The two GM trucks are mechanically identical.
Which truck is right for you mostly comes down to personal preference.
The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra have been two mechanically identical trucks from General Motors for a long time. Being so similar, why would a truck buyer choose one over the other? They’re both extremely popular in a competitive segment. Despite being so similar, GM has no trouble selling both trucks alongside each other.
It’s worth noting that both of these trucks will have all-new 2019 models coming in late 2018. These new trucks are thoroughly revised with different engine options, very different exteriors, new features and much more. The 2019 Sierra will even be available with a carbon fiber bed and the industry exclusive MultiPro tailgate.
New trucks on the horizon means that dealers will likely be offering some good deals on the outgoing 2018 models to make room for their replacements. If you can find one for a good price, these trucks are still strong contenders in the competitive full-size truck segment. Let’s take a look at the differences between the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado and 2018 GMC Sierra.
The most noticeable difference between the Sierra and the Silverado is the exterior. The days of the two trucks looking exactly the same while wearing different badges are long gone, and despite their similarities, these two trucks look pretty different from each other.
The Chevy has a bit more of a boxy look with a very square front end. It has a thick horizontal bar running across the grille holding the Chevy "bowtie" emblem in the middle. The body of the truck has strong body lines accentuating the fenders and Chevy’s trademark square wheel arches.
The body of the GMC Sierra is similar to the Silverado’s, but the front end is completely different. It has a distinct hexagonal grille and C-shaped accent lighting in the headlights. Since it’s marketed as a premium truck, the Sierra has a bit more of a premium look than the Silverado, which has a more utilitarian attitude. This is especially true if you opt for the luxurious Sierra Denali, which has an exterior exclusive to the Denali with a beautiful chrome grille.
The interiors of these two trucks are extremely similar when similarly optioned. The infotainment system is the same, the gauges are the same, and the controls for things like the stereo, cruise control and optional trailer brake controller are the same. The interior is simple yet functional, and it’s right at home on a full-size pickup.
Like the exterior, the interior in the Sierra has a more premium look and feel over the Silverado, especially in the range-topping Denali trim. The Sierra Denali comes standard with some nice interior touches like Denali badging, bright sill plates, a power sliding rear window and wood interior trim.
Mechanicals and Capability
As we mentioned before, the Sierra and the Silverado are mechanically identical. The engine options in these trucks for 2018 are a 4.3-liter V6, a 5.3-liter V8 and a 6.2-liter V8. There are no diesel engines available for the 1500 variants of these trucks for 2018. The V6 is good for truck drivers looking for the best fuel economy getting 18 miles per gallon city/24 mpg highway. The bigger the engine gets from there, the fewer miles you’ll get from a tank with the 5.3-liter V8 returning 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy and the 6.2-liter V8 getting 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy while requiring premium fuel.
However, you also get more power, torque and capability as you move up the range of engines. The V6 makes 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque with a towing capacity of 6,500 lbs, which is pretty impressive for a V6. Upgrading to the 5.3-liter V8 only improves towing capacity to 6,600 lbs, while the 6.2-liter V8 can tow 7,000 lbs or 7,400 lbs if you opt for the Max Towing Package.
All three engines are available with 4-wheel drive. While boosting the truck’s traction capabilities and being almost a necessity in snowy climates, upgrading to 4-wheel drive makes towing capacity and fuel economy take a slight hit. It’s not very significant, but it’s worth noting if you’re looking for maximum towing and efficiency.
Despite one being marketed as a luxury vehicle, pricing for these two trucks is closer than you might think. The base price of the two trucks is separated by less than $1,000, with the Chevy starting at $28,300 and the GMC starting at $29,000. If you upgrade to the mid-range trims of the trucks, let’s say a Silverado LT and a Sierra SLE both configured with 2WD, crew cab, short box and a 5.3-liter V8 engine, the price difference is an even $1,000, with the Sierra being the more expensive truck.
Even when you get into the higher trims of these two trucks, there isn’t that much of a price difference. The range-topping Silverado High Country starts at $52,000, while the Sierra Denali starts at $52,900. Both trucks can easily be optioned well into the $60,000 trims if the most luxurious, most capable pickup truck in this class is what you’re looking for.
Features and Technology
A strong suit of both of these trucks is the way they can be optioned for exactly what you want or need them to do. If you just want an affordable truck for light-duty towing and hauling, a base-trim of either truck equipped with a V6 would be a great truck for you. If you want the finest in luxury pickups without sacrificing capability, a Sierra Denali or a Silverado High Country would be fantastic if they’re in your budget. From there, you can go pretty much anywhere in between.
For capability, you can get either truck with a Max Trailering Package, which includes additional equipment to optimize towing like an automatic locking rear differential, an enhanced cooling system, an integrated trailer brake controller, and more. If you’re planning on doing a lot of off-roading, you can opt for either the Z71 package on the Silverado or the All Terrain trim of the Sierra. Z71 and All Terrain trucks come with 4-wheel drive, skid plates, recovery hooks, Rancho off-road suspension, hill-descent control, all-terrain tires and more to make off-roading a breeze.
In terms of luxury and interior tech, these trucks range from the most simple trucks with rubber floors and crank windows up to feature-laden cabins that can compete with some of the finest luxury cars on the market. A few available features in both trucks include navigation, heated and cooled leather seats, wireless phone charging, a power sunroof, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 4G LTE Wi-Fi and much more.
While the two trucks might look different when parked next to each other, at the end of the day, they’re still very similar trucks. The Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra have the exact same powertrain options with the same capabilities, similar features and similar pricing.
With the two GM pickups being so similar and neither being better than the other, it’s tough to recommend one over the other. It mostly comes down to personal preference and how much the minor price differences matter to you. If you’re simply looking for a more affordable truck, the Silverado is probably for you. If you don’t mind spending a little more money for a truck that’s a little nicer looking, then you should probably give a closer look to the Sierra.