Chevy and Ford have been locked in a heated pickup truck battle for decades, and this fight continues into 2019 with the all-new 2019 Silverado 1500 and the 2019 F-150. Both trucks are plenty capable for the average buyer, but truck shoppers are rarely average, as they have specific goals in mind when they choose a rig. Find out which truck is right for your needs — the 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 or the 2019 Ford F-150 — below.
The Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado 1500 offer three cab configurations to meet the needs of all types of buyers. Though they go by different names — regular cab, double cab, and crew cab for Chevy and regular cab, SuperCab, and Super Crew for Ford — they are basically the same configurations. The smallest offers only two doors and a bench seat, the middle cab offers limited-angle rear doors with rear jumpseats, and the largest offers wide-opening rear doors with a full-size rear bench.
The 2019 Chevy Silverado’s front seats offer 43.1 inches of headroom and 44.5 inches of legroom in all three cab formats, which beat the F-150 by 2.3 inches and 0.6 inches, respectively. The Silverado double cab also wins in rear legroom, as its 35.2 inches of rear legroom trumps the F-150 SuperCab by 1.6 inches. In its largest format, though, the F-150 SuperCrew comes back to beat the Silverado crew cab by 0.7 inches in headroom and 0.2 inches in legroom.
Both of these pickups have a dizzying number of powertrain options, giving buyers plenty of choices to fit their needs. The F-150 and Silverado 1500 each have standard V-6 engines, but they have different personalities. The F-150’s 3.3-liter engine’s 290 horsepower beats the Silverado by 5 ponies, but the Silverado’s 4.3-liter pumps out 305 pound-feet of torque, which is 40 pound-feet more than the F-150’s base powerplant. This extra torque makes pulling a trailer off the line easier.
In the middle of its lineup, the F-150’s 2.7-liter turbo V-6 pumps out 325 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The Chevy’s answer to this is a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder — yes, a four-pot full-size pickup — with 310 horses and 348 pound-feet of torque.
On the V-8 side, the F-150 checks in with a 5.0-liter unit that pumps out 395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. This easily crushes the Silverado’s 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8 but falls well short of the Chevy’s range-topping 6.2-liter V-8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
The wildcards in the F-150 line are the two 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engines with 375 and 450 horsepower, and the 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine with 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. The higher-output of the 3.5-liter V-6 engines makes the F-150 Limited the second-quickest truck ever to 60 mph. The Silverado has no match for the F-150’s 3.5-liter engines, but it does offer a diesel engine that is so hard to find the automaker leaves it off most promotional material. The diesel engine is supposed to have better availability in the 2020 Silverado.
The Ford F-150 adds an extra wrinkle the Silverado lacks with its Baja-ready Raptor trim. This includes the 450-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6, an off-road suspension, six drive modes, off-road tires, and more. The Silverado has its Trail Boss models that add a more rugged suspension, a black grille, off-road tires, and more, but they lack the raw off-road abilities of the Raptor.
Maximum towing capability falls into the “win” column for the F-150, as its 13,000-pound capacity beats the Silverado’s 12,200-pound best.
Fuel economy was once an afterthought in pickup trucks, but as they become more family-friendly, automakers are giving this area more attention.
With its lighter-duty 3.0-liter diesel engine, the F-150’s fuel economy peaks at 22 mpg city, 30 highway, and 25 combined. The best the Silverado can muster up is 20 mpg city, 23 highway, and 21 combined with its turbocharged four-cylinder.
Modern pickup trucks range from simple work trucks to lavish luxury rigs. In their base working-pickup trims, the F-150 XL and the Silverado 1500 WT, both trucks are relatively simple. The F-150 XL comes standard with an AM/FM radio, manual door locks, vinyl floors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, and that’s about it. The Silverado WT is better-equipped with its standard 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and more.
The F-150, however, has a higher luxury ceiling in its Limited trim, which includes navigation, heated and cooled front seats, wood trim, 22-inch wheels, a dual-pane sunroof, a 360-degree camera, and LED headlights.
While the F-150 performs surprisingly well in IIHS collision tests, it falls short in standard safety tech. Sure, you can get advanced features like forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control but not until you reach the Lariat trim.
While that is bad, the Silverado 1500 is even worse off. It has slightly worse crash-test ratings than the F-150, and you cannot get advanced safety features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking until you hit the highest trim levels: LTZ or High Country.
Which is Best for You?
Pickup trucks are very personal, and most buyers pledge allegiance to one brand and refuse to change. Objectively, though, the Silverado’s new, more aggressive look stands out in a crowd, making it a great option for buyers looking for something unique. Also, its roomier front seats work better for taller drivers.
Overall, the Ford F-150 is the more capable of the two with its superior towing capacity and off-road-ready Raptor trim. If you fall into the crowd that does a ton of towing or rarely finds a patch of pavement to drive on, the F-150 is a much better option. Also, if you want on-road bragging rights by blowing away your buddy’s sports car in a pickup truck, pick up the F-150 Limited.