A silver 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 is parked in a modern gallery after winning a 2021 Chevy Silverado vs 2021 Ford F-150 comparison.

The Ultimate Full-Size Pickup Showdown: 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150

There are plenty of contenders when it comes to the American full-size pickup truck market. But only one of those trucks is the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500, just as there is only one Ford F-150. The 2021 Chevy Silverado vs 2021 Ford F-150 is a battle for the ages, as it has been for each model year before. But what is it about these two titans of the truck world that leads them to become best sellers year after year?

Perhaps it’s because they have each been manufactured for many years, with drivers able to see and appreciate the differences in each model year’s new version of the Silverado 1500 and the F-150. On the other hand, it could be due to each vehicle’s highly customizable nature. In fact, both Chevy and Ford pride themselves on creating a work-oriented truck that is almost completely customizable, which makes it an asset to a very wide audience.

Perhaps the truth lies in the fact that people trust brands that have delivered excellence year after year. Both the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150 were born from the human need for a reliable, energetic work companion. Over the years, each has evolved to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the average American worker and adventurer, which means the Silverado 1500 and F-150 are each finely tuned to what people want. Best of all, they excel in their jobs – whatever that might be at any given moment.

The Many Engines of the 2021 Chevy Silverado and 2021 Ford F-150

The word “customizable” is commonly tossed around in reference to full-sized pickup trucks, especially the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150. This term is not used lightly. The 2021 Silverado 1500 has seven different engine opportunities, while the 2021 F-150 has six. This massive range of options only goes to prove the commitment Chevy and Ford have for their drivers. Each truck has its own personality and job description, which makes it easier to pick out your long-term pickup partner.

The 2021 Chevy Silverado base engine is a 4.3L V6, which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. With 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, this engine certainly isn’t a slouch, but there are definitely more powerful engines on the roster. For example, the next step up is a 2.7L turbocharged inline-4 that produces 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque. There are three versions of the 5.3L V8, each of which is paired with a different transmission but provides an admirable 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. At the top of the gasoline lineup is a 6.2L V8 with a mighty 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Diesel fans will appreciate the 3.0L turbocharged diesel inline-6, with its 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.

Ford’s base engine, on the other hand, is a 3.3-liter V6 that deftly provides 290 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. There are a lot of turbo options in the Ford lineup, as well, including a twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6 with 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 with 450 horsepower when seated under the hood of the Raptor, and 500 lb-ft of torque. Even the diesel option for the Ford F-150 is a turbodiesel, in this case, a 3.0-liter V6 that creates 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque.

One interesting Ford-only feature is the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 Hybrid engine, which includes a 35-kilowatt PowerBoost electric motor in the transmission. Not only does this engine offer 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque, but it also has an impressive combined fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon for four-wheel drive vehicles.

A white 2021 Ford F-150 is parked in a snowy field with two farmers in the back.

Size and Capability: 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150

The primary reason drivers choose a full-sized pickup truck is obvious: the size! Drivers of pickup trucks want a cab that will comfortably carry the necessary number of passengers, along with a bed that can handle all sorts of cargo.

The 2021 Chevy Silverado is offered as a Crew Cab, Double Cab, or Regular Cab. Crew cab models can be equipped with a 69.9-inch short bed or 79.4-inch standard bed. Double cab models are offered with the standard bed only, while Regular cab Silverados include a 98.1-inch long bed.

The 2021 Ford F-150 is offered in a similar variety of configurations. Regular cabs are paired with a choice of a 78-inch bed or a 96-inch long bed, as are SuperCab models. Those who choose SuperCrew cabs have a choice of a 66-inch short bed or a 78-inch bed.

Towing capacity varies based on the engine and configurations chosen. For example, the Chevy Silverado’s 3.0L turbocharged diesel inline-6 can tow up to 9,500 pounds, while Chevy’s famous 6.2L V8 has an impressive 13,300 pound towing maximum. When properly equipped, the Ford 3.5L V6 engine provides the F-150’s highest towing capacity, at 14,000 pounds. The 3.5L V6 Hybrid is no slouch, either, with the ability to tow up to 12,000 pounds.

The Comfort and Convenience Features of the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150

When it comes to building your next full-size pickup truck, both Chevy and Ford are very accommodating with the options. The 2021 Silverado 1500 is offered in eight very distinct trims, ranging from the function-focused Work Truck (WT) to the deluxe chromed-out High Country. Each trim includes an increasingly robust package of features, though many can be optioned in on lower trims in Chevy’s additional packages and available offerings.

For those who want practicality, the Custom trim includes necessities like cruise control, front tow hooks, and the EZ Life power tailgate. The Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss trims offer an off-road package that can improve the Silverado’s 1500 experience on rocky roads. Those who enjoy the comforts of leather upholstery and heated seats might consider the LTZ or High Country trims.

The 2021 Ford F-150 is offered in seven trims, or eight, if you include the Raptor, which may actually qualify as its own beast in the car world, given its aggressively off-road-oriented makeover. The XL trim includes the basics, such as an 8-inch infotainment screen and automatic emergency braking, along with manual features like crank windows. If power options are important to you, then the XLT trim is better suited to the task.

Climbing even higher, the Lariat includes leather seating and heated mirrors, while the King Ranch extends the privileges of heated seating to the rear seats. The Limited trim includes cushy features like a twin-panel moonroof and adaptive cruise control, while the Tremor and Raptor handle off-road duties with adapted suspension, shock absorbers, and features such as skid plates, Trail Control, and locking rear differentials that make them easier to handle on the trails.

A black 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 is shown parked on salt flats.

Two Amazing Trucks, One Important Choice

There are a lot of amazing trucks on the market today. We live in a world in which technology is developed quickly and adopted into the automobile manufacturing industry just as rapidly. Both the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 and 2021 Ford F-150 are highly capable full-size pickup trucks that allow drivers to essentially design their own ideal truck.

Not only is this a great idea for ensuring you can capture as much of the market as possible, but it makes sense given the vast range of duties for which pickup trucks are responsible. From hauling enormous livestock trailers to bringing home a new baby, trucks need to be just as brutally capable as they are safe and reliable. The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 and 2021 Ford F-150 are very different trucks, and each has its own very devoted fan base. But looking at the two brands from a purely objective standpoint, it comes down to a matter of preference and needs, and for most pickup truck drivers, those needs match up with what the 2021 Chevy Silverado has to offer.