Stuck in a pickle trying to figure out which truck to buy for 2021? Options are abundant and if you’re like most American off-road truck lovers and trailer haulers, you’re more than likely stuck between financing or leasing a Toyota Tacoma or a Chevy Silverado 1500. Two top truck contenders on the American market both deliver top-notch power and hauling capabilities. But which one is best for the long haul as well as the best bang for your buck? Discover the pros and cons of these popular trucks and see why we think the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 comes out on top in the long run. 

The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500

The Chevy Silverado has been a staple in American trucks and for decades it has delivered phenomenal performance against top truck makers it has competed with. Chevy continues on as a recommended truck brand, and though it’s powerful, there have been a handful of low consumer ratings for the Silverado 1500 receiving between 3.5 and 4 stars on various car review websites. Currently, the 2021 Silverado 1500 holds a 7.8/10 score on MotorTrend and an 8/10 rating from Car and Driver. 

Performance: Receive excellent mileage with the 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with the two-wheel drive 3.0-Liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine. However, if you want to stick to using gasoline, the engine options are a 4.3-Liter V6 engine and a 5.3-Liter Turbo V8 engine. The Silverado 1500 tops the Tacoma gas tank capacity holding 28.3 gallons compared to the Tacoma’s 21.1 gallons. When you’re driving a Chevy Silverado 1500, you’re in a real truck. Not to diminish the practicality of the Tacoma, but it compares more with the size of the Chevy Colorado.

Headlights: Chevrolet has done a number on the new Intellibeam headlights for the Silverado 1500. For years Chevy trucks have been popular in off-road culture because they’re easy to customize. LED light bars pump up the Silverado’s exterior and are great for those back wood wanders. The 2021 Silverado also comes with the available cargo bed area LED lighting.

Interior: Depending on which truck trim you opt for, Chevy provides the basic cloth or an extravagant and durable-touch leather seating on trims like the High Country. Available in regular, double, and crew cabs, the tan leather just offers a more rugged look as well as a smoother feel. The Chevy Silverado also has a wider cabin than the Tacoma leaving more leg, waist, and shoulder room. 

Technology: Technology can drive you nuts or it can drive you to your next destination safely. The Chevy Silverado has standard radio and Bluetooth connectivity options or upgrades to the Chevy infotainment 3 system, which is simple to use, but subpar compared to other tech platforms from foreign makers. The upper trims come with trailer assist and safety alert options designed to optimize each drive under a heavy tow.

Cargo & Trailering Capability: Trailer capacity maxes out at 13,300-lbs and it holds a payload capable of 2,280-lbs with 89.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity making it ideal for lugging around construction gear or raw materials. If you need a truck that packs power for the job site, Chevy trucks are a great choice and the 1500 is ideal for the self-employed.

Price: The Chevy Silverado 1500 has an MSRP that ranges between $28,600 and $57,200 on select trims and packages. Buyers essentially pay more, but they get extra engine power and torque than they would with most other truck models of its class.

toyota tacoma

How drivers benefit when driving the 2021 Toyota Tacoma

If you’re a truck buyer who scours online truck reviews to find the best vehicle for your budget, you’ll love to hear that the Toyota Tacoma is one of the most recommended trucks on today’s car market. With an abundance of trims to pick from as well as its TRD Off-Road edition for the SR5, the Tacoma continues to evolve into the perfect truck for adventurous and hard-working drivers. It’s priced higher than other midsize trucks, but these trucks carry the reputation for longevity and handling use and abuse.

Performance: The Toyota Tacoma holds a high reputation for long-lasting and reliable capability within its engine and transmission options. Equipped with a standard four-cylinder engine, models like the TRD Pro offer a healthy 4×4 drivetrain and a V6 engine with a full gas tank that tops out at 21.1 gallons. Still capable of hauling loads weighing up to 6,800-lbs when properly equipped. 

Headlights: The Tacoma utilizes LED headlights and fog lights on available trims but headlight upgrades for the trims that use halogens are simple and affordable.

Interior: Depending on the truck trim you opt for, the Toyota Tacoma is slightly more compact compared to the Silverado 1500 and though it rivals interior comfort with the Silverado, it’s not that the Tacoma isn’t comfortable, but the interior cloth and even sporty leather is no match to the rustic leather look in the High Country trim for the Silverado 1500.

Technology: Toyota technology is about equal if not better than the Chevy Infotainment interface, depending on who you ask. Of course, truck owners are biased, but many reviews report the Chevy Infotainment is said to be somewhat sluggish and clunky when it comes to touchscreen capability and efficiency. 

Toyota offers the premium audio and dynamic navigation on the 8-inch touchscreen that is the same in size as the Silverado’s, but Chevy adds 4G LTE wi-fi and Bose surround sound.

Cargo & Trailering Capability: Unlike the Chevy Silverado, the Tacoma doesn’t offer a V8 engine, but a V6 and I4 engine, both of which receive great fuel mileage that averages between 20 MPG city and 24 on the highway. Also, The Silverado has the option for the V8 which in turn means you’ll have more hauling horsepower. However, the Tacoma holds strengthened capability even with its 4-cylinder engine. The Tacoma tops out at 

Price: The price for the new Toyota Tacoma is about the same as what you would pay for in a Chevy but depending on which trim option you get, more than likely you’ll save some money driving a Toyota. The 2021 Tacoma holds a current MSRP that ranges between $26,150 and $46,780.

Our thoughts?

If you’re a self-employed worker bouncing from job site to job site, either one of these trucks will get the job done, but the Chevy Silverado exceeds the Tacoma in interior comfort, space, and utility. If you’re the weekend warrior who wants enough capability to pull your jet ski or small camper, the Tacoma is an excellent choice and you can always choose an off-road edition to boost your power for the trails. 

The Tacoma is also a lighter truck since its size is slightly smaller. It does fairly well in city environments and lake towns and even the lower level truck trims do well on the trails with its rear-wheel drive four-cylinder engine. The Toyota Tacoma is great for the around-town driver and with its reputation for being tough and lasting into the 200k mile club, it’s a great choice. It just can’t compete with the Silverado when it comes to hauling heavier loads.

Learn more about truck trailering and capacities before you buy your next pick up truck.

Patrick Kirk
I am a full-time copywriter from Naples, FL and living in Austin, TX. I have written for the automotive industry for three years, and enjoy other hobbies such as camping and mountain biking. I received my Bachelors from Florida Gulf Coast University, and served in the U.S Coast Guard.

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    1. I really can’t pick. It is neither for me.

    2. I think the Silverado should be compared with the Tundra and the Colorado should be compared with the Tacoma. This is not a fair comparison!

      1. Yes, I agree, the comparison is off quite a bit. BUT if we are looking at just the base models, the ~$2500 jump to the Silverado is the way to go

    3. You get a lot more truck for the money with the Silverado.

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