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A silver 2021 Ford Ranger XLT is parked on the beach with people loading fishing gear in to the bed.

2021 Ford Ranger vs 2021 Chevy Colorado: Which Truck is Built for Ultimate Adventure?

In the quest for an ideal truck to travel the toughest terrain, haul the heaviest of loads and emit a level of confidence that is unseen are two contenders, the 2021 Ford Ranger and the 2021 Chevy Colorado. Both mid-size pickup trucks offer supreme power, stunning style, and an impressive selection. When it comes to adventure, both claim to provide unparalleled durability, dependability, and more. Both trucks feature a rugged appearance that sets them apart from the rest, and both vehicles include many of the features you demand in a mid-size truck. So, when it comes to the Ford Ranger and the Chevy Colorado, which truck is built for ultimate adventure?

2021 Upgrades

While there has not been a lot of information released yet for the 2021 Ford Ranger, we can speculate on some of the things we expect to see and some of the rumors we have heard. When it comes to what’s new for 2021, both the Ranger and the Colorado have undergone upgrades, mainly when it comes to appearance. The 2021 Ranger adds in a new STX Special Edition Package, which features sleek 18-inch black wheels and upgraded finishes throughout the interior. We also expect to see new color options as well.

The Colorado also gets a revamp in style by way of a newly-designed exterior, new paint colors, and upgraded accents both inside and out. As far as which pickup truck is the best for your adventure, it’s going to take a lot more than paint colors and decals to help you make your decision. Let’s take a look at what else these trucks have to offer.

Engine Power

One of the first things to look at with these two models, aside from their overall appearance, is the engine power. After all, you’re looking for a truck built for greatness. The 2021 Ranger is supposedly going to be equipped with a 2.3L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, which provides it with 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission offers a steady ride, and its Terrain Management System helps it navigate through rough road conditions with ease, making it ideal for any type of journey that awaits. At least, that’s what we are expecting to see, given the stats from the 2020 Ranger.

The 2021 Colorado is available in three engine options. The first is a 2.5L 4-cylinder, which provides 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. You can also choose a 3.6L V6 that produces 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque or a Duramax 2.8L turbodiesel generating 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. As far as base engines are concerned, the Ranger offers more, but you’re able to upgrade to a slightly more powerful engine in the Colorado if you’re looking for increased performance.

Towing Capacity

Towing power is key in pickup trucks, and the Ranger has always made a statement. The 2020 Ranger has a maximum capacity of 7,500 lbs (when appropriately equipped) and 1,860 lbs of payload. We are expecting to see a similar capacity in the 2021 model since it looks like it will carry the same engine.

The Colorado, on the other hand, again has multiple capabilities, depending on which engine you choose. Its base engine has a 3,500 lb towing capacity, while its diesel engine wows with up to 7,700 lbs (again, when properly equipped). The Colorado performs well in the payload department, too, with a maximum of 1,550 lbs.

Both the Ranger and the Colorado have its perks when it comes to towing and hauling. For example, the Ranger offers steady, dependable power, even while towing extremely heavy loads, and the Colorado is equipped with trailer-sway control, helping to avoid excessive movement of trailers or anything else you’re hauling to make for a smooth ride.

The black interior is shown on a 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2.

Model Selections

The 2021 Ranger and the 2021 Colorado are both offered in a variety of trim options to help make designing the perfect pickup for you as simple as ever. For the Ranger, these are:

  • XL: includes standard forward-collision warning and other safety features, plus its lighter weight helps it pick up speed faster than heavier models.
  • XLT: upgraded interior options, more standard safety features, and infotainment options are included in this model.
  • Lariat: all the bells and whistles are included, featuring a luxurious interior, premium sound system, and more advanced safety features.

The Colorado also features multiple trim options, which are:

  • WT: a suped-up direct-injected engine, loads of storage and available folding seats make this truck the ideal work companion.
  • LT: Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system, power-adjustable seats and more make this ride comfortable and enjoyable.
  • Z71: all-terrain tires, HD Rear Vision Camera and more help to enhance your driving experience.
  • ZR2: off-road appearance package and increased ground clearance help this model venture off-road with the best.

As far as other desirable interior features, the Ranger provides two cab options, an extended or crew cab, with the extended SuperCab seating up to five and the SuperCrew seating up to four. The Colorado also offers a spacious interior with seating up to four; however, those who sit in the backseat of the crew cab option report that it’s a bit tight.

Tech Features

You can expect to find various tech and connectivity options in both vehicles. The Ranger features many standard tech elements, like a WiFi Hotspot and USB ports. Premium features, like an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, navigation, and a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system are also available in upgraded models.

The Colorado shines with its infotainment offerings, featuring a standard 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth capability, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The Colorado also has some premium features, such as a larger 8-inch touchscreen, 4G LTE WiFi Hotspot, and now available, Amazon Alexa built right into the vehicle. As far as tech features are concerned, both models offer their fair share of upgraded features; however, Chevy offers more options that come standard in the Colorado.

A white 2021 Ford Ranger Lariat is driving under a large tree after winning the 2021 Ford Ranger vs 2021 Chevy Colorado comparison.

Safety Options

The current Ranger comes equipped with many standard and available safety features, including standard automatic emergency braking and available blind-spot monitoring. Upgraded models feature a rearview camera, enhanced stability control, and more, as well as security options, like remote start and an anti-theft alarm. With the trend being more safety features being added as standard rather than being taken away, it is likely that the 2021 Ranger will include all of the same standard features. We may even see some new ones or see some advanced options become standard.

The Chevy Colorado disappoints with its available safety features, failing to offer many of the safety options that you would typically find standard on comparable vehicles. The Colorado will give you a standard rear vision camera, but most of the advanced features are optional. Available features in the Colorado include lane-departure warning, rear parking assist, and forward-collision alert, among others.

2021 Ford Ranger vs 2021 Chevy Colorado: The Ultimate Adventure Companion

So, what’s the verdict when it comes to the ultimate truck to accompany you on your next great adventure? If you’re looking for more power (especially in a base model), more standard safety features, and better gas mileage, the 2021 Ford Ranger is shaping up to be a truly remarkable ride. Enhanced towing capabilities and a multitude of trim options give the Ranger an elevated appeal, and upgraded tech helps to keep your ride enjoyable, no matter where you’re going.

If you’re looking for a larger selection of trim options and an impressive infotainment system, the Colorado certainly delivers. Where the Colorado falls short is engine power and towing capacity in its base models and, most importantly, standard safety features, as many safety options are not provided in its base models. While there are some benefits with the optional upgraded engines, the Chevy Colorado looks like it still may fall short at the end of the day.

When it comes down to it, in the battle of your next great adventure truck, both trucks offer a heightened driving experience, but one shines brighter than the other. If you’re looking closely at the stats and specs, the Ranger out-performs when it comes to towing, engine performance, safety, and more, which are big elements when it comes to choosing the right pickup truck for your next adventure. If you’re looking for excitement, both mid-size trucks make for a thrilling experience; however, this time, the 2021 Ford Ranger takes it home when it comes to being built for ultimate adventure.

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