Let’s start with the most important thing about owning a truck: it owns the road. Little in life is as satisfying as knowing you have a vehicle that can tow anything, tackle any mountain, off-road like a workhorse, haul just about any gear you need, and even has all the comforts of luxury sedans. What’s not to love? Many truck drivers tend to stick with the manufacturer they love every time they upgrade. But for those truck die-hards interested in possibly switching, let’s get into comparing the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2020 Toyota Tundra.
First and foremost, let’s compare pricing. The base for the Tundra is $33,425, and the Sierra 1500 starts at $37,800. If you’re going for the full ride between the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali and the 2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, the price is a fairly big difference. We’re comparing the upper end of both lines, where all the best options live. The Sierra’s starting point on the Denali trim is $54,700, while the Tundra beats out GMC with a lower price at $48,505.
What often matters when buying a truck is how well it’s going to tow, handle tough terrain, and haul heavy items in the bed. In looking at the 2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, experts liked the smooth ride from the better-performing shocks, even off-road. The TRD has a front skid plate, which protects the underbelly from getting scraped on rocky terrain, and a good approach angle of 26 degrees. The Sierra recently upgraded the coils and rear leaf suspension in 2019, but the ride definitely doesn’t seem to be quite as smooth as other trucks.
Where speed and torque are concerned, the 2020 Sierra has the advantage of an optional 10-speed automatic paired with a 3-liter V-8 Duramax turbo-diesel engine. It has serious power to tow up to 12,100 pounds and roar up to speed when you hit the gas. Toyota’s Tundra seems to be falling behind on this one, with only one engine option as the 5.7-liter V-8 towing up to 10,200 pounds. Experts bemoan the lack of a more modern powertrain on the Tundra, so the Sierra is the clear winner on this score.
When it comes to towing extras, the Tundra has a trailer anti-sway and an integrated trailer braking system, and the Sierra includes StabiliTrak, which is a specialized electronic braking system that incorporates an anti-sway for trailer control. Truck owners know what a difference it can make to have a solid braking system on board, and it looks like this aspect of the comparison is a toss-up to be decided by driver preference.
The tow package on the Tundra includes a towing hitch receiver, 4.300 rear axle ratio, tow/haul mode switch, integrated trailer brake controller, supplemental engine oil cooler, supplemental transmission cooler, heavy-duty battery, 170-amp alternator, and 4-/7-pin connector. The Sierra’s ProGrade Trailering System features hitch guidance that includes hitch view and an in-vehicle trailering app, though there is the option to upgrade to a specialized camera system which allows for trailer views on the infotainment screen. The app also provides a custom trailer profile, trailer status, and more.If you look at the beds of each model, GMC’s Sierra can hold a payload of over 2,200 pounds, while the Toyota Tundra holds 1,660 pounds. The Sierra offers a carbon fiber composite bed and a tailgate with EZ lift assist, along with a six-way tailgate that actually extends the bed in one configuration, while the Tundra offers a tailgate that is meant to be easy to open and close. Clearly, the Sierra takes the cake and eats it when it comes to hauling stuff in the beds.
Tech Bells and Whistles
This aspect of truck driving has gotten as competitive as luxury vehicles. Gone are the days when a truck was simply a service vehicle for labor-intensive work; trucks are now as tricked out as expensive SUVs, and you can bet your bottom dollar that 2020 GMC and Toyota trucks will woo buyers with all the extras you can imagine. Once again, as we get into the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 vs the 2020 Toyota Tundra, we will get into the nitty-gritty of which truck offers the best on-board tech options.
One of the nicest conveniences in cold places is a good seat warmer, accompanied by remote starting. The Toyota Tundra has heated/ventilated/powered front seats with adjustable lumbar control and a smart key system with remote/keyless entry and remote start capability. The GMC Sierra gets fancy with 10-way power driver and passenger seats with lumbar control, heated/ventilated front seats, and keyless open/start with a remote start and remote keyless entry. Both trucks have heated and auto-dimming mirrors on the exterior, and dual-zone climate control, which is a nice plus. Back-up cameras and plenty of powered outlets for charging phones or other devices are available on both the Sierra and Tundra, but the Sierra gives the back seat some love with heated seats and heated steering wheel as upgrades.
The 2020 Sierra comes with an excellent infotainment system, which includes a navigation system and a 6-speaker audio system with an upgraded Bose option. The 2020 Tundra also hooks up buyers with a sound system that includes navigation, but partners with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple CarPlay to bump up the competition.
Modern times keep upping the ante with anti-theft and road safety options, and both the Tundra and Sierra have a couple of unique features. Each model has plenty of airbags, alarms, electronically-assisted braking, and traction control. The 2020 Tundra TRD has a stand-out anti-theft system: the engine immobilizes if someone tries to steal your truck. On the other hand, the 2020 Sierra 1500 goes the extra mile for family safety by adding a rear seat reminder in case of little ones sleeping in the back, and a teen driver option to allow parents to program the truck to add or remove certain electronic features to keep the inexperienced driver safer.
When comparing other tech safety features, GMC includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, a bed view camera, brake-pad wear indicator, a driver alert package, following distance indicator, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, an auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror, lane-change alert, lane departure alert, and rear cross-traffic alert. Toyota offers up its Safety Sense Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, radar cruise control, vehicle stability control, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and Smart Stop Technology.
Mileage, Emissions, and Maintenance
In terms of fuel efficiency, GMC has quite the edge with 23 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway when the diesel engine. Toyota, typically on the cutting edge of efficiency, only gets 13 mpg in the city and 18 on the highway. Emissions, on the other hand, seem to be edged over to the Tundra, as GMC appears to have only squeaked by on satisfying emissions standards state by state. This differs slightly when comparing diesel options, but not by much. In terms of gas tank size, the Tundra easily wins out with 38-gallon capacity to Sierra’s 24 or 28 gallons. One plus for the Tundra is that it comes standard with a no-cost maintenance and roadside assistance plan, though the Sierra also comes with a five-year or 60,000-mile roadside assistance and coverage of the powertrain, and three years or 36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper limited warranty.
No matter how you slice it, both trucks have serious perks. In determining which truck suits your needs, the price tag may be the biggest factor in favor of the 2020 Toyota Tundra, but certain features of towing capacity and power are an advantage of the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500. Pros who drove these trucks loved the way the Toyota drives, but had a tough time finding fault with the GMC. This may be a buyer’s preference in terms of which truck best delivers for work or play.