Top-Rated 2021 Trucks in Quality According to Consumers

Christian Wardlaw | Aug 31, 2021

People buy trucks because they work hard, or they play hard, or both. As such, pickups are engineered to rigorous standards that ensure they can take a licking and keep on…well, you know. Still, a modern measure of quality goes beyond the underlying engineering to include more than just the frequency of mechanical problems. This is especially true given the amount of technology today’s new trucks have onboard.

2021 GMC Sierra 1500

J.D. Power knows vehicle quality, and has been studying it for more than three decades. To measure quality, J.D. Power asks verified owners of new pickup trucks about the problems they’ve experienced during the first 90 days of ownership. This data is compiled into the annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS), which ranks vehicles across different segments according to the “problems per 100 vehicles” (PP100) as reported to J.D. Power by the people who own them. The lower the PP100 score, the higher the quality.

This list includes the ten highest-ranked midsize, large light-duty, and large heavy-duty pickup trucks, according to consumers. They appear below in descending order of their PP100 score, from the highest among the top 10 to the lowest. This means the truck with the highest quality is at the bottom of this list.

10. 2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Silver Front Quarter View

Though it cannot tow and haul as much weight as its primary rivals, the Chevy Silverado HD doesn’t fall far short. This means it can take on plenty of trailer or cargo, and likely more than you might require.

For 2021, the Silverado HD comes in 2500 and 3500 series models, and with a regular, extended (Double), or crew cab configuration. You choose between a gasoline 6.6-liter V8 or a turbo-diesel 6.6-liter V8, and rear-wheel drive (RWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). Trim levels include WT (Work Truck), Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country.

This year, numerous special edition versions are available, along with expanded availability of safety systems and new technology. Gas V8 engines boast flex-fuel capability for 2021, and the 3500 HD model’s maximum trailering capacity rises to 36,000 pounds when properly equipped. 

The PP100 score for the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD is 149. 

9. 2021 Ford Ranger - Find the best Ford deals!

2021 Ford Ranger Tremor Lariat Red Front Quarter View

A midsize pickup available in extended cab and crew cab configurations, the 2021 Ford Ranger is a fairly simple truck. It comes only with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with RWD or 4WD, and in XL, XLT, or Lariat trim. It is also the second highest-ranked midsize pickup for quality, according to J.D. Power.

For 2021, the Ranger is available with new STX Special Edition, Black Appearance, and Tremor option packages. The Ranger Tremor is outfitted for serious off-roading, building on the existing FX4 Package for the XLT and Lariat trim. Otherwise, changes are limited to minor equipment modifications and new paint colors.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Ford Ranger is 141. 

8. 2021 Nissan Titan - Find the best Nissan deals!

2021 Nissan Titan Front Quarter View

Nissan’s large light-duty pickup truck doesn’t offer the depth and breadth of configuration that is found in most of its competitors, but that makes it easier to choose one. Buyers select between extended cab and crew cab styles, standard or XD specification, and RWD and 4WD. Every Titan has a V8 engine, and trim levels include S, SV, PRO-4X, and Platinum Reserve.

Following a comprehensive refresh for the 2020 model year, Nissan makes no substantial changes to the 2021 Titan.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Nissan Titan is 139. 

7. 2021 GMC Sierra HD - Find the best GMC deals!

2021 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali Silver Front Quarter View

Wearing boxy, big-rig design led by a massive grille, the GMC Sierra 2500 HD and 3500 HD appear ready to tackle any task. And given the wide array of Sierra HD variants available, you can likely find one that meets your specific requirements.

Cab styles include regular, extended, and crew paired with a standard or long cargo bed. In addition to base-model specification, you can upgrade to popular SLE, upscale SLT, off-road-ready AT4, and luxurious Denali trim. You’ll also need to decide between the standard gasoline-fueled 6.6-liter V8 and the turbocharged 6.6-liter V8 that burns diesel. Naturally, 4WD is available.

For the 2021 model year, GMC expands availability of safety technology and its useful MultiPro tailgate, adds flex-fuel capability to the gas V8, debuts more trailering technology, and offers several new option packages.

The PP100 score for the 2021 GMC Sierra HD is 137. This is the same as the Ram 1500, but the two models are in different segments, so it does not represent a tie.

6. 2021 Ram 1500 - Find the best Ram deals!

2021 Ram TRX Blue Front Quarter View

Thirty years ago, the Ram pickup truck nearly went extinct. Today, it commands a significant slice of the market, and is more competitive than ever before.

Two versions of the Ram are on sale in 2021. The Ram Classic is the previous-generation model, packaged for budget buyers seeking an affordable large light-duty pickup. The Ram 1500 shown above is the latest version, and represents a substantial upgrade over the Classic in terms of design, refinement, technology, and capability.

Shop for the newer version of the Ram, and you choose between extended and crew cab styles, standard and long cargo beds, and RWD or 4WD. Seven trim levels are available, including the off-road-ready Rebel and the new-for-2021 TRX high-performance model. Engine choices include a gas V6, a turbo-diesel V6, a gas V8, and a supercharged V8 in the new TRX. Ram offers its mild-hybrid eTorque technology with the gas V6 and V8, too.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Ram 1500 is 137. This is the same as the GMC Sierra HD, but the two models are in different segments, so it does not represent a tie.

5. 2021 Toyota Tundra - Find the best Toyota deals!

2021 Toyota Tundra Trail Edition Front Quarter View

When you build the same truck day after day, year after year, for well over a decade, you work out the quality kinks. That helps the 2021 Toyota Tundra to earn a favorable slot on this list of high-quality trucks.

This is the final year for the current-generation Tundra, which debuted for 2007 and received a refresh for 2014. It comes in extended cab and crew cab configurations with three different bed lengths, and with a choice between RWD and 4WD. Trims include SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro. All have a 5.7-liter V8 engine.

For 2021, Toyota sends the current-generation Tundra out with new Trail and Nightshade special edition models, and a Lunar Rock paint color for the TRD Pro. 

The PP100 score for the 2021 Toyota Tundra is 135.

4. 2021 Jeep Gladiator - Find the best Jeep deals!

2021 Jeep Gladiator Red Texas Trail Edition Front Quarter ViewBased on the iconic Wrangler, the Gladiator is the Jeep pickup truck loyalists had wanted for a long time. It comes only with a crew cab, a short cargo bed, 4WD, and a convertible roof or a removable hardtop. Engine choices include a gasoline V6 and a turbo-diesel V6. A manual gearbox is standard, with an automatic an extra-cost option. There are 11 different versions of the Gladiator on sale, ranging from the basic Sport to the upscale High Altitude.

For 2021, Jeep added the turbo-diesel engine option and an available full-time 4WD system. New 80th Anniversary and Willys trims debut, along with Freedom, California Edition, and Texas Trail Edition variants. Gorilla Glass windshields are also newly available, along with a trailer brake controller. All 2021 Jeeps come with a new complimentary scheduled maintenance program.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Jeep Gladiator is 127. The Gladiator receives a quality award from J.D. Power in the Midsize Pickup segment.

3. 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 TrailBoss Red Front Quarter View

In the age-old Chevy vs. Ford skirmish, the latter dominates in terms of pickup truck sales. But when it comes to quality, according to the people who own them, the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 rules the roost.

The Silverado 1500 is available in regular cab, extended cab, and crew cab configurations, with RWD or 4WD, and five different engines with four, six, or eight cylinders. Eight trim levels are also on tap, ensuring that you can find a Silverado for almost any purpose.

For 2021, Chevrolet expands feature availability to the more affordable versions of the truck, improves towing capacity for some powertrains, and adds new tech for trailering and wireless smartphone mirroring. New Texas-themed special editions debut, and the upscale High Country version gains an adaptive damping suspension. The Silverado is also available with a new Multi-Flex tailgate.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is 126.

2. 2021 Ram 2500/3500 - Find the best Ram deals!

2021 Ram 2500 Power Wagon Gray Front Quarter View

Two words that summarize the 2021 Ram Heavy Duty models are torque and towing. The truck’s optional turbo-diesel six-cylinder engine cranks out 1,075 pound-feet of the former, helping to ensure a 37,100-pound gooseneck trailering capacity in terms of the latter. And for 2021 you can add the word quality to describe the Ram 2500 and 3500, which lead their segment in the 2021 J.D. Power IQS.

Ram offers its large heavy-duty pickups in regular, crew, and extended-crew cab styles paired with a standard or long cargo bed and RWD or 4WD. Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie, Limited Longhorn, and Limited trim levels are available, along with a special off-road version of the 2500 Crew Cab called the Power Wagon. For 2021, the Ram 2500 and 3500 are available with a new digital rearview mirror to aid rear visibility.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Ram 2500/3500 is 122. This is the same as the GMC Sierra 1500, but the two models are in different segments, so it does not represent a tie. The Ram 2500/3500 models receive a quality award from J.D. Power in the Large Heavy Duty Pickup segment.

1. 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 - Find the best GMC deals!

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali CarbonPro Gray Front Quarter View

If you’re looking for the highest-quality large light-duty pickup truck, the people who own the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 say it’s the one to get.

GMC offers the Sierra 1500 in regular, extended, and crew cab configurations with three different cargo bed lengths. You choose between five different engines including a basic V6, a turbocharged 4-cylinder, a turbocharged diesel inline 6-cylinder, and two gas-fueled V8s. All are RWD unless you opt for 4WD.

For 2021, GMC expands availability of safety technology to the base trim level, offers its MultiPro tailgate design on a wider range of models, adds new trailering tech to the options menu, and offers available wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Towing capacity increases with the turbo-four and turbo-diesel engines.

The PP100 score for the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is 122. This is the same as the Ram 2500/3500, but the two models are in different segments, so it does not represent a tie. The GMC Sierra 1500 receives a quality award from J.D. Power in the Large Light Duty Pickup segment.

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