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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A grey 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is towing a boat down a tree lined road.

Which Pickup to Pick up: 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150

You’re likely reading this because you’re thinking about buying a new truck, and if so, welcome, you’ve found the right article. It may be hard to decipher which pickup truck is the one that you should end up driving as you’re likely to hear a thousand different answers from a thousand different people. How about the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150? You’ve likely heard about each of these trucks in their respective manner, as each model is the latest in their long-running lineups. This is an interesting comparison, and this is because the Sierra 1500 and the F-150 are two fantastic pickup trucks that have become, quite frankly, synonymous with trucks that perfectly blend the price and capability of a consumer-grade pickup with the versatility that can make your life easier, even in the workplace. To better understand what we’re dealing with here, the best place to start would be with prices and available trims.

The Showdown

Both the 2021 Sierra 1500 and Ford F-150 have base models that are close in price, with the base F-150, XL, starting at $29,290, and the base Sierra 1500 starting at $30,100. Should you choose either of the next two available trims, the SLE and Elevation, then your Sierra will come with a turbocharged engine to replace the standard V6.

The next trim for the Sierra 1500 is the SLT. This trim adds a multitude of upgrades that greatly enhance the overall experience of operating the vehicle with a comfortable 10-way power-adjustable driver’s chair that offers a variety of reclining positions. This trim also implements a far more useful tailgate that serves multiple functions, unlike your average tailgates, and to top it all off; a V8 engine comes included. The MultiPro Tailgate really stands out because of its six unique functions that grant this truck an even greater range of versatility.

Up next is a Sierra trim for the off-roading enthusiasts out there, and that’s the AT4. The AT4 includes a dedicated four-wheel drive system, off-road-capable tires, and GMC has implemented a 2-inch suspension lift. This suspension lift means that you’ll have far better ground clearance when climbing that giant rock.

The Denali is the last available trim, and this one is more akin to the SLT and not the AT4 as it doesn’t share the same off-roading qualities. What it does, however, is take the experience that you’d get in the SLT and cranks up the luxury with a premium audio system and a slew of advanced safety features that don’t come on any other trim levels. One of these features is Blind Spot Monitoring, and this feature is here to greatly enhance your visibility and awareness of vehicles that are clogging your blind spot when you’re driving on a multi-lane road such as the freeway.

A white 2021 Ford F-150 is parked in a snow covered field with two farmers in the bed.

How About the F-150?

The F-150 isn’t short of trim levels, mind you. This is apparent when you realize that there are eight different F-150 models, all of which boast their fair share of differences. One of the most notable trims that you’ve likely heard of is the Ford Raptor, and there’s no denying that this trim is well regarded amongst F-150 enthusiasts. The Raptor, like other F-150 models, has been a point of contention amongst many critics, and of course, the customers for an egregiously high price tag compared to its competitors.

When looking at the base models of these two pickup trucks, it’s an entirely different story. There are three available powertrain configurations for the base model, but the engine that comes standard is outperformed by the base engine in the entry-level Sierra 1500, at least in regards to torque output. The engine inside of the base F-150 is a 3.3L V6 that produces 290 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, and this torque output falls behind the 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque found in the 4.3L V6 inside of the base Sierra. It’s worth noting, however, that the F-150’s base engine comes paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, but for our money, we’d gladly take the 15% increase to torque output if you want some better towing performance and off-roading capability.

As we mentioned, the Raptor is one of the most popular F-150 trims, and this is for a good reason. One thing that has always been a high point of debate is its price, but this isn’t even the priciest trim for the F-150. The highest-tier trim, which is known as Limited, starts at over $15,000 more than the Sierra Denali, and as we said, Denali is the best-of-the-best in regards to the Sierra 1500. Even when you purchase a Denali for the luxurious amenities that it will give you, you’ll also save considerable amounts of money, and you’ll still be towing more than 10,000 lbs, much like the F-150.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

We were rather surprised to see just how smaller the interior of the F-150 was against the Sierra 1500, and this is true whether you’re in a Regular Cab on either vehicle or a bigger configuration. Using a Regular Cab model for comparison, the Sierra 1500 has a cabin that supports 43.1-inches of headroom and 44.5-inches of legroom. The F-150’s Regular Cab has 40.8-inches of headroom and 43.9-inches of legroom, which is relatively comparable.

Bringing a Super Cab F-150 in for comparison against the Double Cab Sierra 1500 reveals that the F-150’s 40.8-inches of headroom in the front row is thwarted again by the 43-inches of headroom on the Sierra 1500. The rear-row headroom is also close in comparison with 40.3-inches on the F-150, slightly beating out the 39.3-inches on the Sierra 1500. The SuperCab does offer significantly less legroom in the rear row with 33.5-inches against the Sierra 1500’s 35.2-inches. These measurements are rather close, and it becomes a mixed bag of which vehicle offers better support for taller individuals depending on where they’re sitting inside of the cabin.

A red 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is off-roading in the mountains after winning a 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2021 Ford F-150 comparison.

The Consensus

As we said, the comparison between the 2021 Sierra 1500 and F-150 is a more interesting one, and this is because both trucks are sure to satisfy their customers. The main difference that we’ve grown to notice is the price difference in which these trucks hold. There’s no doubt that the Sierra 1500 is typically marketed at a lower price than the F-150, and when looking at the base models under a closer light, the Sierra 1500 is also the better buy. This sparks nothing but curiosity, at least to us, as to why Ford decided upon this pricing model, and at what point are you simply paying a ‘Ford Tax’ so to speak?

Comparing a vehicle such as the priciest F-150 model, which starts at over $70,000, and slating it against the priciest Sierra 1500 trim, which starts at less than $60,000, and you can really start to see how much you get with a Denali vs a Limited.n Chances are, you’re thinking the same as we are; that while Ford trucks can be nice, they just aren’t worth the price increase to get most of the same features as the Sierra. That’s why we would have to suggest the Sierra 1500 as the best for the price in this comparison.

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