|277 - 420||Horsepower (hp)||250 - 400|
|23 / 33||City/Hwy Max Fuel Economy (mpg)||20 / 27|
|89.1||Max Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||77.4|
The pickup truck world is rife with competition. There are so many auto brands that produce trucks, each of which may have several different, new truck models each year. If you’re on the hunt for a reliable, tough, and great-looking pickup that also drives well, you might wonder where to begin your search in this highly populated market. It’s easy if you start by taking a close look at two of the most well-rounded and popular trucks in America: the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150.
Both trucks are on the smaller end (but not the smallest) of each brand’s truck lineup, which includes heavy-duty and commercial-grade trucks designed almost entirely for towing and hauling the impossible. While the new Chevy Silverado 1500 and Ford F-150 are each more than capable in the towing department, they’re also light enough to feel quick and handle well for everyday driving. They even offer off-road features as well. It can be difficult to distinguish the two since their only obvious difference is their brand name. However, when driving the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 and 2021 Ford F-150, each offers a very distinct experience, with one being far preferable to the other.
The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 has several available engines, including a V-6, turbocharged 4-cylinder, two V-8s, and diesel in-line 6, each of which offers a different balance of speedy driving, towing power, and great value. There are basic power options, options that increase towing efficiency, and options that are just plain fun to drive. The 6.2-liter V-8 engine offers 420 horsepower and has fared well in driving tests, churning from 0 to 60 in as low as 5.4 seconds.
Meanwhile, the 3.0 Duramax diesel engine is all about the torque. It’s the best choice for those who want the most tow capacity out of a half-ton pickup. The Duramax engine is connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission and produces up to 460 lb-ft of torque for the perfect balance of outstanding driving performance and the toughness to fight against the heaviest weight. Those who drive the diesel-powered Silverado 1500 also enjoy other benefits, like a best-in-class fuel economy of 23 miles per gallon city and 33 miles per gallon highway. Most importantly, though, it offers superb towing power at an excellent price.
For the best driving experience and unbeatable value, we’d recommend the 5.3-liter V-8 engine with all-wheel drive. As for its configuration, the crew cab, standard-length bed options make your truck feel lighter-weight and handle better than just about any truck on the road. It’s the perfect balance of strength and joy to drive. Just about any version of the Silverado 1500, though, offers supreme handling, responsive braking, tight cornering, and quick acceleration you’d hardly expect from a pickup truck of this size.
If you want to take your new Silverado off the beaten path, add the optional Z71 Off-Road package, which enhances your truck for stability and strength in all kinds of terrain. Meanwhile, the Trail Boss trim adds extra lift and a more adventurous exterior design that makes your Silverado look like the wild child it is. Take your properly equipped Silverado onto unstable terrain for work in rough environments like construction sites, ranches, campgrounds, or wherever the job requires.
As for the 2021 Ford F-150, there are also several engine choices, including the 290 horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6, a 400 horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8, multiple twin-turbocharged engine, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 with 400 horsepower, and a 3.0-liter diesel V-6. Unfortunately, the diesel option only produces 250 horsepower, which is far lower than the acceleration power you get from a comparable Silverado 1500 engine. So, there are many options that may compare to the Silverado 1500, but ultimately, the Ford F-150 is lagging a little behind when it comes to power.
Towing is the Silverado’s forte. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 13,300 pounds. You also get a huge payload capacity of 2,280 pounds. Load up the new Silverado 1500’s ample 89.1 cubic-foot bed with all your work or recreational cargo. The Silverado can transport enormous amounts of weight easily without sacrificing a smooth drive. It’s ultimately the perfect truck for anyone who needs a balance of strength and outstanding driving performance.
As for the 2021 Ford F-150, drivers get a choice between rear-wheel and all-wheel drive powertrains, the former of which sacrifices driving performance for better towing, while the latter improves the F-150’s handling. When properly equipped and all of the additional paid upgrades are selected, the 2021 F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds. Meanwhile, the truck bed payload starts at about 1,840 pounds.
While it may look more appealing that the Ford F-150 has a higher towing number, the truth is the difference between them isn't all that great. If you absolutely need the most towing power possible, the Ford F-150 is probably the truck you need; however, we think you'll find that the driving experience isn't as nice as the Silverado's. Ultimately, you get more satisfying performance when you drive a 2021 Silverado 1500, even if you get a higher tow rating from the new F-150. Save the F-150 for trailering only and invest in a Silverado to enjoy the everyday practicality.
One of the most talked about truck features of 2021 is right on the back of the latest Chevy Silverado 1500: the Multi-Flex tailgate. The durable but flexible materials that make up this pickup’s tailgate can easily be manipulated into 6 different formulations, including a flatbed, workbench, load stops, and step. Work from anywhere, secure your cargo, improve loading and unloading, and much more. Best of all, this innovative feature comes standard on all 8 trim levels. Nothing else in the pickup world can compete with the Multi-Flex tailgate technology.
Additional trailer assist technology makes getting the job done easier than ever, thanks to features like jackknife alert, a trailer-length indicator for easier lane changing, and available cargo bed LED lighting. There’s more driver assist technology in the available Safety package, which adds front and rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring to prevent collisions, along with a rear cross-traffic alert to act as an extra set of eyes while you drive. With all of this towing and driving technology, you can take to the road and get to work with total peace of mind. No other truck out there has such advanced technology to supplement your drive.
In addition, the new Silverado 1500 has a touchscreen infotainment system compatible with your smartphone and an available top-of-the-line Bose audio system. Upgrade to one of the more luxurious trim packages, like the High Country edition with an elegant interior cabin, for an expanded infotainment screen, wireless charging stations, navigation software, and more. For even more high-tech control, sync your truck up with the myChevrolet app to access remote features like engine start, contact maintenance services, and even read up on your vehicle and trailer status.
The Ford F-150 has less productive technology, although they do advertise the fold-flat gear shifter that allows you to take advantage of a small work station in the center console. An optional generator can be added for remote charging, and its only notable towing support technology includes a rear-facing camera that you can use to monitor your trailer on the go. However, it displays little more than what a glance over the shoulder could.
As for advanced safety technology, you must upgrade in order to receive these features; the more expensive the trim you buy, the more safety features you get access to. Available safety tech includes lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and the trailer camera. The infotainment device is somewhat more impressive, what with its available large 12-inch screen. Features like smartphone compatibility and wireless hotspot are useful conveniences in 2021, and you can upgrade to add navigation and SiriusXM radio as well.