|14,000||Towing Capacity (lbs)||11,800|
|25||Fuel Economy (Combined MPG)||21|
|570||Max Torque (lb-ft)||460|
It takes a lot of effort to be the top-selling truck in North America, it takes even more effort and dedication to remain on top for several decades. The Ford F-150 is in its 14th generation of production, and it remains the same impressive workhorse Americans fell in love with all those years ago. One of the reasons why the F-150 has remained so popular, even when comparing models like the 2021 Ford F-150 vs 2021 GMC Sierra 1500, is because Ford is well aware that trucks need to change with the times. This segment of the industry is very competitive, and if you let your guard down for even a moment, you can expect to suffer the consequences.
However, Ford has never let its guard down, and the fully redesigned 2021 F-150 is better than ever. This is a truck that offers a hybrid option, superior safety features, and innovative creature comforts, along with the best-in-class towing and payload that you expect from the blue oval. While GMC markets the Sierra 1500 as a premium truck for serious work, you will discover that it falls short of the F-150 in virtually every metric, from performance to technology.
In terms of performance, the Ford F-150 offers several engine choices that range from quite adequate to impressively powerful and just about everything in between. The 3.3-liter V6 is the least powerful engine in the lineup at 290 horsepower. For the everyday driver, this is quite adequate, but you're going to want an engine with a little more gusto if you are using the F-150 as a work truck, recreational truck, or if you plan on doing a lot of towing and hauling. At the other end of the spectrum is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that produces 400 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. With a towing capacity of 14,000 pounds, it's the engine to choose for the toughest jobs.
In the middle of the road is the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. This affordable engine boasts 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque for 10,100 pounds of towing. For those who think that bigger is better, Ford also offers a 5.0-liter V8 with 400 horsepower. Finally, there is also a diesel option in the engine lineup; it's a 3.0-liter Power Stroke that cranks out 440 lb-ft of torque. Regardless of which engine you ultimately choose, all are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
But the king of the hill is Ford's brand-new BowerPoost hybrid drivetrain. Pairing a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 with electric motors results in an incredible 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque. Even better, this engine gets an incredible 25 MPG per gallon and can even be used as a mobile generator to power your job site or campsite.
Like the Ford F-150, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 offers a variety of engine choices. To be exact, there are five different engine choices as well as three transmission pairings. The engine lineup for the Sierra 1500 starts with a 4.3-liter V6 producing 285 horsepower. There is also a 2.7-liter four-cylinder turbo engine that puts out 310 horsepower. However, these engines are not just less powerful than their Ford counterparts; they also have less towing power.
Moving up the ladder, GMC offers two different V8 options and a Duramax turbodiesel. However, even the most powerful 6.4-liter V8 tops out at 460 lb-ft of torque and can tow just 11,800 pounds - that's a full 2,200 pounds short of what the F-150 can handle. And of course, the Sierra 1500 does not have a hybrid option for fuel-efficient power delivery.
While it is nice that GMC gives you several powertrain choices, the Sierra's reliance on older V8 designs results in inferior fuel economy and less towing power. As we stated earlier, you must keep up with the times if you expect to stay on top. As far as engine selection goes, the F-150 is far ahead of what the Sierra 1500 can bring to the table.
For the 2021 model year, Ford saw the need to upgrade the cabin of the F-150, and it has certainly paid off. That said, the look of the interior remains much the same; the big differences come with the materials used and a much-improved infotainment system. Another big improvement is that the interior of the higher trim levels is truly luxurious. The entry-level infotainment system now features an 8-inch touchscreen (the Sierra comes with a 7-inch screen), and there is even an available 12-inch touchscreen as well.
The layout of the dash is straightforward and easy to figure out. The F-150 offers a few cool features like a shifter that folds away to reveal a nice and flat work surface, which is great for those who love multitasking on their laptop while parked under a shade tree eating lunch. Here is an added bonus you don't see too often outside of luxury cars; you can get an F-150 with massaging seats.
The 2021 F-150 and Sierra 1500 are offered in three different cab styles, with each offering unique passenger space. The smallest option is the Regular Cab, which offers a single row with room for three. You can also upgrade to the SuperCab or SuperCrew, which can seat up to six if you opt for the front bench seat. However, only the F-150 offers Ford's Max Recline front seats; these seats fold flat with the back seats to provide a nifty place to catch a few minutes of shut-eye on those long journeys. The interior of the Ford F-150 is comfortable, practical, and aesthetically pleasing, easily equalling the premium interior of the Sierra 1500.
The F-150 went through several exterior changes for the model year. Most notable is the absence of the C-shaped running lights as they have been replaced by a bolder and more modern light design. The fender and hood are now seamlessly integrated, and the grille is a bit less blocky in shape. Still, the F-150 maintains its aggressive look even though it does emit a touch of modernism.
GMC didn't make many exterior changes in the 2021 Sierra 1500, so it remains largely the same as far as looks are concerned. The Sierra is a bold and handsome truck, to be sure, but it's rather plain and uninspired until you get into the high-level trims. That fact, combined with the lack of any significant interior changes, is somewhat disappointing.
The Ford F-150 offers the full spectrum of trucks, from the affordable work truck to the luxurious dream ride; the lineup offers something for everyone. The base model offers a rearview camera, automatic high beams, an 8-inch infotainment screen, and automatic emergency braking. There are also features that increase performance, including hill start assist, selectable driving modes, and trailer sway control. That's a good mix of features for a bare-bones model and one-ups the Sierra 1500.
Should you opt for the F-150 XLT, you will also enjoy rear parking sensors, cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. In addition, there are several additional features and options you can get. For example, you can equip your F-150 with rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, wireless charging, and dual-zone climate control. The list doesn't end there - other goodies at this trim level include a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats with a memory system on the driver's side, and a power tailgate.
At the XL and XLT trim levels, the new SYNC 4 infotainment system operates through the eight-inch touchscreen, which is already the size of the Sierra's largest available touchscreen. If you opt for higher trim levels of the F-150, you get to enjoy a massive 12-inch touchscreen. With the larger screen, you are able to utilize a split-screen function to access two apps all at once. For example, you can tune and control the built-in radio on one side while displaying navigation through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on the other - an option not available on the Sierra 1500.