2021 Chevrolet Silverado vs. Ford F-150 Comparison

Erin Riches-Wong | May 26, 2021

Full-size trucks sell in huge numbers. Although Ford and General Motors offer extensive lineups of heavy-duty pickups, most consumers drive home in light-duty trucks like the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2021 Ford F-150.

Both trucks come in such a wide variety of configurations that you'll want to consider your priorities carefully before you get serious about selecting a powertrain and options. This 2021 Chevrolet Silverado vs. 2021 Ford F-150 comparison will help you sort out the differences between these large light-duty pickups.

Price and Value

2021 Chevrolet Silverado High Country White Front Quarter View

2021 Chevrolet Silverado High Country

Consumers shopping for a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado will find that it comes in three cab styles. The regular cab has a single row of seating, while the extended cab (known as Double Cab) has a compact rear seat. The crew cab has a full-size backseat that easily accommodates six-foot-tall adults or rear-facing car seats.

There are also three cargo-bed lengths. The regular cab has the longest bed, while the extended cab and crew cab can be equipped with either a standard bed or short bed. For everyday family use, a Silverado 1500 crew cab with the short bed represents the best compromise of functionality and maneuverability.

Pricing on the 2021 Silverado ranges from $29,300 to $57,700, not including a $1,695 destination charge. Trim levels are WT (Work Truck), Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country. Most trims come in two-wheel-drive (rear-wheel-drive) and four-wheel-drive configurations. Pricing for 4WD varies by trim level.

There are plenty of engine choices on the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado, but our independent vehicle testing experts feel that the Duramax diesel 6-cylinder engine offers the best value. It costs only $1,045 more than the 5.3-liter V8 that powers most Silverado 1500 pickups and is effortlessly efficient.

Most Silverados include a 3-month trial subscription to Chevrolet's connected services, which include everything from automatic collision notification to a Teen Driver mode. You'll also get one month of Wi-Fi with 3 gigabytes of data.

If you buy a Chevrolet Silverado, your first maintenance visit is on the house provided it occurs within 12 months of your purchase.

The Chevy also holds its value well. The Silverado 1500 ranked second among large light-duty pickup trucks in the J.D. Power 2020 Resale Value Awards.

Consumers shopping for a 2021 Ford F-150 will find that Ford's large pickup also comes in three cab styles and three cargo-bed lengths. Ford calls its extended cab the SuperCab, while the crew cab is the F-150 SuperCrew.

Pricing ranges from $28,940 to $70,825, not including a $1,695 destination charge. Trim levels are XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. All trims have standard 2WD. Four-wheel drive is optional, and the cost varies by trim. Consumers wanting a regular cab or SuperCab will need to stick to the lower trims, because the higher trims (King Ranch and up) are SuperCrew only.

Like Chevy, Ford gives you myriad engine options to consider. Most buyers will be content with the automaker's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 or 5.0-liter V8, but there's a case to be made for the F-150's Powerboost hybrid powertrain if lifetime fuel economy matters as much as performance. The hybrid powertrain is also less expensive than the F-150's available diesel V6.

All 2021 F-150 pickups come with FordPass connected services. Functionality is limited to conveniences like remote start and vehicle health monitoring, but for the moment, everything is complimentary for the life of the vehicle. Wi-Fi is the exception, as your initial trial subscription lasts three months (3GB limit).

Ford does not offer free scheduled maintenance, though you can earn points in the FordPass app and apply them to dealer service visits.

Advantage: Chevrolet Silverado

Reliability and Quality

2021 Ford F-150 Platinum Gray Front Quarter View

2021 Ford F-150 Platinum

The Chevrolet Silverado ranked second among large light-duty pickups in the J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study. It did not rank among the top three in the 2020 Initial Quality Study. The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles (5 years or 100,000 miles with diesel engine)
  • Roadside assistance: 5 years or 60,000 miles (5 years or 100,000 miles with diesel engine)

The Ford F-150 did not rank among the top three large light-duty pickups in the J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study. The previous-generation F-150 ranked third in the 2020 Initial Quality Study. The 2021 Ford F-150 comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles (5 years or 100,000 miles with diesel engine)
  • Hybrid system warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles
  • Hybrid battery warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles (10 years or 150,000 miles in California emissions states)
  • Roadside assistance: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Advantage: Chevrolet Silverado

Performance and Efficiency

2021 Chevrolet Silverado High Country Interior Dashboard

2021 Chevrolet Silverado High Country

The engine lineup for the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 includes everything from a turbocharged gasoline 4-cylinder and a naturally aspirated V6 to a turbocharged diesel inline 6-cylinder and a pair of naturally aspirated V8 engines. They range in output from 277 to 420 horsepower and 305 to 460 pound-feet of torque. Depending on configuration, you can expect to see anywhere from 15 mpg to 27 mpg in combined city and highway driving, according to the EPA. Chevy's diesel 6-cylinder is by far the most fuel-efficient option.

As a rule, 4WD trucks consume more fuel than 2WD trucks. This is especially true of the Trail Boss trims, which have all-terrain tires and a suspension lift that make them less aerodynamic than other Silverados. Bear in mind that EPA ratings are almost always based on trucks with the standard rear axle ratio. If you add a tow package, your truck will likely have a shorter (numerically higher) axle ratio and that usually lowers real-world fuel economy.

The engine lineup for the 2021 Ford F-150 includes a trio of gasoline V6 engines -- two of them turbocharged. Next up are a turbocharged diesel V6 and a naturally aspirated V8. At the top of the range, Ford offers a hybrid powertrain that combines a turbo gasoline V6, an electric motor (built into the truck's automatic transmission), and a battery pack.

Output on the F-150 varies from 250 to 430 hp and 265 to 570 pound-feet of torque. Depending on how you configure your truck, you can expect to see 19 mpg to 25 mpg in combined driving.

The hybrid F-150 is the mpg leader, but the diesel V6 is almost as good. Moreover, most versions of the F-150 rate 20 mpg combined. Of course, if you select an off-road or trailering package, the tires and/or axle ratio will change and your actual mileage will vary.

Advantage: Neither. The F-150's hybrid powertrain leads in power and torque, but it can't beat the 27 mpg rating on the diesel Silverado.

Tow Ratings and Trailering Equipment

Consumers planning to tow a trailer with the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado will likely prefer the 5.3-liter or 6.2 liter V8. With either engine, a Silverado crew cab is capable of towing over 11,000 pounds (11,900 with the 6.2-liter) when equipped with Chevy's Max Trailering package. 

If you have a smaller trailer, the diesel engine gives the Silverado a 9,000-pound tow rating and will return better mileage while towing.

Both Chevy and Ford offer an integrated trailer brake controller as a factory option. For 2021, Chevrolet's Advanced Trailering package includes a trailer length indicator to help with lane changes and a jack-knife alert feature. As of May 2021, though, this option package is not yet available.

If you're planning to tow with the 2021 Ford F-150 SuperCrew, your best bet is the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (known as the 3.5-liter EcoBoost) engine. When the Max Trailering package is equipped, an F-150 crew cab can tow up to 14,000 pounds.

Alternatively, you could consider the 5.0-liter V8, which provides a 13,000-pound tow rating on a properly equipped SuperCrew, the hybrid V6 (12,700 pounds), or the diesel V6 (12,000 pounds).

Although both trucks offer rear camera angles specific to hooking up a trailer, the F-150 also has an available trailer reverse guidance feature with an autonomous steering function. Other towing technology on the 2021 F-150 includes an onboard scales feature to help you determine if you're exceeding your truck's payload rating and a smart hitch feature that measures tongue weight to help you distribute trailer weight. These two features will join the options list in June 2021.

Advantage: Ford F-150

Safety and Driving Assistance

2021 Ford F-150 Platinum Interior Dashboard

2021 Ford F-150 Platinum

Advanced driving assistance aids (ADAS) are harder to come by on the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado than on Chevy's SUVs. Chevrolet has added a new option package for the lower trim levels that includes forward-collision warning (FCW) with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking (AEB). But this package still isn't available to order on 2021 models.

Even on the LTZ and High Country trims, these features remain optional. Here they're part of a package that also includes lane-departure warning (LDW), lane-keeping assistance (LKA), adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. A blind-spot warning system (BSW) is available starting on the LT trim level. 

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing, the 2021 Silverado earned four stars out of five for overall crash safety. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Chevy earned a Good rating for side-impact protection. It also rated Good for small-overlap, frontal-offset crash safety on the driver side, but only Marginal on the passenger side.

It's easy to get advanced safety technology on the Ford. Every 2021 Ford F-150 comes standard with a basic version of Ford's Co-Pilot 360 with FCW with pedestrian detection and AEB. And you can upgrade even the base XL trim with BSW, LDW, LKA, and automatic high-beams.

Farther up the line, you can get adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and lane-centering assistance. Starting on the Lariat trim, you can buy a prep package for Ford's new BlueCruise technology, which will provide hands-free Level 2+ semi-autonomous driving assistance later in 2021.

As of this writing, neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has released full crash test ratings on the recently redesigned Ford F-150.

Advantage: Ford F-150

Infotainment and Technology

2021 Chevrolet Silverado High Country White Rear Quarter View

2021 Chevrolet Silverado High Country

The standard infotainment interface in the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado includes a 7-inch touchscreen display with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration and two USB ports. Higher trims upgrade to an 8-inch touchscreen interface and offer wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as rear-seat USB ports. Factory navigation is available with the premium interface.

Even base versions of the 2021 Ford F-150 come with Ford's Sync 4 interface, which includes an 8-inch touchscreen display, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You also get four USB ports – two in the front and two in the backseat. Factory navigation is optional, and higher trims can be equipped with an even larger 12-inch touchscreen display.

Advantage: Ford F-150

Comfort and Utility

2021 Ford F-150 Platinum Silver Rear Quarter View

2021 Ford F-150 Platinum

If cargo-bed capacity is a priority, the edge goes to the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado. With the short bed most crew-cab buyers will prefer it offers 62.9 cubic feet versus 52.8 cubic feet for the short-bed F-150 SuperCrew. If you opt for the standard (medium-length) bed on a crew cab or extended cab, the Chevy provides 71.7 cubic feet versus the F-150 SuperCab's 62.3 cubic feet.

For 2021, Chevrolet has added the optional Multi-Flex tailgate, which allows you to transform the tailgate to provide step-up access to the cargo bed, a bed-extender so you can haul longer items at a moment's notice, and even a mobile desk space so you can use a laptop at a jobsite or campground.

The 2021 Ford F-150 will appeal to buyers seeking a modern interior design with premium materials that reflect the lofty price tags on its higher trim levels. In contrast, the Chevy offers a more traditional take on cab design, and many of its materials seem out of place on a truck that often crests $50,000.

Ford buyers who use their trucks as a mobile office space will want to consider the Work Surface option, which allows you to transform the console into a workstation. It's still not as comfortable as an actual desk, but there's room for a standard-size laptop.

If you're interested in the F-150 Hybrid, you'll want to take a look at Ford's Pro Power Onboard option. It essentially turns your full-size pickup into a mobile generator, and with the Powerboost hybrid powertrain, you can generate up to 7,200 watts of electricity – enough to power heavy equipment at a jobsite or electric dirt bikes and a camp stove at an off-highway vehicle park. 

Finally, note that the seats in the Chevrolet Silverado ranked third in the mass-market truck/van category in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study. Since the F-150 is redesigned for 2021, it was not part of that study. 

Advantage: Neither. The Ford has a nicer interior, but you might want the Chevy's extra cargo capacity. 

Learn More About the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150

If you’d like to learn more about these full-size trucks, be sure to read our expert reviews of the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado and the 2021 Ford F-150. To find out how people like you rate vehicles in this segment, be sure to check out our ratings from verified vehicle owners.

Also, please keep in mind that while the information in this article was accurate and valid on May 26, 2021, it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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