Ford does not intend on giving up its crown as the best-selling truck in the world. The proof is in the 2021 F-150.
The Chevrolet Silverado has been plagued in part by its controversial redesigned for 2019.
The Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra were both beaten in sales volume by the RAM 1500 in 2019.
We continue our spec comparison series on the 2021 Ford F-150 unveiled recently and what is sure to continue being one of its direct competitors, the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado. There’s something about comparing a Ford and a Chevy on July 4th that just makes sense.
The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado has built an extremely enviable reputation as a most robust, capable, and efficient full-size light-duty truck. From a dependability stand-point, it’s also up there as an excellent choice. More than 625,000 were sold in Canada and the US combined in 2019, putting it in third place behind the RAM 1500, by about 105,000 units. While the RAM is excellent and its RAM Classic offer is a stroke of genius, few reasons can explain why the Silverado is in this position.
If we compare 2018 and 2019 sales figures, the Silverado’s stayed relatively flat while the RAM’s numbers soared. The Chevy remains an excellent truck to own and drive, offers a number of familiar powertrain options and packages so how do we explain the Silverado’s stale situation? Design?
As for the all-new 2021 Ford F-150, Ford was conservative with its visual upgrades, possibly to avoid GM’s current situation. Clearly design is important but it’s on nearly every other aspect that Ford’s poured immense resources to introduce new and innovative features, amenities, and technologies. In fact, all arguments against the new Ford truck are nearly void when considering what it can do and offer.
For this specification comparison, we will once more take the #1 pickup of all-time, the 2021 Ford F-150, and see how it measures up with the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado.
What is the pricing and when will they be available?
US pricing for the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado begins at $28,500. There are three cab styles and three bed dimensions to select from. There are eight trims in total and a choice of five powertrains. A crew cab, standard box, 4×4 Custom with the 4.3-litre V6 retails for $40,600. At the near top end of the scale, a crew cab, standard box, 4×4 High Country with a few options including the Duramax diesel engine is priced from $66,000.
In Canada, the base 2020 Chevrolet Silverado’s pricing starts at $31,398. The number of cab and bed configurations are identical and so, the same Custom trim truck retails for $45,398. The same High Country truck with identical options is $79,000.
The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado is available for purchase now. On both the Canadian and American Chevrolet websites, at the time of writing this comparison, cash incentives and credits of up to $5,750 depending on trims and options.
As for the all-new 2021 Ford F-150, pricing is still a number of months off. The 2020 model year F-150 is priced between $28,000 and $30,000. Incidentally, these are retail prices and there currently are incentives offered.
Given that the list of standard features has grown both in numbers and sophistication for the 2021 model year, we expect that pricing will increase by a few percentage points, or closer to the $30,000 in the US, and $32,000 in Canada. so we’ll not be surprised to learn that base model pricing will climb closer to $30,000 in both Canada and the US. We will receive all pricing information ahead of its expected fall of 2020 arrival.
Which Has The More Efficient Powertrains?
The Chevrolet Silverado is known for its generally efficient engines. In fact, for many years, its V8s were the most frugal in the segment. The competition has caught and this has brought GM to introduce the first 4-cylinder engine in a full-size pickup. The turbocharged 2.7-litre 4-cylinder provides 310-horsepower and 348 lb.-ft. of torque. The 4.3-litre V6 if good for 285 horsepower and 305 lb.-ft. of torque.
The popular 5.3-litre V8 delivers 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque while the 6.2-litre V8 generates 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. Finally, the 277 horsepower 3.0-litre Duramax Diesel V6 and its 460 lb.-ft. of torque completes the powertrain options. Transmissions vary between 6-, 8- and 10-speed (3.0-, 5.3- (w/DFM) and 6.2-litre) automatics depending on the engine.
Using a Crew Cab, standard bed, and 4×4 configuration, here are the fuel efficiency numbers. The 2.7-litre averages 19/22 (city/highway) mpg or 12.5/10.8L 100/km. The 4.3-litre manages 15/20 mpg or 15.7/12L 100/km. The 5.3-litre does 15/20 mpg or 15.9/11.8L 100/km. The same engine, with Dynamic Fuel Management technology, averages 16/22 mpg or 14.7/10.7L 100/km. The big 6.2-litre averages 16/20 mpg or 15/12L 100/km. The Duramax is the star here as it returns 23/29 mpg or 10.4/8L 100/km.
The Silverado’s towing capacities range from 6,500 lbs with the 4-cylinder to about 13,000 lbs with the 6.2-litre V8. The Duramax can pull over 9,000 lbs.
In the new Ford F-150’s corner, all we know for the moment is that there will be six engine options for 2021. All are well-known, with one exception. The base 3.3-litre V6, the volume-leading 2.7-litre Ecoboost V6, the powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, the delightful 5.0-litre V8 (now with cylinder deactivation) and 3.0-litre Power Stroke diesel V6 are all back in this next round. Output numbers are kept secret for now however we don’t think Ford will announce any dramatic bumps in power or considerable drops in fuel consumption from the 2020 specs. New for 2021 however is that all mills are coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmissions.
The big piece of news is the arrival of the F-150 Hybrid. In 2021, the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 will be available as a PowerBoost hybrid that consists of a 35-kilowatt (47-horsepower) electric motor integrated into the transmission and a 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery mounted between the frame rails. Ford is promising that the PowerBoost powertrain will live up to its name and deliver the most torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup, manage an EPA-estimated range of 1,100 km, or 700 miles and tow well over 12,000 lbs.
With the exception of the PowerBoost hybrid, the Power Stroke diesel engine should remain the most fuel-efficient non-electrified powertrains. For 2020, a 2WD Power Stroke F-150 averaged 21/29 (city/highway) mpg or 11.1/8.3L/100km.
Which Offers The Most Standout Features?
This is where the new 2021 F-150 takes over and where decided to leave no stone unturned. Not only is the F-150 loaded with innovative features but it can be kitted with many novel and useful gadgets. This is but a sample.
The most convenient element is the Pro Power Onboard generator built into the bed. Depending on powertrain, it can deliver from 2.0-kW, 2.4-kW up to 7.2-kW in output. For those who use their trucks as a tool or business tool, the F-150 can be fitted with an optional Work Surface which lowers the shifter, enabling the armrest to fold over and create a flat surface – ideal for signing documents or typing on a laptop. One available feature in the King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models is the Max Recline Seats that can recline back nearly 180 degrees for a quick nap.
Technology-wise, the Ford F-150 will surpass the competition as SYNC 4 will be included as standard along with wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the basic 8-inch screen. Also built-in will be over-air-updates to improve functionality. A horizontal 12-inch screen is available in higher trims. This is but a sampling of what’s new with F-150.
The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado biggest trick is the 15-camera view technology that gives the driver rear top-down, hitch, and bed views. There are six driving views including that of the rear camera mirror. With available accessory cameras, it is possible to configure an inside trailer view, and a “transparent” trailer view. The Silverado can also be equipped with an available power-up/-down tailgate.
If money’s no object, head-up display, leather everywhere, high-end audio, many active safety features and more are (or will be) available. A properly equipped Silverado High Country can double as a luxurious limousine.
What About Styling?
We don’t read minds but the only concrete reason why the Chevrolet Silverado (and GMC Sierra) have not enjoyed the same level of success as the RAM is its styling. A polarizing design can separate the true enthusiasts from the curious but even fans seem to have, at least in part, turned away from the GM trucks.
Some versions like the LT and Custom Trail Boss and the RST are attractive enough. The Z71 Off-Road Package makes the oversized and exaggerated tall and flat almost work.
The cabin fares no better as even in the priciest High Country, some plastics are cheap-ish, the layout isn’t modern, or special (when compared the 2020 F-150 and RAM 1500) however it is functional. In 2020, or 2021 for that matter, the GM trucks are already behind. Now, the new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe has a lovely new interior – perhaps we’ll see it in the 2021 Silverado.
The new 2021 Ford F-150, on the outside at least, does not look all-new. In fact, it could be qualified as nothing more than a timid evolution but this was probably purposefully done. The close-up images show the different grilles, revised front fender but generally speaking, it’s no departure, despite the wheels being pushed out slightly.
On the inside, however, the story is completely different. The pictures depict revised ergonomics, better fit and finish, new materials, and a degree of attention to details that may have been missing in the previous truck. Our favorite bit is the shifter, and the fact that it folds away.
How important are these vehicles for their respective brands?
The answer in Ford’s case is simple: the F-150 is everything. If Ford is always and doing okay (excluding the pandemic) is because of the F-150. So profitable is the F-Series that, if they had to cut back and keep only one model in their entire line-up, it would be the F-150 and the company would probably be better off financially. In a world where there is no F-150 at Ford, only all the other models, the is no Ford. And it’s been this way for a long time.
At GM, like RAM and Ford, trucks are a matter of pride, and are driving by passion. We’re quite certain that GM expected to do far better in the new trucks’ first full year of sales in 2019 than they did. Like Ford, their trucks are also extremely profitable and represent an enormous portion of their revenue.
In Canada, in 2019, just over two out of every five (42%) GM vehicle sold was either a GMC Sierra or a Chevrolet Silverado. At Ford, in the same area and timeframe, the ratio is a solid 2.5 out 5 (50.4%) vehicles sold were an F-Series truck.
Our Thoughts On The 2021 Ford F-150 And 2020 Chevrolet Silverado
There is no beating the Ford F-150, period. Even if the 2021 trucks inherit the Tahoe’s lovely and modern interior, it will never dethrone the Ford. Even if the new 2021 F-150 is a mess, which it won’t be, Ford’s momentum is impossible to derail.
The best hope for the Silverado, with a new interior and perhaps some exterior revisions, is to recapture its #2 spot from the RAM 1500. The GM trucks are still incredibly competent and good to drive but it’s not quite enough.
Despite the 2021 Ford F-150’s promising performance and levels of kit and technology, we still have a really big soft spot for the RAM 1500.