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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A red 2019 GMC Canyon is shown from a rear angle parked in an open empty lot.

Five Affordable Used GMCs To Consider

Named for its corporate parent General Motors, GMC has built its brand reputation by providing rugged versions of some of the company’s favorite trucks and SUVs. GMC has become the go-to brand for drivers who want a truck with an aggressive grille or an SUV that can double on and off the road. With its Denali trim available on its trucks and SUVs, GMC has shown that you can have luxury and utility in the same vehicle. The good news for drivers who want to get the GMC quality without paying a premium price is that you can find a used GMC for each of its great models.

General Motors is one of the oldest automakers, formed in 1908 by visionary businessman William C. Durant. One of his first moves was to buy up the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, producer of one of the first trucks built in America. In 1912, General Motors rebranded these trucks as GMC, staking out a place in the market for trucks that had earned the corporate moniker. There was no looking back, and over 100 years later, GMC has become a leader in pickups and SUVs, leveraging its truck expertise to maximize its vehicles’ performance and utility. A used GMC makes this value proposition more affordable for drivers.

A black 2020 used GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 is shown driving on an open road.

1. GMC Sierra 1500

The flagship model of the brand, the Sierra 1500 is a full-size truck that comes in so many different trims, engines, drivetrains, and cab styles that the versions you can find are almost limitless. In this way, GMC has made the Sierra 1500 one of the most versatile pickup trucks on the marketplace, showing that not everyone is looking for the same thing in a pickup truck. Drivers who want a truck for work are probably going to choose a Sierra 1500 with a regular cab with only one row of seats, a rear-wheel drivetrain to maximize towing and hauling, and a powerful diesel engine. On the other hand, someone who wants a Sierra 1500 as a family “car” will opt for a higher trim like a Denali with all its creature comforts, a crew cab to give the most room to the interior, and an economical engine to save on fuel costs. And if someone is planning to take their Sierra 1500 off-road, then the choice would probably be an AT4 with its standard 4X4 drivetrain to maximize its trail running capabilities.

While you would be forgiven for thinking that GMC has been selling the Sierra 1500 forever, the truck was introduced in 2004, building on the 100 years of success GMC had with designing rugged trucks. Since then, the Sierra 1500 has undergone four generations, with the most recent model introduced in 2019. One thing to keep in mind is that GMC continued to sell the third-generation Sierra 1500 under the name Sierra 1500 Limited. So, if you see a used GMC Sierra 1500 Limited for sale, keep in mind that this is a third-generation model.

2. GMC Canyon

Midsize trucks have a reputation for being often underpowered and unexceptional when it comes to exterior looks and interior accommodations. The GMC Canyon blows up these misconceptions, providing a smaller version of the rugged and aggressive GMC Sierra 1500. Introduced alongside the Sierra 1500 in 2004, the Canyon has gone on to create a reputation for performance beyond what one would expect in a midsize truck. For example, the 2020 Canyon is rated to tow up to 7,700 pounds, a capability often associated with larger trucks.

GMC discontinued building the Canyon after the 2012 model year, returning to the drawing board to provide a better truck for its customers. The result was the second generation Canyon, introduced in 2015. The second generation vehicle is a more capable model with a great choice of engines, including a turbo-diesel for folks who want the added torque this powertrain provides. GMC has introduced a new, third-generation Canyon for the 2022 model year, taking this truck to the next level.

A black 2017 GMC Acadia is shown parked next to a home with large windows.

3. GMC Acadia

The GMC Acadia made its mark when it was introduced in 2007 as GMC’s first unibody design vehicle. Until this point, GMC had focused on a body-on-frame design. With the three-row, midsize Acadia SUV, GMC decided that a unibody design would provide this model with better fuel economy by reducing weight, and improving handling, ride comfort, and safety.

Three-row, midsize SUVs are popular models for families. The key to the GMC Acadia is attention to safety and infotainment technologies at all trim levels that help it stand out from an increasingly crowded pack. In addition, GMC has given drivers a choice of at least two powertrains on the Acadia, an efficient turbocharged I-4, and a powerful V6 with improved acceleration. The Acadia is currently in its second generation, introduced in 2017. Like the Sierra 1500, GMC continued to build first-generation models of this SUV under the GMC Acadia Limited name in 2017.

4. GMC Terrain

A crossover is a hit that gives fans of two different things something to cheer for, in the case of the GMC Terrain, a compact SUV that plays equally well as a commuter vehicle and as a great choice for a young family. Just like the Acadia, the Terrain was designed with safety and performance in mind. It is another GMC model that offers advanced driver assistance features at all trim levels, a big plus for any family driver. At the same time, the Terrain offers an exceptional infotainment system, solid fuel economy numbers, and exceptional acceleration to help make the daily commute less of a chore.

The Terrain is one of the relatively newer GMC models, introduced in 2010. Following a minor refresh in 2016, GMC went with an entirely new generation in 2018. While the second generation Terrain initially offered three different four-cylinder engine options, including a turbo-diesel, these eventually whittled down to a standard 1.5-liter Turbo I-4 on all Terrain models in 2022. One thing that remains throughout the Terrain’s run has been the ability to choose between front-wheel drive for improved fuel efficiency and all-wheel drive for better traction in inclement weather.

A black 2019 GMC Yukon is shown parked next to a concrete wall.

5. GMC Yukon

Whoever thinks bigger is better is sure to love the GMC Yukon. The longest-running model in GMC’s lineup, the Yukon has provided drivers with a three-row, full-size SUV capable of carrying up to 8 passengers since 1992. Interestingly enough, the Yukon was intended as the second generation of the GMC Jimmy, but corporate headquarters decided to leave that name back in the 80s with mullets and parachute pants.

The GMC Yukon is now in its fifth generation, which first hit the roads in 2021. It is a roomier version than the prior model, giving more interior space and an increased trunk. The Yukon is intended for people who want a rugged vehicle with plenty of room for family and the ability to be quickly converted into a cargo carrier by folding down either or both of the two rows of rear seats. For example, the basic trunk space increased from 15.3 cubic feet to 25.5 cubic feet from the fourth to fifth-generation Yukon, nearly doubling the room. In addition, the fifth-generation model added a turbo-diesel engine option to the existing choice of two different V8 gas engines carried over from the fourth-generation model.

The GMC Yukon is also great for folks who love outdoor adventures. With the fourth and fifth-generation models rated as capable of towing up to 8,400 pounds depending on the choice of powertrain and drivetrain, drivers can tow boats, RVs, and even campers.

GMC also allows folks to supersize their Yukon with a Yukon XL. This model increases the trunk space on the standard Yukon, which is a real help if you plan on going on a long road trip with plenty of passengers and all their luggage.
GMC’s lineup of used vehicles gives drivers choices

While GMC does not have the broad lineup of some other brands, its current offering of three SUVs and two pickup trucks provides drivers with exceptional vehicles. GMC offers different trim, engine, and drivetrain options on most of its vehicles while maintaining its reputation for ruggedness, quality, and safety standards across all models. Buying a used GMC allows you to capture this quality at an affordable price.

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