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2021 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150

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  • 2021 GMC Sierra 1500

    A black 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is angled left.

    Starting at

    $30,100*

    2021 Ford F-150

    A white 2021 Ford F-150 is angled right.

    Starting at

    $29,290*

    23/30Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)20/27
    277-420Horsepower (HP)250-400
    89.1Max Bed Volume (cu.ft.)77.4

    Since the rise of the American automotive industry, there’s been a high-stakes race among automakers to deliver capable workhorses that meet the demands of both drivers and the roads that make up the American landscape. This race puts two of the most popular automakers against one another: the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150. Which workhorse will lead the pack in capability and performance, design, and technology?

    The 2021 Sierra and the 2021 F-150 are comparably priced, with the Sierra starting at $30,100 and the F-150 at $29,290.* From there, the models immediately start to differentiate themselves with the Sierra's diesel engine boasting a better estimated fuel economy of 23 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway compared to the diesel F-150’s 20 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway, which means you’ll spend even more money on fuel in the Ford. The Sierra also delivers more horsepower and a larger bed volume, which is important if you are looking for a workhorse.

    So, which model will take the lead? For 2021, the GMC Sierra 1500 moves ahead of the Ford F-150 in this road race to win the title as the most capable workhorse on the road. Let's take a closer look at how the models compare in terms of performance, driving and towing technology, and design.

  • Performance

    A black 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is shown parked on rocks in front of a lake.

    The Engine Options of the Sierra 1500

    You have plenty of powertrain options on the 2021 Sierra. The road warrior’s base engine is a 4.3-liter V6 that’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission to deliver 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. It only gets better from there with the 2.7-liter turbocharged engine and 8-speed transmission boosting the Sierra’s power to 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque.

    The Sierra’s V8 options are plentiful and include both a 5.3-liter and a 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8. The 5.3-liter can be equipped with dynamic or active fuel management, while the 6.2-liter can be equipped with or without automatic stop-start technology. These pairings change the Sierra’s efficiency but deliver the same amount of power and torque. The 5.3-liter V8 engine, which is paired with a 10-speed (4WD), 8-speed (AWD), or 6-speed (Work Truck) transmission, delivers 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. The 6.2-liter V8 engine is paired with a 10-speed transmission and produces 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.

    If you’re looking for incredible power, capability, and efficiency, then look no further than the Duramax 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. This combination produces best-in-class 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque to deliver exceptional off-road and on-road performance. The Duramax, which earned a spot on the 2020 Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems list, is also the most efficient in the lineup and delivers a 660-mile highway range and an average fuel economy of 23 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway.

    The Engine Options of the F-150

    While Ford gives you several options on the 2021 F-150, you won’t find near as many as what GMC offers on the Sierra. The F-150 powertrain lineup starts with the 3.3-liter V6 that delivers 290 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 for even more power to the tune of 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque or the 5.0-liter V8 that brings the F-150’s maximum horsepower to 400 and 410 lb-ft of torque. The 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 also has plenty to offer with its 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, but the biggest beast in the lineup is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that delivers 400 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque to give the F-150 added capability.

  • Towing Tech

    The steering wheel of a 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is shown.

    The Sierra Makes Towing Easier

    The 2021 Sierra’s technology suite isn’t limited to its infotainment system but extends to other features that work behind the scenes to optimize the Sierra’s performance in any situation. The Traction Selection System allows you to customize how the truck performs by selecting between various drive modes like Tour, Sport, Terrain, Snow, Tow/Haul, and Off-Road. By making adjustments to the throttle and the transmission, the system maximizes the truck’s performance and is especially beneficial if you opt for a Sierra with four-wheel drive and plan to venture off the beaten path.

    With a capable workhorse like the Sierra, there’s no question that you’ll tow heavy loads, and that’s why GMC outfits the truck with everything you need to tow with confidence. The Trailer Towing Mirrors, which feature integrated LED turn signal indicators and lower convex mirrors, are heated and offer an available auto-dimming upper glass to maximize your visibility. The mirrors also fold, extend, and retract to make navigating tight areas less of a hassle.

    There are plenty of other tech features to enhance your view when you’re hauling a heavy load thanks to new tools like the Trailer Length Indicator, Jack-Knife Alert, Cargo Bed View Enhancement, Rear Trailer View, Trailer Angle Indicator, and Rear Side View enhancement. The Trailer Length Indicator is a great tool when changing lanes because it shows you an overlay of the truck and trailer in the intended lane. The Jack-Knife Alert actively monitors the position of the truck with the trailer to alert you to hazardous situations, while the Cargo Bed View Enhancement allows you to hook up to a fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer with ease.

    Towing Tech of the F-150

    Like the 2021 Sierra, you’ll find the 2021 F-150 is equipped with innovative technology that’s designed to make driving and towing easier. The F-150 includes a Terrain Management System with various drive modes that allow you to customize how the truck performs in various situations, whether you want to maximize efficiency (ECO), haul a heavy load (Tow/Haul), or navigate a slippery road with confidence (Slippery). For towing, you can easily hook up to a trailer using the rearview camera with its dynamic hitch assist, but unlike the Sierra, you won’t find advanced safety features like a Jack-Knife Indicator or view enhancements.

  • Design

    The interior of a 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 shows two rows of seating.

    The 2021 Sierra takes an even bigger lead over the 2021 F-150 when it comes to design. GMC designed the Sierra to work with you and for you, whether you’re towing a trailer, accessing the cargo bed, or using the front seat as your mobile office. The Sierra is designed to handle it all, and that starts with the largest cargo bed volume in its class with a range that extends from 62.9 to 89.1 cubic feet and includes 12 available tie-downs and powerful LED lighting.

    The Unique MultiPro Tailgate

    One of the most notable design features you’ll find on the Sierra is the available GMC MultiPro Tailgate that offers six functions to improve loading, unloading, and accessing the rear bed. You can use the key fob or a button on the tailgate to open the primary gate, which gives you full access to the truck bed as well as the primary gate load stop that helps prevent items from sliding out of the bed. The inner gate offers a similar feature with its load stop that prevents second-tier items from sliding out of the bed, but this tool doubles as a work surface and an additional loading area. Accessing the bed of the truck is also easier than ever, thanks to the inner gate that folds down, the full-width step that can hold up to 375 pounds, and the corner-step rear bumper that offers large footwells with anti-slip texture.

    Interior Comfort and Space

    Inside the Sierra, you’ll find exceptional comfort and versatility that starts with the class-leading head and legroom, as well as a variety of storage solutions that keep all your gear neatly organized without cluttering the cabin. You can also add a lockable console vault to the center console, which means you can keep your valuables under lock and key when you’re away from the truck. Other features include wireless charging, a Bose premium audio system, USB outlets, and access to all your favorite apps via the center touchscreen display.

    Ford F-150 Design Features

    You won’t find anything comparable to the MultiPro Tailgate or the integrated rear bumper corner-step on the Ford F-150. While the Ford features a power tailgate with an available work surface, there’s no easy way to access the bed. Instead, Ford gives you plenty of lighting via zone lighting that illuminates the entire area around the truck, which is helpful if you’re working in low-visibility conditions. As for the interior, the F-150 doesn’t offer a center console vault, but you can upgrade to the flat-folding center console that’s ideal whether you’re filling out paperwork, working on your laptop, or taking your lunch break.

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