In a battle of light-duty pickups, how does a 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2021 Nissan Titan stack up across the board? Performance? Cabin space? Interior features? Towing capacity? There are a lot of variables that go into what makes some trucks better than others, and here we get to delve into a little bit of the mechanics of both the Chevy Silverado and Nissan Titan’s latest model years to see how they fare against one another. Some people are interested in some of the performance and handling specs for enthusiast reasons, others may just want brand bragging rights to latch onto, while others might be interested in which one they feel is worth buying. Regardless of your reasons for being interested in the showdown, you definitely don’t want to miss out on what the verdict is between these two full-size behemoths.
What Do You Get With the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500?
The 2021 Chevy Silverado is part of the fourth generation line of the Silverado series and carries with it all the features from the 2019 platform, but with additional improvements and features built on top of what was introduced with the 2020 model year. The big new change for the 2021 model is the increased tailgate functionality thanks to the Multi-Flex Tailgate, with six unique functions and a step weight capacity of up to 375 pounds. Some standard features have been made available across a variety of trims, including improved infotainment features and some driver and safety assists.
The towing has also been upgraded for the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 model year. When equipped with the 2.7-liter turbocharged powertrain, this truck manages 9,600 pounds for the max towing and up to 2,280 pounds when it comes to max cargo capacity. The 3.0-liter turbocharged Duramax also has a max tow capacity increase to 9,500 pounds, giving it some additional leeway when towing and trailering.
What Do You Get With the 2021 Nissan Titan?
The 2021 Nissan Titan doesn’t add much of anything new to its slate of features but mostly builds on top of what was introduced, improved, upgraded, and updated for the 2020 model year of the Nissan Titan. This includes a new front and rear fascia, more driver assists being made standard, as well as enhanced infotainment features and improved cabin interior space with added driver functionalities. The reason the 2021 model year didn’t receive a whole host of new features is because the 2020 model year was the generational refresh for the model and opened up a slew of new changes when it comes to both optional and standard features.
The powertrain options for the Nissan Titan also underwent some major revisions for the refresh, which carried over into the 2021 model year. Unfortunately, instead of having the option of a 5.6-liter V8 and a 5.0-liter V8 turbo-diesel Cummins, only the 5.6-liter V8 gasoline engine remains for the 2021 model year. The all-new Jatco 9-speed transmission also made its debut during the refresh and continues to be available for the 2021 model year of the Nissan Titan.
The 2021 model also includes the optional 9-inch touchscreen, which is one of the new features of the refresh, as well as the new intelligent cruise control and a dual-panel moonroof. There aren’t a whole lot of new features added to the 2021 model year of the Titan, given the previous model year’s refresh. Even then, the 2020 refresh still removed quite a few features while making other optional features standard.
Which One Performs Better?
The 2021 Titan only has one powertrain setup across all trim variations: the 5.6-liter V8 and a 9-speed automatic transmission. The V8 manages to generate up to 400 horsepower and up to 413 pound-feet of torque. This is an upgrade over the 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque from the 2019 model year.
The 2021 Chevy Silverado comes with multiple powertrains, including a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder, a 4.3-liter V6, a 3.0-liter V6, a 6.2-liter V8, and a 5.3-liter V8. The Silverado delivers between 277 and up to 420 horsepower and between 305 to 460 pound-feet of torque. There are various options and customizable configurations for the Silverado, so you can pick and choose whether you want to save more fuel, gain more towing capacity, or opt for more performance.
While the Titan easily trumps the Silverado’s lower-end powertrain options, it doesn’t quite compete on the upper end of the spectrum where torque and horsepower count. This doesn’t completely mean that the Silverado stomps the Titan in performance; it just means that the higher powertrain variations produce more horsepower and torque. Having the option between five different options will give you that kind of performance scaling, and the power scaling absolutely favors the 2021 Chevy Silverado.
What About Towing Capacity?
When it comes to pickup trucks, it’s quite important to know what the towing capacity is because a lot of people love pickups for towing, trailering, and cargo hauling. The good thing about today’s pickup trucks is that nearly all of them are designed to tow with confidence, from the mid-sized to the full-size to the heavy-duty. For the standard Titan, when properly equipped with the King Cab format and rear-wheel drive, you can tow up to a max of 9,310 pounds of cargo. The standard 2021 Titan also allows you to carry up to 1,690 pounds of cargo. Quite impressive for a light-duty pickup truck, no doubt.
As mentioned earlier in the article, the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 was specifically upgraded to accommodate higher tow and trailer ratings for its lower-end powertrains, managing to surpass the 2021 Nissan Titan by several hundred pounds. The two engines closest to the Titan’s max towing capacity are the turbocharged 2.7-liter reaching up to 9,600 pounds, and the 9,500 pounds of the 3.0-liter turbocharged Duramax.
That’s not to mention that with the 6.2-liter V8, the Silverado very easily surpasses the Nissan Titan by achieving a max tow rating of 13,300 pounds. That means that even if you compared the Silverado 1500 to the upgraded Titan XD, which has a tow rating of 11,040 pounds, the 2021 Silverado 1500 still comes out on top. The Silverado 1500 also manages to trump the standard Titan when it comes to payload capacity, allowing truckers to pack up to 2,280 pounds.
A Battle Of Fuel Economy
If you don’t care about picking the right trim, the right engine, the right cab, and the right drivetrain, then the 2021 Nissan Titan makes it easy because what you see is mostly what you get. There are no powertrain layouts to scour through or a wide range of different configurations between the driveline and the powertrain. So when you want the best fuel economy from a Titan, you either pick a two-wheel drive or a four-wheel drive – that’s it. Basically, the best fuel economy ratings for the 2021 Nissan Titan come from the two-wheel drive, which nets you up to 16 miles per gallon in the city and up to 21 miles per gallon on the highway.
The 2021 Chevy Silverado slathers truck enthusiasts with a lot of options. If you want to customize your trucking experience to get the best for your buck, the Silverado has you covered. Finding the right mixture of trim, powertrain, and driveline to get the most out of the fuel economy might seem like a hassle to some people, but all-in-all, the Silverado still stomps the Titan in terms of fuel economy. With the rear-wheel drive and the 3.0-liter V6 Duramax, the 2021 Chevy Silverado manages 23 miles per gallon in the city and up to 33 miles per gallon on the highway, very much leaving the 2021 Nissan Titan in the dust.
Your Winner: 2021 Chevy Silverado
While the 2021 Nissan Titan may have received a lot of positive feedback for a spacious cabin and quality interior, on the performance, towing, and fuel economy front, it just doesn’t hold much of a candle to the 2021 Chevy Silverado. In the matchup between the 2021 Chevy Silverado vs 2021 Nissan Titan, the bowtie badge company has really managed to perfect the Silverado at this point. They’re going neck-to-neck with the Ford F-150 when it comes to trying to dominate the marketplace with best-in-class standard and available features. While the 2021 Nissan Titan isn’t bad, it’s just not quite capable of beating out the 2021 Silverado.