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Ford and GMC Heavy-Duty Pickups Pack Plenty of Power

A red 2020 Ford Superduty F-250 Lariat is parked in a quarry.

A heavy-duty pickup is a perfect platform for hauling commercial-sized loads or taking a fifth-wheel camper for long road trips. Two of the top builders of heavy-duty pickups are Ford and GMC with the F-250 and the Sierra 2500, respectively. The popularity of the truck platforms leads many to weigh the benefits of the 2020 Ford F-250 vs 2020 GMC Sierra 2500.

Both models are very popular and among the best in the class. They have strong engines, roomy cabins, and excellent towing capacities. They also carry large loads in the bed and can even get relatively good fuel economy when equipped with their diesel engines. Even their interiors are very comfortable with top-line models featuring especially plush comforts.

Depending on your transportation needs, either pickup could prove to be an exceptional value over the long run – especially when you have some serious hauling to get done. The main differences are found in the engines, towing capacities, and available safety features. The following gives a closer comparison of the two popular heavy-duty pickups.

A white 2020 GMC Sierra 2500HD AT4 is parked in the mountains.

Beefy V8 Engines

The 2020 Ford F-250 offers three potent and impressive engines against two for the 2020 GMC Sierra 2500. You can choose among gasoline-powered V8s or diesel-powered motors that produce tremendous amounts of torque for even more towing power. However, the F-250 not only gives you more options, but it also gives you more horsepower and torque as well.

The F-250 offers your choice of three outstanding V8 engines. New for 2020 is a 7.3-liter OHV gasoline V8 that churns out 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. Port fuel injection and a pushrod design deliver lots of low-end torque to help keep the RPMs low and engine wear and tear minimal. A forged-steel crankshaft is incredibly durable, and variable-cam timing optimizes power.

If you want something slightly more svelte under the hood that still gives you gobs of power, Ford’s famous 6.2-liter Boss V8 is up to the task. This naturally aspirated engine has a single overhead cam to simplify maintenance. The Boss V8 gives the F-250 some 385 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque.

Those who want the additional power and fuel economy provided by diesel fuel can opt for the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel. It comes with a new high-pressure fuel-injection system that better atomizes the fuel for improved power and fuel economy. The turbocharger continually undergoes electronic adjustments to deliver the best throttle response and up to 475 hp and an incredible 1,050 lb-ft of torque.

The GMC Sierra 2500 offers its proven 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V8, but the GMC engine produces 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque, making it noticeably less powerful than the turbo-diesel option in the Ford F-250. It is the same story with the GMC 6.6-liter gasoline V8. While its 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque is more than you will find in the smallest Ford V8, it is a lot less power than the top F-250 V8 gas engine offers.

2020 Ford F-250 vs GMC Sierra 2500 towing capacities

A super duty pickup is one that exists to do hard work or haul the family camper on vacation adventures. When equipped with the 6.7-liter turbo-diesel, the F-250 can tow up to a staggering 20,000 lbs with a conventional trailer. A fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer boosts the maximum trailer weight up to 21,700 lbs. Compared to the F-250, the Sierra 2500 is left in the dust. Its maximum towing capacity is only 18,500 lbs in both conventional and fifth-wheel configurations.

It should also be remembered that the Sierra 2500 carries a higher price tag than the F-250 despite offering less capability. The ability to outwork the Sierra 2500 gives the Ford F-250 a decided advantage in the heavy-duty hauling class. While both trucks haul an impressive amount, the F-250 emerges as the clear winner. It tows more behind it, it costs less, and it gives you three engine options to create the perfect towing package for work or play.

A silver 2020 Ford Superduty F-250 Lariat is driving through the grass after the 2020 Ford F-250 vs 2020 GMC Sierra 2500 comparison.

Safety Features Reduce Mishaps

When you drive a heavy-duty pickup the size of the F-250 or the Sierra 2500, a feeling of being indestructible is bound to set in. While both pickups are big and have solid build qualities, they could become deadly in a rollover or an accident with another vehicle. Fortunately, both come with additional safety features to help prevent accidents.

The F-250 already has engine braking integrated with the cruise control to slow down automatically. Ford also offers up the Co-Pilot 360 driver-assist technology, some of which is standard and some of which is optional. If you opt for the full range of technology available, Ford gives you blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance, pre-collision assist with automatic engine braking, and a slew of other driver aids that help trailered loads to reach their destinations with no problems.

When you want to maneuver in reverse with a trailer attached, the Pro Trailer Backup Assist included with the F-250 makes it a breeze. Backing up with a trailer is a tricky task for even the most experienced drivers. But with Pro Trailer Backup Assist, it becomes as easy as turning a dial on the dash.

Simply enter some basic information on your trailer into the truck’s computer, and it will know how to perfectly maneuver where you want to go. Then simply turn the dial on the dash in the direction you want to go, and the truck will make all the necessary calculations to put you there in style. A rear-view camera prevents accidents and fender-benders. Some minor adjustments might be needed to ensure the best positioning as the truck backs up, and the directional knob finely tunes the backup and speed.

GMC offers options for forward collision alert, lane departure warning, backup assistance, and automatic emergency braking technologies. Also available are cross-traffic alert, a rear distance indicator, and a special program that enables owners to adjust control inputs for teen drivers. That includes limiting maximum speed and limiting maximum audio volume to help teen drivers pay more attention to driving safely. The only truly active safety feature is automatic emergency braking that can bring the truck to a safe spot when obstacles are in the way.

Comparable Interiors

Both heavy-duty pickups offer three options for cabin sizes. You can choose a traditional cabin with a split-bench front seat and seating for up to three. The extended and crew cabs add a rear seat that has two buckets molded into them and a narrower middle section for a third passenger. Plenty of headroom and legroom are available with the larger cabins, and both come with excellent sound systems and entertainment options. A heads-up display helps to control the onboard entertainment while also doubling as a navigation aid.

Final Summation

When it comes down to the 2020 Ford F-250 vs 2020 GMC Sierra 2500, the F-250 has a very clear advantage in the towing and engines department. An exceptional 10-speed automatic newly offered on the F-250 provides the perfect match of power and towing capability. The F-250 is a clear winner due to its greater payload and towing capacity as well as engine options. The additional safety features available, including the backup assistance for trailers, makes the F-250 the obvious choice.

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