2020 GMC Sierra vs. 2019 Ram 1500

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/19

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 are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Ram 1500 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Both the Sierra and the Ram 1500 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 four-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sierra the rating of “Top Pick” for 2016, a rating granted to only 164 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Ram 1500 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The Sierra’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Ram 1500’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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The Sierra 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 1500 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Sierra has larger alternators than the Ram 1500:

Sierra

1500

Standard Alternator

170 amps

160 amps

Optional Alternator

220 amps

180 amps

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

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The Sierra has more powerful engines than the Ram 1500:

Horsepower

Torque

Sierra 4.3 V6

285 HP

305 lbs.-ft.

Sierra 2.7 turbo 4 cyl.

310 HP

348 lbs.-ft.

Sierra 5.3 V8

355 HP

383 lbs.-ft.

Sierra SLT/AT4/Denali 6.2 V8

420 HP

460 lbs.-ft.

Ram 1500 3.6 DOHC V6 hybrid

305 HP

269 lbs.-ft.

Ram 1500 5.7 V8

395 HP

410 lbs.-ft.

The Sierra’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 191 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 269) than the Ram 1500’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 hybrid. The Sierra’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 410) than the Ram 1500’s optional 5.7 V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the Sierra SLT/AT4/Denali 6.2 V8 is faster than the Ram 1500 V8:

Sierra

1500

Zero to 30 MPH

2 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.8 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9.4 sec

10.7 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.8 sec

3.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.9 MPH

93.1 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Sierra SLT/AT4/Denali 6.2 V8 is faster than the Ram 1500 3.6:

Sierra

1500

Zero to 30 MPH

2 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.8 sec

8.5 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9.4 sec

14.6 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.8 sec

4.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.9 MPH

84.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Sierra XFE RWD 8-speed Auto 5.3 V8 gets better fuel mileage than the Ram 1500 RWD V8 (17 city/24 hwy vs. 15 city/22 hwy).

The Sierra Double/Crew Cab’s standard fuel tank has a gallon more fuel capacity than the Ram 1500’s standard fuel tank (24 vs. 23 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A ten-speed automatic is available on the GMC Sierra, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Ram 1500.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Sierra stops much shorter than the Ram 1500:

Sierra

Ram 1500

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

135 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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The Sierra offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Ram 1500’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sierra’s wheelbase is longer than on the Ram 1500:

Sierra

Ram 1500

Extended Cab Standard Bed

147.4 inches

140.5 inches

Crew Cab Short Bed

147.4 inches

144.6 inches

Crew Cab Standard Bed

157 inches

153.5 inches

The Sierra 1500 Short Bed Denali Crew Cab 4x4 handles at .77 G’s, while the Ram 1500 short bed Big Horn Crew Cab Pickup 4x4 pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sierra 1500 Short Bed AT4 Crew Cab executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the Ram 1500 short bed Big Horn Crew Cab Pickup 4x4 (27.7 seconds @ .73 average G’s vs. 29.7 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sierra 1500 Long Bed Regular Cab’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Ram 1500 standard bed Quad Cab’s (44.7 feet vs. 46.2 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Sierra 1500 Short Bed Crew Cab Lifted has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Ram 1500 standard bed Crew Cab Pickup w/Air Suspension (10.9 vs. 10.8 inches), allowing the Sierra to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The GMC Sierra may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 550 pounds less than the Ram 1500.

Passenger Space

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The Sierra Double Cab has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more front legroom and .7 inches more rear headroom than the Ram 1500 Quad Cab.

The Sierra Crew Cab has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more rear headroom than the Ram 1500 Crew Cab Pickup.

Cargo Capacity

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The Sierra Double Cab has a much larger cargo box than the Ram 1500 Quad Cab shortbed (72.7 vs. 61.5 cubic feet).

The Sierra Crew Cab shortbed has a much larger cargo box than the Ram 1500 Crew Cab Pickup shortbed (63.9 vs. 53.9 cubic feet). The Sierra Crew Cab longbed has a much larger cargo box than the Ram 1500 Crew Cab Pickup longbed (72.7 vs. 61.5 cubic feet).

The Sierra’s cargo box is larger than the Ram 1500’s in almost every dimension:

Sierra Double Cab

Sierra Regular Cab

Ram 1500 Quad Cab

Ram 1500 Crew Cab

Length (short/long)

79.4”

98.2”

76.3”

67.4”/76.3”

Max Width

71.4”

71.4”

66.4”

66.4”

Min Width

50.63”

50.62”

51”

51”

Height

22.4”

22.4”

21.5”

21.5”

The GMC Sierra has a standard CornerStep, which allows for much easier access to the cargo area. A rear cargo step costs extra on the Ram 1500.

The Sierra has stake post holes, to allow the containment of tall, light loads. The Ram 1500 doesn’t offer stake post holes.

Payload and Towing

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The Sierra’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Ram 1500’s (7400 vs. 6280 pounds).

The Sierra has a higher standard payload capacity than the Ram 1500:

Sierra

Ram 1500

Extended Cab 1500

2030 lbs.

1910 lbs.

Crew Cab 1500

2030 lbs.

2000 lbs.

Regular Cab 1500 4x4

2140 lbs.

n/a

Extended Cab 1500 4x4

2020 lbs.

1810 lbs.

Crew Cab 1500 4x4

2010 lbs.

1670 lbs.

The Sierra has higher optional payload capacities than the Ram 1500:

Sierra

Ram 1500

Crew Cab 1500

2140 lbs.

2000 lbs.

Extended Cab 1500 4x4

2140 lbs.

1950 lbs.

Crew Cab 1500 4x4

2070 lbs.

1830 lbs.

Ergonomics

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The Sierra 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 1500 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Sierra’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 1500’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

On a hot day the Sierra’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote (optional feature). The driver of the Ram 1500 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

When the Sierra SLT/AT4/Denali is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Ram 1500’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Model Availability

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The GMC Sierra comes in regular cab, extended cab and crew cab bodystyles; the Ram 1500 isn’t available as a regular cab.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Sierra owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sierra will cost $305 less than the Ram 1500 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sierra is less expensive to operate than the Ram 1500 because typical repairs cost less on the Sierra than the Ram 1500, including $38 less for a water pump and $9 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the GMC Sierra will be $622 to $2769 less than for the Ram 1500.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/19

Truck Trend performed a comparison test in its March 2019 issue and they ranked the GMC Sierra 1500 Short Bed AT4 Crew Cab higher than the Ram 1500 short bed Laramie Crew Cab Pickup 4x4.

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

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