|89.1||Max Bed Volume (cu.ft.)||61.5|
|44.53||Front Leg Room (in)||40.9|
Across the full-size truck category spectrum, there are several key players that dominate sales and create brand-loyal buyers that come back year-after-year. It’s hard to change the minds of these diehard fans because their truck loyalty runs deep. Two of the biggest contenders are the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2021 Ram 1500, but which one offers the most of everything?
When we say everything, we mean value, options, capability, and luxury. Today’s pickup truck buyers want more than a stripped-down work truck. They want comfort and plenty of it. Options like soft leather seating, wired technology, and power everything top the list of desired features, and those features are second only to rugged dependability and class-leading capability. The days of hand-crank windows and vinyl seats are fading away.
Not only do these buyers want a truck that can tow and haul better than the rest; they also want a road-trip-ready cruiser that comfortably seats the family or a group of buddies heading out on the road for a weekend of camping or a night on the town. This is where form meets function because to truly deliver every item on these buyers’ wishlists; the truck has to have a deep trim range and plenty of options for add-ons. Who will win the day when we stack up the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 against the 2021 Ram 1500? It’s hard to say with just a cursory glance: this competition requires a deep dive into specific features so we can compare the numbers where they count most. It boils down to capability, sure, but also style.
Both the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 and the 2021 Ram 1500 put a high premium on passenger comfort and luxury. These trucks have received glowing reviews from the automotive press about their class-leading luxury features, but that’s only good news if the available cabin space is generous in the first place. All the leather in the world isn’t comfortable if you’re crammed into your seat.
The GMC Sierra 1500 trounces the Ram 1500 when it comes to driver and front passenger spaciousness. It offers 43.03 inches of front headroom and 44.53 inches of front legroom, a vast amount of front-seat space for even the tallest occupants. The Ram 1500 falls far short, providing 40.9 inches of front headroom and the same 40.9 inches of legroom. That’s a big difference, which is why the first victory easily goes to the GMC Sierra 1500.
We also like the GMC Sierra 1500’s affordable price tag, even at the highest trim levels. When it comes to a fully-loaded, luxurious interior cabin, costs can add up. The top-of-the-line GMC Sierra 1500 Denali starts at $55,600, while the top-of-the-line luxury Ram 1500 Limited comes in higher, at $56,600. That’s a pretty big difference.
In a side-by-side comparison, the Sierra 1500 Denali and Ram 1500 Limited include different equipment. The Denali offers 10-way power seats in the front, while the Ram 1500 Limited’s seats offer only 8-way power adjustments. Not only are front-seat passengers in the Denali more comfortable because of the superior front dimensions; they have more ways to dial in specific seat settings to ensure a long day on the road doesn’t result in a sore back.
One of the big headlines for pickup trucks in the past few model years is the innovation happening with tailgates. Once built for simple, single-hinged up and down operation, today’s tailgates offer more utility and usability to make bed access easier and also lend a hand on the job site. These tailgates double as tools and desktop workspaces instead of simply acting as access doors for the bed.
GMC is the only manufacturer to offer a 6-way MultiPro Tailgate. The tailgate’s six functions are designed to benefit users during loading and unloading and also make accessing the bed much easier. Offering six distinct functions, it operates like a traditional single-hinged tailgate, but there’s also an inner tailgate that can be raised and lowered independently. It acts as a bed extender or entry step, as well as providing a stopper for long cargo.
The Ram 1500 offers a special function tailgate too, but it’s limited to a 60/40 swing-out door configuration, meaning it’s only capable of three settings. These settings include fully-closed, split 60/40 doors that swing open up to 88 degrees or you can keep them together and lower the tailgate like normal. There is no load stop function, nor is there a step embedded in the lowered tailgate.
Meanwhile, GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate contains a full-width 48-inch step that’s rated to hold up to 375 pounds. In addition, GMC includes a hand grab in the cargo box wall to make climbing in the bed a whole lot easier. The smaller inner tailgate also functions as a workspace when set in the down position. Add an available 120-volt electrical outlet, and it’s a bonafide desktop. In the tailgate wars, the winner is clear: the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500’s MultiPro Tailgate. It’s a smart use for a once static vehicle feature and another example of innovation designed to provide even more utility to full-size pickup truck buyers.
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 and the 2021 Ram 1500 are both available in a variety of trims and with several engine options. That sounds like a pretty equivalent comparison, yet when we zero in on the base models for each of these full-size pickups, the story is a little different. Which truck offers the most value? Again, it’s the GMC Sierra 1500.
The base GMC Sierra 1500 comes standard with a 4.3-liter V6 engine that delivers 305 lb-ft of torque. The base Ram 1500 offers a smaller 3.6-liter V6 engine that falls far short, with just 269 lb-ft of available torque. That’s a big difference, especially when it comes to towing capability and low-range power. At the high end of the power range, you might be surprised to learn that the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 comes out ahead yet again. With the upgraded 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine, the Sierra 1500 delivers 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. The Ram 1500, outfitted with a similar 5.7 liter HEMI V8 engine, can only reach 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque.
The Ram’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine gets up to 480 lb-ft of torque, but horsepower is sacrificed, coming in at only 260. By contrast, GMC’s Duramax Turbo-Diesel 3.0 liter engine delivers a superior 277 horsepower. What can look like a seemingly small difference in engine output adds up to a lot of performance capability, so when searching for a highly capable full-size pickup, it’s important to max out horsepower and torque ratings whenever possible. In that way, the GMC Sierra 1500 is once again the better choice.