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GM’s popular truck, the GMC Sierra, was recently redesigned for the 2019 model year. With this refresh came a longer cabin, a new touchscreen, and several new available powertrains. The new truck has already become a customer favorite, earning GM a big increase in sales.

However, sometimes even the most popular cars don’t have the best performance. The Ford F-150 has had subpar reliability ratings for many years, despite being the best-selling truck in the United States. The GMC Sierra also has poor reliability scores for some years from Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. So what’s the most reliable year for the GMC Sierra?

Consumer Reports recommends this year of the GMC Sierra

According to CR, the 2012 GMC Sierra is the most reliable model. It’s just two years short of the second major redesign, so its exterior is slightly dated. Still, CR notes that the interior feels high-end for its time.

Higher trims even come with technology like Bluetooth and built-in navigation. Reviewers also appreciated its high towing capacity, good crash test scores, and adequate fuel economy. 

While the V8 engine option was powerful, the base engine was sluggish in comparison. CR noted that the ride was choppy and unrefined. Besides that, the 2012 GMC is a solid choice for a used truck.

Bad years for reliability

Even though the 2019 GMC Sierra is doing well in the sales department, it has a low reliability rating. It was awarded a disappointing 2 out of 5 by Consumer Reports. However, they liked the posh interior of the Denali, the V8 engine’s performance, and the user-friendly infotainment system.

Like previous models, CR found that the truck’s ride is still too stiff compared to its rivals. It also got some flack from other critics about its interior. Edmunds noted that the quality in the base trim feels cheap and bland. They also felt that the center stack was too large.

The 2017 Sierra proved even worse in terms of reliability. Consumer Reports only gave this year a 1 out of 5. Though, there are a lot of good things about the 2017 model, like its spacious cabin and excellent crash test scores.

Despite this, the standard 2017 Sierra comes with no advanced safety features. MotorTrend also wasn’t a fan of the magnetic ride control function. While it’s supposed to make the suspension smoother, testers found that it made the drive bumpier. Still, most critics agreed that the engines operated smoothly and provided a good amount of power.

More reliable alternatives

The 2012 Sierra is definitely more reliable than later years, but some older competitors still outrank it. Consumer Reports lists the Toyota Tundra as the most reliable truck since 2010. It has ample towing capacity, capable engines, and a smooth drive even before the first major redesign.

Another one of CR’s top picks was the Nissan Frontier. This truck’s design has remained virtually the same for years, though this will change in the near future. Still, this old truck continues to impress critics with great performance.

What critics are saying about the latest GMC Sierra

The 2020 GMC Sierra has garnered mostly positive reviews from other critics. Kelley Blue Book appreciates the truck’s wide range of engines and sophisticated technology. Car and Driver also gave the truck a lot of praise but felt the high-end trims are slightly overpriced.

For the 2020 model year, even more trims can have the 10-speed automatic transmission. A new turbodiesel engine, capable of 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, is available for most models. The new transparent “see-through” trailer camera is also a big plus, as well as a new carbon-fiber bedliner.