The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) is a benchmark survey of new-vehicle buyers that measures the things that have gone right and the things that have gone wrong during the first 90 days of ownership. Tens of thousands of people provide the market research firm with valuable feedback regarding which vehicle systems break down or malfunction, how frequently this occurs, and what vehicle systems are difficult to understand and use.
The models included in this Top-Rated 2013 Trucks buyer's guide received the highest overall ratings in the 2013 IQS. Below, listed in alphabetical order, are the five pickup trucks that qualify for our buying guide. They are all built by General Motors.
The 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche enters its final year of sales before retirement. Sold in LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels, each 2013 Avalanche carries a Black Diamond Edition designation to mark the final year of production. A 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 engine with Active Fuel Management technology is standard equipment, providing up to 8,100 lbs. of towing capacity and 1,397 lbs. of payload capacity.
The 2013 Silverado 1500 enters the home stretch of a 7-year run with standard powertrain grade braking, a couple of new colors, and free scheduled maintenance for the first 2 years or 24,000 miles of ownership. For the 2014 model year, the Silverado 1500 is replaced by a completely redesigned version. In the meantime, the 2013 Silverado is sold in WT (Work Truck), LS, LT, LTZ, XFE (Xtra Fuel Economy), and Hybrid trim levels in a variety of cab styles and powertrains. Maximum towing capacity measures 10,700 lbs. while maximum payload capacity measures 1,937 lbs. The Silverado Hybrid gets 21 mpg in combined driving, according to the EPA.
The 2013 Silverado heavy-duty, or HD, is offered in 2500 and 3500 series designations. With three cab styles, three levels of trim, two box sizes, two engines, two drivetrains, and single or dual rear wheels, there's a Silverado HD model likely to suit almost any truck buyer. The 3500HD model's maximum towing capacity is 17,800 lbs., or 23,100 lbs. when set up for a 5th-wheel trailer. Maximum payload measures 7,222 lbs. for the 3500HD. A new bi-fuel Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powertrain is available for the 2500HD Extended Cab.
The Sierra 1500 is among the top-rated trucks in the 2013 IQS as GMC prepares to retire the current design in favor of an all-new 2014 Sierra 1500. The only changes to the outgoing 2013 version are standard powertrain grade braking, two new colors, and free scheduled maintenance for the first 2 years or 24,000 miles of ownership. In addition to trim levels that closely match those of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC offers the Sierra 1500 as a luxurious Denali model. Properly equipped, this truck tows 10,700 lbs. and can haul 1,937 lbs. of payload. The EPA says the Hybrid returns 21 mpg in combined driving.
The heavy-duty versions of GMC's full-size truck, the Sierra 2500HD and the Sierra 3500HD are offered in a number of configurations and levels of trim. Similar to the Silverado HD, the 2013 Sierra HD can haul a 7,222-lb. payload. GMC also quotes a maximum conventional towing capacity of 18,000 lbs., and a 5th-wheel trailer towing capacity of 23,100 lbs. For 2013, a bi-fuel CNG powertrain can be installed in the Sierra 2500HD Extended Cab model.