2020 GMC Sierra HD vs. 2019 Ram HD

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Sierra HD are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Ram HD doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Full-time four-wheel drive is optional on the Sierra HD. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the Ram HD.

The Sierra HD (except Base/SLE)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Ram HD doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Sierra HD and the Ram HD have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Sierra HD’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Ram HD’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Sierra HD has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Ram HD doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than Ram vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 12th in initial quality. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ram is ranked 21st.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Ram vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 22nd in reliability. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ram is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Ram vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks GMC 1 place higher in reliability than Ram.

Engine

The Sierra HD’s 6.6 V8 produces 35 lbs.-ft. more torque (464 vs. 429) than the Ram HD’s 6.4 V8.

The Sierra HD’s 6.6 turbo V8 diesel produces 75 more horsepower (445 vs. 370) and 60 lbs.-ft. more torque (910 vs. 850) than the Ram HD 2500’s optional 6.7 turbo diesel. The Sierra HD’s 6.6 turbo V8 diesel produces 45 more horsepower (445 vs. 400) than the Ram HD 3500’s optional 6.7 turbo diesel.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Sierra HD’s standard fuel tank has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ram HD (36 vs. 32 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Sierra HD Diesel, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Ram HD.

Suspension and Handling

The GMC Sierra HD’s independent front suspension is much lighter than the Ram HD’s solid front axle, which allows the Sierra HD’s wheels to react more quickly and accurately to the road’s surface, improving both ride and handling.

The Sierra HD offers optional vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Ram HD doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Sierra HD’s optional drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Ram HD doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sierra HD’s wheelbase is longer than on the Ram HD:

Sierra HD

Ram HD

Extended Cab Standard Bed

149.4 inches

n/a

Extended Cab Long Bed

162.5 inches

n/a

Crew Cab Standard Bed

158.9 inches

149 inches

Crew Cab Long Bed

172 inches

169 inches

For greater off-road capability the Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab has a 2.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Ram HD 3500 Long Box Crew Cab (10.1 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Sierra HD to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Sierra 3500HD Standard Bed Crew Cab’s minimum ground clearance is 2.7 inches higher than on the Ram HD 2500 Long Box Regular Cab (11.2 vs. 8.5 inches).

Passenger Space

The Sierra HD Regular Cab has 3.3 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more front legroom and .2 inches more front shoulder room than the Ram HD Regular Cab.

The Sierra HD Crew Cab has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom and 3.2 inches more rear legroom than the Ram HD Crew Cab.

Cargo Capacity

The Sierra HD Regular Cab has a much larger cargo box than the Ram HD Regular Cab Standard Bed (83.5 vs. 74.7 cubic feet).

The Sierra HD Crew Cab Standard Bed has a much larger cargo box than the Ram HD Crew Cab Standard Bed (69.5 vs. 57.5 cubic feet). The Sierra HD Crew Cab Long Bed has a much larger cargo box than the Ram HD Crew Cab Long Bed (83.5 vs. 74.7 cubic feet).

The Sierra HD’s cargo box is larger than the Ram HD’s in almost every dimension:

Sierra HD Standard Bed

Sierra HD Long Bed

Ram HD Standard Bed

Ram HD Long Bed

Length

82.3”

98.3”

76.3”

98.3”

Max Width

71.4”

71.4”

66.4”

66.4”

Min Width

50.6”

51.9”

51”

51”

Height

21”

21”

20.2”

20.2”

The GMC Sierra HD has a standard CornerStep, which allows for much easier access to the cargo area. A rear cargo step costs extra on the Ram HD.

The Sierra HD has stake post holes, to allow the containment of tall, light loads. The Ram HD doesn’t offer stake post holes.

Payload and Towing

The Sierra HD’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Ram HD’s (16410 vs. 13660 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Ram 3500 Regular Cab is only 35,100 pounds. The Sierra 3500HD Long Bed Regular Cab offers up to a 35,500 lbs. towing capacity.

The Sierra HD has a higher standard payload capacity than the Ram HD:

Sierra HD

Ram HD

Crew Cab 3500HD

4316 lbs.

4300 lbs.

Regular Cab 2500HD 4x4

3794 lbs.

3680 lbs.

Crew Cab 2500HD 4x4

3589 lbs.

3380 lbs.

Crew Cab 3500HD 4x4

4365 lbs.

4270 lbs.

The Sierra HD has higher optional payload capacities than the Ram HD:

Sierra HD

Ram HD

Crew Cab 2500HD

3800 lbs.

3650 lbs.

Regular Cab 2500HD 4x4

3965 lbs.

3680 lbs.

Ergonomics

The Sierra HD SLT/AT4/Denali offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Ram HD doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Sierra HD’s basic available front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Ram HD’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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