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2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150

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  • 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500

    A grey 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 LT is angled left.

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    2021 Ford F-150

    A dark grey 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat is angled right.

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    6.2L V8Top Engine 3.5L V6
    27Fuel Economy (mpg combined)27
    62.9 - 89.1Bed Space (cu.ft.)52.8 - 77.4

    Two of the most popular pickup trucks, year after year, are going head to head. In a close comparison between the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150, which one is a better buy? Which truck offers the best balance of must-have features that truck enthusiasts love, like tow ratings, a roomy cabin, thrilling drives, off-road potential, and the latest technology?

    The Silverado 1500 is Chevy's most popular, great-all-around truck. It's more work-oriented than the midsize Colorado and more lightweight than the heavy-duty Silverados (the 2500 and 3500). However, the Silverado 1500 is more aerodynamic and provides the best performance drives in the lineup. It's not just designed to work; it's designed to play.

    As for Ford's similar, full-size pickup, the 2021 F-150 is one of the strongest from Ford yet. The entire Ford F-series of trucks have always been strong contenders, but the F-150 is more passenger-oriented thanks to its balance of a comfortable cabin with reliable strength. So which half-ton truck is superior all-around? Take a look at the facts about the latest Silverado 1500 and Ford F-150 for our verdict.

  • Towing

    A black 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 is shown towing a horse trailer through a fence.

    Towing is what gets you in the door unless you're a driver that's solely interested in truck aesthetics. A good truck should have the power to pull hefty loads, and still perform well on the road while hard at work. On these fronts, the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150 deliver some of the best tow ratings you can buy.

    Trailering Technology

    However, being good at towing doesn't just mean high tow ratings. Your truck needs to be able to tow heavy loads safely and conveniently. That's where the 2021 Silverado 1500 pulls ahead of the 2021 Ford F-150. The 2021 Silverado 1500 boasts the best-in-class camera system originally introduced for the towing-oriented Silverado HD. This system offers up to 15 different camera angles that allow you to even see "through" your trailer to get a good look at what is directly behind you.

    While Ford does offer the gimmicky Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature to help out drivers new to trailering, even experienced truckers will find Chevy's array of advanced towing tech helpful. Backing up a trailer can be easily handled by anyone with a bit of experience, but not even the best of drivers can see through a trailer to keep from backing into hidden obstacles - unless they are driving a Silverado 1500, that is.

  • Performance

    A red 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 TrailBoss is parked on a dirt path next to a field.

    Both the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 and 2021 Ford F-150 come with their fair share of engines: 6 each, to be exact. Both trucks are surprisingly easy to modify in this way; you can build your truck for torquey, rear-axle power to improve towing or invest in a high-horsepower 4x4 rig that's more satisfying to drive off-road. However, one truck offers superior powertrain options and a more pleasant overall drive.

    Silverado Engines

    The Silverado 1500 offers several great-value engines, so many that there can be some overlap. However, the goal wasn't for Chevy to produce a single type of engine for each purpose but to make every engine all-around-excellent. The standard V-6 is capable and pleasant to drive on its own, delivering a remarkable 305 lb-ft of torque and getting an estimated fuel economy of up to 21 MPG combined.

    If you are a diesel guy, the 3.0-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel has to be driven to be believed. Its inline-6 design is fabulously well-balanced and the engine gets best-in-class estimated fuel economy at up to 27 MPG combined. That's unheard of for a full-size truck! Plus, with 460 lb-ft of torque, it also outmuscles the Ford diesel.

    Last but not least, the dynamic 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8 leaps into high speeds with 420 horsepower. It also delivers an excellent 460 torque and is connected to a modern 10-speed automatic transmission. With this engine under your hood, you can accelerate your Silverado 1500 from 0 to 60 mpg in as little as 6 seconds.

    Silverado Performance

    Every version of the 2021 Silverado handles excellently and feels lightweight on the road. The diesel edition, in particular, is smooth and quiet without sacrificing power. Braking is firm and instantaneous - a must for drivers who are towing heavy trailers - and precise steering allows for tighter cornering. If you're opting to drive a pickup truck for powerful on-road performance everywhere from city streets to the open highway, the Silverado 1500 is a winner.

    Where the 2021 Silverado 1500 really shines, though, is in its capability off-road. It's not just a great city vehicle or work truck, but an off-road adventure vehicle that can be equipped to tackle any terrain you could put it through. Chevy once again offers the Z71 Off-Road package for their Silverado 1500, an option that gives this truck a more rugged, wild look and makes it the best go-anywhere truck on the market. Upgrade to the Trail Boss edition for superior all-terrain tires, off-road suspension, a 2" lift, skid plates, hill descent control, automatic locking rear differential, and more. It's a beast on the asphalt and on uncharted territory.

    F-150 Engines

    As for the 2021 Ford F-150, its six available engines are less traditional and include a variety of unconventional technologies. The only traditional engines include the standard V-6, which offers an underwhelming 265 lb-ft of torque, and the relatively small 5.0L V8. While its 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque mean the Ford V8 isn't far behind the 6.2L Chevy V8, it is asking a lot from such a small engine.

    If you are willing to experiment with less traditional engine types, then Ford offers a pair of turbocharged "EcoBoost" V6 engines. These rely on forced induction to squeeze as much power as possible out of rather small displacement engines. Going even further is the Ford F-150 Hybrid. While the hybrid system does provide high horsepower and torque ratings, the added weight of the system means its payload and towing ratings fall well short of what you might expect.

  • Value

    A black 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 LT Z71 Trail Boss is shown from the side at sunset.

    Which truck is a better buy? It's simple enough to break down the figures when pitting the Silverado and F-150 against one another. However, these simple comparisons don't factor in price. Sure, luxury cars are all-around superior to affordable ones, but the extreme buy-in prices and higher maintenance costs make imported luxury cars far beyond the reach of the average driver. Breaking down the best features of the 2021 Silverado and 2021 F-150 requires the same type of scrutiny.

    Affordable Off-Roading

    Start by looking at the off-roading figures. To equip your Silverado for superior off-road driving, select the LT Trail Boss model, which includes the Z71 Off-Road package. For similar off-roading out of the F-150, you'll probably need to upgrade to the Raptor. While the Raptor is a popular version of the F-150, it nearly doubles the price of the truck - depending on when and where you shop. You're likely going to pay far more to equip your F-150 for all-terrain driving than you would if you opted for a similar Silverado 1500.

    Affordable Working

    You get better value out of towing from the Silverado 1500 as well. If you're on the hunt for a commercial work truck, the rock-bottom prices of the Silverado Work Truck trim are impossible to beat. It comes standard with an excellent 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V-6, which uses active fuel management to boost fuel economy while still outputting an impressive 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. This balanced, standard engine can be upgraded, sure, but the Work Truck is affordable, produces excellent on-road power, and provides capable towing on its own. Compared to the standard, lowest-cost F-150, the Silverado Work Truck delivers better torque and fuel economy ratings.

    Affordable Luxury

    Choose to upgrade to each truck's premium trim, outfitted with leather upholstery and a souped-up tech package, and you're likely to pay far less when you take home the Chevy. The luxurious Silverado High Country starts at just $53,800. Meanwhile, the top-trim F-150 Limited will set you back at least $70,825. That's a lot of money for a truck, even a luxury truck. Unlike Ford, Chevy is committed to building affordable as well as capable pickups.

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