Top-Rated Trucks for Quality Are On Sale Now

If you've been waiting to buy a new full-size pickup truck, whether you're a personal-use customer planning to tow or haul on weekends or a fleet administrator for a large corporation, the top-rated trucks according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) are on sale now at a Chevrolet, GMC or Nissan dealership.

Chevrolet Avalanche

Built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Suburban, the Chevy Avalanche is an unusual pickup truck in that the passenger cab is not separate from the cargo box. Rather, the two resemble the design of a big, modern-day El Camino, and the Avalanche's rear cab wall--called a midgate--can be removed, and the rear seats can be folded down to expand the truck's carrying capacity.

The Avalanche is sold in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels with rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive and up to 6-passenger seating capacity. A 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 engine with Active Fuel Management technology and E85 flex-fuel capability is standard, and the Avalanche is rated to tow up to 8,100 pounds when properly equipped, which is 2,600 pounds less than a Chevy Silverado 1500.

To commemorate the truck's last year of production, a limited number of 2013 Avalanche models will be offered in Black Diamond trim with added standard equipment. The Chevrolet Avalanche tied the Nissan Titan for a third-place ranking in the 2012 Initial Quality Study.

As this article is written, Chevrolet is offering 3.9% financing for 60 months or a $2,000 cash rebate for the 2013 Avalanche, while 2012 Avalanche models are eligible for 0% financing for 72 months or a $5,000 cash rebate.

2013 Chevrolet Avalanche Summary, Photos & Specs
Chevrolet Truck Quality Ratings

Chevrolet Silverado HD

The heavy-duty version of the Chevrolet Silverado ranked second in the 2012 Initial Quality Study, behind the GMC Sierra 1500, which received the model award in the Large Pickup segment. Offered in 2500HD and 3500HD trim levels in regular cab, extended cab, and crew cab styles with a choice of a standard or long cargo box, the Silverado HD is a workhorse model in the full-size pickup truck class.

A 6.0-liter V-8 engine is standard, generating 322 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6.6-liter, Duramax turbo-diesel engine is optional, providing 397 horsepower and 765 lb.-ft. of torque at just 1,600 rpm. Properly equipped, the Silverado 3500HD will carry up to 7,222 pounds of payload and tow as much as 18,000 pounds with a conventional trailer hitch (23,100 pounds with a fifth-wheel hitch). Trailer sway control and hill-start assist are included on models without the available dual-rear-wheel axle setup.

Differences between 2012 and 2013 Silverado HD models are few, amounting to new colors and the availability of a new bi-fuel V-8 engine that runs on gasoline or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the 2500HD variant.

As this article is written, Chevrolet is offering a $4,000 cash rebate on the 2012 Silverado HD models, while the 2013 versions are eligible for a $2,000 cash rebate. Alternatively, all new Silverado HD models in stock may be financed for 60 months at 0% interest.

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Summary, Photos & Specs
2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD Summary, Photos & Specs
Chevrolet Truck Quality Ratings

GMC Sierra 1500

In the 2012 Initial Quality Study, the 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 ranked highest in the Large Pickup segment. GMC leaves well enough alone for 2013, adding two new paint color choices and expanded powertrain grade braking capability for the top-rated Sierra.

The GMC Sierra 1500 is sold in regular cab, extended cab, and crew cab styles with a short, standard, or long cargo box. Trim levels include WT (Work Truck), SL, SLE, SLT, and the luxurious Denali. GMC also offers the Sierra 1500 as a fuel-efficient XFE (Xtra Fuel Economy) or Hybrid model.

Engine choices range from a 195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V-6 to a 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8. The Sierra Hybrid is equipped with a 2-mode gas-electric hybrid powertrain rated to get 21 mpg in combined driving. Depending on configuration and equipment, the Sierra 1500 can carry up to 1,940 pounds of payload and tow up to 10,700 pounds.

This is the final year for the GMC Sierra in its current format. A redesigned 2014 GMC Sierra debuted at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, and is expected to start rolling into dealerships just before summer. In the meantime, dealers are selling down their inventories of the truck, and any buyer who wants a Sierra Hybrid had better act fast, because that model isn't returning for 2014.

As this article is written, the 2012 Sierra 1500 is offered with cash rebates of $3,000 to $5,500, depending on the cab style selected. Truck buyers may choose cash rebates amounting to $2,500 or $3,000 for the 2013 models, and GMC offers a low-mileage lease special for a Sierra 1500 SLE Extended Cab with 4-wheel drive. Alternatively, any Sierra 1500 may be financed at 0% interest for 60 months.

GMC Truck Quality Ratings

Nissan Titan

The Nissan Titan debuted for the 2004 model year, and is the oldest large pickup truck on the market. In 2012, the Nissan Titan tied the Chevrolet Avalanche for third rank in the 2012 Initial Quality Study.

Nissan offers the Titan in extended cab and crew cab styles, with a regular or long cargo box, and with rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive. A 317-horsepower, 5.6-liter V-8 engine is the only one available, and buyers choose between S, SV, PRO-4X, and SL trim levels. Maximum towing capacity tops out at 9,500 pounds, and the Titan can carry up to 2,153 pounds of payload.

For 2013, Nissan has made several changes to the Titan in addition to introducing seven new colors. All Titans have a new tailgate design, while the Titan S is equipped with restyled 16-inch steel wheels; the Titan SV and SL get standard step rails; and the Titan PRO-4X receives an updated appearance. Inside, the 2013 Titan has a new steering wheel and sliding sun visors, while the PRO-4X gains a reversing camera and a new Display Audio system with a USB port. The Titan SL is now equipped with a navigation system, and both the SL and the PRO-4X can be optioned with a power sunroof and a rear entertainment system.

Nissan is offering a choice among low-interest financing, a subsidized lease deal, or cash rebates for its 2012 Titan models. Financing rates range from 0% for 36 months to 1.9% for 72 months, while cash rebates range from $3,500 to $5,500, depending on the model selected. Additionally, up to $1,850 in bonus cash is offered for the 2012 Titan. Deals for the 2013 Titan models are not quite as generous, with interest rates ranging from 0.9% to 2.9% or cash and bonus rebates totaling up to $4,350.

Nissan Truck Quality Ratings