A blue 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 is driving on an open road past a vineyard.

Picking Up More Options: 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Toyota Tundra

When you’re looking for a full-size pickup truck, you want to know that it can get the job done for you while giving you the features you want. When you look at the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Toyota Tundra, you will see a truck that can do it all while offering you more options to fit your desires than its competitor. This is because there are two different approaches automakers can take when designing and building a full-size pickup truck. They can take the approach of Toyota, giving you a standard truck in the Tundra with one powertrain and few options, so you get the same performance across the entire lineup, with the only difference being luxury features and off-road equipment.

The other approach is the one taken by Chevrolet with the Silverado 1500. This is to give you plenty of options on the powertrain, cab style, and other equipment, making it easier to customize your truck, so it better serves your needs and reflects your lifestyle. Unless you are satisfied with a truck that has a one size fits all approach, you are going to prefer the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 with more choices to make your truck truly yours.

More Trims and Special Editions to Choose From

One of the first things you are going to notice when comparing these two trucks is the number of different trims and special editions you get to choose from with the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500. From the solid and utilitarian WT (for “work truck”) all the way to the luxurious High Country, Chevy offers you eight different trim levels on the Silverado 1500. When you add in all the special edition trucks, you have plenty of Silverado 1500 models to choose from without having to even consider optional equipment and packages.

In contrast, Toyota only offers five different trims on the 2021 Tundra, as well as the 1794 Edition, giving you only six models of this truck to choose from. Also, when you consider that two trims, the TRD Pro for off-roading and the luxury Platinum, have specific purposes that really doesn’t leave you too much to choose what you need from the Tundra.

More Cab Styles

Truck cab styles can be a little confusing since there is no standard terminology in the industry. Nevertheless, there are truly three types:

One row of seats with two full-size doors called a Regular Cab
Two rows of seats with two full-size and two half-size doors, called a Double Cab by Chevy and Toyota
Two rows of seats with four full-size doors, called a Crew Cab by Chevy and a CrewMax by Toyota.

Whatever you call them, the Crew Cab truck gives you the most room in the rear seat, while the Regular Cab truck will give you the most towing and payload carrying capacity.

Only the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 offers you the option of choosing a Regular Cab on your full-size truck. This means that if you only need one row of seats and want to get the most out of your truck with respect to trailering, then you really have only one choice: the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500.

A grey 2021 Toyota Tundra is shown from the front parked at night.

More Engine Options

The 2021 Toyota Tundra comes with one standard powertrain on all models: a 5.7-liter i-Force V8 paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. This is a fine engine, but can it really be all things to all truck drivers? That is indeed a truly tall task to ask of any powertrain.

In contrast, Chevy offers you six different engine choices on the 2021 Silverado 1500. These include a 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V6 with solid performance, a 2.7-liter Turbocharged I-4 with great fuel economy, two types of a 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 for enhanced acceleration, a 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8 for optimal performance, and a 3.0-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel I-6 for a great combination of torque and fuel efficiency. That’s right; you can get a diesel engine in your Silverado 1500, something that Toyota does not offer.

When you factor in that Chevy offers you a choice of 6-speed, 8-speed, or 10-speed automatic transmissions in your powertrain, this provides so many more choices for you than the single powertrain on the Tundra. This is because Chevy understands that we all have different needs with our trucks.

More Horsepower, More Torque

The engine on the 2021 Tundra provides 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. These are solid numbers but no match for the engines on the 2021 Silverado 1500. For example, the 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8 will give you 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, while the Turbo-Diesel will also give you 460 pound-feet of torque. More horsepower will give you better acceleration, while greater torque will give you the ability to tow more, carry more, and get up and over more obstacles if you take your truck off-road.

Maximum Towing and Payload

Let’s face it, one reason you’re buying a full-size pickup and not a midsize pickup or an SUV is that you want the ability to tow trailers and carry heavy loads in your truck’s payload bed. Regardless of whether that’s your main goal or just one other benefit of owning a pickup, you are going to find that the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 is going to do a better job of getting the job done than the 2021 Toyota Tundra. The Toyota can tow up to 10,200 pounds. While this capability is good, it is easily surpassed by three different Silverado 1500 trucks. If you choose the one with the 5.3-liter V8 with Active Fuel Management, you can tow up to 10,900 pounds, while the same engine with Direct Fuel Management will help you get 11,500 in maximum towing. The top in this category is the Silverado 1500 with the 6.2-liter V8, which can tow up to 13,300 pounds when properly equipped.

Chevy also gives you the ability to carry more cargo in your truck’s payload. The 2021 Silverado 1500 can carry up to 2,280 pounds of cargo, significantly more than the maximum 1,730 pounds that can be carried in the Tundra’s payload bed.

A black 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 Trailboss is parked on the salt flats after winning a 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Toyota Tundra comparison.

Better Fuel Economy

With gas prices spiking all across the country, it is becoming more and more important to get a pickup truck with solid fuel economy. Unfortunately, the 2021 Tundra does not provide this, getting only about 13 miles per gallon in city driving and 18 miles per gallon on the highway.

The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 easily eclipses all of these numbers, with two models getting some exceptional gas mileage numbers. If you buy a Silverado 1500 with the Turbocharged I-4, you will get an estimated 20 miles per gallon in the city and 23 miles per gallon on the highway. The Silverado 1500 with the optional Turbo-Diesel does even better, giving you an estimated 23 miles per gallon in city driving and an incredible 33 miles per gallon in highway driving.

Even with its worst fuel economy rating of around 15 miles per gallon city and 21 miles per gallon highway, the Silverado 1500 still has better fuel economy than the Tundra. No matter which Silverado 1500 powertrain you choose, you are going to get solid fuel economy numbers, so you can spend more time driving and less time waiting in line at a gas pump.

More Truck for Less Money

With all of these options and choices, you would be right to expect the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 to cost more than the 2021 Toyota Tundra. You would also be wrong since the 2021 Chevy Silverado has a base MSRP of around $29,300, almost $5,000 less than the base MSRP of $34,025 on the Tundra. That means you will get more truck for less money when you buy a Chevy. Think about it; you get to choose your powertrain, get more choices of cab designs and models, more horsepower, more torque, more towing, more payload capacity, and better fuel economy while saving yourself a few dollars in the bargain. In this competition, the outcome is not even close. The 2021 Chevy Silverado is a better buy for your next full-size pickup truck.