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Editor’s note: This article was updated on 6/8/2023. 

The GMC truck has many positive upgrades from the 2020 version, such as better towing capacity, increased payload, and better fuel economy. This 2021 GMC Sierra also boasts a bigger bed and an improved powertrain, but it earned some mixed reviews from automotive experts. Is this pickup truck worth the money?

What are the known issues with the 2021 GMC Sierra?

Unfortunately, there are already three recalls on the books for the 2021 Sierra, according to Edmunds. There was an issue with the seat belt assembly not being properly attached to the vehicle. In the event of a crash, this might increase the chance of injury. There was also an issue with the seat belt bracket for the middle seat in the front row. 

The 2021 GMC Sierra earned a fairly average score otherwise. The performance score was below average, as were the areas of comfort and value. For fuel economy, the Sierra got an estimated 17 miles per gallon overall, 24 highway miles per gallon, and 11 in the city for the 5.3-liter V8 engine. 

In addition to the seat belt issues, there were some reports of over-cured tires that might result in a break in the sidewall. A belt edge separation was also noted as an issue that could lead to tread loss. While the perceived value of the Sierra wasn’t great, the driving experience score made up for what the value lacked. It also scored extra points for styling. 

A respectable score from a respected source

But when you look at the J.D. Power score, the 2021 GMC Sierra was given a respectable 87 out of 100. J.D. Power noted a difference in fuel economy, giving it an estimated 14-23 miles per gallon in the city and 18-30 miles per gallon on the highway. 

Across the board, J.D. Power gave the Sierra a score of “great” for quality & reliability, driving experience, and dealership experience. All of those scores were between 82 and 86 out of an even 100. The resale value scored a title of “best,” with 92/100. It was the top-rated truck for 2021, followed by the Sierra 1500HD, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500HD. 

Is the GMC Sierra 1500 a good truck?

So which one is it? These experts have very different ways of coming up with scores. That isn’t to say one is more accurate than the other. Some of the scores are more subjective than others, such as the score for style. What one person finds stylish in a pickup truck might not translate to what the general public thinks about a pickup truck

The best way to look at the scores is to look at the breakdown as listed above. Check out the pieces that are important to your lifestyle and draw conclusions from there. 

Is city mileage important to you? In this case, the recalls might be an easy fix for some but could be a deterrent for others. Take it for a test drive at your local dealership and determine if the 2021 GMC Sierra is the right truck for your next purchase or lease. 


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