Finding the ultimate pickup truck is no easy feat. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind, from the engine to the wide variety of amenities and cab styles, the possibilities when buying a pickup can feel dizzying. Fortunately, sifting through the wide variety out there all comes down to comparison. Characteristics like engine capabilities, size, and towing capability can all play a huge role in helping you find the perfect pickup for work, play, or the day-to-day. To help you narrow down the options, we’ll compare two of the most popular pickup trucks out on the road today, the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2020 Ford F-150.
While the Ford is arguably a classic, being one of the first to introduce a pickup model to the auto industry in the late 1910s. That said, Ford has picked up a lot of challengers in this category over the last century or so, and facing off against the prolific auto giant is GMC with their Sierra 1500 model. While both pickup trucks are certain to whet the appetite of any truck enthusiast, we’ve decided to put these two vehicles up against one another.
A Comparison of Appearances
In terms of appearances, neither pickup model does a poor job at showing off. On the one hand, the 2020 Ford F-150 does an excellent job of utilizing a more modern aesthetic, blending in with the rest of the vehicles in its line up. On the other, the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 does a comparable job, instead opting for a more classic appearance with its hard edges and dazzling front grille. So, determining the winner in the style category is really up to you and what you’re looking for in a pickup truck.
How about the options? Well, once again, both models are neck and neck in terms of diversity. The 2020 Ford F-150 sports a varied trim lineup including the XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. Three cab configurations are peppered across the model, a regular cab, a SuperCab, and a SuperCrew cab. The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 is no different in terms of being able to become the pickup truck that matches your needs. Six trim options exist in GMC’s flagship pickup truck, including the SLE, SLT, Elevation, AT4, and Denali. Three cab and bed options grace the GMC Sierra 1500 as well, which allows you to customize a pickup truck that truly speaks to your drive style and lifestyle.
Beyond build, style, and configurations, price is really where these two pickup trucks start to differ. The 2020 Ford F-150 starts considerably lower in the price scale, with entry level models costing as little as $28,495. Meanwhile, the GMC Sierra 1500 starts at an MSRP of $37,800, which is quite a lot higher than its competitor. That said, the base model of the Ford F-150 starts small in spec too, and as we delve a little deeper, you may start to realize that the Ford F-150 XLT may be the better pick, and will set you back a similar price as the entry-level GMC.
The Muscle Beneath the Chassis
Engine build is really where a pickup truck either succeeds or fails, and for the most part, both of these pickup trucks do plenty of succeeding. That said, one is certainly better than the other, in more ways than one.
The 2020 Ford F-150 for starters comes with a solid base engine, a 3.3-liter V6 to be exact, which may be too small for some drivers. The base engine does deliver about 290 horsepower and has a standard torque rating of 265 lb-ft of torque. This entry-level engine is a good pick for work trucks, but you’ll have to upgrade to something a little beefier if you want more.
This base model engine is also coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which is nothing fancy but gets the job done well enough. Upgrading the 2020 Ford F-150 takes you to the entry-level price of the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500, but you’ll be getting the promise of a 2.7-liter turbo V6 that makes 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, and is partnered with a 10-speed automatic transmission, giving it the ability to lug up a pretty solid 8,500 pounds. What is unfortunate about the Ford F-150 is that it only provides a singular V8 option, which is a 5.0-liter and turns out 395 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. While not a terrible V8 option, we would have asked for a bit more variety.
The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500, on the other hand, does a similar job in terms of base power; however, the 4.3-liter V6 does provide superior torque ratings. The 285 horsepower is good, but the 305 lb-ft of torque is great, and the soft shifting 6-speed automatic makes even the entry-level GMC Sierra 1500 a true workhorse champion. Unlike Ford, you can get a turbo-4 engine in the GMC Sierra, which even competes with the turbocharged six-cylinder, providing 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque. The V8 engine builds are numerous, including a 6.2-liter V8 that delivers 420 horsepower 460 lb-ft of torque, and has no issue with hauling up to 12,000 pounds far exceeding the Ford classic.
When you look just at the base model of these two vehicles, the similarities are obvious, however, pulling back to a bigger picture, you get a solid perspective that puts the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 in a better position of engine power and overall performance.
Interior Window Dressings
Often times the engine builds of pickup truck models take up all the attention, but we’d be remised if we didn’t turn our focus internally. The interior of the base model 2020 Ford F-150 does a good job as a work truck, but beyond that, it doesn’t bring many bells and whistles to the table. When you pay that low entry price, you’ll get a basic AM/FM radio, manual door locks, vinyl floors, and some other standard features you’d expect on any vehicle made after 2010. While you can enjoy greater amenities like an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible infotainment system, a wi-fi hotspot, and real leather seats, you’ll have to pay a fair amount more for them. Safety features are also exclusive to higher trims, and when you buy the basic work truck you’ll be expected to deal with the bare minimums of airbags and seatbelts.
The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 may be a bit more expensive starting out, but you’ll get a lot more of the modern comforts that you know and love. For that entry price, you’ll be able to enjoy power features, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and a 7.0-inch infotainment system that is, yes, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Things only go up from there, adding cooled and heated front seats, as well as wireless smartphone charging docks, and a surround-view camera system. Speaking of cameras, the 2020 GMC Sierra does get automatic emergency braking and other active safety features, however, like Ford, they’re trapped behind a paywall.
Which is Superior
On the surface, the Ford F-150 may seem like the better choice, with its lower price and comparable engine performance. However, it is the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 that truly wins out, in the end, providing far more diverse build options, and the ability to choose from a 4, 6, or even 8-cylinder engine with ease. Overall the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 is our clear winner; however, you shouldn’t just take our word for it. We recommend that you head on over to a GMC dealership near you to see why we made the GMC Sierra 1500 our favored pick over Ford’s long-praised classic.