|13,200||Max Trailering (lbs)||12,000|
|2,240||Max Payload (lbs)||1,940|
|Yes||Multifunction Tailgate (availability)||No|
Not so long ago, the term luxury pickup would be considered an oxymoron. The pickup truck was born out of necessity, and early versions focused on delivering on toughness and durability. Back then, buyers didn't care about frivolities like air conditioning or leather seats: trucks were reserved solely for dirty work. That's no longer the case, as anyone can see by comparing modern options like the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2022 Toyota Tundra.
When looking at these two full-size half-ton pickups, buyers prioritize luxury and convenience, not gritty mud-soaked off-roading or hauling capability. Still, most truck buyers want it all, including utility. Maybe modern truck buyers don't hit the trails as often, but they want to know that when they do, their truck will outperform all the others. The same holds true for towing and hauling.
In short, today's truck buyers don't consider luxury pickup an oxymoron at all. They expect their truck to feature just as many plush extras as an upscale SUV or even a luxury German import. Which of these trucks – the Sierra 1500 or the Tundra – blends the right mix of both capability and cushy comfort? The answer might surprise you.
Getting to the bottom of it requires a deep dive into trim lineups and spec sheets. The competition is fierce in the full-size truck segment, and nowhere is that more apparent than when these two powerhouse rigs compete for market share. Which one will be crowned toughest and most luxurious? Pay close attention because in this battle, the answer lies in the details.
Before buyers can even consider comparing pickup trucks by their available luxury features, a few basic necessities must be present. First, towing and payload. Unfortunately for would-be Tundra buyers, opting for Toyota's full-size entrant means you're sacrificing capability. The Tundra offers a max towing capacity of 12,000 pounds and a max payload of 1,940 pounds.
Take a look at GMC's Sierra 1500: the beastly American half-ton wallops the Tundra, offering 13,200 pounds of max trailering capability and an equally impressive 2,240 pounds of payload. While it may seem relatively unimportant at first glance, if your plans include towing a boat or RV, or loading a few dirt bikes into the truck bed, every additional pound of capability matters.
Further, the GMC Sierra's range of engine options far exceeds that of the Tundra. For 2022, buyers can choose between four different engines for the Sierra, one of which is a durable diesel. The Sierra's powertrain story begins with the base 2.7-liter high-output turbo that delivers an impressive 420 lb-ft of torque at an affordable starting price.
However, many traditional truck buyers crave a powerful, throaty V8 under the hood. In fact, some consider anything less a big compromise. The folks at GMC must know their audience, because there are not one but two different V8 options for Sierra 1500 buyers. First is a 5.3-liter, and next, a bigger and more powerful 6.2-liter that will satisfy any buyer with big block aspirations. Toyota doesn't appear to be as genre-savvy, offering two versions of the same V6 engine as the 2022 Tundra's only powertrain options.
One other major difference between the Sierra 1500 and the Tundra is the availability of diesel power. It's simple: GMC offers buyers the option of a powerful six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that makes 460 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, that option doesn't exist for Tundra buyers. The benefits of a diesel motor are well known among truck buyers, and the biggest one is durability. However, you also won't be giving up any capability as GMC has updated its diesel for 2022, allowing it to tow up to 13,200 pounds.
Modern pickup truck buyers are as demanding about what's inside the cabin as they are about what's under the hood. GMC must have had these buyers in mind when the Sierra lineup was expanded in 2022 to include the ultra-luxurious Denali Ultimate trim. Toyota answers with its own high-end luxury trim, the 1794 Edition.
The 2022 Tundra 1794 Edition features leather-trimmed 10-way power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats. GMC sees that configuration and raises, with 16-way power front seats with heating, ventilation, and full-grain leather seating surfaces with inlaid Denali Ultimate metal badging - there is even a massage setting to keep you comfortable as you drive! Open-pore Palado wood accents, a suede headliner, and the generous use of leather elevate the interior to premium luxury levels.
Piloting a massive half-ton truck requires a certain amount of intestinal fortitude that's helped along by modern camera and sensor technology. Keeping your eyes on the road is easy when you're behind the wheel of a GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate, thanks to the available 15-inch full-color head-up display. You'll find a head-up feature on the 1794 Edition too, but it's only 2/3 the size, at 10 inches.
One of the most exciting announcements surrounding the launch of GMC's redesigned Sierra 1500 is the addition of Super Cruise, a hands-free driving feature that lets you relax on over 200,000 miles of connected highways. The system can perform hands-free lane changes to maintain your selected cruising speed, and it works even when your trailer is hooked up.
We'd be happy to tell you all about the Tundra's hands-free cruise control system, that is, if it had one. It doesn't. Unfortunately, Toyota's suite of driver-assist technology is missing a comparable feature. Both trucks offer similar standard driver-assist safety systems, like collision avoidance and safe lane change support, but only the GMC Sierra gives buyers access to the latest hands-free driving technology.
Tailgates used to be the most straightforward truck components, but today's modern pickups put a twist on the concept. GMC's MultiPro Tailgate offers six different functions to enhance utility. Think of it as the Swiss Army knife version of a tailgate. It consists of a primary tailgate and a smaller inner tailgate that sits within its footprint.
First, it operates like a traditional tailgate, and GMC made it power-operated, so drivers can simply push a button, and it lowers and raises automatically. Next, it's a load stop for long cargo like plywood or kayaks. Simply lift the inner gate, and you have an instant vertical barrier to keep your load in place. The inner gate can also be lowered and used as a step for easy bed entry or reconfigured for use as a job site work surface.
Tundra owners may not enjoy quite as much versatility since the Toyota tailgate has only a single function – traditional up/down. To its credit, Toyota offers a nifty bump feature on select trims that lets buyers with their hands full lean into a tailgate release button that lowers the gate automatically. Sadly, that's the only tailgate innovation you'll find on the Tundra.
The same holds true for the bed itself. GMC's Sierra Denali Ultimate features a standard CarbonPro carbon-fiber composite bed. It's tougher than almost any other bed, including the Tundra's aluminum-reinforced bed. Both trucks offer bed lighting, but only one has an available bed-mounted Bluetooth sound system. Can you guess which one?
If you said the Sierra 1500, you're 100 percent correct. The waterproof MultiPro Tailgate audio system by Kicker takes pre-game tailgating to a whole new level. Considered the seventh feature of GMC's MultiPro Tailgate, the Kicker system features 100 watts of output, USB ports, an AUX cord, and Bluetooth streaming for easy smartphone connectivity. It works independent of the Sierra's cabin infotainment system, too.