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A blue 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is shown parked in a driveway after a 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2022 Toyota Tundra competition.

How the Upgrades Stack Up: 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2022 Toyota Tundra

Trucks are popular in the United States, with sales increasing to account for about 20 percent of the automotive market last year. Truck manufacturers continue to create more fervor for their products, with powertrains that can tow thousands of pounds, interiors that rival luxury cars, and unique features to lure buyers into a purchase. For 2022, both GMC and Toyota have renewed their product lines, and the competition between the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2022 Toyota Tundra is hotter than ever. GMC gave the Sierra a mid-cycle update which includes two new trim levels, and truck lovers have been salivating over the uber-luxurious AT4X and Denali Ultimate trims. Toyota started a whole new generation for the Tundra, which is only its second redesign since being introduced in 1999.

Both the 2022 Sierra 1500 and 2022 Tundra have numerous features added to the updated platforms, including everything from the suspension systems to technology, and in the case of the Sierra 1500, an answer to all the critics who said the Denali wasn’t premium enough. Toyota finally made the choice to be competitive with the rest of the full-sized truck segment by updating the cabin to resemble more of the modern aesthetic buyers want while also attending to the frustrations about the harsh ride quality of the past generation. If you’re in the market for a pickup this year, the 2022 Sierra 1500 and 2022 Tundra are two trucks to consider with all the fresh updates, but is one better than the other?

A black 2022 Toyota Tundra 1794 CrewMax is shown parked in a desert during a 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2022 Toyota Tundra comparison.

New Features for 2022

GMC did a lot of tweaking for the mid-cycle refresh of the 2022 Sierra 1500, with updated designs for the grille, new animations for the headlights, and a new interior that incorporates an available 13.4-inch touchscreen and electronic shifter. Toyota’s complete overhaul of the 2022 Tundra means a new platform shared with the Land Cruiser and new interior and exterior styling to update the old appearance. One of those updates includes a new composite bed liner for the Tundra, which is aluminum-based. While a composite bed will resist rust and corrosion and prevent dents and dings, the CarbonPro composite bed on the 2022 Sierra is made of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber vs aluminum means the GMC bed is far tougher and lighter if you use the bed for work duty.

Technology updates, particularly for trailering, are numerous for both trucks. Toyota finally offers more camera angles to make towing safer and provides a few new systems to make trailering easier. In certain trims, buyers can have a 360-degree camera system, a back-up camera for trailering, or a multi-terrain camera for off-roading. Unfortunately for Toyota, the 2022 Tundra is late to the game where this tech is concerned. GMC has been selling the Sierra with a lot of trailering tech for years, and GMC has had a lot of time to perfect its systems. The Sierra already offers its own 360-degree camera system, has special camera angles for off-roading, and also has a back-up camera guide for trailering, plus it has the “transparent” trailer view, a split-screen view to see both sides of your trailer at once, and a jack-knife warning system, among several other camera systems available. It’s good to see Toyota finally adding the tech upgrades, but the 2022 Sierra 1500 still beats the fresh tech in the Tundra.

Interior upgrades for both trucks this year are nothing short of incredible. Critics have been bemoaning Toyota’s lack of competitiveness in terms of interior materials for years; meanwhile, GMC racks up the sales of the Denali line with premium truck interiors verging on luxury. Now that the Sierra 1500 receives two new trims that feature such illustrious upgrades as open-pore wood grain, laser-etched maps of Denali Mountain scattered around the interior, and “bespoke” style hand-stitched elements in the seats and dash, can the 2022 Tundra compete with that? The short answer is no.

Even with its own open-pore walnut in the 1794 Edition, the Tundra design is still not quite the elevated look you find in the new luxury trims of the Sierra 1500. The large touchscreen doesn’t blend with the dash in the Tundra, and the wood trim looks slapped onto the interior as an afterthought. In the Sierra, the touchscreen looks like part of the truck, and the interior is a well-planned and executed design that truly says upscale.

Performance Comparison

Comparing performance between two trucks should start with powertrains. GMC has always offered numerous options for buyers with its wide variety of capable engines, and 2022 Sierra choices continue to provide four available powertrains. The standard engine for the 2022 Sierra kicks off the lineup with a turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four that makes 310 hp with 420 lb-ft of torque. Though truck buyers may wonder what a four-cylinder is doing in a full-sized truck, this capable engine can tow up to 9,400 pounds and saves on fuel. Three other engine options from GMC include the 5.3-liter V8, a 6.2-liter V8, and a 3.0-liter diesel. The most capable engine for the 2022 Sierra is the diesel, which can tow up to 13,200 pounds.

GMC has tuned its standard inline-four and diesel engines for the new model year to make them more powerful, and despite the fact that Toyota now has a new engine option, the GMC engines simply outstrip what Toyota brings to the table. In the Tundra, a new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 now makes 389 hp with 479 lb-ft of torque, and it replaces Toyota’s previous V8 engine. While the new V6 is improved by being paired to a ten-speed automatic transmission, the only other powertrain option is a new hybrid that still uses the same V6 boosted by an electric motor. With the hybrid, the 2022 Tundra makes a more powerful 437 hp with 583 lb-ft of torque, but even at its best, it still only tows 12,000 pounds.

Facing off with new off-roading capability is yet another point of comparison that may be a disappointment for Tundra loyalists. This year, the Sierra 1500 adds DSSV spool valve dampers to its new off-road AT4X variant, plus the addition of front and rear e-lockers and one-pedal rock-crawling capability. Though Toyota did upgrade its suspension for 2022 with a new multilink rear that swaps out the old leaf springs for coils and has an available air suspension for the rear, once again, GMC trumps the Toyota upgrades. For off-road capability, the spool valve dampers and adaptive ride control in the Sierra AT4X take the GMC into far more performance-oriented territory that easily beats even the capable TRD Pro with its Fox shocks.

A black 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate is shown parked outside of a modern home.

Utility for Hauling

Beyond the most obvious truck uses like towing and off-roading, if you tend to use your truck for work or DIY projects, you want to have certain features to make life easier. Take, for instance, how you tie down loads in the bed or need to haul cargo that doesn’t fit easily into the available space. Honestly, for such matters, GMC introduced its MultiPro tailgate as a world-class feature that truly changes how you make use of the truck bed. Being able to fold it down into a step for bed access or fold it up to act as a load stop for long objects are just a couple of ways the tailgate can make hauling a snap. It’s nothing short of revolutionary, and Toyota can only offer up its powered, damped tailgate as competition.

Add to the plate that GMC also makes standard its corner steps for easy bed access, it includes 12 standard tie-downs, and it has the best-in-class bed volume, and no matter how you slice it, the 2022 Tundra doesn’t cut it. Even with the available deck rail system and the new “bump” switch at the back of the bed, the Tundra doesn’t have the utility features of the Sierra for 2022. Overall, the 2022 GMC Sierra offers far more choices, capability, and utility than the 2022 Toyota Tundra, whether you want the truck for off-roading, hauling, or towing.