2021 GMC Sierra 1500: A Trim Comparison
The GMC Sierra 1500 was completely redesigned for model year 2019 and it’s back for 2021 with some new improvements. The newer design features modified proportions to allow for a larger cabin and cargo area. The ruggedly defined front grille also features the C-shaped headlights that similarly appeared on the GMC Terrain refresh last year.
GMC Configuration Overview
For 2021, there are six trims to choose from. The five engine options for the Sierra include a 4.3L EcoTec3 V6 engine, a 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine, a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder diesel, a 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 engine, and, finally, a 2.7L Turbo engine.
For comparison purposes, we will be referencing the prices of a 2WD double cab with standard box (unless otherwise noted). Buyers should expect to pay a little more for 4WD, crew cab configurations, and larger V8 engines.
The base trim (simply called “Sierra”) has a starting MSRP of $30,100. That’s for a double cab, standard box, 2WD truck. It comes with a 4.3-liter V6 EcoTec3 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 305 pound-foot of torque. This is the only trim with the V6 engine option standard. It has direct injection, active fuel management, and variable valve timing. Some of the top features in the base Sierra are StabiliTrak with traction control, trailer sway control, and hill start assist.
The towing capabilities don’t stand up to the Ford F-150 but are pretty substantial. Even at its least expensive, the Sierra has a max towimg capacity of 10,000 lbs when properly equipped.
On the inside, the Sierra included an all-new infotainment system that includes Bluetooth connectivity, six-speaker audio, and a 7” diagonal screen. In addition to this, the Sierra trim now comes standard with a rear vision camera. It also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE is the next trim and has a starting price of $41,400 for a 2WD, double cab, standard box truck. The SLE sees the standard engine upgraded to a 2.7L Turbo engine. It is capable of 310 hp and 348 pound-feet of torque while paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It has a maximum trailering capacity of 11,300.
The biggest changes for the SLE happen on the interior and include an eight-inch diagonal touchscreen color radio with IntelliLink and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls. Remote keyless entry also comes standard, which was only an available option on the base Sierra.
The third trim up is the 2021 is the GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation for $43,100. Many drivers may appreciate some of the cosmetic differences that set it apart from the SLE trim. While it has the same 2.7L Turbo engine under the hood, the Elevation trim features a monochromatic exterior with a large black front grille. Gone are the chrome accents and front bumpers that the SLE carries. Additionally, LED fog lamps now come standard below the C-shaped LED headlamps. The vehicle also features in-bed LED lighting, remote start and additional USB ports.
A 2WD 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT has a starting MSRP of $47,500 and includes another engine upgrade. The 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine is the only engine option available for this trim level. The V8 without dynamic fuel management (DFM) is not available on 2WD drivetrain models. It produces 355 hp and 383 lb-ft. The DFM option has an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the V8 without DFM has a six-speed transmission.
If you’re a buyer looking for that new MultiPro tailgate to come standard, you need to start your truck search at this trim level. In addition to the six-function tailgate, the SLT makes some other changes to the exterior. The monochromatic scheme from the Elevation is replaced with chrome accents around the front grille, bumper, and window trimmings.
As its name may suggest, the only available drivetrain on the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 trim is four-wheel-drive as the vehicle is designed for off-roading. The standard engine is still the 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine.
If you’re a silver chrome lover, this trim won’t be for you since the AT4 features black chrome grille and accents along with a jet black leather-appointed interior with Kalahari accents. The full gamut of exterior color options are still available, but, needless to say, the AT4 looks best dressed out in all black.
The trim’s off-road focus is further accentuated by a 2-inch factory-installed suspension lift, an AutoTrac 2-speed transfer case, and an off-road suspension with Rancho monotube shocks and skid plates. The AT4 also has an automatic locking rear differential, an integrated dual exhaust, and vertical red recovery hooks. All of these features start at an MSRP of $54,700.
Lastly, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali has a starting MSRP of $55,800. That gets you a crew cab, short box, 2WD truck featuring the same engine as the SLT and AT4. Once buyers reach the Denali trim, the double cab configuration is no longer available. Denali trim models are only offered as a crew cab configuration.
The Denali focuses its upgrades on comfort and safety since it’s the top-of-the-line of GMC’s offerings. The safety features on the Denali improve with the inclusion of lane change alerts with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and safety alert seat, all standard. The Denali also has features that other GMC Sierras lack. Inside, buyers will find authentic perforated Forge leather-appointed seating and open-pore ash wood trim throughout the cabin. Front seats are heated and ventilated, and the outboard rear seats are heated as well. An upgraded infotainment system includes an 8-inch touchscreen, seven-speaker Bose audio and navigation.