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Used GMC Sierra – Cincinnati, OH

3rd Generation (2014-2018)


A white 2014 used GMC Sierra facing left on white

A used GMC Sierra is one of the best value options on the market for a comfortable and capable truck. Closely related to the rugged Chevy Silverado, the GMC Sierra builds on the same dependable and powerful platform by adding even more features and options as well as revised styling for an upmarket experience. And not only is the GMC Sierra available in all of the configurations expected of a full-size pickup, there have been no fewer than four generations of the GMC Sierra stretching back over thirty years. This means that no matter your needs or budget, there is a used GMC Sierra that will fit the bill. Whether you are in the market for an old half-ton single cab pickup for odd jobs, or a modern one-ton crew cab truck that can haul a heavy trailer in style, a used GMC Sierra makes for a great choice.

The Early Years

GMC has been selling Sierra trucks since the 1970s. However, in the beginning, the Sierra name referred to a trim level rather than a truck model, and there were even GMC Sierra SUVs. This changed for the 1988 model year when the new Sierra C/K pickup trucks began. However, the 1500, 2500, and 3500 weight class designations that had been in use for the previous generations of GMC trucks were also kept, resulting in the model names we know today. Production of these vehicles lasted until 2002, so it is still possible to find examples of these trucks on the used market in good condition. But given its age, these trucks do not compare well to modern trucks in terms of power, safety, or features. In fact, the most powerful 5.7L V8 engine in these trucks produces just 255 hp and is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission.

Middle Years

While the production of certain models continued for a few more years, the actual first-generation GMC Sierra 1500 was introduced for the 1999 model year with the heavy-duty GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 following for 2001. This generation was produced until 2006, and good quality used examples make for excellent affordable trucks even if they do lack some modern features. Not only did the first-generation GMC Sierra move to a brand new platform, but it also brought a completely revised engine lineup with up to 325 hp in the top 6.0L V8. This makes the first generation GMC Sierra a far more capable vehicle than the original Sierra vehicles, even if it is not quite up to modern standards. And for the more traditional drivers that prefer shifting gears themselves, the first-generation GMC Sierra was the only generation of the truck to be sold with a manual transmission option.

The second generation GMC Sierra hit the market in 2007 model year truck and remained in production through 2013. Trucks from this generation are plentiful on the used market and make for a solid all-around choice for drivers who do not need the latest and greatest. While they may not be quite as advanced or as powerful as the more recent GMC Sierra generations, the second generation trucks still offer a good array of modern features and engines. On the inside, this was the first version of the GMC Sierra to offer amenities such as navigation, USB and WiFi connectivity, and OnStar emergency services. And under the hood, these trucks offer up to 360 hp as well as a standard six-speed automatic transmission. However, the base V6 engine option remained somewhat anemic with less than 200 hp and is probably best avoided by anyone looking for more than a daily driver.

Modern GMC

However, the best value used GMC Sierra is probably going to be something from the third generation of the truck. Introduced for the 2014 model year and kept in production until the 2018 model year, the third generation GMC Sierra is a thoroughly modern truck with a selection of powerful engine options. Every engine option saw a noticeable horsepower increase for this generation, with the base 4.3L V6 gaining nearly 100 hp and becoming an option worth considering even for hard use. Further, the use of more modern technologies in the engines of these trucks combined with the introduction of an eight-speed automatic transmission for some engine options meant that they are not only more powerful, they are also more fuel-efficient. 

So even if a used third-generation GMC Sierra costs a bit more upfront than an older truck, it will likely end up saving you money in the long run. But despite the significant mechanical upgrades for the third generation GMC Sierra, perhaps the most noticeable change was the improved interior styling and features, including the modern MyLink infotainment system and its 8-inch touch screen, which make the cab of this generation of the GMC Sierra a comfortable place to spend your time on the road.

The latest generation of the GMC Sierra was just released for the 2019 model year and is currently challenging to find on the used market. As is typical, the half-ton GMC Sierra 1500 was introduced first, with the heavy-duty GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 following for the 2020 model year. So if you are looking for a used three quarter or one-ton truck, then you are almost certainly going to have to be looking at the previous generation. However, this generation GMC Sierra offers a plethora of brand new features that make it one of the best trucks on the road, including adaptive damping suspension, a lightweight and durable carbon fiber bed, and a versatile split-folding tailgate. So if you can find a used version of one of these trucks, you may want to seriously consider jumping on it.

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