Exploring GMC Trucks and Their Engines

April 17th, 2020 by

A white 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 is on a dirt road with dirt bikes in the bed.


Here at Rick Hendrick Buick GMC Duluth, we get asked about GMC trucks and their engines a lot, which comes as no surprise considering just how important a powerful engine is to a great pickup. One of the most common questions we are asked regarding the current lineup of GMC trucks is which ones feature the powerful 6.2L V8 engine in them. Fortunately, the answer to that one is pretty simple: only the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 can have a 6.2L engine in it, and specifically only a 4WD model in either the AT4 or Denali trim.


That being said, there are still some amazing engines available for the other GMC trucks on offer, as well as other great engines in other trims of the Sierra 1500. No matter what you’re looking for, GMC has you covered with a powerful truck and an amazing engine that can get a tremendous amount of work done. So today, we’re going to take a look at the different GMC trucks available and the engines they have to offer so you can get a better sense of which one might be right for you. We’ll go in ascending order based on the size of the truck, so you can see how the power really ramps up as you go from a midsize pickup to a heavy-duty option.


The 2020 GMC Canyon

A black 2020 GMC Canyon is parked on beach sand.


Let’s start off with the 2020 GMC Canyon, a midsize option and the smallest of the GMC trucks currently available. There are three different engines available for the Canyon, depending on the trim and configuration you look at, which gives you plenty of options for how much power you want. These three engines are:


  • 2.5L 4-cylinder: 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque
  • 3.6L V6: 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque
  • 2.8L Duramax Turbo-Diesel: 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque


So, as you can see, there is quite a difference in the amount of power that you can get packed into the impressive frame of the 2020 GMC Canyon. It’s also worth noting that both the 2.5L standard engine and the 2.8L Turbo-Diesel come with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the 3.6L V6 engine comes with an 8-speed automatic. When properly configured, the Canyon has a maximum tow rating of up to 7,700 lbs.


With its midsize design and a host of great engines to choose from, you can see why the GMC Canyon is a favorite among folks looking for a smaller pickup experience. You can get more power and towing performance from larger options, of course, but the Canyon is a great pick if you want something for moderate towing power and great off-road potential. The Canyon’s All Terrain trim is particularly well designed for going off-road, while the Denali trim is the ideal choice for elevated sophistication and luxury.


The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500


Next up, we have the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500, which is your choice among GMC trucks if you’re interested in a full-size model with a light-duty design. There are essentially five different engines available for the Sierra 1500, though you can count six choices since one of them is available with either Active Fuel Management (AFM) or Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM). If you’re specifically interested in a 6.2L engine, then this is the truck for you from GMC. The four engines on the Sierra 1500 are:


  • 2.7L Turbo: 310 hp and 348 lb-ft of torque
  • 4.3L EcoTec3 V6: 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque
  • 5.3L EcoTEc3 V8: 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque
  • 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel I-6: 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque
  • 6.2L EcoTec3 V8: 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque


Of the engines available for the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500, the 4.3L V6 comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the 2.7L Turbo comes with an 8-speed automatic, while the other engines come with a 10-speed automatic transmission. It’s worth pointing out that the 5.3L V8 engine is the one available with either DFM or AFM, and that the version with AFM comes with a 6-speed automatic rather than a 10-speed, which you get on the DFM engine.


If you’re interested in the available 6.2L V8 engine, then we should note that it’s only available on two trims for the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500. You can get it on the AT4, which is the dedicated off-road trim of the Sierra 1500, or on the Denali––but only if you get a Denali model with 4WD rather than RWD. Since the AT4 comes with 4WD by default, this means that you can only get the 6.2L engine on a truck with 4WD. When properly configured with the 6.2L engine, the Sierra 1500 can reach its maximum towing capacity of up to 12,100 lbs.


The 2020 GMC Sierra 2500HD/3500HD

A black 2020 GMC Sierra HD, one of the full-sized GMC trucks, is driving past a dirt hill near Atlanta, GA.


Finally, we come to the largest and most powerful of the GMC trucks available, the 2020 GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD. Although the 3500HD is designed to be even more powerful than the 2500HD, they both have the same engines available. So when we’re specifically looking at the engines in GMC trucks, it’s easy enough to group them together for the sake of simplicity. Here are the two engines available on these heavy-duty models:


  • 6.6L V8: 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque
  • 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8: 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque


There are a couple of variations of these two engines available depending on the trim you look at, including a 6.6L V8 with variable valve timing and a version of the 6.6L Turbo-Diesel with integrated Power Take-Off. While these factors can affect overall performance, they don’t change the maximum horsepower or torque available, so it’s simple enough to still look at them as just two engine options. The standard gas engine comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the impressive Turbo-Diesel option comes with an Allison 10-speed automatic transmission, and this is true for both HD pickups.


If you’re interested in doing some serious towing when looking at different GMC trucks, then these two heavy-duty models should definitely be your top choices, even though they lack the 6.2L engine option. Considering the two engines they have; however, you still get tremendous power with them. When properly equipped for it, the 2020 GMC Sierra 2500HD has a maximum towing of more than 18,500 lbs while the 3500HD can handle up to 35,500 lbs of gooseneck towing, or 20,000 lbs of conventional towing.


One thing worth noting is that the 3500HD is available in a dual rear-wheel configuration, which you cannot get on any other model of the GMC trucks available, not even the 2500HD. That is part of how it delivers such incredible towing, particularly gooseneck towing, and really makes a difference if you need to get some serious work done. Otherwise, however, in terms of their engines, both heavy-duty models are essentially identical.


The Best GMC Trucks Are at Rick Hendrick Hendrick Buick GMC Duluth


As you can see, you have a lot of options available to you regarding the engines you can find in different GMC trucks. While only a couple trims of the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 have the 6.2L engine available, every truck has something special to offer. Visit us at Rick Hendrick Buick GMC in Duluth today and see the incredible lineup of GMC trucks for yourself.

Posted in GMC Trucks