The GMC Sierra is a truck that combines ruggedness and luxury. It might not be the most powerful in its class, but it certainly is versatile and comfortable. Plus, GMC provides various trim levels, engines, and features. But, sometimes, it’s not that easy to tell them apart. So, let’s find out what are the key differences between all the GMC Sierras.

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What is the difference between SLT and SLE in the GMC Sierra?

The GMC Sierra SLE is a step above the entry-level model, and it comes with the smallest engine plus a basic but comfortable interior. The SLT is a more luxurious version. It includes a standard V8 and a ten-speed automatic transmission, plus available packages and bigger wheels. In ascending order of features and price, GMC separates the Sierra into the following: Base, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, and Denali.

As its name states, the entry-level Sierra Base is a no-frills working truck. Some of the features in this trim carry over to the next, and so forth. In some cases, the more expensive model comes with better options.

The most luxurious GMC Sierra available is the Denali. Interestingly, it doesn’t come with 4WD as standard, ideal for urban drivers. On the other hand, the ideal Sierra for off-road fanatics is the AT4, which comes only with four-wheel-drive and improved suspension.

Thanks to GMC’s multitude of engines, many of these trim levels come with the option to choose everything from inline-four to V8 powerplants. But, you cannot opt for the diesel engine on the Base model.

A common trend in most manufacturers, not only GMC, offers plenty of available packages for even the most basic level. In the case of the Sierra, it’s no different. Packages include the Snow Plow, X31 Off-Road, and Trailering Package, available for the SLE. But the SLT comes with its own optional packages.

We’ll go through some of the main features each trim provides in the following section.

What features do the GMC Sierra SLE and SLT come with?

With so many options and trim levels, it’s hard to keep track of what each truck brings to the table. So, we decided to summarize our findings for you. This table shows some, not all, of the features each of the GMC Sierra’s trim levels comes with.

FeaturesSierra (Base)SLEElevationSLTAT4Denali
Standard engine4.3L V62.7L I4 2.7L I4 5.3L V85.3L V85.3L V8
Transmission (automatic)Six-speedEight-speedEight-speedEight-speed (2WD) and Ten-Speed (4WD)Ten-SpeedTen-Speed
Engine options2.7L I4 and 5.3L V83.0L Diesel I63.0L Diesel I6All from SLE and BaseNone6.2L V8
Transmission optionsEight-speedTen-speedTen-speedNoneNoneNone
Wheels17 inches17 inches with six spokes20 inches with Black Glass paint18-in machined aluminum18-in machined aluminum and off road wheels20-in multi-dimensional aluminum
Audio SystemSix speakerSirius XMSirius XMPremium HD RadioPremium HD RadioBose Premium
Rear vision CameraYesYesYesHDHDAvailable HD Surround vision
Snow Plow Prep PackageOptionalNoNoNoNoNo
X31 Off-Road PackageOptionalOptionalOptionalOptionalOptionalOptional
Trailering PackageOptionalOptionalOptionalStandardStandardStandard
GMC Protection PackageOptionalOptionalOptionalOptionalOptionalOptional
Other featuresCargo bay lightningLeather steering wheel, heated front seats, remote startSimilar to SLE, with clothed rear seat. Elevation Black Package availableAvailable Texas and Texas Plus package.Available Off-Road Performance. Comes with Skid Plates and lift kitAvailable with Denali Ultimate Edition

As you can see, the GMC Sierra SLT and SLE come with distinct features, but they’re still within the middle of the price range. There’s little mechanical difference between the SLE and the Elevation. But, the latter provides more aesthetic upgrades.

An interesting aspect is that the AT4, the off-road version, comes with skid plates, a 2-in. lift, and exclusive off-road tires.

The SLT also comes with interior features like a power outlet and a premium infotainment system.

But it also comes with two exclusive premium packages. These are the Texas Edition packages, which offer luxury and themed interiors.

Now that we’ve discussed some of the features in the different Sierra trim levels, let’s talk about one of the most essential aspects: pricing.

How much do the GMC Sierra SLE and SLT cost?

The following table shows starting prices of the different Sierra trim levels. Keep in mind that these are only references, and they might change in your location.

Sierra 1500 (Base)SLEElevationSLTAT4Denali
$29,795$39,995$41,695$48,595$55,395$56,990

Additional features can increase these values. For example, optional engines like the 3.0L Diesel will cost around $1,000. So, it’s best to use these prices as a starting point.

As we can see, the GMC Sierra offers plenty of options. So, let’s discuss how it stacks up against the competition.

How do the GMC Sierra SLE and SLT compare with the competition?

The GMC Sierra’s main competitors are the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500. Other brands include Toyota with the Tundra and Nissan with the Titan XD.

The following table summarizes the different trim levels from the three main competitors and their prices. We cannot dive into the features of each, as it would exceed the purpose of this article. But, it’s worth highlight that GMC and Chevrolet both belong to General Motors.

The Sierra and the Silverado are mechanically identical. But GMC aims to fit a more luxurious lifestyle, while Chevrolet is more for working.

Manufacturers don’t necessarily have the same amount of trim levels. So, we provide some of the models available, and we include the cheapest and most expensive.

BrandTrim LevelPrice
GMCSierra 1500 (Base)$29,795
SLE$39,995
Elevation$41,695
SLT$48,595
AT4$55,395
Denali$56,990
ChevroletWork Truck$28,995
Custom$36,520
LT$39,995
Trail Boss$41,395
LTZ$51,045
High Country$55,545
FordXL$30,365
XLT$36,745
Lariat$46,390
King Ranch$58,025
Platinum$60,805
Limited$72,520
RamTradesman$30,550
HFE$36,340
SLT$38,640
Big Horn$38,985
Laramie$43,675
Limited$58,345

As you can see, the basic GMC Sierra is cheaper than both Ford and Ram. But GM’s decision to place it as a luxury truck comes through, as it is $1000 more expensive than the Silverado.

As the options begin to increase in terms of luxury, the Sierra doesn’t become the most expensive. In fact, it’s substantially cheaper than Ford’s most luxurious option.

Both the SLT and SLE options from GMC offer competitive pricing for the features they come with. A fun detail is that Ram also offers an SLT that is within range with GMC’s option.

The US truck market is very competitive. With a small number of brands competing for buyers, it’s common to see that many of these will offer similar features. So, don’t expect any surprises.

Perhaps the only peculiarity in this table is that the Ford F-150 Limited edition is around $17500 more than its nearest competitor. It’s up to personal preference whether it’s worth the money.

This pattern can come through as an advantage. With so many options, buyers can choose from basic to luxurious trim levels while still being cheaper than the competition.

Closing thoughts

The GMC Sierra comes with plenty of trim options. Because of the variety, many are left wondering what’s the difference between the SLT and SLE. This article aims to answer this and also explain what the different GMC Sierra trim levels offer.

The SLE is a step above the most basic Sierra, known as the Sierra 1500. It comes with a standard 2.7L inline-four gasoline engine, which provides adequate power, good fuel mileage. But it doesn’t live up to par when it comes to towing.

The SLT is a more luxurious version, with better interior features and other available engines. You can choose the 3.0L Duramax TurboDiesel Inline-six, which is great for towing, thanks to its low-end torque.

But GMC also offers specialized and luxury trims. The AT4 is geared more towards off-roading with exclusive tires and a 2-in lift. The Denali trim is the most luxurious, and you can even upgrade it with the Ultimate edition.

As far as the competition, though GMC is GM’s luxury option, it still sits in the middle of the pack when pricing. It offers a similar amount of trims to Ford and Chevrolet. But Ram provides an impressive twelve trim options.

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Pricing is consistently competitive, and this makes perfect sense. With such a limited number of options in the US truck market, these manufacturers have to outdo the rest and stay within budget. So, though the entry-level Sierra isn’t the cheapest, the Denali isn’t the most expensive luxury trim out there. That honor goes to the Ford F-150 Limited.

If you want to know more about what each trim level comes with, be sure to visit the manufacturer’s website. There plenty of more exciting features the Sierra has to offer.

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For the moment, we hope that this article gives you the necessary information to understand what sets each GMC Sierra trim level apart.