14 Best & Worst GMC Sierra 1500 Years (With Pictures)

The GMC Sierra 1500 is a full size pickup truck that was introduced in 1990.

It is a popular option, known for its ruggedness, impressive performance, and class-leading tow ratings.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the best and worst model years of the Sierra 1500.

2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The GMC Sierra 1500 Are:

The best GMC Sierra 1500 model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2013, 2012, 2010, and 2006. The worst model years of the Sierra 1500 are 2014, 2015, 2008, 2011, 2016, 2019, and 2007. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The GMC Sierra 1500?

2023 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2023 Sierra 1500 is a stand-out choice with its advanced technology and all-around utility.

It comes in various engine options, including a 6.2-liter V8 engine that packs quite a punch.

Off-road upgrades are plentiful. Regardless of what you intend to use this truck for, the standard and optional tech can match whatever you may need. 

There are 8 trim levels to choose from: Pro, SLE, Elevation, SLT, Denali, AT4, AT4X, and Denali Ultimate.

Prices range from approximately $45,000 to $84,000. 

  • Edmunds: 3.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2023 X7, Edmunds review:

“The GMC Sierra 1500 is a smooth riding vehicle. A 200 mile interstate trip earned this vehicle approximately 22 mpg.”  

2022 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2022 Sierra 1500 is a competent full size pickup truck.

It has several available powertrains for various towing and hauling needs, a long cabin providing plenty of legroom, and massive bed capacity. 

New to this particular model year is an updated interior with a larger center touchscreen, an available Super Cruise semi-automated driving system, and the introduction of the AT4X and Denali Ultimate trims.

Speaking of trims, there are 8 to choose from: Pro, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, Denali, AT4X, and Denali Ultimate.

Our favorite safety features are Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist, and Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking. 

  • Edmunds: 3.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2022 X7, Edmunds review:

“I’ve always loved the overall look of the Sierra but the infotainment system was severely underwhelming. But a mid year refresh for the 2022 models forward changed all that. This truck is amazing on the outside and the inside and strikes the perfect balance between the practicality of a daily work truck, and the refinement for a night out on the town.” 

2021 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2021 Sierra 1500 is part of the fourth-generation that was launched for 2019, it boasts premium tech and advanced driver assistance features.

Reviews from owners praised the model’s comfort, fuel efficiency, appearance, handling, and steering.

Auto critics, on the other hand, praised its towing and storage capacity.

EPA estimates are 17 MPG for combined driving, 16 MPG for city driving, and 21 MPG for highway driving. 

The model’s bed is very practical and convenient. Aside from its size, it has multiple tie-down points, and cleverly designed bed steps, making loading and unloading heavy items safe and easy. 

  • Edmunds: 3.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2021 X7, Edmunds review:

“You can’t get a truck with more luxury, more add-ons, better mileage, and power. This thing rocks and overall, cannot be beat. I love it and I have only had it a couple of days. I can’t wait to put it through its paces and see what else this thing can do. Thanks to Nyle Maxwell GMC located in Round Rock, Texas for an amazing truck.” 

2013 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2013 Sierra 1500 is a reliable choice that has proven to withstand the test of time.

It comes in 3 configurations: Crew Cab, Regular Cab, and Extended Cab.

It also comes in 6 trims: Work Truck (WT), SL, SLE, XFE, SLT, and Denali.

The model has a smooth and quiet ride, comfortable seats, and powerful V8 engine options.

The model’s most powerful engine, the Flex-fuel (FFV) 6.2-liter V8 engine, boasts 403 horsepower and can achieve 14 MPG. 

  • Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2013 X7, Edmunds review:

“This is my first truck ever. I looked for a truck for quite a few months. I looked at price, mileage, 4 wheel drive vs. 2wd, and optional junk. I chose the 2wd no flash 6.5 ft bed 4.3L V6. Got it with 95k and it is about 8 years old. I love it. It is exactly what I wanted and performs as I expected. What else can I say?”

2013 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab SLT

2012 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2012 Sierra 1500 is one of the most reliable models on this list according to NHTSA stats.

This model received an updated navigation system and the inclusion of trailer sway control as part of the stability control system.

Owners loved this model for the following aspects: reliability, manufacturing quality, towing, appearance, and engine power.

When properly equipped, this pickup truck can tow up to 9,600 pounds.

This is more than enough to tow large boats, travel trailers, and utility trailers. 

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 86 / 100

2012 X7, Edmunds review:

“I just traded in my 2005 Silverado 1500 SS for the 2012 Sierra Denali. The Denali rides much better and is more luxurious. Performance is about the same, the SS accelerating a little harder, but I attribute that to a 4.11 rear end in the SS. The Denali on the other hand is getting better gas mileage than the SS. GMC did a great job on fit and finish, I’ve gone over it with a fine toothed comb looking for flaws and can find none. NAV and Stereo are easy to use, with great sound from the speakers. So far no complaints!”

Related: 16 Best & Worst GMC Canyon Years (With Pictures)

2010 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2010 Sierra 1500 is practical, comfortable, and well-equipped.

It has a smooth and quiet ride, agreeable seats, and brawny optional V8 engines.

This model has a total of 6 trims: Work Truck (WT), SL, SLE, SLT, XFE, and Denali.

It also has 3 configurations: Extended Cab, Crew Cab, and Regular Cab.

While fuel efficiency may vary based on the trim and configuration selected, you can expect around 18 MPG for combined driving, 15 MPG for city driving, and 22 MPG for highway driving. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2010 X7, Edmunds review:

“Get the 5.3L with the six-speed automatic.  Averaging 20 MPG over the first 2,000 miles 85%/15% Hwy/City driving.  20 inch wheels (rims are ugly) make for a very smooth ride.  Engine is very quiet with good power and shifts are very smooth.  Quiet interior is a plus, and the leather seats are comfortable.  Plenty of power to pass without sacrificing economy.  Use the manual shift override function to control downhill speeds.  Wife likes the 6-way seats and adjustable pedals with the memory function for seat/mirrors.”

2006 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2006 Sierra 1500 is the final iteration of second-generation Sierra models.

It is widely considered to be a solid truck although it lags behind rivals of a similar age in terms of overall refinement and interior design.

It has roomy extended and crew cab variants, a selection of V8 engine options, innovative features, and a hybrid-electric option.

New to this particular model year is the VortecMAX performance group that includes a 345-horsepower 6-liter V8 engine, a heavy-duty tow package, and a stronger rear axle for supreme off-road capability.

Owners of this truck were impressed by the model’s comfort, fuel efficiency, appearance, towing, and spaciousness. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2006 X7, Edmunds review:

“I love my truck, its mainly a work truck but I put more miles on it than any of the other trucks. Yeah after about 15,000 miles dash started rattling but till after 70,000 miles it’s been loyal and I beat the hell out of this truck i.e. racing, fish tailing around corners, bad terrain. And so far the tranny dumped out on acceleration at 50 mph. Rebuild was 850. So no bad review here.”

Consumer Scores For Best GMC Sierra 1500 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 GMC Sierra 15003.4 / 5.04.0 / 5.085 / 100
2022 GMC Sierra 15003.4 / 5.04.0 / 5.0NA
2021 GMC Sierra 15003.0 / 5.04.0 / 5.085 / 100
2013 GMC Sierra 15003.9 / 5.04.6 / 5.084 / 100
2012 GMC Sierra 15004.1 / 5.04.6 / 5.086 / 100
2010 GMC Sierra 15004.2 / 5.04.6 / 5.085 / 100
2006 GMC Sierra 15004.2 / 5.04.6 / 5.0NA

Related: 11 GMC Sierra Statistics You Should Know

What Are The Worst Years For The GMC Sierra 1500?

2014 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2014 Sierra 1500, according to statistics from reputable car websites, is the most problematic model year ever produced.

Its top 3 problem areas are: headlights, service brakes, and steering.

Numerous owners have expressed concerns with driving safety at night due to problematic headlights.

Owners reported random dimming, non-responsiveness to controls, and an overall lack of brightness.

One owner shares his experience below:

“The headlights on my pick-up are absolutely horrible and dangerous to drive with. I have even gone to the expense of having brand new ones installed and they are no different in the lighting. I can barely see one car length ahead of me when driving at night, which is prohibiting me from using my pick-up for night time driving. This is ridiculous to have spent such a large sum of money for a vehicle and not be able to see driving at night. There should be a mandatory recall of this vehicle and the headlight system.”

The brakes are also problematic, with numerous owners reporting brake pedal stiffening/locking up and weak brake pressure. 

One owner briefly shares his problem below:

“At low speed and idle, brakes lose power and the pedal becomes hard to push. Once RPMs increase, brakes regain full use.”

Power steering was another commonly reported area of concern, with owners reporting loss of power steering which has led to difficulty in maneuvering, especially when making turns. 

Here is what one owner had to say about this issue:

“When I slow down to make a turn, my truck loses power making the turn very dangerous. I lose control of the vehicle for a few seconds due to loss of power. It is very dangerous for me to make turns.”

The 2014 Sierra 1500 had a total of 860 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 352 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Terrible headlights
  • Poor visibility
  • Air conditioning condenser leaking
  • Air conditioning not working
2014 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT

2015 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2015 Sierra 1500 is the second-most problematic model year ever produced.

Most of its recurring issues are similar to what has already been discussed for the 2014 model year, but less frequently.

Another problem area was its trailer brake system.

Numerous owners reported trailer brake system errors, with a warning indicator coming up, making the vehicle incapable of effectively towing.

Issues with the trailer brake system pose a serious safety risk, especially when the truck is driven at high speeds.

Here is what one owner had to share below:

“Purchased GMC sierra c1500 new in 2015 from a dealership in orange county, CA. Experienced multiple issues over the past 4 years with the “trailer brake system” service light and loud beeping which has created multiple safety issues making the vehicle undrivable at times. The last incident was while on a cross country road trip through extreme heat in the southwest from Texas to California in June and most recently while visiting Orange county. The beeping noise almost caused a couple of accidents as the hands free phone system was inoperable due to the loud warning beeping noise as it went on and off about 50 times. We were required to take several risky maneuvers to pull the vehicle off heavy highway traffic at high speeds to stop the engine and restart in an attempt to reset the warning beeping system without success…”

The 2015 Sierra 1500 had a total of 745 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 249 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Air conditioning not working
  • Poor lighting pattern 
  • Skipping

2008 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2008 Sierra 1500 had one significant problem – airbag defects, which stemmed from none other than the notorious Takata airbag recall.

This recall was a major safety issue that affected millions of models from various manufacturers – the airbags were known to explode although in some cases they failed to deploy when needed.

Here is one owner who, unfortunately, had to face the consequences of defective airbags:

“In the city I stopped at a left turn lane waiting for the green. Light turned green, I started to turn left and was hit on the right front hard enough to send me two lanes over, onto the sidewalk and into a brick wall causing major damage to the brick building. I do not remember being hit or hitting the brick wall. No airbags deployed. I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion.”

The 2008 Sierra 1500 had a total of 413 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 49 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Stuck lifter
  • Transmission failure
  • Water leaks into interior

2011 GMC Sierra 1500

Much like the previously discussed 2008 Sierra 1500, the 2011 Sierra 1500 suffered from airbag-related issues and defects.

The second most frequently reported problem area was its dashboard.

A lot of owners complained about various cracks in their dashboard, ranging from small and minor to very severe.

One owner shares his experience below: 

“Dash is cracked above the instrument cluster and above the passenger airbag posing a safety concern in the event of airbag deployment.”

The 2011 Sierra 1500 had a total of 332 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 56 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission hesitates
  • Cracked dashboard
  • Knocking sound
2011 GMC Sierra 1500 XFE

2016 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2016 Sierra 1500 had issues with its service brakes and torque converter.

Owners had frequent issues with their brake pedals, indicating that there was difficulty in activating the brakes when at slow/idle speeds.

Here is a complaint that explains the problem:

“At low/idle speeds the brake pedal becomes hard and will not stop. At speeds between 35-75 mph the engine/transmission has a vibration about every 10 seconds and the transmission shifts hard and/or rough at times when first taking off.”

Another commonly reported issue with this model was a faulty torque converter.

A torque converter is in charge of delivering power from the engine to the transmission. A malfunctioning torque converter would lead to problems with gear shifting, transmission overheating, and loss of power. 

The 2016 Sierra 1500 had a total of 330 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 31 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Rough idle
  • Vehicle failure
  • Air conditioning blowing hot air
2016 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT

2019 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2019 Sierra 1500 had multiple brake-related problems, including service trailer brake system malfunctions, brake assist non-responsiveness, and traction control failure.

Numerous owners began noticing intermittent but increasingly frequent brake-related warning indicators going off.

While other symptoms were not immediately noticeable, problems started to grow when owners reported difficulties in depressing the brake pedal, variation in brake pressure required to stop the car, and repeated warning notifications that required visits to the service center. 

The 2019 Sierra 1500 had a total of 299 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 39 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Check engine light on
  • Vehicle shaking
  • Brake system failure
  • Hard shifting

2007 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2007 Sierra 1500, much like the 2008 model year, had one big problem – its airbags.

This was due to the faulty Takata airbags which, were known to explode and fire off shrapnel.

The 2007 Sierra 1500 had a total of 298 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 42 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Service airbag light on

Related: GMC Sierra Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Complete Guide)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2023 GMC Sierra 1500NA51
2022 GMC Sierra 1500NA552
2021 GMC Sierra 1500121194
2020 GMC Sierra 15001116110
2019 GMC Sierra 15003929910
2018 GMC Sierra 1500232063
2017 GMC Sierra 1500652565
2016 GMC Sierra 1500313309
2015 GMC Sierra 150024974520
2014 GMC Sierra 150035286021
2013 GMC Sierra 1500401256
2012 GMC Sierra 1500281202
2011 GMC Sierra 1500563327
2010 GMC Sierra 1500322025
2009 GMC Sierra 1500292645
2008 GMC Sierra 1500494134
2007 GMC Sierra 1500422986
2006 GMC Sierra 150024172NA
2005 GMC Sierra 150040224NA
2004 GMC Sierra 150063252NA
2003 GMC Sierra 150037229NA
2002 GMC Sierra 150023199NA
2001 GMC Sierra 150021169NA
2000 GMC Sierra 150025196NA
1999 GMC Sierra 150015160NA
1998 GMC Sierra 15001340NA
1997 GMC Sierra 1500864NA
1996 GMC Sierra 1500534NA

What Problems Do GMC Sierra 1500s Have?

  • Air conditioning not working
  • Terrible headlights
  • Poor visibility
  • Poor lighting pattern
  • Air conditioning condenser leaking
  • Skipping
  • Hard shifting
  • Lifter failure
  • Transmission slips and jerks
  • Check engine light on
  • Vehicle shaking
  • Brake system failure
  • Transmission hesitates
  • Cracked dashboard
  • Knocking sound
  • Stereo system stopped working
  • Transmission failure

What Are The Best Alternatives To The GMC Sierra 1500?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Ford F-1509.0$34,585 – $84,910City: 2 – 20 /Highway: 2 – 26
Ram 15009.0$30,695 – $84,355City: 10 – 21 /Highway: 14 – 29
GMC Sierra 15008.6$37,100 – $82,100City: 14 – 24 /Highway: 17 – 29
Chevrolet Silverado 15008.3$36,300 – $71,500City: 14 – 24 /Highway: 17 – 29
Toyota Tundra8.1$37,865 – $76,145City: 17 – 20 / Highway: 20 – 24
Nissan Titan7.2$39,700 – $61,980City: 15 – 16 /Highway: 20 – 21

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 21 Best & Worst Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Years (Explained)











  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...