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8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 8.1
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Review

With its robust V8 engine options and composed handling, the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 stands tall among the best full-size pickup trucks.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful, fuel-efficient 5.3-liter V8
  • Great reliability rating
  • Base V6 isn't very robust
  • More lower-grade interior materials than rivals

2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Overview

Is the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 a Good Used Truck?

The GMC Sierra 1500 is one of the best used half-ton pickup trucks you can buy. Its powerful V8 options and stout tow rating let you take on heavy-duty tasks. Uplevel trims – including the top-of-the-line GMC Sierra Denali – come with an appealing array of amenities to keep you comfortable.

Used 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Performance and Interior

GMC offered a broad selection of engines with the 2013 Sierra 1500, including a standard 4.3-liter V6 and a hybrid version (see the separate Sierra Hybrid review here). To maximize your hauling and towing efforts, skip the light-duty V6 and instead look for a pickup with the 5.3-liter V8 or 6.2-liter V8. Surprisingly, the former is also the most fuel-efficient of the bunch. This engine gets up to 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. These two V8 engines also come with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission in place of the four-speed automatic that is paired with the base engine.

Like most full-size pickups, the Sierra 1500 has a wide turning radius and exhibits some body lean when cornering. Otherwise, the Sierra 1500 feels composed, and its suspension does a good job of absorbing harsh jolts. Two-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is available. The Sierra Denali is available with a full-time all-wheel-drive system. If you want a truck with off-road capabilities, seek out a model with the Z71 off-road package.

Read more about Sierra 1500 performance »

Seating capacity in the Sierra depends on its body style. Regular Cab models hold three people, and you can seat up to six in an Extended Cab or Crew Cab model. Rear-seat room is the most plentiful in the Crew Cab versions, though you can carry adults for short trips with the Extended Cab. As you move up in trim level, the standard vinyl upholstery is replaced with cloth or leather. Front bucket seats, heated seats, and power-adjustable pedals are also available. LATCH hardware for child safety seats includes two sets of lower anchors and three tether anchors on Sierra trucks with a back seat.                 

Throughout the cabin, overall build quality is good, though the consensus is that a higher quality of materials can be found inside a Ford F-150 or Ram 1500. Interior features range from basics like an AM/FM stereo and cruise control, to niceties like a touch-screen navigation system, a power-sliding rear window, and a rear-seat entertainment system. The technology is fairly easy to use, and the Sierra's knobs and buttons are even glove-friendly.

Read more about Sierra 1500 interior »

Used 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Prices

Average prices for a used 2013 Sierra start around $15,000 for the base Work Truck trim. Depending on the truck's options, condition, and mileage, you'll spend around $18,000 for a GMC Sierra 1500 SLE Regular Cab, $22,000 for an SLT Extended Cab, and $27,200 for a Denali Crew Cab.

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We Did the Research for You: 73 Reviews Analyzed

Our GMC Sierra 1500 review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 70 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Reliable Is the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500?

The 2013 Sierra is expected to be very reliable. It has a score of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power, beating out the Ford F-150 and Nissan Titan.

See Sierra 1500 reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Sierra 1500?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2013 Sierra 1500 an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. This pickup earned a perfect score for its overall side crash rating, and four stars in the front crash and rollover categories. Standard safety features include electronic sway control and hill start assist. Some models may also come with a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.

See Sierra 1500 safety scores »

Is the 2013 Sierra 1500 the Best Model Year to Buy?

The 2013 Sierra is the last model year of its generation. If you want to save a little money, consider shopping for a 2012 model. GMC added a wide selection of options for 2012, so you may not want to extend your search to older models than that. Still, a 2011 or earlier model will save you even more money.  

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Sierra 1500 »

Which Used GMC Sierra 1500 Is Right for Me?

A surplus of configurations awaits anyone shopping for a used Sierra 1500. Beyond engine and drivetrain choices, this pickup truck comes in six trim levels (WT, SL, SLE, SLT, XFE, and Denali), three cab styles (Regular, Extended, and Crew), and three bed lengths (short, standard, and long). The WT (Work Truck) is a bare-bones trim level that gives you basics like a cloth-covered front bench seat, cruise control, and air conditioning. Conveniences like keyless entry, power door locks, and heated mirrors are included in SL models.

Many more options were available for the SLE, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard. The SLT models add quite a few amenities, such as remote start, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone calls, front bucket seats with power adjustments and leather upholstery, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Finally, the range-topping GMC Sierra Denali adds luxuries like heated and cooled front seats upholstered in leather, the EZ-Lift locking tailgate, a rearview camera, and rear parking sensors.

You may also want to consider a certified pre-owned Sierra. For all of its certified pre-owned models, GMC extends its original new-car limited powertrain warranty to six years or 100,000 miles and provides a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. GMC CPO vehicles must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read GMC’s warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether it is eligible for the CPO program. 

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the GMC certified pre-owned program »

2013 GMC Sierra 1500 and Other Trucks to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 or 2013 Chevrolet Silverado?

The GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado share many features, have identical powertrain options, and are even built in the same factory. The bulk of the differences are in the cabin. In the GMC, you'll find more interior options and some higher-quality materials. This interior, along with a marginally higher reliability rating, gives the Sierra a slight edge over the Silverado.

Which Is Better: 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 or 2013 Ford F-150?

Depending on how the truck is equipped, the Ford F-150 can haul far more weight in its bed than a GMC Sierra 1500, and it can tow up 600 more pounds. This makes the F-150 a better truck for heavy-duty tasks. It's also the better pickup to work from if you find a model with the optional Ford Work Solutions – a system that includes an internet connection and available printer.

Which Is Better: 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 or 2013 Ram 1500?

The Ram 1500 was redesigned for the 2013 model year, offering an impressive suite of engines and exceptionally smooth handling. Its maximum tow rating is just shy of the Sierra's, but its handsome cabin and optional voice recognition system are unmistakably superior.

Compare the Sierra 1500, Silverado, and F-150 »

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