The pickup truck market is surprisingly competitive, what with the smaller selection of models out there. Just about every car brand on earth makes four-door sedans, and the increasing popularity of SUVs means that some brands are even limiting their lineups to this versatile body style. However, trucks are another story. Truck shoppers have to compare more limited options when shopping, like the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Nissan Titan.
These are two popular trucks by two well-known auto brands, although Chevy is decidedly the bigger name in powerful, hardworking vehicles than Nissan, which itself is a big name in stylish, compact vehicles that are surprisingly affordable. We’re pitting these two half-ton pickup trucks against each other in every major category. Which popular truck, between the 2021 Silverado 1500 and the 2021 Titan, can withstand our scrutiny? In other words, which is overall the more successful pickup truck?
Towing With the Silverado
This is one of the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500s most notable features. This perennial favorite truck is more than capable of taking on recreational towing needs like pulling an RV, watersports equipment, a moving trailer, or even another vehicle. With a staggering towing capacity of up to 13,300 pounds, there’s almost nothing too heavy for this pickup. If you want to drive with the confidence that you have exceptional towing capability at your hands, upgrade to one of the heavy-duty models, the Silverado 2500 or 3500; however, the 1500 offers more than enough strength for most drivers.
There’s no question that the Silverado’s tow capacity is among the greatest in the entire truck market, especially when the 6.2-liter V-8 engine powers your work. As for payload capacity, the Silverado reaches a respectable maximum of 2,280 pounds. That’s enough for you to load up the bed with furniture, building supplies, and more without sacrificing driving performance.
For even more storage and moving capability, the Silverado has plenty of available equipment like secure tie-downs that are incredibly versatile. Towing and navigating with a full truck bed are easy, too, thanks to the Silverado’s incredible tow assist features, like multiple crisp camera views that keep an eye on your surroundings as you drive. Meanwhile, additional safety tech alleviates the stress of maneuvering with heavy loads.
Towing With the Titan
Unfortunately, towing is one of the new Nissan Titan’s glaring weaknesses. Not that it’s completely incapable – a maximum towing capacity of 9,310 pounds is fine enough for many efforts – but it trails competitors like the 2021 Silverado 1500 (and older editions of the Silverado, as well). If there’s anything generous about this truck, it’s the consistency across models and builds. Still, the 1,610 max payload rating is also a disappointment.
All of this begs the question: who would invest in a pickup truck that’s not actually good at towing? For all the other perks that come with this vehicle, like its attractive design and low price, driving a weak truck may not appeal to many. Perhaps there are drivers out there who enjoy the aesthetics of driving a truck without ever intending to put their vehicle through serious work. However, this would be a strange market to appeal to. Nonetheless, the 2021 Titan isn’t winning any points with drivers who want a hardworking truck. When it comes to towing and payload, the 2021 Silverado 1500 is the clear winner.
Driving the Titan
As functional as towing and payload are, the most important aspect of a pickup truck is its driving performance. How enjoyable does it feel when you’re commuting, taking long road trips, or even blazing a trail off-road? The 2021 Titan offers one powertrain in every model – yes, only one. Since the discontinuance of the diesel-powered Titan XD, this model is gas-only. To be fair, you get access to eight cylinders from the base model, a fairly generous offering compared to its competitors.
The Titan powertrain is a 5.6-liter V-8 that provides 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, which is potent enough for some pleasant city driving. However, the moderate torque rating doesn’t offer quite the power to enable superb off-road or towing capability. The nine-speed automatic transmission changes gear smoothly, but steering and handling are rough and unpleasant at times.
As for its off-road power, the 2021 Titan is surprisingly agile. 4×4 doesn’t come standard, but its intelligent mobility features are a huge boon to navigating tough terrain. Active brake limited slip senses loss of traction and adjusts the power balance to maintain control, while hill start and descent assistance help stabilize driving on varied elevations. For even more off-road capability, the Pro 4X trim offers superior all-terrain shocks. This may be the 2021 Titan’s best-optimized form, so we’d spring for this edition, especially since its towing potential is comparably mild.
Driving the Silverado
The 2021 Silverado 1500 has multiple powertrains, each of which changes how the Silverado performs. Unlike the Titan, the Silverado is designed to be customizable, fitted for every driver’s specific needs. The standard, 4.3-liter V-6 engine is an EcoTec3 with Active Fuel Management, conserving fuel while offering 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque – a good rating for its value, especially if you invest in the low-cost Work Truck version.
Other engines include the tow-capable and economical I-4, a Turbo-diesel that outputs up to 460 lb-ft of torque, as well as a speedy 6.2-liter V-8 that launches from 0 to 60 in just over 5 seconds and manages up to 420 horsepower. The latter’s 10-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive make the Silverado 1500 one of the most athletic, lightweight trucks of the year. However, it does require a paid upgrade.
Something can be said for the Titan’s free access to a high-performance, well-rounded engine. However, the Silverado 1500 can be fine-tuned for specific purposes, including outstanding on-road driving or superb towing/payload. Also, truck drivers who are emotionally involved with the diesel engine would gladly choose a Silverado 1500 over the Titan simply because Chevy offers a diesel. Tough brakes, smooth steering, excellent 10-speed automatic transmission, and multiple drivetrain options seal the deal.
As for off-road power, available equipment abounds in the Z71 Off-Road package. Off-road suspension that’s stable and keeps driving comfortable, skid plates, all-terrain tires, hill descent control, and more make this an easy favorite among truck fans. Best of all, the Z71 package is compatible with multiple Silverado 1500 trims, so even the luxurious High Country can be classy on the inside and rough-and-tumble on the outside.
Other Notable Features
The 2021 Nissan Titan seems to be designed with towing and off-road capability in mind, but it fails to earn top marks in either of these categories. If it shines in any respect, though, it’s the generous supply of safety and entertainment tech built into every model, even the base model. Infotainment tech abounds, with notable features like a mobile hotspot and a Fender audio system. It’s affordable, too, even if you upgrade to the luxurious Platinum Reserve edition outfitted with climate-resistant leather seating and refined open-pore wood trim.
Ultimately, the 2021 Chevy Silverado is the more versatile truck. It delivers intense towing and payload ratings, fast and lightweight driving, and advanced safety tech that supports both work and on-road safety. It can also be equipped to take on all terrain with ease. Any fault in the new Silverado maybe its simple interior design, but luxury editions like the High Country remedy this fault for a premium. While drivers who want a truck at a low price without any clear intentions of what they’re driving it for could easily enjoy the Titan, the 2021 Silverado 1500 can be fine-tuned to excel in a variety of functions.