2020 GMC Sierra 1500

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2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Test Drive Review: An Interior Away From Greatness

In the pickup truck grudge match between the big three American automakers, Ram overtook Chevrolet for the second-place sales spot below Ford in 2019. But let's not forget about the GMC brand (also owned by General Motors), which combined with Chevy, actually outsold Ram. The GMC Sierra may only be the fourth-best-selling full-size pickup on the market, but it still represents a huge volume for GM and caters to an ever so slightly different segment of the market than the Chevy Silverado.

Whereas the bulk of Silverado sales come from lower-trim work trucks, GMC focuses more on the upper end of the market with trims like the AT4 and Denali. GMC even offers class-exclusive features that are not available on its Chevy counterpart, including a handy Multipro tailgate with six different positions and a carbon composite bed. To see how the GMC Sierra 1500 stacks up against the competition like the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500, CarBuzz tested a 2020 Denali Carbon Pro Edition for a week. There is a lot to love about GMC's most luxurious truck, but it clearly needs one major improvement to be considered best in class.

Read in this review:

8.5
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2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Sierra 1500?

For 2020, the Carbon Pro Edition is now available for the AT4 trim and adds 18-inch wheels, a unique grille with a black chrome finish and a Kicker MultiPro sound system. A new 22-inch wheel design for the Denali and newly available trailer tow mirrors have also been added. A newly optional bed view camera has been added along with adaptive cruise control. The Elevation trim can now be had in Crew Cab guise and the ten-speed automatic transmission that was reserved for the 6.2-liter motor last year can now be had with the 5.3-liter V8 engine.

Pros and Cons

  • Highly configurable
  • Many different engine choices
  • Flawless 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Cool MultiPro tailgate
  • Strong tech features
  • Bland interior
  • The Chevy Silverado is more affordable
  • Not the best ride in the segment
  • Missing GM's latest infotainment
  • Less luxurious than rivals

Best Deals on 2020 GMC Sierra 1500

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
4.3L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$29,600
SLE
2.7L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$38,000
Elevation
2.7L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$40,500
SLT
5.3L V8 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$44,500
AT4
5.3L V8 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$51,300
See All 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Trims and Specs

2020 Sierra 1500 Exterior

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Front View CarBuzz
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Rear View CarBuzz
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Front Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 229.6 in
  • Wheelbase 139.6 in
  • Height 75.6 in
  • Max Width 81.2 in

2020 Sierra 1500 Performance

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Gauge Cluster CarBuzz
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    2.7L Inline-4 Gas, 3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Diesel, 4.3L V6 Gas, 5.3L EcoTec3 V8, 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine with DFM, 5.3L V8 Gas, 6.2L EcoTec3 V8
  • Transmissions
    10-Speed Automatic, 6-Speed Automatic, 8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Sierra 1500 feels every bit of its gargantuan size, but thanks to light yet precise steering, it doesn't feel like a burden when maneuvering at low speeds in tight spaces. At higher speeds, the truck feels solid and relaxed through the wheel, thanks due in part to available safety technologies like lane-keep assist. The cab is fairly quiet compared to rivals, though the ride comfort only feels average at best - far from the floaty ride offered by the Ram 1500 Limited's air suspension. Though it is not the softest truck on the market, the Adaptive Ride Control offered in the Denali trim helps provide excellent body control and improved comfort over rougher pavement.

How the Sierra stacks up to towing or acceleration tests hinges on the engine under the hood. We prefer the optional 6.2-liter V8 to the 5.3-liter that we last tested in the Silverado Trail Boss. The 5.3L offers adequate passing power but the 6.2L makes you feel like the true king of the road. Most buyers will never take the luxurious Denali trim on a vigorous trail, but the AT4 offers greater off-road performance without losing all of the luxury found in the Denali. Regardless of engine or trim level, the GMC Sierra is among the most enjoyable full-size trucks to drive.

2020 Sierra 1500 Interior

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Dashboard CarBuzz
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Climate Control CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    3-seater
  • Front Leg Room 44.5 in
  • Front Head Room 43.1 in

2020 Sierra 1500 Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Seat Storage CarBuzz
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Trunk Space CarBuzz
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Maximum Cargo Space CarBuzz

2020 Sierra 1500 Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit
  • Drivetrain Note:
    HD Duramax Diesel: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles; Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years
  • Roadside Assistance Note:
    HD Duramax Diesel: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles; Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 a good Truck?

Compared to the polarizing styling of the Chevrolet Silverado, the GMC's classic design should appeal to truck buyers who are hesitant to change. The Sierra's driving characteristics still feel top-notch thanks to one of the best available engine/transmission combinations in the segment (the 6.2L V8 and 10-speed auto). There are more cushy options available, but old school truck fans may prefer the Sierra's old-school approach. For those who can live with far less than the Denali trim's leather seats and power running boards, GMC still offers a wide range of trim and configurations so you can build the perfect truck for your needs.

We are glad that GMC left a bit of old school feel in the Sierra, but the truck could still do with a major refresh on the interior. Ford and Ram have GMC completely outclassed in this area, but judging from the recently-unveiled Yukon SUV, the company's designers still understand how to make a class-leading interior. Look for a 2021 or 2022 model to receive major enhancements in the cabin. If the powertrain is more important to you, then we still recommend the Sierra 1500, especially with the 6.2L V8. But if you also want your truck to be a comfortable family vehicle, there might be better options available.

Check out other GMC Sierra 1500 Styles

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Comparisons

Ford F-150 Ford
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Chevrolet
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
GMC Sierra 1500285 hp16/21 mpg$30,100
Ford F-150 290 hp20/24 mpg$29,290
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 310 hp19/22 mpg$34,600

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 vs Ford F-150

Both of these trucks excel at what matters most to potential purchasers. These merits include towing and power as well as the ability to proudly say that you own one. While they offer some similar qualities like a passion for low-end torque, a few things will seal the deal for different shoppers. Both offer a range of different configurations including fleet-focused versions and different bed and cab sizes. If you're after some more modern tech, the Sierra would be the better choice. It also leads the pack when we consider the space in the front. That being said, the F-150 beats the Sierra with a lower asking price. The Ford also takes the cake with the ability to tow around 1,000 pounds more. Essentially, the Sierra 1500 is better as an everyday truck for the family, and the Ford is the optimal choice if you're looking for a workhorse at an affordable price.

See Ford F-150 Review

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 vs Chevrolet Silverado 1500

These GM relatives share plenty of similarities, and they're almost identical in terms of their powertrains and configurations. For the exterior, the Chevy has a face that is slightly more striking, but both have bold front ends. Their interiors are also similar, but the Sierra offers better options that are nonexistent on the Chevy, which makes the GMC a better choice for shoppers that prioritize a premium feel. That being said, at base level, they are quite similar and share the same infotainment system and hard plastics. The Silverado makes the most sense for work-spec shoppers, while the GMC suits those looking for a more deluxe experience.

See Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

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2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Video Review

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