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2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Base vs SLE, Elevation vs SLT, AT4 & Denali
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

A wide variety of people rely on a pickup truck in their lives. They help people with their jobs, hobbies, and day-to-day living. Although SUVs have exploded in popularity in recent years, they simply cannot replace the pickup when it comes to capability in many ways.

Not too long ago, drivers had to choose between utility and creature comforts when shopping for a pickup truck. The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 proves that this is not necessary, however. It has the capability to get the job done while still providing a comfortable ride in a cabin full of tech features.

In 2020, the Sierra 1500 sees several exciting changes. A turbocharged diesel engine joins the list of available options. Drivers can choose to add cameras that give them a view of their truck bed and trailer as well. Finally, the very popular adaptive cruise control feature is now available.

In total, drivers have six different trim levels to consider when taking a look at the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500. The entry-level offering makes a fine workhorse, while the top-of-the-line Denali rivals some luxury sedans when it comes to features. All four trim levels in between have their own charms as well.

For this guide, differences between each of the trims level have been explained. The purpose is to help consumers decide which trim level is best suited for their pickup truck needs.

Compare the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Base vs. SLE Trims. What is the difference?

The first option available to consumers is simply known as the Sierra 1500, or base trim. It is available with a crew, double, or regular cab. Drivers can also choose between a standard and long box here. The same configurations are available with both 2WD and 4WD.

Powering this trim is a 4.3L EcoTec V6 engine that will produce 285-horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with active fuel management technology and works well with a six-speed automatic transmission. Available for this trim is also a 5.3L V8 engine. With this, drivers get 355-horsepower as well as 383 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with the same transmission. Finally, drivers can choose to go with a turbocharged 2.7L engine that produces 310-horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque.

Drivers who choose the turbocharged engine also get an eight-speed automatic transmission. This adds a tow/haul mode to the truck. It also adds powertrain grade braking as well as cruise grade braking, both of which increase the amount of control the driver has over the Sierra.

The standard wheels for the base model are 17-inches and feature a painted silver finish. Drivers will be happy to know that this vehicle comes with a full-sized spare tire. The bumpers on this trim level are chrome. Both the head and taillamps are LED. While there are not many standard exterior features found here, there is a long list of available ones. These include LED lighting for the cargo bed, a power lock and release tailgate, and a variety of work step options.

Standard for this trim are four-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats. An available option is ten-way power-adjustment for the driver. There is room for up to three people in the front thanks to the 40/20/40 split-folding bench. The rear bench uses a more traditional 60/40 split-fold.

Technology-wise, this work truck is fairly bare-bones. It does give drivers a USB port and Bluetooth. There is also a 7-inch touchscreen that will run both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Making the truck GMC Connected Access capable is an option here.

Moving on to safety, this trim comes with a rear vision camera and a rear seat reminder. Drivers do have the option of adding some assistance features, although not all of the ones available for higher trims are an option here. Things that drivers can add include rear cross-traffic alert, ultrasonic rear park assist, lane change alert with side blind zone warning, and hitch guidance.

Consumers' next option is called the SLE. It comes with the turbocharged 2.7L engine with the eight-speed automatic transmissions standard. Drivers can also choose to go with the 5.3L V8 engine. When this V8 is put underneath the hood of the SLE it adds dynamic fuel management technology.

This is the first trim to offer a diesel option. Buyers can decide to go with a 3.0L Duramax I6 diesel that will produce 277-horsepower and an impressive 460 lb-ft of torque. Going alongside this engine is a ten-speed automatic transmission.

The SLE is not available with the regular cab. As for the wheels, they are still 17-inches but now feature six-spokes and a bright silver finish. Unlike the base model, the SLE can also be upgraded to either 18-inch, 20-inch, or even 22-inch wheels if desired. Outside mirrors that are both heated and powered become standard here. These mirrors were optional for the base trim.

This is the first trim level to make the trailering package available. With this, the Sierra 1500 gains an automatic locking rear differential, revised shock tuning, trailer brake controller, and more. Also available is what GMC calls the "ProGrade Trailering System." This simply adds hitch guidance with hitch view and a trailering app to the infotainment system.

The SLE has a 4.2-inch color driver information center. This is an upgrade from the base's 3.5-inch monochromatic one. Drivers also have the option of upgrading their infotainment system to an 8-inch touchscreen with HD radio capabilities. Cruise control, which was actually optional on the base model, becomes standard equipment here.

Semi-automatic climate control is included on the SLE. Drivers have the option to take this a step further with dual-zone automatic temperature control. Unlike with the first trim, those who buy the SLE can choose to add USB ports to the second-row.

Safety features remain more or less the same between these two trims. Drivers do get the GMC connected services standard here. Otherwise, the standard and available driver aids are completely identical. Still, the standard turbocharged engine and long list of available features unlocked by going with the SLE trim may attract some buyers to it.

Compare the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE vs. Elevation Trims. What is the difference?

The next offering from GMC is known as the Sierra 1500 Elevation. It also comes with the turbocharged 2.7L engine. The diesel and V8 are both still options. When it comes to the Elevation, the first real difference drivers will likely notice are the stylish 20-inch black gloss wheels.

Cargo bed LED lighting becomes part of the standard equipment on the Elevation. A cargo convenience package is also offered, which adds rear under-seat storage as well as a console vault. Like the models that came before, the Elevation has LED head and taillamps. It also adds LED fog lamps.

There are a few packages aimed specifically at this trim level. The first is known as the Elevation Black Package. It adds black GMC emblems, all-weather floor liners, and 6-inch black rectangular assist steps. An Elevation Convenience package is also available. With this, the Sierra 1500 gets a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, the ten-way power-adjustable driver seat, and dual climate control. This package can also add front bucket seats, if desired. The Elevation Value package adds both the Convenience package and a trailering package to the Sierra 1500.

A tailgate featuring the EZ lift assist function is standard for this trim. Also adding to the convenience of this truck is a standard 12-volt auxiliary rear power outlet. Keyless open and start and under-seat storage are also included with this trim.

Once again, there are no differences between safety features. The Elevation does not add much to the overall price of the Sierra 1500 and may be worth considering for the available packages if nothing else.

Compare the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation vs. SLT Trims.  What is the difference?

The first significant change when it comes to the SLT is under the hood. This version of the pickup comes standard with the 5.3L V8 engine. Drivers can also choose the diesel engine or a 6.2L V8 that produces 420-horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. This trim adds an external engine oil cooler, auxiliary transmission oil cooler, and an automatic rear locking differential to its standard equipment list.

This trim level goes down in wheel size a bit. The SLT sits on 18-inch six-spoke wheels with dark grey accents. Drivers can still choose to go with 20-inch or 22-inch wheels on the SLT. This trim also adds the very popular GMC MultiPro tailgate that has six different functions for easily loading and unloading the bed.

The driver side mirror gains an auto-dimming feature here. This is also the first trim level to offer IntelliBeam, which is an automatic highbeam system. Rear wheelhouse liners, as well as the ProGrade trailering system, are standard on the SLT.

There are a total of four different packages specifically designed for this trim. The Convenience package adds heated and ventilated front bucket seats, rear sliding window, universal home remote, and more. The Premium package adds all of that plus 20-inch wheels. Adding the Preferred package means getting navigation for the infotainment system, wireless charging, and a premium BOSE sound system. The Premium Plus Package adds all of the other packages along with more driver assistance features.

Speaking of those features, the SLT trim level unlocks quite a few more driver aids. It can have automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, a following distance indicator, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and a safety alert seat. Standard for the SLT is an HD rear vision camera as well as hitch guidance.

The SLT is definitely a step up from the previous trims. The price jump is quite significant, however, even before consumers start adding on available packages.

Compare the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT vs. AT4 Trims. What is the difference?

Off-road enthusiasts will want to check out the AT4. It has the same standard and available engines as the SLT but adds a two-speed transfer case. This trim has dual-exhaust outlets. It also adds a high-capacity air filter and hill descent control to help add to its performance. The AT4 has an off-road suspension that lifts it 2-inches higher than other trim levels.

This trim has the option of having a carbon fiber composite bed. Skid plates are part of the standard equipment. This trim has the same 18-inch wheels as the SLT but cannot be upgraded to 22-inch ones. Inside, drivers have the option of adding the AT4 Preferred package. It gives the Sierra 1500 navigation, the BOSE sound system, and wireless charging. The Premium package adds that plus more safety features, such as rear cross-traffic alert and park assist.

Otherwise, this trim is the same as the SLT. It does have little features, such as the AT4 logo on the floor mats, that help to distinguish it. The AT4 does not cost much more than a 4WD version of the SLT, making it a tempting choice.

Compare the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 vs Denali Trims.  What is the difference?

At the top of the trim ladder lives the Denali. It is only available with a crew cab but can have a short or standard box. Engine options remain identical to the two previous trims.

Inside, the Denali has a great deal of luxury. Navigation is now standard, and the driver information center is upgraded to an 8-inch screen. This is the only trim to offer advanced features like a 15-inch head's up display and the MultiPro Power Steps.

Several previously optional safety features become standard for the Denali. Drivers get park assist for both front and rear parking, lane change alert, side blind zone alert, and rear cross-traffic alert. They also get the safety alert seat standard. The Denali is certainly luxurious, but most consumers will find the features do not justify the price tag.

Which Trim to Choose?

While all trims certainly have merit, the SLE is the way to go for most consumers. It has many packages available, making it easy to customize it to an individual's needs. Plus, it adds the turbocharged engine as well as more advanced technology features standard.

The base model is simply too stripped down for most people's needs. At the other extreme, the Denali has a lot of features that many people find unnecessary. More adventurous types may consider the AT4, however, for its off-road abilities.

Stepping up to the SLE trim level will be worth it for consumers interested in the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500.
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Compare the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Trim Levels