Last Updated on February 17, 2022
The 2021 GMC Sierra and the 2021 Chevy Silverado and the 2021 GMC Sierra are both very common trucks, built on the same GMT1000 platform. Each has the same drivetrain and similar appearances on the exterior and interior. Also in common, both brands are divisions of General Motors, the same company that owns Buick and Cadillac. With their long histories, the trucks have shared plenty of similarities, but along with similarities come significant differences. In the clash between the Chevy Silverado vs the GMC Sierra, here is what you need to know.
In 1908, William C. Durant capitalized General Motors into a holding company. The group rapidly acquired a number of car manufacturers that competed with Ford Motor Co. This included Buick Motor Co., Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Oakland Motor Co., and twenty more companies. Under the direction of Durant, General Motors tried to secure financing to purchase Ford Motor Co. However, financing didn’t come through. General Motors ousted Durant in 1910.
Later, Durant went on to team up with motorsports driver Louis Chevrolet to establish a new car manufacturing company. What they created became known as Chevrolet. The company was incorporated in 1911. Three years later, in 1914, and they released their first vehicle.
During this time, Durant still owned a number of shares in General Motors. He used revenue from sales of Chevrolet vehicles to purchase even more stocks in General Motors. In 1918, he offered General Motors stockholders five shares of Chevrolet stock for every one share of General Motors stock. This transaction made Durant a majority shareholder of General Motors and made Chevrolet a subsidiary of General Motors.
Beyond those first few years of rivalry, Chevrolet and General Motors (now GMC) have had a cooperative-competitive relationship.
Twins from the start
Both the Sierra and Silverado debuted in 1998. Prior to that, both GMC and Chevy marketed a truck called C/K. The “C” stood for rear-wheel drive and the “K” stood for four-wheel drive. The truck was discontinued in 2002, but it served as the basis for GM’s line of full-size SUVs. Then just a few years came the debut of the Sierra and Silverado.
When both models first debuted, they were even more similar than they are today. The only real differences then were the brand logos, grille, and headlights.
The first generation of Silverado is referred to today by enthusiasts as the “classic” style. Customers could choose between a few variations: a standard cab with two doors, an extended cab with four doors, and an extended cab featuring front-hinged doors. There were other options too: three different bed lengths and three different engines. A Vortec 4300 V6, a 4800 V8, and a 5300 V8 were the available engine options.
The first generation of Sierra was built on the same GMT800 platform as the Silverado. This truck was also available in three different cab lengths. This included a two-door regular cab, a four-door extended cab and a front-hinged four-door crew cab. Customers could get three cargo beds too: a 69.2-inch short box, a 78.7-inch standard box, and a 97.6-inch long box. Engine options varied between the Vortec 4.3-liter V6, the 4.8-liter V8 and the 5.3-liter V8.
The two trucks developed in synchronicity with one another throughout the years – finding their own niche within the light-duty truck markets.
Chevy announced the Silverado’s current generation – the fourth -This truck’s body is a forged mixture of aluminum and steel. Surprisingly, this iteration is 450 pounds lighter than the previous generation. Inside the cab, the steering wheel is centered, rather than offset, and crew-cab models have an additional three inches of legroom. Internal storage space also increased. And below the hood, Chevrolet added a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine option.
There are actually four options in total for the fourth generation of Sierra. These include: a base 4.3-liter V6 engine (285 hp) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (310 hp) paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and two V8 options (355 hp and 420 hp). All engines are paired with a new 10-speed automatic transmission.
This generation also includes a two-piece tailgate, a carbon fiber pickup bed, open-pore wood grain trim on the interior, and an eight-inch color touchscreen infotainment system.
Differences between GMC and Chevy
There may be similarities on the inside and outside of the GMC and Chevy trucks, but there are differences to note.
There are a few major differences between the two trucks. The Sierra comes equipped with GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate and CarbonPro bed. The MultiPro Tailgate opens in several ways for greater functionality and the CarbonPro bed is composed of carbon fiber. This fiber makes it lighter and stronger than a standard steel bed. The CarbonPro bed doesn’t require a bedliner and comes equipped with more pockets and storage space.
The most striking difference in their appearance is in their front ends. The trucks come equipped with different headlights, bumpers, and fog lights. While both are built on the same GMT1000 platform and have an aggressive masculine aesthetic, the Sierra is a little boxier.
Similarities between GMC and Chevy
Speaking of boxes, box sizes for both include short box (five feet, eight inches), standard box (six feet, six inches) and long box (eight feet). LED headlights and fog lights are also available as add-on components for both the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Interior stylings are similar and both trucks are available in regular cab, double cab, and crew cab body options. Both trucks come with a trim that includes an eight-inch touchscreen with voice navigation, 4G LTE or Wi-Fi hotspot, a wireless charging system, and multiple USB ports. Let’s not forget the Bose sound system also.
When considering performance, both trucks offer similar handling and ride quality. That’s because each is equipped with equivalent powertrain components. They are both available in either four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive options.
Defining the light-duty truck market
Although the trucks share so many component and aesthetic qualities, both brands are marketed to different demographics. The Chevy Silverado is more of a working truck, while the GMC Sierra is marketed more as a luxurious truck. Still, each has a base model and a high-end model.
The base model for each has similar manufacturer suggested retail prices (just under $30,000 for the Silverado and just more than $31,000 for the Sierra). Half of Sierra’s six trims are marketed toward customers of higher end trucks, and only two of Silverado’s eight trims are marketed toward customers of higher end trucks.
Being the vehicle of choice for the average truck owner, the Silverado’s sales are higher than the Sierra’s by a ratio of three to one.
Chevy vs GMC: the verdict
With both of these brands, General Motors has captured a larger market than what would be possible with just one. Although the Ford F-150 is the sales leader in the light-duty truck category, the total sales of the Sierra and Silverado combined are greater than that number.
Which vehicle describes you more, the Chevy or the GMC? Are you seeking a luxurious truck or something more consistent with work?
With all the similarities and differences in mind, you are that much closer to finding the truck that’s best for you.