The Six (Five) Engine Choices of the 2020 GMC Sierra

Shop for a GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck and you’ll find a dizzying array of cab choices, trim levels, and package offerings. That’s typical in a segment where customization is the name of the game.

What’s also part of the equation is the number of engine choices: six, to be precise. That’s double what the Ford F-150 offers, the best-selling model in the segment.

Yes, two of the engines are in reality the same: a 5.3-liter V8, which works with different transmissions. We’ll take a look at the engines, where they’re offered, and mention payload and towing capabilities when properly equipped.

GMC Engine Family

2020 gmc sierra towing

GMC starts things off with the familiar, namely a 4.3-liter V6. It’s a workhorse introduced in 1985, but it has undergone numerous changes since. In the late 2000s, the engine finally did away with its distributor.

In 2013, GM released the third generation of this engine (EcoTec3), which includes cylinder deactivation, direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve timing technologies (same as the two V8s). This one makes 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque, works with a 6-speed automatic transmission, is payload-rated up to 2,240 pounds, and has a maximum towing capacity of 7,900 pounds.

The second engine in our list is also the fourth engine: a 5.3-liter V8. This small-block engine produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Depending on the trim selected, GMC pairs it with either a 6-, 8-, or 10-speed automatic transmission. This engine has a 11,300-pound pulling capacity in crew cab models.

So far, we’ve looked at V6 and V8 engine choices. The third engine is perhaps the most interesting one of all: a turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four. Yes, four cylinders.

We tested this one in a Chevrolet Silverado and were impressed by how well it performed. Indeed, it makes 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque, numbers that exceed small V8s from previous generations. You can’t get this engine with the regular cab and its maximum trailering capacity is a modest 6,900 pounds. Power travels to the wheels utilizing an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The fifth engine is the power king of the pack, a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Power travels to the wheels utilizing a 10-speed automatic transmission. This beefy V8 also has the most pulling performance of the lot, coming in at 12,100 pounds for the Double Cab.

Diesel power is now available with the GMC and Chevrolet, matching Ram and Ford in this offering. This inline-six diesel produces 277 horsepower and matches the 460 pound-feet of torque of the gas V8. Its very fuel-efficient too, with an EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway rating. A 10-speed automatic transmission and a 9,100-pound towing capacity are other features of note.

2020 GMC Sierra

GMC still builds the previous-generation Sierra, calling it the Sierra Limited. Available only as a double cab, short-box truck, this one has the 5.3-liter V6 and the 6-speed automatic transmission.

In all, the GMC Sierra (along with the Chevrolet Silverado) offer compelling choices in the segment. Discounting is rampant, so shop carefully as some deals top $10,000 on fully loaded models.

2020 GMC Sierra Specifications

(Dimensions cover the regular cab only)

GMC 2020 Sierra
Segment Full-Size Pickup Truck
Price Range $29,600 to $62,785
Destination Charge $1,595
Engine No. 1 4.3-liter, V6
Horsepower 285 @ 5,300 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 305 @ 3,900 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Engine No. 2 5.3-liter, V8
Horsepower 355 @ 5,600
Torque (lb.-ft.) 383 @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Engine No. 3 2.7-liter, turbo I4
Horsepower 310 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 348 @ 1,500-4,000 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Engine No. 4 5.3-liter, V8
Horsepower 355 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 383 @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Engine No. 5 6.2-liter, V8
Horsepower 420 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 460 @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission 10-speed automatic
Engine No. 6 3.0-liter, turbo I6
Horsepower 277 @ 3,750 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 460 @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Seating 2-3
Curb Weight (pounds) 4,520 to 4,730
Wheelbase (inches) 139.5
Length (inches) 229.6
Width (inches) 81.2
Height (inches) 75.6
Headroom (f,r…inches) 43.1
Legroom (f,r…inches) 44.5
Shoulder room (f,r…inches) 66.1
Hip room (f,r…inches) 60.9
Storage (cubic feet) N/A
Gross vehicle weight (pounds) Up to 7,300
Towing (pounds) Up to 12,100
Payload (pounds) 2,240 to 2,120
Fuel Regular, diesel
Fuel Tank (gallons) 28.3
EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined) NR
Manufacturing Plant Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Data compiled by Tom Keegan. Specifications supplied by the manufacturer.

See Also – GMC Hummer: A Quiet Revolution

Matthew Keegan

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