If you have much familiarity with the auto industry, then you know that some brands are owned by a single larger parent company. For example, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, and Dodge are all owned by Stellantis, while General Motors owns Chevy, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac. So when looking at the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500, you might be tempted to think they’re essentially the same model. The companies that make them are owned by the same corporation, after all, and they’re built on the same platform.
There are certainly a lot of similarities, but also some key differences. Today, I’m going to take you through both of these models to compare them. In the end, I think you’ll see that we’re not just looking at Clark Kent and Superman here, but that they really are their own models with their own identities. Which one of these two trucks is right for you? Well, you’ll just have to make up your mind for yourself.
Similarity #1: The Engines
Both the 2021 GMC Sierra and 2021 Chevy Silverado are built on the same platform, which means they’re generally similar overall, but they also feature exactly the same engines. There’s not even a difference in terms of options, or that one truck has an engine that the other doesn’t; they both have the same five engines available. They both start with a 4.3L V6 that offers 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s an available 2.7L Turbo that provides 310 hp and 348 lb-ft of torque for both trucks.
Next, you have two different versions of a 5.3L V8 engine available – one with dynamic fuel management and one with active fuel management. No matter which you choose, however, it will offer 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s an available 6.2L V8 engine that delivers 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Finally, both of these trucks have an available 3.0L Turbo Diesel engine with 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Some of the trim names and options may differ, but the hearts of these two trucks (by which I mean the engines) are the same.
Similarity #2: The Available Tailgate
Talking about the tailgate as a similarity might seem a bit obvious, but in the case of these two trucks, it’s actually pretty noteworthy. That’s because both have an available six-function tailgate that provides you with great options for ease of use and access. It might be called the MultiPro on the 2021 GMC Sierra and the Multi-Flex tailgate on the 2021 Chevy Silverado, but they both function the same way.
They can open and close as a standard tailgate, as you’d expect, with power opening through the key fob or interior button; there’s also a primary gate stop to keep long items from sliding out the back when the tailgate is down. An inner gate can fold down to give you easier access when reaching into the bed, while a full-width step on the inner gate makes it easy to climb up into the truck. This inner gate also has its own load stop you can use, and the inner-gate work surface makes it easy to get the most from your truck.
Similarity #3: The Interior Options
The features inside your truck will depend on the trim level and other options you choose, of course, but you can essentially get the same stuff in both of these pickups. They may not be all the same going from one trim to another, but looking at the highest trims on each model paints a pretty clear picture. To keep things simple, let’s check out the 2021 GMC Sierra Denali and the 2021 Chevy Silverado High Country.
Inside the Sierra Denali, you’ll find an 8-inch infotainment display with Navigation, support for wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a Bose 7-speaker premium sound system. It has 10-way power-adjustable front seats that are heated and ventilated with a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. There’s a wireless charging pad, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an available head-up display.
Inside the Silverado High Country, you’ll find a Bose 7-speaker premium audio system, with wireless phone projection for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an 8-inch infotainment screen with Navigation. The High Country features perforated, leather seating with 10-way power-adjustable front seats, heated seating, and a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a wireless charging area, and an available head-up display complete the High Country’s interior.
It took a lot of self-control for me to not just copy/paste that first paragraph a second time because the features are basically identical.
Similarity #4: The Configuration Choices
In setting up the overall look and configuration of a truck, both the 2021 GMC Sierra and the 2021 Chevy Silverado are very similar – you might even say essentially the same. The Sierra is available with a regular cab with a long box, a double cab with a standard box, and a crew cab with either a short or standard box. Meanwhile, the Silverado has the same four options, with the cab and bed sizes pretty much identical.
Both of these trucks come with two-wheel drive standard and have four-wheel drive available, though there are some trim restrictions for this. One interesting difference is that the GMC Sierra with a crew cab and standard bed is only available with four-wheel drive. The Silverado, on the other hand, has this cab and bed size offered with either drive type. That’s right – we’ve found a difference! But that’s not the only one…
Difference #1: The Towing and Payload
Perhaps the most notable difference between these two trucks is the maximum capabilities of each one in terms of towing and payload. I’ll give you some specific information, but if you want the overview, it’s this: the Silverado offers greater towing and payload than the GMC Sierra. Even though they’re built on the same platform with the same engines, the Silverado is designed to offer more muscle.
Maximum Towing Capacity
2021 GMC Sierra – 11,800 lbs
2021 Chevy Silverado – 13,300 lbs
Maximum Payload Capacity
2021 GMC Sierra – 2,180 lbs
2021 Chevy Silverado – 2,280 lbs
So, you can see, the differences aren’t necessarily vast, but they’re still considerable. With so many other similarities – even many other features that are downright identical – such a vital difference can be easy to miss. A 100-lb difference in payload might not mean much to a lot of truck owners, but 2,500 lbs of towing certainly can.
Difference #2: The Starting Price
The other major difference between these two trucks is their starting price – and this is also a very significant distinction, especially when you consider how much they have in common. The 2021 GMC Sierra starts at $30,100 MSRP, though deals and incentives can certainly bring that down in some cases. By comparison, the 2021 Chevy Silverado starts at just $29,300 MSRP, which is nearly $1,000 less.
Again, for a lot of people, that won’t make a huge difference, and when you look at it proportionately, the difference is less than 3%. However, when you consider that this trend essentially continues across the configurations and trims, it’s still worth looking at. For example, the Sierra Denali starts at $55,800 MSRP, while the Silverado High Country starts at $53,900 MSRP – again, not a massive difference (especially at this price) but still something to consider.
A Lot in Common
Ultimately, the 2021 GMC Sierra and 2021 Chevy Silverado are incredibly similar vehicles. For a lot of people, there’s almost no difference between these two trucks, and either one will work great. But GM fans will still typically choose one over the other: viewing GMC as the luxury brand and Chevy as the workday brand. While the specs aren’t all that different, it is undeniable that these two trucks cater to different markets with their styling and options.