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A black 2020 GMC Sierra AT4 is parked on grass next to a small lake.

Looking at Top Contenders: 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2020 Ram 1500

When considering buying a new pickup, you’ll want to take into account all makes and models. Trucks have come a long way in recent years, and today’s American-brand pickup trucks are built to last and built to perform. But which pickup is the right one for you? Ultimately that will come down to what you’re looking for in a truck and your personal preferences, but two of the best selling trucks out there right now are the GMC Sierra and the Ram 1500. So, before making any decisions on which truck is right for you, you’ll want to check out the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2020 Ram 1500.

Examining the Cost

Naturally, the first thing you’ll see when comparing any kind of vehicle is the sticker price. After all, it’s plastered right in the window, so it’s hard to miss. But how exactly do prices stack up between the Sierra 1500 and the Ram 1500? You’ll need to delve a bit deeper into what each trim offers to get a better grasp of what is offered. That said, the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 has an initial asking MSRP of $26,600 for a regular cab (two-door) version. In comparison, the Ram 1500 has a starting MSRP of $31,895. The main difference here is the Ram 1500 base pickup (the Tradesman) does not come in a standard two-door cab, so if you’re looking for a two-door option, you’ll need to go with the GMC Sierra and the lower price point.

The highest trim for the GMC Sierra 1500 is the Denali. The Denali has an initial MSRP of $56,595, with 2WD and the 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine. If you want to go with 4WD, the Turbo-Diesel I6 engine, or any other additional features, the MSRP will increase. As for the Ram 1500, the Limited trim is the top-trim. It has an initial MSRP of $53,615 with 2WD.

A red 2020 GMC Sierra 1500, which wins when comparing the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2020 Ram 1500, is driving on a treelined road.

Performance Features

One of the great things about buying a pickup is the sheer number of engine options. You won’t find this kind of selection in any other vehicle, outside of certain performance cars. With both the GMC Sierra and the Ram, you can select between fuel-efficient options, larger V8 engines, and diesel offerings. If you have an eye on a specific engine, you need to find out if it’s available in the trim you want. Not all engine options are available on individual trims.

In the base 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 the 4.3L V6 comes standard. This particular engine produces 305 horsepower and 285 lb-ft of torque. For the base Ram 1500, the pickup comes with a 3.6L V6, which produces 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. And Ram 1500 pickups offer something known as eTorque. This is where the traditional alternator (which is powered by the engine) is removed and replaced with a stand-alone device powered by a 48-volt generator that pulls energy from braking. It is referred to as a mild hybrid device, although it doesn’t do much for fuel-efficiency. Instead, it helps bump up torque numbers. It also adds to the sticker price, but it’s an interesting feature to consider if you want to max out your torque numbers.

When comparing the base trims, the GMC Sierra 1500 comes out on top, offering the same horsepower yet more torque.

But what about the V8? If you’ve ever driven a V8, you know there’s something about the hum of a V8 that sets itself apart from a V6. The deep rumble produced as the engine catches is unlike anything else, and that sound alone is almost enough to justify the increased purchase price. As for engine specs on the V8 with the 2020 Sierra 1500, it is a 5.3L V8 producing 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. The Ram 1500 uses a 5.7 HEMI V8 that produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque.

If you’re looking to get the max torque out of your pickups, you’ll need to go with the diesel offerings on each. For the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500, the Duramax Turbo-Diesel I6 tips the scales at 460 lb-ft of torque while the Ram 1500 hits 480 lb-ft of torque.

A white 2020 Ram 1500 is parked in a grassy field with a windmill behind it.

Towing Potential

Towing is an important part of selecting the right truck. Sometimes you want a truck that can max out all of the towing numbers while other times, you might just want a pickup that can lug your everyday trailer. You will need to keep this in mind when looking at towing numbers. You might find the base model of one pickup satisfies your needs, even though the top trim of the other brand offers more towing.

For the 2020 Sierra 1500, the base model offers a max towing of up to 10,000 lbs. For the base Ram 1500, the max towing is 6,730 lbs. That represents a significant difference. It means you can pay slightly less for the Sierra 1500 base and still tow nearly 3,300 more pounds than what you get with the Ram 1500.

If you were to max out the engine options and decided to go with the V8 of each pickup (while the diesel engines for each provides higher torque numbers the combination of torque and horsepower on the V8s is what allows the V8 engines to tow more), you would find the GMC Sierra 1500 can tow up to 12,100 lbs while the 5.7 V8 HEMI with eTorque on the Ram 1500 can tow up to 12,750 lbs. This is a small increase of around 650 lbs. If that small difference matters, then Ram will win this round, but you will be paying a premium for the eTorque feature.

Keeping You and Your Passengers Safe

Both pickups are especially safe, but which one comes with the most safety features? On the base Sierra 1500, you’ll find a driver, front head, front side, passenger, and rear airbags, 4-wheel ABS and 4-wheel disc brakes, plus electronic stability control, traction control, and daytime running lights. Some optional features to consider include cross-traffic alert, integrated turn signal mirrors, front tow hooks, and blind-spot monitoring. The base Ram 1500 comes with the same airbags and brakes, as well as electronic stability control, traction control, and daytime running lights. It also comes standard with child safety locks, and brake assist. Blind-spot monitoring, integrated turn signal mirrors, and cross-traffic alert are optional.

On the Denali Sierra 1500, you receive all the same standard features, plus, front tow hooks, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and cross-traffic alert, with optional integrated turn signal mirrors, brake assist, and lane-keeping assist. As for the Limited Ram 1500, it comes with all the same standard safety features as the Denali, although brake assist and integrated turn signal mirrors are also standard (lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist are optional).

A side view of the front and rear brown and black leather interior of a 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 is shown.

Entertainment Features

You’ll find several solid entertainment features on your pickups. For the base Sierra, it comes standard with AM/FM stereo, AUX input, MP3 player, and smart device integration with optional WiFi hotspot. The base Ram is pretty basic, offering just AUX input, MP3 player, AM/FM stereo, and optional satellite radio. WiFi hotspot is not available on the base pickup.

You get all the bells and whistles on the Denali 1500. It comes with all the same standard audio features, plus a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, a premium sound system, HD radio, satellite radio, navigation system, and an optional entertainment system. The Ram 1500 Limited does come with 4G LTE WiFi hotspot standard this time around, plus HD radio, satellite radio, a premium sound system, smart device integration this time, and navigation. It does not have an optional entertainment system.

Finding The Right Truck For You And Your Needs

What’s great about the current state of trucks built in the United States is you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Whether you like the all-new Ram 1500 redesign or the luxury features of the GMC Sierra 1500 and its MultiPro tailgate, there’s always something out there for you. With proper care and maintenance, a new pickup will last you years, and these trucks are more fuel-efficient now than ever before. So when considering the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2020 Ram 1500, there is much to like about each model. If you want the more luxury-refined pickup, the Sierra 1500 is there for you as it does have some features you won’t find on the Ram. But whatever you go with, know you’re investing in an excellent pickup that will deliver both in performance and in durability.