverado, then you are probably already expecting to see a difference in the price points. While we can’t speak for the price of the used models, we can tell you how much the new ones cost so that you can get a general idea of which one will cost more.

The GMC Sierra starts at $31,195, and it can reach as high as $62,390. Meanwhile, the Chevy Silverado begins at around $28,300, and it can reach a price point of $60,690 when fully-loaded. As you can see, the price difference is around $1,000, depending on the trim level. That isn’t too bad, but still, the Sierra is the more expensive model.

Find a Truck at McCluskey Auto

The differences between these two vehicles are minimal; however, they are certainly not one and the same. To really understand how they compare, you should take a test drive in both. So visit us at McCluskey Auto, where you can do just that. We look forward to meeting you!