2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 GMC Sierra 1500

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  • 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500

    A white Chevy Silverado is angled left.

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    2021 GMC Sierra 1500

    A silver GMC Sierra 1500 is angled right.

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    23/33Fuel Economy (MPG)23/30
    13,300Towing Capacity (lbs)11,800
    2,280Payload (lbs)2,250

    Chevy and GMC trucks have been lumped into the same category for years, but their similarities are not as close as you might think. While they do resemble each other design-wise, these models are catered to different crowds. When we look at the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 GMC Sierra 1500, it's easy to see how this works.

    First off, the Silverado is designed more for hard workers, whereas the Sierra is made with luxury in mind. Both trucks are widely capable, sure, but the Silverado brings a no-nonsense look and feature set to the table. The Sierra offers a smoother, more luxurious riding experience, but those premium features are a handicap when it comes to towing, hauling, and getting work done.

    The bottom line here is this: if you're looking for a powerful truck with advanced towing accessories, the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 is the best choice between the two. Every truck owner is different, but most of our local drivers prefer trucks for their real-world capability more than their luxury appeal. That said, let's take a closer look at each model's differences so you can decide for yourself.

  • Performance

    A black 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 is parked on a city street during a 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 comparison.

    When you're buying a new truck, you're obviously looking for performance over everything else. You want a good payload capacity, excellent max towing numbers, and acceptable fuel economy ratings despite all that power. Speaking of which, contrary to popular belief, horsepower doesn't mean much if the towing capacity isn't high enough. While the Sierra offers the same horsepower ratings, the Silverado's towing capacity comes out far ahead.

    The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500's Performance

    Right off the bat, the 2021 Silverado 1500 offers higher towing and payload capacities than the 2021 Sierra 1500. When it comes to payload, the Silverado can handle up to 2,280 pounds, and its max towing capacity lands at an impressive 13,300 pounds with the 6.2-liter V8 engine. Depending on which engine and configuration you choose, you can also get better fuel economy, as the diesel engine gets up to 23 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway.

    In addition to these important features, the Silverado 1500 also gets a much better mileage range, with up to 726 driving miles on a full tank with the turbocharged diesel engine option. The diesel engine does tow less than the V8 option, with a max towing capacity of 9,500 pounds. However, this is still more than the 2021 Sierra 1500's diesel engine, which we'll see below.

    The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500's Performance

    The new GMC Sierra 1500 falls short on all the work-related specs. The only place it comes close to matching the Silverado is its payload capacity, which still isn't quite there at 2,230 pounds max. Even with its strongest engine, the Sierra can only tow up to 11,800 pounds, which is a full 1,500 pounds less than its Silverado competition. While the Sierra's diesel engine does get up to 30 MPG on the highway, that is still short at 3 miles per gallon less compared with the Silverado. Further, GMC's diesel can only tow 9,200 pounds which is 300 pounds less than Chevy's diesel Silverado 1500.

    Who Wins This Battle?

    While both models are well-equipped for towing and hauling, the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 wins all the major performance specs. Not only does the Silverado offer more power, but it maintains better fuel efficiency while doing it. The Sierra is not a bad truck; it's just not as cut out for hard work like the Silverado is.

  • Exterior

    A red 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 is shown parked in a desert.

    The Silverado 1500 is known for its labor capabilities, while the Sierra 1500 is known for its luxurious appeal. But which model offers the best exterior convenience features? When you're using your truck bed for hauling, you'll want to have corner steps to get up in the bed, hooks for tie-downs, and many other helpful tools. Let's look and see what the Silverado and Sierra have to offer in this department.

    The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500's Exterior

    Some of the Silverado's exterior features vary depending on what trim you buy, but you can get the Silverado 1500 with 12 different cargo tie-downs. These can handle up to 500 pounds in each bed corner. You'll also get standard corner steps, available red recovery hooks to tow other vehicles when they break down or get stuck, and LED truck bed lighting. This lighting can be turned on from inside the cab or with your key fob, and it's designed to help you load or unload at nighttime.

    The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 also includes an option for an EZ Lift tailgate, which takes the weight pressure off your tailgate, making it easier to open when you've got a full load. This feature is electronic, allowing you to raise or lower the tailgate via the push of a button. Plus, thanks to the all-new Multi-Flex Tailgate, you'll get a primary gate, an inner gate, and an extended step to make loading even easier. You can also add bed liner into the mix on this model. To top it all off, you'll get up to 89.1 cubic feet of cargo space in your Silverado's truck bed. Overall, the 2021 Silverado 1500 is the ultimate work truck.

    The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500's Exterior

    The Sierra 1500 actually includes all the same bed features that the Silverado 1500 has, even if the truck can't handle as much payload. You've got the power tailgate, corner steps, and LED lighting. These models even offer the same exact cargo space and 12 convenient tow hooks. Since both trucks offer the same exterior convenience features and the same exact payload capacity, this is one area where the Chevy vs GMC similarity stereotype reigns true.

  • Towing Tech

    The interior of a 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

    Both the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 and the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 offer impressive towing technologies. Both models include a mobile trailering app with plenty of features. These apps include pre-departure checklists to help you make sure you've remembered to hook up the trailer lights and other minor tasks before you get on your way. You can even make your own pre-departure checklists if certain aspects are unique to your situation. Further, both apps offer trailer load calculations, letting you know the exact weight of your trailer and truck combination. This gross weight level is important in properly calculating your truck's capacity. You don't want to overload it.

    Trailering Has Never Been Easier

    These trailering apps also include something called a "trailer glossary," which is filled with towing information and terms you may need along the way. Finally, you can perform a trailer light test remotely, and you can also check your trailer's health to make sure tire pressure and other important assets are in the clear.

    Additionally, both models come with an In-Vehicle Trailering App. This app displays important information, like each trailer tire's temperature and pressure level. It also allows you to create multiple trailer profiles. So, if you have a boat trailer, a livestock trailer, a regular gooseneck trailer, and a short carry-on trailer, you can customize profiles for each. When you switch between trailers, simply choose which trailer you're using, and you can save time by avoiding setting adjustments.

    15 Camera Views

    Another handy trailering feature that both the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 and the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 offer is multiple camera views, specifically for your trailer. Each model offers 15 different camera angles, including a hitch view, which makes it way easier to hook up your trailer when you're alone. Interestingly enough, both models offer a "transparent trailer" option which lets you see through your trailer, only showing its outline. This way, you can easily see what vehicles or objects are behind your trailer. These are only a few of those 15 different views, but they're among the most important.

    Overall, both models include the same impressive trailering technologies. The main difference between the two is that the GMC costs a bit more, despite offering the same trailering technologies as the Chevy and has a lower towing capacity.

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